How to win every board game you'll end up playing this Christmas

Louis Dor
Thursday 21 December 2017 15:15
Picture:(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The Christmas board game matters.

It's a point of familial pride. It's bragging rights for a year. And it will most likely end in tears.

You need a win this year. We're here to make it happen.

Choose your board game and ready your head for the crown:


Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Right, as we've briefly touched on in previous articles, the best chance of winning is to build early and build cheaply.

As you know, the cheaper properties are at the beginning of the board.

Both in terms of buying the full set of properties and building houses on that set.

The cheaper sets are likely the easiest to obtain in a set, but it also means you can build on them faster.

However, these properties all have cheaper rent when you build on them up to a hotel.

Put bluntly though, some of the more expensive properties are not worth the investment as much.

Sure, a hotel on Regent Street will cost your nemesis £1275, but it'll have cost you £3920 to have gotten to that point (you're getting 32.5 per cent of your investment back).

In contrast, a hotel on Pentonville road will cost them £600, and it'll only have cost you £1070 to build it. You're getting 56 per cent of your investment back.

It's a smaller lump sum, but a bigger return on your investment.

In these terms, this is how the sets pan out in terms of value:

It's worth explaining the spike for the Browns and Dark Blues - there's a spike for those two sets because you only buy two sets of hotels and we've not taken into account the probability that you're less likely to land on a set of two than a set of three.

This means, if you can afford them early game, your best chance of winning is to build heavy and hard on the light blues, the pinks and the oranges. Create a road of death on one side of the board and watch the cash come in.

Dark blues are less expensive than you think, because there's two of them and a hotel really hurts on Mayfair, but those are late game.

Reds, Yellows and Greens, at £150 and £200 a house, are vanity projects. Don't be tempted.

Stations are dependable revenue, utilities are useless.

Now go bankrupt your family.


Amazon commissioned Russell Chapman, a writer and a producer at games website For Chits and Giggles, to list some top tips.

When it comes to Cluedo, it's all about cross-examination. Other players will announce that they suspect certain characters, weapons and locations and you can determine things from this:

The best way to do this is to ignore the paper provided and use a new, more efficient system. First, create a column for each player, and every time someone makes a guess, write down all three items in the columns (use coded language if you really want to keep everyone on their toes). If a player doesn't show a card, mark an X next to this guess. If they do, mark a tick. Soon, you'll be able to cross reference players’ guesses to eliminate key items, characters and rooms, getting you the correct answer as quickly as possible.

So ditch that pad and paper and write your own grid, budding inspectors.


There's a very overlooked rule here.

The spinner is used when you land on a red or an orange space.

Don't be tempted to move an opponent's piece back if you're playing with three teams or more.

Mr Chapman says:

When playing with three teams or more, the net gain is always far greater when moving yourself forward, because this is the mathematical equivalent to moving all other teams back the same number of spaces instead of just a single team.


Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you control a region you get a bonus reinforcement boost each round.

The easiest to take over and hold, arguably is Oceania - there are fewer attack routes to it and shouldn't be too hard to take over if others are fighting it out over Europe or Africa.

Chapman says:

Your next targets for control should be Africa and North America, the next optimal places based on this same logic, and should be easier once you've established some extra armies. Europe and Asia should only be an endgame goal, by which point you should have already established yourself as a dominating presence.

We very much like the sound of that.


We're going to defer to Mr Chapman entirely on this one:

The Monopoly card, when played, allows you to take all of a single named resource from your opponents’ hands.

Therefore, not only should you always be very coy at announcing what resources you have during trade situations, but you can be incredibly sneaky by trading away any resource you have first, and claiming it all back using the Monopoly card.

You may lose friends doing this but you'll be rich in goods and closer to victory!


Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Be really good at probabilities and be really lucky. We're not joking.

A study by Tom Verhoeff at the University of Eindhoven on this has shown that you're best served shooting for Yahtzee is one of approximation of best-expected scores after your first roll.

In fact, he wrote a computer program which does exactly that.

However, this isn't one you can do in your head unless you have a lot of RAM in there.

So we're going to stick to "be lucky"!

More: Turns out you've been playing Monopoly wrong your whole life