Play Hard


So stylish, you’ll want them on display all year.

Written by High Life North
Published 11.12.2020

By Jenny Brownlees

Picture this: it’s Christmas, you’re filled-to-the-brim with delicious food, have watched all the festive TV you can handle and you’re on lookout for a fun activity before your next course. Guaranteed to get everyone involved, games are the pinnacle of seasonal fun and offer some much-needed tech-free time for all the family. If like us, you want to move away from the usual garish-looking games to stylish party pieces you’d happily leave out on the sideboard year-round—meet the new crop of design-led buys that are as chic as they are entertaining. Sleek and Modern, the following games would make a wonderful boredom-beating gifts, or as buys for your own festive front room. Say goodbye to Monopoly-fuelled fights and hello to reimagined classics with a truly trendy feel. These are the ultimate games to have to hand, as you prepare for a cosy Christmas. Let’s get gaming…

Marble Noughts And Crosses, £60

This marble and metallic noughts and crosses board is a real standout piece to add to your home. Not only are the delicate details ticking a number of 2020’s interior trend boxes, you’ll have a ball playing this stylish version of the classic game. Buy safe in the knowledge you’re shopping small and British this season—Shabby Store is an independent interiors brand working hard to curate the most beautiful items for your home. This board will beat playing on a scrap of paper any day.

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The Dipa Jigsaw by Rejig, £30

Jigsaw’s popularity soared during lockdown, and for good reason. Not only is the mindful task of completing a jigsaw rewarding and screen time-free, it provides a great workout for the brain, too. In 2020, jigsaws got boujie—think bold and striking contemporary designs replacing vintage styles. Over the festive period, we’ll be trying our hand at Rejig’s colourful puzzles. The small business is the brainchild of two female founders who set out to bring some playful fun to the jigsawing world with their slick and vibrant designs.

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Jonathan Adler Now House Memory Game £17.99

A trendy take on a classic Memory Game, these gorgeous cards feature the bold and luxurious designs of interior guru Jonathan Adler. You’ll feel oh-so glamourous as you play to match up the ten colourful and luxurious designs. This would make a great gift from you to you, or great stylish stocking filler this Christmas. Silk pyjamas whilst in play, optional.

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Ridley’s House of Plants Game £12

Plant-lovers listen up, Ridley’s have created a game in which you can fill your room with an assortment of vibrant house plants, making sure you look after them too. You’ll play with the aim of turning your space into an urban jungle; as you collect water, sunlight and humidity as well as pondering whether to collect quality or quantity in your goal for the best house of plants. For two to four players, an average gameplay time of 30 minutes makes this an ideal after-dinner treat. Proud plant parents will love bringing their IRL hobby to the board.

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Skyline Chess New York City Folding Chess Set £95

Binged The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix? Us too. If you’re now left wanting to channel your inner Beth, by trying your hand at chess, there’s no sleeker set around. You’ll be headed to New York, as you move around the board with stylish versions of the cities iconic buildings. You’ll face your opponent with pieces including The Guggenheim, Chrysler, Empire State Building and more. This folding set looks good enough to leave displayed on a sideboard at all times, ready to play when the mood takes you. We love a game that doubles as interior décor.

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The Gin Game £19.95

If you think you know your gin or have a gin-lover in the family, this is the game for you. Testing your knowledge of the universally-loved drink, as well as more general game skills, this new favourite is a mix of a game of chance, with twists and turns at every step. Answering questions from both history and mixology cards you’ll make your way around the board, before one lucky player is crowned the Gin-ius. We highly recommend having a gin in hand as you play.

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Fantastic Women Card Game, BALTIC Shop £12.99

A game that combines feminist icons with top trumps sounds like our idea of a good time. Beautifully illustrated, Fantastic Women not only offers festive fun, but a relaxed way to learn about these fabulous females’ lives and legacy. Put these iconic change-makers achievements forward in a battle that celebrates their activism, with a side of healthy competition to boot.

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Pick Up Sticks £18

Test your steady-handed skills with this simple but wonderfully addictive game, complete with sleek and colourful wooden sticks. Up to four players can try their hand, (no pun intended) at this old favourite that’ll provide fun for all the family. Print Works make all their games with modern design in mind, to ensure their items look good enough for a shelfie (that’s a shelf selfie, FYI.) Meaning you’ll want to keep playing for years to come. Sustainability is a huge part of this brand’s ethos, they aim to make products that last, and reduce as much unnecessary waste as possible in all they do.

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Versailles Playing Card Set £35

Have you ever seen a card set look this chic? We think not. These luxe looking cards are the brain child of designer-extraordinaire Jonathan Adler, and a sure fire way to glam up any game night. The luxurious drawer box, complete with ribbon pull holds two decks of gold foil-stamped cards, complete with Versailles-inspired patterns in amethyst and emerald. Even if you lose the game, you’ll win in interiors points with this displayed on your side table.

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I’m Not Saying You’re Stupid Party Game, £15

If you’re bored by the usual dry trivia questions that make up the majority of games, you’ll love trying to answer these funny, fresh and near impossible quiz questions. Brilliantly entertaining, this new game guarantees a laugh, as you hit your opponent’s guesses with an ‘I’m not saying you’re stupid card.’

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Tumbling Blocks Game £20

A stylish take on classic Jenga, sit this colourful game upon your cocktail table for after-dinner play. Whether you keep this one for yourself or give it as a gift, it’s guaranteed to up the ante of anyone’s puzzle-cupboard offerings.

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Inspirational Women Trivia Game £7.95

If you are clued up on inspirational women, from Frida Kahlo to Josephine Baker, you’ll find answering questions about women from history a breeze. Not only are the 80 hand-painted illustrations seriously frame-worthy, it’s a great way to get younger generations learning about the achievements of awesome women via this fun, easily portable game for all ages.

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Escape From the Grand Hotel Game £18.50

If you are looking to go beyond a board game, fully immersing yourself and your family in another world, try Escape from the Grand Hotel. A fast-paced, fast-thinking cross between a murder mystery and an escape room game, you’ll travel through the hotel solving the series of interactive puzzles of each room, to uncover the secrets of the mysterious owners, the Blossom family. With just 90 minutes on the clock, the heat is on…

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Battersea Cat Dominoes Game £6

Entertain feline fans with this trendy cat-themed edition of the classic dominoes game. Match the marvellous moggies into pairs to win, with a portion of the proceeds from each sale supporting the wonderful work of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

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Johnathan Adler Atlas Puzzles £27.99

World-renowned designer Jonathan Adler has really brought style back to gaming, designing a range of flawlessly chic pieces that whilst looking ultra-luxe, don’t take themselves too seriously. Here, he’s applied his iconic, playful designs to game form—with this layered wooden puzzle featuring his signature black and white patterns. Solving the three layers of the trippy patterns will provide some much-needed rest bite from eating and drinking over the holidays. Plus, this puzzle looks so good that it’s going to be a mainstay on HLN’s coffee table well after Christmas.

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Classic Charades, £9

A real party must-have, this game is a classic for a reason. Rather than racking your brains for a winning charade, allow this stylish box of suggestions, (that won’t look untidy left out on the table) help out. Interactive and sure to get everyone involved, this box includes 70 charade cards, a notepad and pencil for all your night-in needs.

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After Dinner Dipsticks Game £16

Housed in a glamorous-looking metallic case, this game will look festive when left out to play all holiday long. With up to 160 gameplays possible from this one stylish game alone, Dipsticks contains cards including ‘Five Clues’ where players must guess the identity of an item, a describing game in ‘Off Limits’, the task of listing items in the correct order in ‘Pecking Order’ and spotting the odd one out in ‘Fives.’ This sounds like it’ll provide a whole host of ways to flex your knowledge to family and friends this Christmas.

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Leather Cards and Dice Game Set £65

Fans of after-dinner cards will adore this gift set, that’s sure to encourage anyone to unplug and partake in some old-fashioned gaming fun. Perfect for a quick game wherever you see fit, this will mean time spend having a digital detox over the holidays needn’t to be boring. The luxe-look of leather finish cards and solid brass dice gives this set extra points in the style department.

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Milano Backgammon Set £395

If you’re a fan of Backgammon, we’re found no more stylish a set than this. Stunning pastel tones add a glamorous edge to this game, which begs to be played with a cocktail in hand. The dreamy hues and high-gloss finish give this classic parlour pastime a modern, fashionable feel. When a game looks this chic, it needs to be seen at all times, left on display as a trendy table accent.

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Yatzy – Classic £18

Print Works Market want to bring a fresh new look to games from generations gone by, and they’ve done just that with their slick re-imagining of the dice-centric Yatzy. Up to six players can be involved in playing this classic, which includes instructions, five black dice, two black pencils and a 50-page scorecard. Get ready to roll.

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