Best board games for Christmas 2013: settle down for a spot of strategy, bluffing and low cunning
Good tidings we bring for Christmas traditionalists: board games are back, with John Lewis predicting a bumper season after sales for spring and summer were up 17% on last year.
We've come up with a guide to the best, based on Mumsnetters' recommendations. Board games make a brilliant and bargainous present for a whole family - they can work out considerably cheaper than buying each person an individual gift.
And if you know of any we've missed, do share by writing a review.
The classic property trading game is still a firm favourite. With so many versions on offer, there should be a variation to distract even the most devoted screen addict - one specific to where you live will obviously be of added interest, if available. Junior versions are available, suitable for five to eight year olds - this Monsters University version should be a hit for lovers of the film.
The most obviously educational game, this is certainly one for older children, but can be played in teams to help out beginners. Mumsnetter Angie1978 says it works with a seven year old and very patient grandad.
This family version of the notoriously hardcore game has the genius inclusion of both adult and child cards. There's also a junior version available, suitable for eight to 12 year olds. If you're worried about the questions dating, you can buy updated cards, as MNer PedlarsSpanner points out. Up to 36 people can play, so there's no getting out of it...
Some categories are harder than others in this describing team game, but the rules could be adapted to accommodate younger players. MNer Dobedobedo says: "Articulate is a family favourite here. Ours gets passed around the extended family quite regularly, too."
A 20th anniversary edition of the classic bluffing game is out, and it's a popular choice for larger groups. MNer Takver says: "You can play with a dozen people quite easily without it being slow/boring, so very good as a Christmas game. A hit here even with people like my Dad, who hates board games."
Charades fans will appreciate this game, which involves guessing what a teammate is modelling before the other team gets there first and steals your dough. MNer OldRoan says: "It's excellent, and smaller children are more creative (generally) when it comes to playdough, so it's easy to involve them."
The Destination games, invented by a contestant on Dragon's Den, are popular with Mumsnetters, and many recommend this Hogwarts version, which is suitable for two to six players. MadeOfStarDust says: "It's one of those games that can be won with skill, but has some 'luck of the draw' about it too - so the little ones can win."
This strategic game for two to five players comes up again and again as a Mumsnet favourite, and there are many different versions available. As with all these games, the age recommendations are flexible. Yama says: "My daughter loves Ticket To Ride. She's seven and I'd say we've had it about a year." Average playing time is about 45 minutes.
Another popular choice among strategic Mumsnetters. Bunbaker describes this game, for two to five players, as "an excellent game that doesn't get boring after you have played for a while".
As indicated by the slightly higher recommended age, this is more complex and takes around 90 minutes to complete. Playing in mixed-aged teams means younger children can play: MNer fuzzpig reckons children as young as six can join in.
Another game with child and adult cards, which can be played in just half an hour with four to eight players. As MNer Katieweasel says: "I like the idea of lots of quick games rather than one long game where my DS might lose interest."
Film and TV versions of games are a good first step for younger children who are just getting into board games, and this Sherlock version of Cluedo rates highly with Mumsnetters. Happypiglet points out that those close to the minimum age might need help from someone older.
As this is only suitable for two to four players, it's a good game for quieter moments. MNer OldRoan says: "Rummikub is excellent, and incredibly addictive."
Child-friendly version of the adult game, with features such as bigger letters to make it easier. SarahMumsnet describes it as "an excellent training ground for down the line, when they graduate to adult Scrabble and battle can truly commence..."
For much younger children, different cards are necessary for them to be able to enjoy Articulate. The concept is straightforward, so unless help is required with reading, this should be suitable for unsupervised use. MNer Raisah describes it as "fun without being obviously educational".
This bargain board game is an updated version of a very old cat and mouse game, suitable for two to six players, with rocket toy characters. "Like Ludo but much more fun," according to MNer Havatry.
Prices correct on 13 November 2013