Monday 18 December 2017

Board Games For Boxing Day (review roundup)

Christmas Day is always a good excuse for sitting in front of the telly all day, munching on mince pies, turkey sandwiches and the contents of the selection box you got in your stocking, but by Boxing Day, the novelty has usually started wearing off and people start getting bored. In my experience, you can't beat getting out a board game that the whole family can have fun playing, whether it's something completely silly or ultra competitive. Here's our round up of the Madhouse Family favourites.

Starting off with one for the adults, Who's The Dude? (Drumond Park, age 16+, rrp £24.99) is a hilarious new take on the classic Christmas game of charades, with a wacky, inflatable, arm flailing, leg-waving, blow-up man to help (or hinder) you ! You can play with 3-8 players, either individually or in teams. The first player takes one of the 110 scenario charade cards, and chooses a heading from the four choices displayed – ‘what’s happening?’, ‘what are we doing?’, ‘where are we?’ or ‘what am I?’ - and then brings on the Dude! You then have 45 seconds… using either the downloaded ‘The Dude App’ or the timer on your phone, for your team-mates to guess exactly what is going on, in as many situations as possible.

While most of them are pretty harmless, dirty minds will go into overdrive as you try to act out something like "milking a cow", "stuffing a turkey" or "planking" with your inflatable team-mate, so there will be lots of innuendos and fits of giggles once the kids have gone to bed ! A few are definitely PG-rated, for example gynaecologist and pole dancing - perfect to give to grandad after a few festive drinks !

As with all great games, you can adapt the rules to suit the players ages and abilities, so we paired up adults with the kids, to make sure someone was overseeing the cards and making sure the kids only got the clean ones. They thought it was hilarious and were very imaginative. Here's Pierre making the Dude do a dab ...

... and blow a kiss. They were easy but working out how to mime "Sumo wrestler", "being on a first date" or "dancing on the ceiling" are slightly more complicated ! Perfect for a not-so-quiet night in, maybe on New Year's Eve when the drinks are flowing ?!

More silliness and giggles guaranteed, but this time without the PG-rating, with Megableu's Beat The Flush (RRP £24.99, 2-4 players, age 5+). As soon as the Madhouse Kids saw the toilet, they were laughing their heads off  ... and so was I when I saw them with their dangly headbands on. Juliette even pranced around the room declaring she was a unicorn ! For the purposes of taking photos, we had a dry run but to play the game, you need to fill up the tray with water - warning, you will get squirted so keep a towel or a tea towel handy ! You'll also need 2 x AA batteries, which are not included. That's all the adult intervention that is required though - the game itself is simple to set up and play.

The idea of the game is that the (very smiley!) toilet has broken and a horde of toilet critters (little magnetic balls - it's a shame they aren't decorated as insects, even with a ball shape) have escaped and it's up to you to put them back! Each player chooses a coloured headband and, using the magnetic wand on the front, players must try to pick up their chosen coloured critters, place them on the flippers and flick them back into the spinning toilet bowl before the timer runs out and the toilet sprays water everywhere. The player who sinks the most critters wins. Easier said than done !

This game has got a lot going for it - as always, the kids love the toilet theme, there's the major excitement of getting wet and it's also great fun looking silly while trying to skilfully manoeuver the magnetic wand - a bit like a cross between hands-free hook a duck and tiddlywinks ! Great fun to play but it's hilarious even if you're just watching !

From toilet humour to bogeys, which are always going to be a big hit with the kids, as you can see from the photo, where Pierre cheekily shoved his finger up the giant nose!  Drumond Park's Snotcha! (rrp £24.99 for age 5+) is a deliciously disgusting, rivetingly revolting, sneeze spraying action game that the whole family will have fun with.

Each intrepid player takes a turn to get face to face with Snotcha (lean in close!) and spin the spinner to see how many times to push down on the top of his nose. With every slow, complete (no cheating, now!) push it’s time to see if he can hold in his snotty sneeze or not … And of course the big question is, will he sneeze AT’CHOO?

With every press, the sneeze pressurises so you know that soon, it's going to blow ... its nose all over you. Even if you know it's only water, there's something extra revolting about being sneezed on !

Snotcha! is easy to set up but needs a little adult help. Firstly, put 2 x AAA batteries (not included) in his feet, then carefully fill his sneeze chamber up to the line with fresh water. Attach his feet, assemble the two sides of the head, place him on a smooth dry surface … and stand by… he’s ready for some hilarious game play! You’ll need to put Snotcha! away carefully, too. Pour out any water remaining after the game, and allow the water chamber to dry out completely before you take him apart and pack him away, ready for next time.

All the best games combine skill with luck and an element of surprise, which is why Megableu's Tumball (2 to 4 players, 6 years+, RRP £17.99) is such a winning combination.

It's as quick and simple to play as it is to set up - just push the coloured balls on to the plastic sticks, attach them to the circular hanger, snap the hook into place and suspend the cluster of balls. Players take their turns to place one of their white balls on the cluster of coloured balls. Go ahead, make your move, but be careful, don’t tremble or the balls will tumble! It's a nerve-wracking, great fun and surprisingly competitive game that all ages will enjoy. It reminded me of Ker-plunk, a game that I often played as a child, but it's much quieter and quicker to set up.

If you like the sound of quiet, Tactic Games' Coral Reef (age 4+, RRP £19.99) is the perfect choice.

Inside the box, you get an ingenious playing board, made up of double-sided, interlocking puzzle pieces that can be placed together randomly so that the layout is different each time. To mix things up even more, you have a choice of difficulty levels, with one side having many more pictures for your eyes to work through than the other.

You turn over two cards, representing different marine creatures, and you have to spot both on the playing board before your opponent(s) to win the point - finding one is easy enough but you have to simultaneously put your fingers on both creatures to win. Each point wins you a detailed plastic figurine of a sea creature - Pierre thought these were fantastic and enjoyed playing with them even after we'd finished the game. Speed and recognition are needed so it's a great way to hone your child's observation skills and concentration, as well as inspiring an interest in what lives beneath the waves.

Forget Monopoly and Scrabble this Boxing Day - go for something completely different this year with a board, not-bored, game !

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Great selection. We always play all the games the kids got for Christmas on boxing day


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