Christmas Gift Guide 2016: 21 geeky board and card games

21 great board and card games, 21 ways to fall out with your family this Christmas

Few Christmas traditions are as enduring as that of the family getting round the table together - some time between the Queen's speech and the James Bond movie - to play a game together.

In fact, the only one that rivals is it probably the family getting round the table together and having massive rows while they play a game together.

Of course, to do it properly you need some decent board or card games: standard edition Scrabble and Monopoly just won't cut it. Below you'll find 21 fantastic games, covering everything from quickfire word-play to geektastic, rule-heavy strategy titles.

Star Trek Ascendancy (£63)

Inspired by Trump's absurd victory in the recent election? Think outside the box, the world and the galaxy with this universe-spanning board game.

Expand the reaches of your space civilisation, choosing between peace and conflict as you build bases, direct ships and acquire new regions - all whilst fending off those pesky Klingons. The playing space grows as the game goes on, so be sure to leave enough table space.

Buy Star Trek Ascendancy here

Cosmic Encounter (£44)

One of the best games you're ever likely to play, Cosmic Encounter is a game of intergalactic double-dealing that’s different every single time.

Before engaging in its simple card game, players pick an Alien to play as, each and every one of which breaks the game in some way. The Virus is a monster that must be stopped. The Loser wins if he loses. The Gambler can bet on the outcome of fights, and the Citadel can build impossible fortifications. It’s the dumbest smart game you’ll ever play.

Buy Cosmic Encounter here

Keep the critters busy

Zombicide (£70)

Like a board game version of Left4Dead, this collaborative survive-'em-up requires that you blast the heck out of the zombie horde. You and your compatriots have to find weapons to take down the zombies, but the brainless throng is far more numerous than your rapidly depleting ammo stock - so strategy is also key.

Buy Zombicide here

Tales of the Arabian Nights (£53)

First published in 1985, this classic choose-your-own-adventure board game is now available in a beautiful, even more ambitious edition.

Will you find a magical sword and become the Sultan of some glittering city? Find your true love in the belly of a giant sea creature? Or just get arrested for trying to mug a wizard and spend the whole game in prison? All you can rely on is that the game will make you laugh.

Buy Tales of the Arabian Nights here

Star Wars: Rebellion (£70)

'That was one in a million kid!' you could legitimately shout before devoting your entire Christmas break to Rebellion: with two boards and more than 150 pieces, it's no miniature campaign game.

Pick a side - Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance - before commanding units towards goals appropriate to your cause. If you play as the evil empire, you'll be looking to crush those pesky rebels by destroying their bases. As the Alliance, you'll try to stir the people into a galaxy-wide uprising - just in time for the Queen's speech. 2017.

Buy Star Wars Rebellion here

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