Holiday Survival: Five Board Games to Play During Awkward Family Reunions

Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan

Board games are the best way to have a conversation with people who you're forced to spend time with, and that is why Christmas and the other holidays that you buy stuff for are good. The only problem is that Monopoly sucks.

Good thing the board game renaissance has arrived and taken away the opportunity to slowly watch your dad remember that he bankrupted your family through bad land deals and self-loathing. Games available now might bring the sullen teen and cool teen together and teen alliances are important to having a happy holiday. Turns out board games are fun again and we've provided you with a short list of five games to consider picking up for when someone gets out Apples to Apples for the 80th time.

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5. Settlers of Catan Players: 2-6 (more with expansions) Ages: 10+ Game it is better than: Monopoly

Settlers is a strategic city-building game that's easy to pick up and will probably make people yell at eachother in a good-natured way. Basically, you put a city on a tile and roll the dice. Every time you hit the right number, you get a resource card which is used to build more stuff. Resource trading is where the fun comes in, as sparks will fly when someone will not part with the last bundle of wheat available on a forlorn island.

4. The Resistance Players: 5-10 Ages: 10+ Game it is better than: Mafia/Werewolf and Clue

The Resistance focuses on social interaction. Armchair sherlocks need to figure out which of their group is secretly trying to sabotage The Resistance's plan to topple the post-apocalyptic cyberfuture within five rounds or their petty quarrels are crushed under the weight of the empire. Players will either be trying to fake the good guys out or figure out who the bad guys really are, and the results are ridiculously entertaining.



3. Dixit Players: 3-6 Ages: 8+ Game it is better than: Apples to Apples

Dixit is cool because there is no Fart card, so that's definitely one thing that makes it better than Apples to Apples. The other thing that makes it better is that you get to talk. One player is made the storyteller and says a sentence about one of the 6 picture cards in his hand. He/she shuffles the deck, and everyone bets on which card the sentence was about. If nobody or everybody picks the card he/she described he gets 0 points and everyone who picked correctly gets 2. If at least one person misses the correct card then the storyteller gets 1 point per vote. So, essentially you're going to need your deep emotional connection to these people to manipulate them into giving you points.

2.Carcassone Players: 2-5 Ages: 8+ Game it is better than: Sequence/Scrabble

Carcassone is a cooperative city-building game where players create the board through play. The structure of the board is different every time, and players score points by placing "meeple" on cities, roads, and cloisters as the board develops. Victory is declared by whoever scores the most points after the every piece of the board is placed.

1. Hey, That's my Fish! Players: 2-4 Ages: 6+ Game it is better than: Checkers

Players move from hex to hex eating fish, but every move they make breaks the ice for other players which limits movement around the board. It's kind of like a combination of Go and Checkers with a couple of kid-friendly elements thrown in. Most of the games in this list tend to be more centered around adult stuff, but there's no better way to bring a kid into the golden board game future than Hey, That's my Fish!

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