On the fourth day of Christmas... Party Games
Now, what's a Christmas holiday without a few dedicated party games? You've got your copies of Trivial Pursuit and Scattergories - of course! You'll end up having an impromptu yet fiercely competitive game of charades - why not?! But Board Game Santa's been in touch, and I have it on good authority that he has room in his sack for a few new games you've never played before. BGS is a pioneer of never-before-been-played games, and he believes every group of partying gamers should try something different this year. At least I think that's what he said - he had half a mince pie in his mouth at the time.
3-10 players, 30 minutes, age 13+
A Great Time To Play Is: when the whole family's round! Aunts, cousins, nans, uncles, neighbours, anyone else who happens to wander into the house - the more people involved, the bigger the chatter, the better the game!
Tell tales, get sales. In the game, one player takes on the role of 'customer', picking out a customer card at random that could see them becoming a student, a cheerleader, a biker, whatever! The rest of you has six 'item' cards. Choose two of these to form a product - it could be a wax dress, a sweat whistle, an ear razor, etc - and sell, sell, sell that product to the customer! Whoever gives the best pitch gets the quarter of a million investment with Sir Alan Sugar. No, wait, that's not right - you get to keep the original customer card. That's it. Then you do it all over again - the next player takes a new customer card, and you replace your last two cards with two new ones, and so on and so forth. The game has no maximum limit on hilarity, which comes in handy when you have to watch Uncle Kevin attempt to sell a 'murder toilet' to 'the last person on earth'.
4-8 players, 30 minutes, age 10+
A Great Time To Play Is: after you've all swapped and unwrapped your 'Secret Santas'. Chuck 'em in for the loot, boys!
What do you with a group of highly-strung people in a tense situation revolving a lot of money? Why, give them guns, of course! Each of you has a character, a gun, and a choice. Will you choose to shoot? Or will you simply bluff and draw a blank? Those who avoided bullets get to take it politely in turns to snaffle as much of the diamonds, paintings, bullets and cold hard cash as they can. Anyone peppered with shells can use a wound marker to patch themselves up, but now you're a little bit weaker in a pack full of wolves! Diamonds are valuable (duh!), the more paintings you have the better and whoever comes out on top with the shiniest, most valuable stash is the ultimate gangster and doesn't have to stand in the room when Al Pacino goes mental. Score! A great family party game with a lot of energy, you'll be amazed at how satisfying it really is to point a foam gun at your nan.
2-7 players, 30 minutes, age 13+
A Great Time To Play Is: when there are sulky teenagers that need entertaining and are fed up of the usual black and white Christmas films. They won't be grumpy for long with this game!
Finally, the time has come for you to understand what all the kids these days are on about! Except... everything in this game is made up! One player becomes the Guesser, while players use cards featuring different phrases and condense the words down into a mixed-up text-speak gobbledegook abbreviation! The player who manages to make the Guesser 'get it' before the time runs out scores points, and the Guesser does too! Yay! You BOTH learned something, together! Whoever has the most points after three rounds is TUCOTG. Oh, did you not get that? The Ultimate Champion Of The Game. It was pretty obvious... This game's great for family Christmas parties - just be prepared to be royally beaten by literally any teenager in the room. This is their talent!