One of the many things I love about Christmas is playing the best new board games with my family.
There are so many new board games released each year it’s time consuming choosing which to try, so I start researching early in the year when I’m not under pressure.
Prices can also rise – and the most popular games go out of stock – in the run-up to the festive season.
With this in mind, I’ve had a look at some games that have come out fairly recently that I think you might also be interested to try.
You might also like to keep an eye on prices throughout the year in case there’s a special offer on any of the games.
Meanwhile, if you’d like some ideas for classic games to play this Christmas, have a look at my ‘Top 10 games to play at Christmas’ blog post and see if there are any that take your fancy!
Or if you’re spending less money this year, now’s a great time to dig around in the back of the cupboard for a forgotten favourite game, or scour the charity shops for a pre-loved bargain.
Just to mention that I’ll receive a small commission on products purchased via affiliate links on this page.
This is at absolutely no cost to you and I only suggest products that I would recommend to my friends and family.
Cascadia – Amazon, £34.89
Age 10+, 1 to 4 players, 45 minutes per game (approx)
I love the design and message of this game which helps bring environmental and ecological issues to life for both children and adults.
Players compete with one another to create the most diverse environment in the North West Pacific as they choose habitat tiles and wildlife tokens to build a beautiful landscape mosaic.
Winner of this year’s coveted Spiel des Jahres (game of the year) award and the strategy category of the American Tabletop Awards, Cascadia is relatively quick to play, offers a nice puzzle to solve and still gives you plenty of decisions to make.
I’d say it’s lightweight enough for casual players – but there’s also enough going on for those who are looking for a more strategic game, so there’s something for everyone!
Happy City – Amazon, £11.29
Age 10+, 2 to 5 players, 30 minutes per game (approx)
Another game with a positive message, Happy City tasks players with making their citizens as happy as possible in a bright, colourful game that’s approachable for the whole family.
Players buy buildings to attract residents, increase their happiness and earn an income as you’ll need more money to continue growing your city – but in the end, only the satisfaction of citizens will count towards your final score.
Happy City includes rules for two ways to play: a family version and an ‘expert version’ which involves more interaction and strategy.
I found this game very entertaining and the whole family left feeling as cheerful as our Happy City residents!
Sounds Fishy – Amazon, £19.99
Age 10+, 4 to 10 players, 30 minutes per game (approx)
Sounds Fishy is a quiz game with a difference as it isn’t about knowing the ‘right’ answer – instead it’s about being able to spot the fake ones!
Players have to think on their feet and pick up points by eliminating the fishy-sounding fake answers that have been invented by the other players.
So watch out: one of the players will have given the real answer – and if you choose it you’ll lose all your points and your turn!
If you’re looking for a new party game that works for a larger group, can be enjoyed by all ages and provides a lot of laughs, Sounds Fishy could be the one for you.
I can see this becoming a family favourite in our house – and also a go-to post-dinner game when we’re entertaining friends.
Dodo – Amazon, £26.86
Age 6+, 2 to 4 players, 10 minutes per game (approx)
Dodo is a colourful, co-operative race-against-time game for younger children – but I think family members of any age will enjoy playing it.
Players have to work together, rolling a dice and uncovering hidden tokens to build bridges as quickly as they can in order to safely deliver the dodo’s slow-rolling, wobbly egg to the ship at the bottom of the mountain.
Everyone who has seen this game at my house is intrigued by the 3D cardboard mountain ‘board’ – it’s so impressive – and I love the extremely clever wobbly rolling egg. I still have no idea how it works!
Sea Salt & Paper – Amazon, £15.67
Age 8+, 2 to 4 players, 15 to 30 minutes per game (approx)
This is a small, good value game that’s easy to transport if you’re travelling to relatives’ homes this Christmas and need some quick and easy entertainment.
Sea Salt & Paper is quick-to-learn, very re-playable and the cards feature beautiful pictures of sea creatures made from origami, adding to its quirky appeal.
Each player builds up their hand (and points) until they reach the seven-point minimum and can call ‘stop’ and end the round.
Or you can take a risk and show your hand, allowing the other players an extra turn. If the gamble pays off you earn a potentially winning bonus.
I’ve played similar games before, but I’d rate this as a worthwhile and enjoyable addition to our Christmas games repertoire!