Not ready for another year of Monopoly marathons, pushing your relationships to breaking point? Or in need of a Christmas gift guide? Look no further. We’ve drawn together some old and new favourites to compile NetworthPick’s definitive games guide for the winter season. There’s something for everyone in this list, with a range of game times, complexity, and price points. Party games that are suitable for kids and older relatives, and a few that are best played in the company of friends. This winter looks (hopefully) set to be a bit more social than last, so why not trade in Scrabble for something a bit more fun? Read on, and you are sure to find your new favourite game:
Poetry for Neanderthals
Poetry for Neanderthals is a team game where, like Taboo, one player must get their team to guess the words or phrases on their card. The twist is that they may only speak in single syllables, like a caveman. If you slip up and use a big word, you lose points and get bopped on the head by the giant inflatable NO! stick. The game has glowing reviews, and its casual setup means that gameplay is quite versatile. You can play as a couple, in larger teams, and it’s up to you how long you can play for, and part of the fun is just how quickly everyone devolves into a caveman-like grunt.
Complexity: 1/5 Price: £20 Length: Websites estimate 15 minutes, but it is ultimately up to players
Selfish: Space Edition
This game will reveal your friends’ ruthless side. Race to reach the space shuttle without running out of oxygen – only one player can win, while the others are left to die in space. Use action cards to foil the other astronaut’s chances, for instance, the ‘Hole in Suit’ card makes the player forfeit an oxygen tank. Play the ‘Wormhole’ card to swap places with a player that’s ahead. It is a fun, devious, game, and its card-based format makes it easy to bring to a pub.
Complexity: 1/5 Price: £18 Length: 20 minutes
Don’t Get Got
Potentially the most unique game format on this list. Don’t Get Got isn’t a tabletop game, it takes place in the form of secret missions as you go about your day. This makes it ideal to play at family gatherings, on holiday, with housemates or even colleagues. Each player must trick the other participants into doing or saying something specific as part of your secret missions. With a willing group, the mischievous game is a great laugh, and it is funny to witness how quickly people become suspicious of each other, only to ‘Get Got’ in the moments they forget about the competition. You can even play it at the same time as other board games! The Shut Up and Sit Down expansion includes a special set of missions created for adding another layer of fun to your games night.
Complexity: 1/5 Price: £20 Length: A background game! Anything from a couple hours at a party to a long weekend
Mysterium is a game of deduction where one player represents a ghost trapped haunting a mansion after falling victim to a brutal crime. The other players are gifted mediums, working together to uncover the crime, its location, weapon and whodunit. So, kind of like a collaborative, spooky Cluedo. The ghost cannot talk but communicates with the mediums through ‘visions’, using the game’s beautifully designed cards. Reviews recommended Mysterium for both a night in with friends or to play with the family, it is highly engaging while simultaneously keeping it fun, with fantastic replay value.
Complexity: 2/5 Price: £26 Length: ~45 minutes
In this family game of deduction, all players except the one holding the chameleon card know a secret word. The chameleon’s mission is to blend in and blag their way through the game, convincing the other players that they know the secret word. Players vote for who they think the chameleon is, and if the group guesses incorrectly or the chameleon identifies the secret word, the other players have lost.
Complexity: 2/5 Price: £25 Length: 15 minutes
Let’s Drink to That
If you’re in the market for a new drinking game, Let’s Drink to That will save any predrinks or party from succumbing to the same old game of Ring of Fire. The variety of truth-or-dare style cards and minigames make the original deck a great game to play with old friends or as an icebreaker. There’s a girls night in and a couples version. Best of all, a family version has just been released in time for the holiday season, with cards suitable to play with your of-drinking-age family members!
Complexity: 1/5 Price: £15-22 Length: As short or as long as you’d like! Always drink responsibly
Scrawl is like a visual game of Telephone. Players begin with an initial drawing prompt, and the next player covers the drawing with their description. The process is passed around the players and repeated until you have a pile of alternating drawings and descriptions. You can see how far your drawing has strayed from the initial prompt, with hilarious results. Players vote for the funniest creation, which is usually a tough choice. Even the most innocent of prompts can end up as a risqué drawing, so probably one to play with mates and not grandma!
Complexity: 2/5 Price: £20 Length: 15 minutes
In Scythe, friends or family members act as different factions in an alternate history 1920s post-war Europe. Players typically build up their faction’s infrastructure and explore the map before engaging each other in combat, and the winner is the richest faction once the game has ended. The outcome of this strategy game is driven by the player’s choices, as luck only comes into play when drawing encounter cards that determine your character’s interaction with the citizens of newly explored lands. There is also no player elimination, which is a relief to anyone who has experienced the tedium of being eliminated twenty minutes into a two-hour game of Risk. There is a rather arduous setup process, so watching a few YouTube guides is recommended. Don’t let this dissuade you, however, as Scythe has received an overwhelming number of five-star reviews thanks to its concept, gameplay, steam-punk design, replay value, and the fact that there is more than one single path to victory. Scythe is a must-have for any board game lover.
Complexity: 4/5 Price: £50-60 Length: 2 hours
Dune: Imperium is a deckbuilding and worker-placement game based on elements from the classic sci-fi novel and 2021 film adaptation. Despite Dune and any of its spin-offs being associated with heavy complexity, the game is pleasantly straightforward. Players each represent one of the Great Houses and begin with identical cards. As you build your deck you are faced with different choices that will ultimately strengthen or weaken your empire. As resources are scarce, the game is tense and competitive, and reviews have praised its balanced character setup – there are no ‘dud’ leaders that you would be disappointed to play as. The game excels with 3-4 players but has an app to act as a bot player in solo or couple’s play, which is comparatively better than most games’ automated play functions. It also makes a fantastic gift for any fan of Villeneuve’s recent adaptation of Dune.
Complexity: 3/5 Price: £50-60 Length: 1-2 hours
Describing itself as the first action-adventure board game, What Next is a cooperative game where players will win or lose together. Growing up, I loved the choose-your-adventure books, so an adult version in the form of a group game has massive appeal. At points in your adventure, the group takes part in fun minigames, which makes What Next more nuanced than other party games. Despite its hybrid nature, What Next doesn’t demand a long or complex setup, and promises a great deal of humour.
Complexity: 2/5 Price: £40 Length: 30-60 minutes