5 Board games less likely to cause family arguments than Monopoly

Are you looking for board games better than Monopoly? Who hasn’t sat down during the holidays to play a friendly game of Monopoly, only for the festive peace to be broken by someone flipping the table in a debt-fueled rage? Who has learned the hard way that if you miss a chance to claim cash of a sibling before the next person rolls the dice, you are out of pocket? Maybe you have grown tired of the favouritism your dad seems to shower upon your younger sister as he lets her off with payments. As you can see, Monopoly can be an insidious experience that inevitably sparks controversy. Frankly, there are far better games out there to help you keep the peace or at least help your get revenge in a less traumatic way. 

Monopoly is a game that was not designed to end either. The game can really only end when everyone grows tired of the capitalist nightmare you have been sucked into. Alternatively, the game can end when police get called to settle the domestic that has ensued after your mother threatened to press an actual iron to your dads face should he fail to pay her Mayfair hotel fee.

As the winter nights come ever closer and with the possibility of another covid enforced lockdown, the monopoly box begins to call you like the beginning of Jumanji (The original/good one). It’s time to consider more constructive and rewarding board games to avoid recreating the ending of the Shining.

1. One Night Ultimate Werewolf 

BGG SCORE 7.1

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a quick game that uses an app to guide you through its 5-minute playtime. I know you’re probably thinking nothing too promising ever happened in 5 minutes, but you’d be wrong. Everyone gets assigned roles at the beginning of the game. Unlike Monopoly, Werewolf allows you to air your family grievances in a positive and fun way. Don’t like your sister good you’ll probably get the opportunity to call her a beast to her face or even double-cross her. 

Put simply, this game allows you to use deduction to go a family-wide witchhunt (or werewolf hunt, I guess). You won’t have had this much fun lying to your parents since you came in drunk on cider at 16. 

You will probably enjoy this game round after round or even use it as an icebreaker at other social gatherings. If you have ever thought your dad belongs to a different breed, then give One Night Ultimate Werewolf a try this winter. 

2. Ticket to Ride

BGG SCORE 7.4

Ticket to Ride is a game my wife enjoys more than the idea of me going away on a train for a very long time. It’s a simple game that can be taught to anyone in under 10 minutes. Players collect cards that represent trains you can use to complete routes across the map. The longer the trails, the more points you earn. 

Now I know that sounds about as exciting as doing your own dental work, but I can’t explain the phenomenon that happens when I get excited about completing a route. I am almost always on the cusp of winning just for my wife to slam a whole course in my way and sabotage my civil engineering plans. 

This is a wholesome and colourful game that is good for all ages. 

3. Superfight

BGG SCORE 5.9

Forget the underrated BGG score above. Superfight is one of my favourite social games. In super-fight, people pull cards from various characters and attribute decks to try and create an ultimate fighting warrior. It really is the luck of the draw, and sometimes you can be stuck trying to explain why Donald Trump armed with nothing but maple syrup, would win in a fight against Predator with a death touch. 

I love Superfight for its randomness, creativity and passion that develops as we all play Mick to our own personal Rocky. As we cheer our 100ft tall Sponge Bob with superglue hands on to victory against our friends mutated creations, the game opens up an avenue to truly become lost in the moment. I have laughed with tears in my eyes at this game as my friends and family members imagination and emotional debate consumed entire evenings. 

4. Small World

BGG SCORE 7.3

Ever wanted control over the TV remote on Christmas Day? Have you ever needed to show your brother-in-law who’s boss? How about that time your sister broke your Gameboy when you were six? Time to take control and to get revenge with an army of dwarfs to help. 

Small World is a fantasy inspired area control game where you command armies of creatures like orcs, elves and humans(uh?). Each fighting force will have its unique ability that gets shuffled each time you start a new game, so no two games will be the same. You will race your family and friends for control over the map but be careful not to spread your forces too thin because you have to defend your territory. You score points (coins) for each territory your race (army) occupies at the end of each turn. These coins can be used to purchase another (hopefully better) race. You can only have one army at a time. The winner is determined at the of the game by the person who has the most coin. 

Nothing feels better than having a friend or family member on the ropes and smashing with a new and more powerful force. Just be careful not to scream, “That’s what you get Kimbley for hiding my action men 20 years ago”. If you avoid digging up the past Small World can be a healthy way to exorcise your family demons. 

5. Dixit

BGG SCORE 7.2

Dixit is the board game equivalent of a storybook hallucinogenic fever dream with Pink Floyd playing in the background. It is a card game with nothing but beautiful artwork and imagination to fuel the fun. 

Each round, one person gets the chance to be the “Story Teller”. That person creates a sentence inspired by one of the cards in their hand. Each other player then chooses a card in their hand whose artwork best represents the “Story Teller’s” Sentance. The “Story Teller” Then shuffles their card into those provided by the other players. All the other players then vote on which card they think was the “Story Tellers”. Points are awarded based on which card gains votes. 

Explaining Dixit’s rules won’t help you understand its appeal. It is a game like no other due to its beautiful presentation and relaxed gameplay. This isn’t a game where you will be out for blood, unlike others on this list. In Dixit, you will be presented with the opportunity to discover how intune you are with your friends and family. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t become competitive. There’s still plenty of opportunities to lord your mental superiority over kin whilst enjoying the beautiful and somewhat psychedelic art. 

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