Did you know that 84% of the families in Europe play Monopoly at least twice during the beloved Christmas holidays?
I didn’t know either. In fact, I just made that up, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not too far away from reality.
Monopoly is still one of the most common and best Christmas board games you could play, but for this year you might want to try something different.
So I wrote this personal list of board games that will even change the mind of the most stubborn Monopoly-addicted uncle of your family.
There’s a world outside of Monopoly, and your relatives are about to discover it thanks to you.
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Best Christmas Board Games
1 • Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries: build your railroad to connect the cities in the magical atmosphere of Northern Europe.
2 • Santas’ Workshop: lead your personal squad of Santa’s Elves in building the best Christmas gifts for all the children around the Globe.
3 • Home Alone Game: play as Kevin or the bandits in this game that recalls the events of one of the most beloved Christmas movies.
4 • Monopoly Christmas Edition: one of the most popular board games dressed in a Christmas theme.
5 • 12 Days: “pick and pass” game in which players simultaneously play cards in order to score the most points.
6 • Concept: help the other players to guess a secret word or phrase by cleverly using a combination of the small icons on the game board.
7 • Dobble – Spot It!: 5 mini pattern recognition games in which you have to name the symbol in common between two cards.
8 • The Chameleon: a guessing game where a player, called “the chameleon”, has to discover a secret word without getting caught by the opponents.
9 • Herd Mentality: answer some random questions with what you think the majority of the players would answer in order to score as many points as possible.
10 • Llama Drama – Holiday Edition: get rid of all your cards before the opponent to win the game in this Uno-similar quick card game.
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
Ticket to Ride doesn’t need to be further praised by anyone, as it’s already acknowledged to be one of the best board games of the last two decades.
And of course, this edition couldn’t be any different. It’s on the spot of my personal list of the best Christmas board games for infinite reasons.
In this game, participants must compete to connect cities on the board, such as every Ticket to Ride game.
Players will have the opportunity to create the lines and eventually link cities by picking cards. The game not only ensures fun family time but is also a fantastic method for kids to learn about North Europe basic geography.
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries might be a fantastic option for those hoping to enjoy a peaceful Christmas day off. It is a straightforward game with modest competitiveness and difficulty, as well as a good level of strategy and wits. So, if you can gather some of your relatives together, this excellent game would be an amazing choice.
A curious fact, the Nordic Countries edition was first exclusively available in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland before being expanded to a wider demographic since 2008.
TICKET TO RIDE: NORDIC COUNTRIES
2 – 3 players | 30 – 60 min | 8+
Santa’s Workshop is an excellent worker-placement board game with a strong Christmas theme, brought to us by Rio Grande Games, a very well-known publisher thanks to the amazing Puerto Rico board game.
You’ll be in charge of Santa’s elves that must mine coal, take care of the reindeer and build toys in order to gain Christmas Cookies, which are the in-game points.
The game is played over 9 turns and it begins with all the players receiving 3 gift cards each, representing the letters to Santa from children all over the world.
The aim of your team of elves is to get the most and best toys finished by the end of the last round.
Like every worker-placement game you’ll be facing several choices which will determine your final score:
Will you send your elves to the classroom to increase their productivity or let them work every round?
Would you use good material for your toys or the cheapest plastic (for which you also suffer a loss of points as a penalty for using it)?
Oh yes… there are also the reindeer to be tended. Don’t forget about them as they can give you unique effects.
The player that collects the most cookies will win the game.
2 – 5 players | 45 – 60 min | 14+
Home Alone Game
You might have already watched the amazing movie “Home Alone”, right?
If not, give it a watch soon so that you can enjoy this superb game to the fullest. For several years, the film has been a Christmas cult favourite, and this Christmas board game focuses on delivering the same eternal experience.
In this board game one player controls Kevin, accidentally left alone at home, whose duty it is to place booby traps in the path of the bad robberies in order to defend his house.
On the other hand, the bandits, are controlled by other players and their goal is to rob as much as they can in order to gain looting points.
This mini 1 vs all game is played over a few rounds for an average duration of about 20 minutes each game. Perfect choice if you’re looking for a filler option.
HOME ALONE GAME
2 – 4 players | 15 – 20 min | 8+
Monopoly: Christmas Limited Edition
Monopoly is one of those games that is awakened only once a year, usually during the Christmas holidays.
The classic edition of the game is the most common and even though it’s a very good game, sometimes it could let you feel bored (such as bingo). Something you could do is to change a few details of the game to make it feel fresh again and reignite the desire to play it.
And this is what Monopoly Christmas Limited Edition does.
At the start of the game, you have to choose your favourite holiday tokens, such as a snowman, Rudolph, or even Santa Clause himself, and you are then ready to start your incredible Christmas journey around the board.
In this edition, you can buy some of the classic Festive Features and build Grottos and Workshops (instead of Houses and Hotels).
As always, you will have to be aware of jail, taxes, and not to mention the worst enemy of every business person, bankruptcy.
MONOPOLY: CHRISTMAS LIMITED EDITION
2 – 6 players | 180 min | 8+
12 Days is a Christmas-themed family card game inspired by the well-known and beloved Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.
The game is played over 12 rounds (which conceptually represents the 12 days before Christmas) in which players have to simultaneously play cards from their gift deck, with the aim to have the best cards in their hand in order to win the game.
You can do this by passing your bad cards to the opponent on your left and keeping the good ones.
At the end of the 12 rounds, the player with the most points wins.
The game is a classic pick and pass type of game and could be a very good option to introduce some of your relatives to the world of board games.
This Christmas card game is also an amazing option if you’re looking for a filler to play in between courses. If you are allowed, of course.
3 – 5 players | 15 min | 8+
In this guessing board game, a team of two players (always different each round) has to work together in order to let the other players guess the word or phrase they have chosen for that round.
The two players, which are called “neighbours” in the game, can help the others by placing the game’s pawns on the board, which consists of little icons with drawings and symbols.
The player who correctly guesses the word receives 2 points, while each of the neighbours receives 1 point.
At the end of the game, the player with the highest score wins.
I wasn’t sure if I could have included Concept in a list of the best Christmas board games as it isn’t technically a Christmas themed one, but this game has everything you could ask for a Christmas gathering.
It brings tons of fun, it can be enjoyed by children and grown-ups and due to its nature, the game’s replayability could essentially be limitless.
4 – 12 players | 40 min | 10+
Dobble – Spot it!
Dobble, also known as Spot it, is a pattern recognition game where players compete against each other to find the common symbol between two different cards.
In the basic game, you place a card on the table and then reveal another card from the deck. The first player to name the symbol in common between those 2 cards is the winner of that round and can keep the first card as a reward.
The player who has collected the most cards out of the 55 of the deck is the winner of the game.
The best thing about Dobble is that there are a variety of games (five in total) that you can play with just this deck, making the game perfect for anyone who wants a quick and cheap card game.
DOBBLE – SPOT IT!
2 – 8 players | 15 min | 7+
This is a guessing game wherein a player, the Chameleon, competes against everyone else on the board. At the beginning of each round, players are given a card that tells them if they are the Chameleon or the hunters.
If you’re the Chameleon, you will have to guess the secret word, that all of the other participants are aware of, without being caught.
On the other hand, the hunters will win if they figure out who the Chameleon is without that person discovering the hidden word.
The game is light, enjoyable, and simple to learn. There’s a lot of bluffing and guessing involved, and that usually brings tons of unexpected outcomes.
It will be a huge family hit!
3 – 8 players | 15 min | 14+
Herd Mentality is a family board game with a simple and probably anachronistic concept: to think as part of the herd.
The game begins with the drawing of a card that contains a random question. After then, all players scribble down whatever they believe the majority of the players would answer.
If they are correct, they all receive a cow token to keep in their personal herd of cows. The player who collects eight tokens first wins.
Be aware of the angry pink cow though. If your answer is the only odd one you’ll receive a pink cow which will remain in your herd of cows, making it worthless, until you can pass it to someone else.
Herd Mentality is a very simple game to learn and play, suited for every member of the family, that will bring tons of laughs to your Christmas reunion.
And you can even “moo” at anybody that takes ages to respond.
4 – 10 players | 20 min | 10+
Llama Drama – Holiday Edition
Llama Drama is a family game in which players compete to give away all their cards before the opponents to win the game.
After the first player plays a random card from his hand, all the other players must play a card that has to be greater or equal to the one on the table.
There are also special Llama cards that can only be played under particular conditions, increasing the level of strategy.
If a player can’t beat the value of the card on the table, he gets all the cards played until then.
It sounds familiar, isn’t it? That’s because this game reminds the famous Uno, so if you are into that game I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too.
Very simple to learn and teach, and very fun to play. Just a heads up if you are more than 4 players you have to buy a second deck.
LLAMA DRAMA – HOLIDAY EDITION
2 – 4 players | – min | 7+