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On the tenth day of Christmas... Strategy Games With A Kick

Board Game Santa knows the score - some people like their games with a bit more to sink their teeth into. Some people like their games with a right old kick up the bottom. Some people like their games - their 2 hour, deep thinking, epic planning, kitchen-table-top-covering games - with a bit of oomph. Well, congratulations, Some People - we've got the perfect recommendations for you!

Fields of Arle.

1-2 players, 2 hours, age 14+

A Great Time To Play Is: New Year's Eve. Everyone's out at disappointing parties, giving you and a mate a few hours to chill out and bring in the new year trimming grass and laying sod - the only way you know how!

Players begin in the German region of East Frisia, on the verge of the 18th century. Your family's a hard-working bunch, always keen to breed and feed the animals, plough the fields, and carry out their daily tasks. At the same time, you're desperate to improve your craftsmanship so you can construct better buildings in the village and be something of a 'local Good Egg', shall we say. To keep things moving, you must assign the different tasks to different family members, all the while thinking ahead for when the seasons change and suddenly the grass becomes wet and really slippy. Plus, you know, other more important field-raking problems. Trade, build and manufacture what you need to expand your estate, and the player with the most Victory Points at the end is the winner!

Kanban Automotive Revolution.

2-4 players, 2 hours, age 12+

A Great Time To Play Is: after wrapping up the family's gifts. You've got your sellotape and scissors system down to perfection - put it to the test with a real assembly line!

You and the other players are managers in a factory making automobile parts, hoping to move up the corporate ladder and become king of the jung - no, sorry, CEO of the whole operation! Work your way up into promotions and you'll be opening doors left right and centre, gaining more space to hold materials and enhancing your prestige in the company's eyes. You need to be the best boss you can be - manage people and your suppliers, think outside the box to motivate employees and throw yourself in at the bottom, working on the assembly line yourself to boost production! The game offers departmental training, game timers to keep you up to speed and a factory manager character than you can choose to be 'nice' or 'mean' - it's real life! This isn't even a game!! IT'S REAL! Ahem, sorry. Race the other players to secure the top promotion and become the Big Cheese on site. Now what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!


1-5 players, 2 hours, age 14+

A Great Time To Play Is: as soon as the neighbours and the extended family leave. Breathe a sigh of relief, then play a game as self-preserving, warring nations - you know how that feels!

We've always lived as different nations on earth, and chances are, you'd never normally have the opportunity to lead one... until now! Begin the game by choosing your nation and difficulty level, as you move on to complete small, initial actions like buying cards, using workers and hiring architects to build you really fancy landmarks. Historical events are constantly happening, sometimes rocking the foundations of an entire area or tribe, and you must stay true to these events and hope your nation is strong enough to overcome them! Protect your people and give them provisions, food, stability, a productive and growing economy... not too much to ask! You'll have to compete against the other nations to become the most outstanding and showcase the best heritage out of everyone! Like the Miss World beauty pageant, except wildly different.

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