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Board Games To Play After Opening Presents

railroad ink board - games to play after opening presents

Festive Fun

Christmas, for most, is a time of being with people. Whether just you and a partner, friends or the whole horde of family from kids to grandparents. Whatever family is for you; people play a big part of the festive season. So it is not unusual for games to be a common element of keeping people entertained. However, there is a strange period on Christmas Day in-between opening parents and lunch that becomes a difficult void to fill. Is there a magic list of board games to play after opening presents? Yes.

Everyone is coming off the adrenaline rush of tearing through wrapping but people are coming and going to the kitchen as the preparation for Christmas dinner continues. The table is often pre-laid ready for the feast or will now be donned with the usual season apparatus so many board games are homeless until the afternoon lull. But there are loads of games that can be played by everyone from the comfort of their chair, and can be easily scaled for family to family. Here are five such games that make fantastic time killers whilst you wait patiently for, or recover from that taste of too much turkey.

Railroad Ink - Dan Street-Phillips

2018’s Roll ‘n’ Write, Railroad Ink is a gentle but fun game of creating roads and railways in order to gain points. Each player is given a laminated board with a 7 x 7 grid and a whiteboard pen. On each side are a number of exits for either a road or a railway line. Your job is to try and connect as many of these as possible to get points based on how many exits you can connect via multiple routes. Sounds easy right? But each square in the grid can only be filled with what shapes are rolled by four custom dice.

Over a series of rounds, one player will roll and everyone else will, using the same sides of the dice, start creating their routes by drawing them directly onto their own grid. The rules are simple. You must connect each square to either an exit or another already drawn square. Although you are trying to connect each type (road or railway) to another of the same, you can in fact mismatch, but you will be deducted points for every broken route.

The game is fast and energetic and throughout the moans and groans of not knowing what to do, the squeal of successfully finishing a route is really exciting. It is an incredibly accessible game and can be played at any age. In fact, when playing with people who can’t get up and down to check the dice you can even create a group text chat and send photos out! And, if your group enjoy the game there are multiple versions that add extra dice incorporating anything from rivers to lava flows into your map, regularly spicing up the experience.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza - Favouritefoe

We have a 7-year-old, so opening presents time on Christmas day can be anytime from……well, let’s just say daddy needs coffee to function! And despite my best efforts to ensure orderly unwrapping, I’s a crazy paper shredding, eyes widening, happy-dance inducing, smile producing time – and that’s just the dog!

So with all that energy, and us desperate to avoid building a 100,000 colourful plastic block construction before the big day fry-up, it’s an ideal time for a game. Nothing too long, but something to centre us all and focus our minds on a day of fun. And one that always goes down a storm in our house (café, pub, and everywhere else we play it!) is Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

It’s such a simple game, but so much fun. And it’s a chance to herd your crazy Christmas cats before they go and plug in/tune out with their new gadgets and gizmos! So to play, everyone takes it in turn to chant a word from the order: Taco, Cat, Gat, Cheese, Pizza. As you say your word, you lay down a card from your hand. If the word and the picture match, it’s a race to be anywhere but last in placing your hand over the central pile of cards. Why? Because whoever is Captain Slow has to pick up all the cards. And in a game where you want to get rid of everything, that’s a fast track ticket to loser town! But don’t be too hasty, mind. Any pre-empting or mis-match card slapping will also land you with the pile!

If a special card comes up, there are different actions which you must do first before diving for the cards in the centre. And if you get them wrong, or you’re last to touch the pile, phooey; those cards are yours!

With fists beating chests, fingers drumming the table, chanting, and mad hand dashing, this is a great little game to fit into the big day! And with a special celebration edition as well as a Fifa copy and a flip mode, there’s a Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza out there for everyone!

The Chase - Rachael Duchavony

Let me set you a scene… it’s Christmas day… you’ve had that buzz of present opening. You’re well and truly stuffed full of turkey and all the trimmings. You’ve settled down to relax and let your ‘Santa’ belly rest. You may have even poured yourself a festive tipple? You have family and/or friends gathered close and you’re contemplating the annual argument of what to do now.

Well, what better way to get your competitive juices flowing than with a quiz. Enter the chasers… with minimal set up and limited space required it doesn’t matter if you’ve cleared that table or not; after all, people may want second helpings when their food has digested.

The Chase is based off the popular TV show and runs in similar rounds. In Round 1 you have the cash builder, with 1 minute of quick fire questions to try and earn as much cash as possible, gaining £100 for each correct answer. Then in round 2 you go head to head with a chaser. Here you can use the board which is set up in a similar fashion to what you’ll have seen on the TV. You even get a money offer so you can decide whether to play it safe or risk it all.

Once you’ve decided where to start the questions start coming… and just as in the TV show you get answer between ABC to choose with the Chaser’s answers predetermined by the question card and chaser you are up against. Finally, the player who has won the largest amount of money moves on to The Final Chase.

Here you use the outside of the board to keep track of how many questions are correctly answered. Then it’s the Chaser’s turn (the role is taken on by another player), for them, incorrect answers could result in pushbacks. Light-hearted fun for 3-6 players, age 8+, though arguably younger players may need hints or more help. So this Christmas… for you… The Chase is on!

Just One - Luke Pickles

If you’re looking for a good family game to play at Christmas, sat around the tree after opening presents or in the weird times after you’ve all eaten and no-one can be bothered to clear anything off the table because of the food coma, then let me suggest a favourite of my family – Just One. Just One is a co-operative party game where the name massively impacts the game.

You see, each player gets a dry erase board and pen, then the active player is given a card with a list of words from a stack of 13. Like in Hanabi, they can’t see their own card but everyone else can. The active player then chooses a number from one to five, picking the word that they have to try and get to. Everyone else secretly writes a single word (just one, remember) on their board. Once they’ve done that, the active player closes their eyes and all other players reveal their answers to each other.

If anyone has written the same clue as someone else, they all have to erase it for there can be Just One of each clue. After all the duplicated clues have been erased, the active player uses what’s left to make a guess. If they’re right, the team gets a point and the game continues with a new card. If they’re wrong, they must discard an extra card, making it harder to gain points.

My family aren’t really gamers but it’s great to pull out Just One at a gathering so that we can have a laugh together at the various clues and see how people think, making sure their words are obscure enough that they won’t be duplicated and sensible enough that the player can guess. And with the boards in hand, you don’t need to sit round the table, so perch wherever you fancy and play to your hearts content!

Pictionary Air - Stefano Paravisi

The tradition in our family has always been to open the presents as soon as we wake-up. We usually end up doing it quite early (as kids do not like to sleep too long if presents are around) but it also allows to enjoy time all together before taking care of the lunch. And what could be better than play games all together to keep the excitement of opening the presents last longer?

Last Christmas, one member of my family gifted my son with a copy of “Pictionary Air”. I didn’t know the game at the time but we had so much fun that I gifted it back to other friends later in the year. At a first glance, Pictionary Air looks very similar to its well-known board version. In both cases, one member of a team is tasked to draws clues in order for all other members to guess a word and score points. The big difference is that in Pictionary Air, instead of using a whiteboard or a sheet of paper, you use a special pen to draw in the air.

An app and any tablet, iPad or phone is used in combination with the pen to show the picture while it is drawn. In any Pictionary, the drawings themselves and the way they should link to the clues could be usually very hilarious. But in Pictionary Air the person drawing can’t see what they are drawing, and this could lead to spectacularly hilarious drawings.

Moreover, in this new version you are allowed to interact with your drawings. For example, you could draw a drum and then pretend to play the drums on it. Or draw a beard around your face or a cape around your neck etc. Overall, a great family game to keep the excitement going all day long!

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas is all about the people you are with. Families are made up of relatives and/or friends, adults and/or children, there is no exact formula. But whoever you chose to spend your Christmas time with, enjoy that social interaction that only a good game can provide and laugh and share your way into the New Year!

That concludes our list of board games to play after opening presents. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.