Games you definitely SHOULD NOT PLAY on Christmas day (and the games you should play instead)

So it’s coming up to Christmas and I can see you thinking, ‘mmm, can’t wait for some booze and some amazing lush Christmas dinner with all those totes delish trimmings and all the puddings oh yeah yum yum.’ Except wait, what’s that, your Nan, she’s grinning with the kind of maniacal excitement only a medically insane person would display and reaching slowly into the tesco bag she brought to grab a rectangle cardboard box. What is it! What could it be! ‘I’ve brought a game with me,’ she says, ‘wouldn’t it be *hic* amazing if we could all play it literally right now!’

Monopoly. Oh please god no.

Nobody likes this game, why did she even bring it. We play it every year and everybody ends up in a borderline fistfight because someone was sneaking money from the bank and someone was stuck in jail for about 57 turns. How can we submit ourselves to this torture year after year after year.

Well, fear not loyal readers, consider me your guardian angel, a blessing from the wintery north where the gods of playing board games at Christmas live, and they have sent me to deliver you from evil, and provide to you some alternatives to your terrible, awful Christmas games.

Behold! A wonderous list of all those games you SHOULD NOT play at Christmas, followed by the names of the games you SHOULD play instead. Buy them in advance, and when your nan reaches for the battered copy of Monopoly from the 60s again, you can quickly intervene, with something… actually fun to play instead.

So, without further ado, I present, games NOT to play at Christmas…


See above, this game is manipulative, evil and just purely based on luck. That’s it, luck. 100% luck. Who wants to play a game that has absolutely no strategy at all, not least a game with no strategy that actively makes people despise each other. Happy Christmas? No thanks.

Play instead: Ticket to Ride


Do you really want to take up 1 half of your Christmas day slowly realising you can’t win, and then being forced to play for another 4 hours whilst everyone else slowly figures out the exact same thing. Only 1 or 2 people have fun playing this game, and plus, Christmas is supposed to be jolly and fun, not a slow strategic slog through a fictitious war-game. Do yourself and your family a favour, and even if you like Risk, play one of these instead…

Play instead: Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan (if you’re feeling ambitious)


Here we are again, sitting on the sofa, unable to move due to the sheer volume of food we have consumed, trying to guess ‘Reservoir Dogs’ whilst Grandma rolls around on all fours pretending to be a dog. Nobody wanted this. It’s degrading, not funny, and literally nobody wants to play. There must be a better version of this game. Well, there is. It’s called monikers. Or, if you don’t fancy minor embarrassment, go for Codenames instead.

Play instead: Monikers or Codenames


This game revolves purely around luck for guessing the right combinations, slowly narrowing down the right combination of questions and crossing things off a list is not exactly the most thrilling of ways to spend your time. Murder Mystery was never meant to be this disinteresting and mundane, so why should it be! There is another way…

Play instead: Mysterium

Cards Against Humanity:

Let’s face it, we all know the cards at this point. Everyone has played this game PLENTY enough already, the answers become repetitive, and let’s face it, none of us want to explain to that prudish Aunt what ‘pixellated bukkake’ really means. Sort of puts a dampener on the whole mood you know. BUT if you still want that improv comedy party game kinda vibe, here’s a suggestion…

Play instead: Bucket of Doom


Some people are bad at art. Ok scratch that, MOST people are bad at art. Nobody wants to be forced to draw, and although the pictures MIGHT be funny, wouldn’t it just be way more fun if we were playing a much better guessing game, with cards that had beautiful, incredible artwork on, instead of being forced to guess what that questionable scribble on a page means.

Play instead: Dixit

Rummy/Go Fish:

Card games are so last century, man…

Well, not really, but these card games just rely on dumb luck and guesswork. Wouldn’t you rather play a game where you can actually swing the strategy and tactics of a game, whilst still being incredibly simple, and entirely card based. Yes! You would! (my assumption here.) Here are 2…

Play instead: Skull or Sushi Go!


Take it in turns! Only use one hand! Stop knocking the table!

Ok, so my suggestion still has these elements, and to be honest it’s more based on the fact that I’m sure you’ve played Jenga a bazillion times already. This one is just a mixed up version of Jenga, where instead of removing blocks, you stack 3d animals on top of each other. It looks absolutely incredible, and even comes with a cool partner app!

Play instead: Beasts of Balance

Yours insteadily,


PS. If you’re looking to BUY someone a board game as a gift, check out this post instead.