Videogames are old news. We all know it, but we’re too afraid to say it. The controllers are fiddly, the animation gives us headaches, it’s impossible to open the thin plastic wrapping they come in and on top of it all Nintendo have released this stupid console thing that no-one understands or asked for and they now annoyingly expect us all to buy it.

As such, we’ve realised that we’re going to have to hedge our bets. To fill the gap left by the raging apathy all videogamers are undeniably currently feeling towards videogames, we’ll be starting a brand new section on gardening in the new year. In the meantime though, we’ve stepped up our board games coverage. Check this out, and once you’ve finished checking that out, check this out too.

Regrettably, I’ve gotten involved. Here are the five board games that you simply must play this Xmas. I’ve tested them in all in one weekend, and regret almost nothing.

5. Whale of a Time

Putting the “Wha?!” in “Whale”.

Whale of a Time is essentially a big-budget remake of Hungry Hippos without the budget. The simple premise appears to be that you and your associates have strung up four bloated whale corpses, and have replaced their internal organs with a cannon, which you use to fire balls into a net. It is fearful, sickening filth. Ages 3+, 2-4 players.

The preferred boardgame of 9 out of 10 lunatics.

4. Balderdash

The hilarious BLUFFING GAME

In Balderdash, progression is based on how good you are at lying. You and your associates will get an obscure question to answer, for example “What do the initials ‘CUM’ stand for?”, and then you all write down as convincing an answer as you can. One associate reads out all of the answers, including the actual answer supplied by the game, and everyone tries to guess the correct answer. If people accidentally guess your fake answer as correct, you score points and move around the board. What results is, of course, largely sick filth, but every now and then someone will conjure up a moment of supreme genius, perhaps suggesting that a “Scronch” is a scrunched-up poncho or something delightfully humourous along those lines.

I suggested that a “Scronch” was a group of otters, but God I wish I’d come up with the poncho thing.

3. Atmosfear

“It only takes five minutes to set-up, but a lifetime for your family to come to terms with your immediate shame-filled suicide upon finishing it.”

Atmosfear is an exercise in abject, blithering stupidity. I felt right at home with it. You and up to 5 associates have to move around a board, acquiring keys. Meanwhile, the Gatekeeper (an apparently Polish man dressed like a zombie druid whose performance aims for “threatening” but lands squarely on “distressingly camp”) appears on screen to berate and punish players at random. He’s a total douchebag, and his fruity little game doesn’t even function as a pastime. It’s near-impossible to actually pick up more than two or three keys before the game ends, and you’ll spend most of your time banished to a black hole. Stupid Gatekeeper. The man is a wanker.

The scariest thing is where he goes when he’s not on-screen. We decided he probably flicks between us and Babestation.

2. The Werewolves of Millers Hollow

It’s a card game. You don’t have to play it on a stool necessarily.

Not strictly speaking a board game, Wolves still makes it onto this list because I don’t strictly speaking know what I’m talking about. In Wolves, you and your associates (best part of 20 people can play with one set) all play as villagers. However, some of you are secretly werewolves and gradually eat the other villagers one by one. Meanwhile, the town as a whole desperately try to kill off the werewolves by democratically deciding who to lynch-mob each turn. Obviously, the werewolves are part of the town and aren’t likely to vote for themselves. Special villager roles are thrown into the mix, such as the voyeuristic Little Girl, who can peek during the nighttime between turns when the werewolves decide who they are going to eat. It’s good, clean fun, although be warned that Wolves is to friendships what a raging fire is to an Atmosfear board.

“A wolf? Me? No, no, no. That’s crazy. Why would you say that? You must be a wolf yourself to say such a thing.”

1. Perudo

Like dice? Like cups? Then you’re really weird and don’t deserve to play this brilliant game.

Remember that Liar’s Dice game from Red Dead Redemption? Of course you don’t, you were too busy tying hookers to train tracks you monster. Well, this is basically that game. Everyone has five dice, but they can only see their dice, and they have to “bet” how many of a certain die there are under everyone’s cups. The next player can either increase the bet or call “Dudo!” to challenge the last bet. It’s like poker, but people actually enjoy playing it.

Don’t play it when you have a hangover. You have to count stuff and do sums. Also don’t play it when wearing a stupid hat.

You can follow Simon (@MrCuddleswick) on Twitter here and also slowly by car if you want.

Last time on Star Trek: Listing Life Dangerously we learned all about four nice songs from FIFA

  • Great piece and thanks for the plug. I absolutely love Perudo. Pity the person sitting to my left because I have a habit of making ridiculous bids for often hilarious results. Another cardgame i discovered playing videogames is Koi Koi (as played in the gambling den of Yakuza 3), which is brilliant.