December, the so called magical time of year. Wet and cold outside. Radios and shops play the same songs over and over again. People. Everywhere. And worst of all, you’ll soon have to spend time with family. Luckily, I came up with a list of games that will help rid yourself of all the frustration amassed in the predictably frantic build-up to Christmas (yes, if you're a bit of a 'scrooge') by allowing you to battle, betray, deceive and drown your “loved” ones.
1. The Godfather
Each player represents a different mafia family vying for control of New York City. On the way to becoming the richest and most influential of the families, players will need to get their hands dirty. Murders, extortion and money laundering will be the bread and butter of each turn. And if any of the other families try to muscle their way in… there is always space for them in the Hudson River.
2. Game of Thrones Second Edition
Control one of the six main houses in Westeros, expand by land and sea, forge alliances and bid on the influence tracks. The most fun part of all this is that you make your moves in secret, delivering destruction while promising peace – words are wind after all. Expect to mistrust everyone, while carefully planning your own coup. Backstabbing is the name of the game and it perfectly reflects the mood of the books and the TV series.
3. Rising Sun
This time Eric Lang throws players in the middle of feudal Japan, where tradition, honour and diplomacy are at the heart of the game. Peace cannot last for too long however – war is inevitable after all – especially when your clans have powerful monsters at their disposal and kami gods, whom they have to impress. Each one portrayed by a masterfully detailed miniature, enhancing each battle and raising the stakes that much higher.
4. Dead of Winter
Players must ensure survival of the colony against all odds. Explore different locations, search for items to prevent crises, fight zombies, clean waste and recruit more followers. Sounds too co-operative? Don’t worry, Dead of Winter uses a hidden betrayer mechanic, and adds individual secret objectives – making each player’s actions suspicious. In addition, one of the characters you may get to control is a shopping mall Santa, whose special ability is to sacrifice himself in order to increase the colony’s morale. How fitting.
5. The Resistance: Avalon
Perhaps the best option on the list for people with large families. Utilises a hidden role mechanic, similar to Werewolf. Instead of killing off other players, the evil followers of Mordred must sabotage missions, while the loyal knights of King Arthur must strive to fulfil them. Among the players is the legendary Merlin, who’s aware of the identity of the saboteurs, but he must tread carefully for Mordred’s evil minions wish to assassinate him. Add to this a play time of up to half an hour and Avalon becomes a deliciously deceitful offering for a Christmas afternoon.