Winter is taking hold, the days are getting shorter and baby, it's cold outside. Snow Days are looming so be prepared. Make sure your pipes are insulated, your hot water bottle is close by and you have a stack of appropriate board games on your shelves.
Here are our top seven board games for when the snow has settled and however much you would like to, you just can't get into work.
For Theme - Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game
Firstly, when barricaded inside your home, why not stick with the theme. Dead of Winter is a semi-cooperative, post-apocalyptic, survival game that will remind you of the Battlestar Galactica board game meets The Walking Dead. Each round a new crisis must be averted and your growing community must be fed. Survivors must venture out into the freezing wastes in search of supplies. Searching comes with the inerrant risks of frostbite, and of course...Zombie attacks.
You need to deal with the imminent threat caused by zombies, hunger, crises, and cold. You are working together to complete a communal end game goal. On top of this, however, you also need to complete a personal secret objective.
Throw into the mix the fact that one of the players may betray you, and may, in fact, be trying to lose the game. This is a game to sink your teeth into.
For Entertaining the Family – Klask
Recreate the feeling of playing Air Hockey down the arcade in the comfort of your own home. Klask is a fast and frantic two-player dexterity game. Players control their pieces using magnets underneath a raised playing board. The aim of the game is to get the puck in your opponent's goal while avoiding getting entangled in the magnetic obstacles that litter the field.
This is a great game to organise a friendly family tournament around. Or double the chaos by putting your pre-order down for the circular board, four-player version, Klask 4.
For Solo & Multiplayer fun – Underwater Cities
At 40 minutes per player for up to four players, Underwater Cities can definitely help you burn through some time on a snow day. This game from Vladimir Suchy however, secures its spot in this list because of its excellent solo mode. So now you can kill time even if you are home alone.
Underwater Cities has been touted by many as a replacement for the living legend that is Terraforming Mars. Underwater Cities is a strategic card placement, engine building game. Players must select how best to use their cards to gain bonus actions in a bid to build a network of interconnected cities and industries.
As the game progresses you will produce more resources, pull off better combos, and get access to even more powerful cards. These in turn allow you to continue to build and produce in the kind of way that makes you feel like you are such a genius of kelp based economic that Lord Alan Sugar will be begging you to be your aquatic apprentice.
If you like engine building, worker placement and hand management, but need a break from Terraforming Mars then this needs to be in your collection.
For All-day Play – Twilight Imperium 4
One of the most legendary of epic games, Twilight Imperium 4 is a 4-8 plus hour-long behemoth of a game.
Twilight imperium is a strategic game of expansion, negotiation, tactics, diplomacy, peace and all-out war.
Each player takes on the role of an alien race, each with their own unique set of rules. Players expand their civilization as they conquer planets, build up resources, discover new technologies and bolster their fleet.
Players vie for victory points, but each player had different conditions that vary from game to game creating an environment where you are constantly needing to assess the situation for yourself and trying to work out what your opponents are up to.
Snow days were created for Twilight Imperium, so place your order before the snow arrives.
For an Afternoon in – Game of Thrones the Board Game (2nd Ed)
Okay, so you want something epic, but not eight hours epic. You want something with an engaging theme and mechanics, but one that won't need the hard sell for the less hardcore gamers. You want a sprawling game of expansion and war but you don't want to pop next door and ask if you can borrow your neighbour's dining table to put it next to yours. But, you absolutely do want to stab your friends in the back and quote lines at each other.
Well, you better get Game of Thrones the Board Game (2nd Edition). Heck, do they have focus groups to come up with Board Game names? Seriously!
Become one of the Great Houses of Westeros. Form and break alliances as you exert dominance over this huge map by any means possible in a game of diplomacy, double-crossing, alliance building and war. Set an afternoon aside and really get absorbed by the theme and the story.
For Cooperative play – Mansions of Madness (2nd Ed)
Mansions of Madness is an app assisted cooperative, fantasy story game set in the Lovecraftian universe. You take on the role of investigators exploring mysterious locations, collecting items, solving puzzles and fighting monsters. You never know what you might come across next. As you explore, more of the map reveals itself, as does your true objective.
The app makes this very big game very easy to play. As a player, you just decide where to go and what to interact with. The app tells you everything you need to do or know beyond that. This means Mansions of Madness is a game you can pull out with non-gamers without fear of them struggling with all the rules.
Over time you will take damage to both your health and your sanity. If you go insane you will draw a new card giving you a new secret condition. From this point on the group will struggle to work together as a team. Can this person be trusted any more? Are they working against you? You just can't be sure. Will you be able to stick together and survive the horrors of Arkham?
For Re-playability – Memoir '44
Want a game that you can play all day without spending half that day learning all the complex rules and the other half trying to mend your fractured friendships? Richard Borg's Memoir '44 is a great choice.
An easy to learn, quick to play dice rolling miniatures war game for two players. Memoir '44 also works as a team game. The rules are so straightforward they are printed on cards so you don't need to look in the rule book. The base game has a 16 scenario campaign for you to work through so it should keep you busy all day. Why not buy the winter map and winter wars expansion while you're at it for added theme?
Is your board game collection ready for winter?