Most families have a battered copy of Monopoly stashed at the back of the linen closet that gets pulled out during the Christmas gathering. Don't play it.
Instead play one of these great games that are easy to learn, easy to play and - most importantly of all - really fun.
Modern board games can appear scary. There are so many rules, so many pieces. Why not fall back on to an old favourite? Because they games are simple, fun and about as scary as a ball of fluff. Give them a go and you'll be rewarded with a great time.
Players: 2 - 8 Play time: 15 minutes We've written about Codenames before and we'll keep writing about it. One of the best communication games going around, Codenames pits two teams against each other as spymasters give clues to their teammates who are trying to guess words from a grid in front of them.
Easy to learn and easy to play, Codenames is ideal for family gatherings. Not only does the game give you plenty of opportunity to exploit in-jokes you've formed over years, you can (and should) endlessly heckle the other team as they try to decipher their spymaster's clues.
A number of Codenames games have cropped up in the last few years including: Codenames: Duet, Codenames: Pictures, Codenames: Deep Undercover, Codenames: Marvel and Codenames: Disney Family Edition. There's a version for everyone, except grinches that don't like Codenames.
Players: 2 - 8 Play time: 15 minutes There are games that are cute and then there's Sushi Go Party! A pick and pass game where everyone is dealt a hand of sushi with adorable faces and must choose one before passing their cards on to the next player. Each card has a different piece of sushi on it, with different point values. Once all of the cards have been picked, the round ends and everyone scores based on what's in front of them.
Games of Sushi Go Party! are quick. You won't sit there forever trying to decide between the card that's worth three points now or the one that's maybe worth five points later. No, you're going to take the adorable sushi that looks like it would be friends with the rest of the sushi you've chosen.
Sushi Go Party! is an updated version of Sushi Go which adds a platter of new cards to choose from and lets players set the menu by choosing which sushi will be drafted that game. It's a little fiddlier than the original but the increased choices are well worth it.
Players: 2 - 4 Play time: 45 minutes Everyone knows how to play Scrabble but not everyone enjoys playing it. The vocabulary requirements make it difficult for young kids to keep up and there's always that one person who knows all the two-letter words.
Qwirkle solves this problem by replacing the letter tiles with coloured shapes. Instead of forming words, you're forming rows of a specific colour or shape. There's no board or bonuses either, just placing tiles in an ever-sprawling grid across the table. Qwirkle strips Scrabble down to the bare basics and is a far more enjoyable game for it.
Plus the game gives you plenty of opportunities to say "Qwirkle" over and over again, which is far more fun than it should be.
Players: 5 - 10 Play time: 30 minutes People argue over Christmas. It's tradition. If you're going to argue, you may as well have a point to it. The Resistance is a social deduction game where players are secretly designated as heroes or villains and must work out which is which by going on missions. And arguing. Mostly arguing.
Suitable for five to ten players, The Resistance is a simple game where teams are selected to go on missions and pass or fail the mission depending on their allegiance. At its heart, The Resistance is a devious game that pits friend against friends, letting people don the mask to reveal their sneaky side.
If the sci-fi theme isn't your style of thing, there's also The Resistance: Avalon which takes the same game play and plants it in the realm of King Arthur.
Players: 4 - 8 Play time: 30 minutes How good are your art skills? Terrible? Great! Telestrations is a party game where everyone is given a secret prompt to draw before passing their masterpiece on to their neighbour. Everyone then tries to guess what their neighbour has drawn before passing the pad on again. Round and round the circle goes until everyone's original prompt has devolved into complete nonsense.
There's no room for seriousness here. Telestrations is a game for collectively laughing at how a terrible drawing of a cat somehow made everyone start drawing breakfast.
Players: 2 - 5 Play time: 25 minutes Everyone loves a good fireworks display, except maybe the family dog. Hanabi is not a game your dog can play as you have to work together to make the fireworks display happen by giving each other clues about the cards in people's hands.
Why do you have to tell people about the contents of their hands? Because you play Hanabi with you hand facing away from you, you see everyone's cards but your own.
An ingenious game that requires you to work together using very limited tools, Hanabi is a personal favourite that feels so rewarding when things go right.