It often seems that technology has taken over our lives and social media demands our time. Today it can be really hard to tear ourselves, let alone our children, away from our phones, ipads and computer screens. But it seems that the return of the humble board game is bringing even the most tech dependent families and friends together

Disney Villainous
In Disney Villainous, each player takes control of one of six Disney characters, each one a villain in a different Disney movie. Each player has their own villain deck, fate deck, player board, and 3D character. On a turn, the active player moves their character to a different location on their player board, takes one or more of the actions visible on that space (often by playing cards from their hand), then refills their hand to four cards. Cards are allies, items, effects and sometimes curses. The objective is to fulfil the evil scheme of the villain and whomever completes this first is the winner. This game is no doubt a must for Disney fans, but even if you aren’t a Disney fan, you’ll be familiar with some of the most famous villains in cartoon history – there’s Captain Hook, Maleficent and Ursula to name a few. This is definitely a novelty game that will evoke childhood memories for both you and your children, easy to learn and play with room for up to six players and is relatively quick to play at around 45 minutes to an hour.

The creators of Confident? describe it as a “smash hit guessing game” loved by all ages from children to grandparents. The aim of the party game is to answer questions like “how many slices are there in a loaf of bread?”. But, instead of giving exact answers, you guess with a range. You only need to get the right answer in your range to win points so everyone can have a go, but the smaller your range compared to everyone else, the more you score. The good thing about this game is that anyone really can win no matter their age and the answers supplied will no doubt lead to much fun and frivolity. You can also have as many players as you want, and it won’t take up too much of your time with the average game lasting around half an hour. Fans of the game say it’s a great way to bring the whole family together and with more than 200 questions, it’s a game you can return to again and again. There’s a sustainability message here, too: paper and cardboard are from recycled materials or come from sustainable forests, and thew company funds the planting of a tree with every game purchased (more than 260,00 so far).

221B Baker Street
This game is featured around the story of one of the most famous detectives of all time – Sherlock Holmes and his dedicated companion, Dr Watson and is one that will definitely test your cognitive skills. In this detective game you start at 221B, their London address, and travel through the streets and alleys of the capital city picking up clues and attempting to solve the most intriguing cases Holmes and Watson have ever faced. Clues are hidden throughout London, one in each of 14 locations. Players, working as Holmes, must collect clues from each location, noting them down on their checklists as they attempt to find the answers to the questions listed on the case card. The game includes an impressive 75 cases and each one is represented by a card that features a crime told in story form, a selection of probable suspects and a list of locations involved in that crime. The first player to figure out the correct answers to a particular mystery or crime, return to 221B and announce the solution, is the winner. Built to accommodate two to six players, it’s a real family game as its suitable for anyone over the age of ten and can be played over an hour to 90 minutes, so great for shorter attention spans.

The game of Eclipse places you in control of a vast interstellar civilisation, competing for success with its rivals. You will explore new star systems, research technologies, and build spaceships with which to wage war. There are many potential paths to victory, so you need to plan your strategy according to the strengths and weaknesses of your species, while paying attention to the other civilisations’ endeavors. This is a complicated game of strategy that can last many hours, is divided into nine rounds and works best with two to six players, but can accommodate as many as ninw. Players should be warned though, that this game comes with multiple pieces including two game boards and you should be prepared to devote a large part of your day to it; perfect for a rainy Algarve day.

Even the classics have had to evolve to stay relevant, but you can’t beat a classic and these are two of the best.

Monopoly, is a game for two to eight players, in which the player’s goal is to remain financially solvent while forcing opponents into bankruptcy by buying and developing pieces of property. We’ve all been there – competing for the likes of Bond Street and Park Lane, when in reality, we’ve ended up bankrupt and in jail. The history of Monopoly can be traced back to 1903, when American anti-monopolist Lizzie Magie created The Landlord’s Game.
Several variant board games, based on her concept, were developed from 1906 through the 1930s; they involved both the process of buying land for its development, and the sale of any undeveloped property. Cardboard houses were added, and rents increased as they were added to a property. Magie patented the game again in 1923 and the rest is history. Today, owners Hasbro have set about making the game as diverse as possible. There are ‘world editions’ featuring locations from all over the globe, city editions, themed editions focused on films like Star Wars and TV shows Game of Thrones and Eastenders, and there are also the special anniversary editions, one for cat lovers and even one dedicated to the late Queen. With so much to choose from, it’s likely you’ll find a Monopoly to suit you.

Was it Professor Plum with the wrench in the library? Or Reverend Green with the candlestick in the study? This is the ultimate whodunit game of chance where the player who correctly accuses Who, What, and Where wins. The game was devised in 1943 by British board game designer Anthony E. Pratt and first manufactured by Waddingtons in the UK in 1949. Since then, it has been relaunched and updated several times, and it is currently owned and published by American company Hasbro. The object of the game is to determine who murdered the victim, where the crime took place, and which weapon was used. Each player assumes the role of one of the six suspects and attempts to deduce the correct answer by strategically moving around a game board representing the rooms of a mansion and collecting clues about the circumstances of the murder from the other players. Cluedo has been updated through the years; in 2016 Hasbro replaced Mrs. White with a new character, Dr Orchid, represented by an orchid pink piece. In the current standard edition, Mrs Peacock also has a new game opening opportunity as her starting square is one step closer to the billiard room. Beautiful art illustrations have become a hallmark of the game which can take as little as ten minutes to complete or as long as an hour depending on player skillset. Perfect if you fancy yourself a Detective Poirot or Miss Marple.

Words: Lucy Layer

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