Online vs offline Christmas games

Which is best - board games around a table or online gaming?

07 Dec 2020

If there’s one time of year where you can convince everybody to get round a table and break out the Cluedo, it’s at Christmas. But with the festive gathering looking to be a smaller affair this time around, finding a great Christmas game to keep a smaller number of people entertained might be tough.

So, we decided to try out both some traditional classics and some fun games to play online to help you decide how to while away Christmas Day. Let the games begin!


Offline games

The thought of playing a traditional game may seem dull against all that online gaming offers, but never underestimate the joy of some simple, analogue fun. There’s a reason these games have been around for a while. And gathering at a table – with all the friendly competition and laughs that brings – is a great way to spend time engaging with each other. Plus, with so much screen time over Christmas, it can be good to take a break and do something a little easier on the eyes.


How to play:

Place a pot in the middle of the table and then take it turns to fire winks (small plastic discs) into the pot using a squidger -  a larger disc. It starts off with just trying to get your winks into the pot – but can soon escalate into serious strategy.

Why play?

It’s a game that requires genuine hand-eye skill and strategy. Plus, you can play on your own, with multiple players or even games in pairs – which amps up the competition. Tiddlywinks terminology includes phrases such as gromp, scrounger and crud (a power shot). Sure beats “offside.”

There’s also a World Championship. So, get your eye in over Christmas and perhaps 2021 Tiddlywinks glory awaits!



How to play:

Draughts (or Checkers in the USA) is a simple game to play. The object is to take all the opposing players pieces. Your draught moves in a diagonal direction one space at a time until you can jump over an opposing piece – which takes it.

Why play?

As long as you have the board and pieces, it’s a great game for two players. It’s far easier and quicker to play than chess – and getting a turn where you take two or three of your opponent’s pieces at a time is a glorious moment. It also teaches you about logic and problem solving – so your brain is kept busy too.


Bar Skittles

How to play:

Bar skittles is the much smaller version of classic skittles – but the object is the same: knock over the skittles. The ball is attached to a pole and each player gets three goes to knock down 9 skittles each time – with a maximum score of 27 per turn. The game continues until someone reaches 101.

Why play?

It’s fun! This version requires much less space than traditional skittles and you’ll even get a bit of a workout swinging the ball and then collecting up the scattered skittles. Great for burning off a little of that Christmas feast!


Online games

This is a great option if your Christmas is going to be a small affair and you want to take on family/friend or strangers from around the globe. Since most people will have access to a screen – i.e. a phone or tablet – you won’t need the equipment needed for the more traditional games. You’ll also find loads of traditional board games in app form – so you can still get your board games fix remotely.

Christmas pub quiz

How to play:

This one’s a simple idea. Just gather all players on Zoom, House Party, Whatsapp etc. Each team has to come up with a series of questions to outfox the other teams. Winner is the team with the most points.

Why play?

With everybody separated, this can be an excellent opportunity to gather everybody together and do something fun together. Plus, because you set the questions, you can put together rounds totally personalised for your family or friends.


Words With Friends 2

How to play:

It’s classic Scrabble – but on your phone. Take it in turns to add your words to the board to rack up the highest score possible.

Why play?

It’s a great game for people who love words. Plus, the newest edition (Words With Friends 2) includes Lightning Round – where two teams of five players go head to head against the clock. So, if you’re annoyed with that family member you takes too long on their turn – this mode will make them get a move on!



How to play:

Get rid of all the cards in your hand – using special cards to stop your opponents from doing the same. Just make sure that all players have downloaded and signed up to the app.

Why play?

The app lets you have a maximum of 4 players, so it might be perfect for your family/ friends. It’s a simple game but the ability to play a card that drops your opponent in it is great for a bit of festive rivalry!


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