Superb Board Games to Get Going this Winter



With the summer parties in the books, the cold of winter and the current energy situation has us turning to slightly more low-tech, but not less exciting, forms of entertainment. Board games are a staple of the British winter, especially as the backend of December approaches. Traditionally, they’re easy to grasp, have simple competitive play cycles, and bring out the best and worst in everyone involved.

Classic board games remain go-to entertainment packages for groups looking for fun inside, but the board game market in the UK has expanded exponentially in recent years. From 2014 to 2018 alone, tabletop gaming rose by £100 million, hitting new highs in 2020 and powering onward to this day. It’s created a huge array of options beyond the well-trodden classics, from expansions and variants of those go-to games to new games.

Blending the household staple options and some of the new games that you may not know about, here are some top picks and ranges for you to explore and buy into in time for the winter gaming sessions ahead. It must be said, though, that many of these games are more adult-centric due to their higher knowledge – and the competitive elements that they draw out!

How well do you know your top tens?

For the perfect night in with some games, the key is to have a game that all can quickly get into and load up on ideal snacks. Addressing the former requirement, there are few games as straightforward and wonderfully competitive as Tension, which can also draw in the odd tactical play on the way around the board.

On the face of it, Tension is a quiz-based board game in which you try to get as many of a top ten topic within the timer. Once you have the core set, you can then add in expansions or play those expansions as specific themed games. The popularity of the base game has led to this new updated version as well as the add-ons Movie Edition, Sport Edition, Foodies Edition, Music Edition, and TV Edition.

So, if your group isn’t one for general knowledge, change the theme and go for just the music cards or sports expansion. If you can’t stay in for the games or don’t want to take the whole box with you, there’s a Games 2 Go: Tension version. Of course, if you can get your hands on the edition before the current version, you can really test your historical knowledge. 

The many faces of the most famous name in board gaming

Some would rather go out ice skating in a blizzard than break out this board game against certain people, but Monopoly is so easy to grasp and partially luck-based that it’ll always produce an exciting game. That said, perhaps the best thing about modern Monopoly is how far the range has expanded – and we’re not just talking about the editions that simply change the art and pieces.

Monopoly has become such a colossal brand for Hasbro because it has reached beyond the core game. You can play many different Monopoly branded games on the table and online. It’s built out into card gaming with Monopoly Bid and Monopoly Deal, with Monopoly DICED! representing the brand’s step into travel-sized, dice-centric play. Along with countless digital versions on top of these, there are also live versions.

At live casinos, two of the main attractions are Live Monopoly Big Baller and Monopoly Live. They draw on the classic game’s notes, randomness, feature cards, and even free parking. The games themselves leverage the power of live streaming technology so that anyone with an internet connection can connect to the professional game show hosts at the studio of the Monopoly games and play along in real time. Cash Monopoly games aren’t anything new to arcades, but the live versions kick it up a notch by embracing the latest in live tech.

For a very different Monopoly experience and even ones that can level the playing field against the most hardcore land barons, you should explore the full range of editions. Monopoly Game: Cheaters Editions is a great way to frustrate stalwart fans of the series. For a Monopoly game with a ticking clock and new strategies that can kill off any runaway winner, turn to Monopoly Lord of the Rings board game, where the One Ring changes everything.

A very new board game that’s a great gateway

The new world of board gaming is tremendously exciting, bringing in more ideas, styles of play, strategies, and game pieces that everyone can enjoy. The headline act for newcomers to board games beyond the likes of Tension and Monopoly is Wingspan. It has received stellar reviews for its beginner-friendly style and ability to develop a skill in new board games and received a whole host of Game of the Year Awards in 2019.

There are 170 individual bird cards, with the aim being to add birds to a habitat to unlock better returns on your actions of spending food to attract the birds. Taking place over four rounds, it’s a very clear-cut game, comes with some superb game pieces and cards, and is just a great experience for everyone throughout. While it is a bit more complicated than a game like Tension, it’s very easy to grasp and complete a game of. It became so popular, in fact, that you can play it on most video game consoles in its digital form: so you can get some easy practice in if you need it!

For those who dare to go a bit deeper into new board games

If a board game like Wingspan is a bit too simple or straightforward for your group, give Ark Nova a go. For complete newcomers to this style of board gaming, it can take a while to get the first game done. After that, it’s breezy and offers a level of variety and strategy that makes each game different. The aim of Ark Nova is to build your own zoo, meeting enclosure and other requirements of animals to then earn and build more.

Undoubtedly, your household or group of friends will be looking to the entertainment power of board games this winter. Make sure your time is well spent with one of these proven board games!

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