TABLE TOP GAMES to Survive the Festive Season On

Picture it: you've gorged on all the food at table, there's nothing decent on TV for a while but you can roll off the couch long enough to play a board game or two with the family.

Here is a brief rundown of table top games to play with your family and friends to survive the festive season. Enjoy.

SETTLERS OF CATAN (sometimes just 'Catan')
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Players: 3-4 (standard), 2-6 (with expansions)
Build settlements, cities and interconnecting roads by spending key resources on hexagonal tiles of varying land types to strategically gain control of the (fictional) island of Catan. It's a physical version of The Sims, with less cooky characters but a tonne of drama and entertainment. Let time pass by in this clever board game that will both keep you keen on being social (for once) and enjoy the depth of gameplay and its simplicity.

JENGA
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Players: 2-4
This game is simple, tense and a real test of your patience and dexterity. If you haven't played it before (why not?!) it's a lot of fun and doesn't take up a much room. Slim blocks of wood form a tower (around a foot tall) and you have to remove a block one at a time, place it on top to increase it's height but also weaken the towers structure. The one who topples the tower loses. Sounds obvious and easy, right? Not so much.

BANANAGRAMS
bananagrams
Players: 2-8
Unlike Scrabble, which comes with a board and shelves for the lettered tiles, Bananagrams allows you to create words to your own grid, made from 21 randomly selected tiles of letters. When you've run out of tiles you call 'peel' for you and the other players to take another tile from the remaining pieces and continue until they run out. The winner is the one who has finished and used all their tiles and no others are left available in the pot. It helps if the words used are in the dictionary.
It's a faster version of Scrabble, tests your literary abilities with each game (and stops non-words being made so that you can use up everything. Oodles of fun every time. Especially when people try make words up from their own vernacular.

CLUEDO
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Players: 3-6
The classic whodunit game that's been terrorising and bamboozling minds great and small since 1949. Strategically pass from room to room (of a mansion) and collect clues to the circumstances surrounding the death of the victim. Use your keen detective skills to determine which room were they killed in, which weapon was used and who killed them?

MONOPOLY
monopoly
Players: (Monopoly) 2-6
It's one of the most loved and entertaining board games ever created but it's also the game that draws battle lines amongst family and friends. Wars have been started because of Monopoly and who can blame them? Whomever nominates themselves as the banker is often the most corrupt player, there is always one person who acquires a whole section and nobody notices allowing them to terrorise your finances when you least expect it, and the one who owns Pall Mall and Mayfair (UK edition) seem to think they'll bankrupt anyone who lands on them and their properties. Just like real life. Trust us, if you go to prison and still have the money to get out when the opportunity arises you're better off there.

RISK
risk
Players: 2-6
Like Settlers of Catan this is another strategy game about colonising lands but here the board depicts a political map of the world, divided up 40-plus territories (and six continents). The objective of the game is to occupy every territory on the board and in doing so, eliminate the other players. Players control their armies by attempting to capture territories from other players, which is determined by dice rolls.
It's an old fashioned way of seeing how we used to (and somehow still) take over other countries. There's no doubt that actual military leaders in history used board games to plan out their strategies of attack on armies around the world. If only planting a flag as a symbol of domination was part of this game as it would make Eddie Izzard's joke on the subject of old time colonising even more true and real.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT
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Players: 2-6 (teams allowed)
The biggest skill you'll need to win at this game is a big brain filled with lots of redundant information on everything from pop culture to science. We here at SBOC have oodles of brains (especially the Website Editor ;)) and have lots of fun with this one.
There will always be that one person who will contest the answers validity and walk out in a huff. (Again, it's the Website Editor :))

What table top games do like to play at this time of year with family and friends? Let us know.

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Written by: Chris Starks

Chris Starks is a professional screenwriter of nearly two decades and Editor-in-Chief for MachinimaSBOC. As a keen comic collector, film and TV fanatic, enthusiastic about theatre and a proud Spartan you can find him at most London-based conventions hovering around various stalls hunting down bargains and having a larf.

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