18 board games that will keep your brain fit (and everyone entertained)

18 board games that will keep your brain fit (and everyone entertained)

Best for social intelligence

The Mind (£9.99, Waterstones) is a brilliant co-operative game where all players combine their efforts to succeed, either everybody wins or everybody loses. Its core idea is easy to explain: players get a hand of cards with numbers between one to 100, and together must play them face-up in the correct order, lowest to highest – but without speaking to each other. Round one everyone has one card, round two everyone has two, and so on. What sounds simple becomes an interplay of tension and tentative moves, meaningful pauses, long looks, and trying to read cues and body-language. When it goes well it’s like magic, and beating the higher levels is as exhilarating as summiting a mental mountain.


Out with the old

If you still love the classics but fear they’re getting a little long in the tooth, then here are some alternatives that pack a similar punch..

Monopoly

Monopoly Deal (£5, Amazon) is a cut-down, fast-playing version that keeps all the fun of the original but in a card game. Alternatively Catan (£40, Argos) has you playing as tribes, competing to settle on an island, manage resources to extend your towns and cities, and out-compete your rivals.

Cluedo

Mysterium (£37.92, Amazon) is about solving a crime, but here you’re guided by the ghost of the victim, who communicates the murderer, location and weapon to you with dream-like cards. Or if you like accusing family members of horrible things, Werewolf (£9.99, Amazon) is the game that BBC1’s hit show The Traitors is based on – there are boxed versions you can buy but all the rules you need are on Wikipedia.

Scrabble

Bananagrams (£15, Argos) and Boggle (£9.90, Amazon) both scratch the same word-making itch as the tile-laying classic, but if you want a change of pace, Qwirkle (£22.99, Waterstones) replaces the letters with coloured symbols, creating a game that’s just as tactical but delightfully different.

Twister

Yogi (£13.49, Amazon) condenses the essence of the bone-cracking classic into a deck of cards: you’ll laugh just as hard, but will ache less in the morning.


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