Christmas gift guide 2018 — Best board games for the whole family from Ninja Rush to Drop It and Sock Game

The latest board games can be more fun than traditional Christmas favourites.

Peter Jenkinson from toy review site toyology.co.uk provides Kate Jackson with some alternatives the whole family can play.

He scores each game out of five for how funny it is, how hard to learn and its complexity of gameplay, and we give an overall dice rating out of six.

Strictly Come Dancing

  • £12.99 from Argos – buy now 

MISSING the show already? Then give this a whirl.

Answer trivia questions, perform challenges and mini dance-offs to try to gain votes to reach the finals.

When the glitterball spins you will hear the voice of judge Craig Revel Horwood. A-ma-zing!

  • Fun: 4
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Brain ache: 2
  • Rating: 6

The Sock Game

  • £34.99 from ebay – buy now 

FOR two teams, playing each other in pairs.

Spin an arrow on a board to select a random object, such as a domino or a ­button, then find it by ­rummaging around a sock without looking inside.

The first to remove the piece wins a point for their team.

  • Fun: 5
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 4

Make N Break

  • £24.99 from John Lewis – buy now

IT'S Tetris meets the Krypton Factor’s mental agility test.

Players choose a card showing a construction of coloured blocks.

They then have to build it against the clock making sure the bricks are in the right place and are all the right colours.

  • Fun: 3
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 3

The Cat Game

  • £8 from Argos – buy now 

IF you like drawing and you love cats, then this feline twist on Pictionary is the one fur you.

Pick a card, sketch out what it says, and place magnetic cats on your drawing to help team-mates work out what your scene is meant to depict. Purr-fect.

  • Fun: 5
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 5

Drop It

  • £37.99 from Amazon – buy now

FOR fans of Connect 4.

Players drop coloured shapes into a grid and earn points for the height reached.

There are bonuses for touching specific zones – but the piece you drop must not land on an identical colour or shape.

  • Fun: 3
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Brain ache: 2
  • Rating: 4

Chow Crown

  • £14.99 from Smyths Toys – buy now 

THIS fun eating game features a crown with dangling forks.

Stick your own snacks on each one and put the crown on your head.

You must eat as much of the nosh as you can without using your hands as the forks spin past your mouth while music plays.

  • Fun: 4
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 3

Monkey Mania

  • £19.99 from Argos – buy now

STICK the monkey on another player’s body, pull his tail to start the timer and watch them go ape as they try to shake off the cheeky chimp while the seconds tick down.

The longer he hangs on, the louder his screeches.

The player who wriggles out quickest wins. Totally bananas.

  • Fun: 5
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 4

Fog of Love

  • £47.99 from Leisure Games – buy now

A UNIQUE game for two people that is a real test of a relationship – because it is based on romantic comedies.

The aim is to create the two central characters who go on a roller-coaster ride of awkward situations and laugh-out loud moments – just like in a rom-com.

  • Fun: 2
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Brain ache: 4
  • Rating: 6

Ninja Rush

  • £24.99 from Argos – buy now

YOU'VE got to think quickly in this martial-arts themed challenge as each ninja figurine has a sand timer attached to it.

Flip a card to determine where to move your fighter.

If you can keep the sand running until your turn is over, you earn a ninja star. The first to collect five wins.

  • Fun: 3
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 2
  • Rating: 3

Foxy Pants

  • £17.99 from Smyths Toys – buy now 

THE sneaky fox has got into the hen house and is trying to steal all the chickens by stuffing them down his trousers – but the greedy animal can only hold so many before they fall down.

Gather the chickens and return them to your coop to win.

For ages four and over.

  • Fun: 4
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 2

Santa Banter

  • £12.99 from OG Games – buy now

IT'S seasonal charades for all the family as you mime and describe wacky Christmas-based rhymes.

The cards for players to choose contain more than 180 silly scenarios.

How do you act out “three wise men visiting Big Ben”? You’ve got 30 seconds. . .

  • Fun: 4
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 3

Abalone

  • £20 from The Entertainer – buy now

THE objective of this two-player mental challenge? Don’t lose your marbles.

If your opponent pushes six of them off the board, you’ve lost.

Your marbles could come under attack from six different directions, so be sure to figure out an effective strategy.

  • Fun: 2
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Brain ache: 1
  • Rating: 3

Stockists: Amazon (amazon.co.uk), Argos (argos.co.uk), ebay (ebay.co.uk), The Entertainer (thetoyshop.com), John Lewis (johnlewis.com), Leisure Games (leisuregames.com), OG Games (oggames.co.uk), Smyths Toys (smythstoys.co.uk)

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