Play Hard

8 new board games to bring out your competitive spirit this Christmas

Move over Cluedo… From slippery snakes to magical Pictionary rounds, a little 007 flair and a guest appearance from the Burn Book, these new board games are so festive-fetch.

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 17.12.2021


£29.99, WH Smith

It was the big cinema release of 2021, so it only follows that any 007-related merch is the perfect Christmas present for any Bond fan this year. And Monopoly never disappoints, (whether in terms of the actual games, or the epic bust-ups between beloved family members that it can lead to each and every year).

Channel your inner 007 and travel around all 25 Bond films – meeting allies and enemies along the way – as you build safe houses and headquarters. Stylish metal playing pieces really give the feeling that you’re a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, too: like the SPECTRE symbol, Oddjob’s lethal bowler hat, Rosa Klebb’s poison-tip shoe, the Lotus Esprit S1 amphibious car and the iconic 007 logo.

You already know we’re gonna say it – this game really does have a licence to thrill.



£10.00, The Works

Enjoy this family favourite with a festive twist! Filled with classic Christmas food, films, songs and traditions, Articulate Christmas is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

As with your regular, year-round Articulate, the aim of the game is to use all your fast-talking powers to describe as many cards for your teammates to guess as possible within 30 seconds. Think everything from mince pies to mistletoe, and there’s strictly no ‘sounds like’ or ’rhymes with’ allowed.

But an added bonus of the Christmas edition is that each card you describe doubles up as a puzzle piece, where the teams use their guessing abilities in a mad race to complete the special Christmas jigsaw.

Fun, fast, frenzied and often furious, this one’s a guaranteed hit with all the fam.



£25.00, Big Potato

Don’t let anyone charm you into choosing the wrong answer in this spot-the-imposter party game.

The first rule of Snakesss? Trust no-one. That’s right Auntie Sue, not even you. In this game, you have only two minutes to discuss a slippery, multiple-choice question. You all need to vote for the right answer, but there are hidden snakes at the table…

The snakes’ mission is to charm all the other players into picking the wrong answer. And the only thing that can potentially thwart them? The Mongoose of Truth.

Wonderful, wacky and weirdly addictive, Snakesss will bring out those festive family feuds like never before! But, in a good way.



£19.99, Amazon

How much for Champagne at the Ritz? How many episodes of Friends are there? How long does food take to digest?

With Confident?, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer – it’s all about getting a guess within your range. What that means? Anyone can play and, more importantly, anyone can win.

With laugh-out-loud questions, you simply guess a range in which the answer falls, write down your guess on your whiteboard and reveal. The most confident player with the smallest, correct range gets the most points.

Fancy a challenge that’s even more… personal? Spice up your rounds by indulging in the Confident? Personal Expansion Pack – where all the questions and answers are about you, your family and friends. How old does Dad think he looks? What’s the longest you’ve gone without a shower? One person answers honestly, while the rest try to guess. But be warned: some of the questions are VERY cheeky, and you’ll get to hear some hilarious unheard stories when the answers are revealed…



£10.00, Big Potato

This one’s a slippery little sucker… and we love it!

The challenge of Don’t Get Got is simple: each player has six chances to trick the other players into doing whatever they’re prompted to on the cards. So, in this extra-special festive edition of the game, think something along the lines of getting some to sing Jingle Bells, or convincing someone that it’s snowing. But, of course, you’ve got to be wary that while you’re focusing on tricking someone else, you’re not the one getting tricked…

The best thing about Don’t Get Got is that it can be played in the background and doesn’t end until someone wins. So, whether you’re opening presents or pulling a cracker at the Christmas dinner table, you have to always stay alert.

You’ll never be able to trust your family again…



£20.00, Argos

Pictionary Air is still a pretty new concept to us. Instead of your traditional Pictionary, where players draw on paper or a whiteboard for their teammates to try and guess what the image depicted is, Pictionary Air gives the game a contemporary twist by connecting to your TV – so while you’re drawing, literally, in mid-air, the image comes together on the screen behind you.

Harry Potter Pictionary Air brings that extra bit of magic. For one, instead of any old pen, you’ve got your very own wizarding wand to bring your images to life with. And secondly, all the cards are themed around the wizarding world, meaning there’s that added challenge of attempting to accurately portray a House crest, a Quidditch practice or a spell-binding subject.

Wands at the ready, witches.



£13.00, NEXT

‘Tis the season for some trivia fun – with some right wholesome, Christmas flair.

For those with a competitive streak, the Best of Christmas game is sure to get you in the festive mood. It’s part of The Logo Board Game family which, for anyone who hasn’t played it, sees players compete to be the one who identifies more logos, brands, packaging, flavours, characters or advertising than anyone else by answering Picture, Theme or Pot-Luck question cards to advance around the board.

But with Best of Christmas, you’re answering festive-themed trivia rounds and, if you get it right, you hang your decorations on your section of the family ‘Christmas tree’. The first player, or team, to decorate their portion of the tree all the way to the top (complete with gold star), wins the game.



£22.00, Big Potato

Get in, loser – we’re playing a party game.

This game is so fetch. Tear out a page of the Burn Book and pass it around as you take turns answering scandalous questions about each other. Oh, and the best part? It’s all totally anonymous.

Well, most of the time it is, anyway. At the end of the round, each player gets to pick an answer that they’d like to reveal. If you wrote it, you’ll have to come clean in front of everyone.

The perfect gift for Mean Girls fans of any age, the limit of fun with this game does not exist.

Other stories by Becky Hardy

What’s on in the North East in August 2022

Becky Hardy

Lubna Chowdhary has taken over MIMA – here’s why her largest solo exhibition is worth the hype

Becky Hardy

5 reasons to visit Darlington Hippodrome

Becky Hardy

Where to watch the UEFA Women’s Euros final 2022 in Newcastle

Becky Hardy

We chat to Maria Caruana Galizia of Candle & Bell about her journey from Games of Thrones to starting up an award-winning film production company in the North East

Becky Hardy

What’s on in July 2022 across the North East

Becky Hardy