You’re drunk on turkey and that shot of brandy you knocked back to give you a second wind hasn’t done the trick. Every single member of your family is testing your patience, scraping forks against remnants of potato that they’re never going to touch, and you need to do something to stem the otherwise inevitable Brussels sprout fight.
There’s only one thing for it: dusting off the best board games you have and getting to work.
Nothing says wholesome fun quite like gathering around to play some kind of dice/card/strategy-based game. Well, in theory at least.
We’ve looked into the future and figured out how every single one of these games will go. Bear this in mind before making your choice.
1.MonopolyAfter escaping a minor scuffle over who gets to play as the dog with nothing but a couple of cuts and grazes, you snap up the Electric Company and Water Works before coming to an impasse with your brother over a deal that would give both of you a set. Your cousin complains that incentivising ‘success’ in the form of charging people rent is why so many people in this country vote Tory, prompting his dad to flip the board over in disgust. You don’t attempt to start the game again.
2.CluedoYour brother loses his shit after his detailed notes show that either (a) none of the characters could have done it or (b) someone’s given him some incorrect information, and he’s pretty sure it’s not option a, don’t you think. You joke that the crime was committed by Jamie in the living room with the passive aggression. He kicks you in the shins.
3.Trivial PursuitYour dad finally loses it as the categorisation of poker as a ‘sport’ on one of the question cards. For about 25 minutes you’re not sure if he’s speechless or having an asthma attack. Eventually he breaks his silence, though not to speak in actual sentences. It’s more like the grunts of a chimpanzee, interspersed with the word ‘but’ a lot, until he puts his forehead through the nearest wall in a bout of confused anger.
4.ArticulateYou argue over the teams, and end up going with three teams of four instead of four teams of three. Someone knocks over the egg-timer and your brother’s fiancée catches you trying to be creative with the amount of time you had left. Miraculously, the clue ‘The capital of London’ results in someone giving the correct answer of ‘Brighton’. No one knows how.
5.Connect FourYou throw a punch when your cousin sneaks in extra discs while your back is turned. Your cousin is seven years old.
6.ScrabbleYour smartarse nephew gets 50 points on his first go with a word everyone insists is made up. You would check its veracity, but you burned every dictionary in the house after last year’s ‘qanat’ fiasco. When it’s all resolved two hours later, you take your turn and reach into the bag of letters, only to pull out a mini pig-in-blanket someone won’t own up to putting there. Your nan jokes that you can’t play it because it’s hyphenated. No one laughs.
7.RiskYou fall asleep with a bottle of wine in your hand and spill some on the white carpet. The ensuing brawl with your mum is bloodier than your grandad’s hour long battle to take Yakutsk. You leave the board out overnight because you *might* be up for finishing it in the morning. You call it a draw on February 11th.
8.Mouse TrapCome on pal, no one plays Mouse Trap any more.
9.The Game of LifeThe first mention of university dredges up a sideways glance which your sister takes the wrong way, aggressively spinning that weird wheel they have instead of dice for some reason so it lifts off its axis and wakes up your sleeping cat.
10.ScattergoriesThis one ended in tears last time, when your attempt to answer ‘Victoria Beckham’ for the category ‘Things you’d find at a football match’ and got attacked by your girlfriend for “treating women like things”. She broke up with you in January. You still haven’t learned your lesson, and everyone tries to swing at you after you claim your answer of Rebekah Vardy is “not the same bad joke recycled, I promise”.
11.CharadesThe game takes a full 45 minutes to get underway after your first clue is for ‘Summer of 69’ and you burst out laughing and crack up just as you’ve composed yourself and begun explaining to your parents what you find so funny. Later, you get wound up (pun very much intended) when your sister’s clue for ‘Superman’ describes it as a film and not a book, and you get into an argument about comics being equal to other literature that you won’t drop until friends force you to include it in your New Year’s resolutions.
12.PictionaryYour mum twists her ankle straining to look at your terrible drawing on an a6 piece of paper because you refuse to use anything larger. Your dad gives you a clip round the ear in retaliation but he’s had a drink so ends up giving you a clip in the eye by mistake. You swing at him but can’t see properly because you’ve been clipped in the eye. Your brilliant drawing of the word ‘idea’ – an eye, followed by a deer (which looks much more like a fox) goes unguessed.
(Images: Unsplash/iStock/Rex Features/Hasbro/Flickr)