Board games reimagined: from Trumpial Pursuit to BusConnects 4

There’s nothing like a raucous board game to cultivate family (dis)harmony. So dice up your life with these modern versions of old favourites

Christmas is a time for the whole family to gather round the table, get out the board game, and spend the next two hours shouting things like "that's not fair!", "you cheated!" and "game over – and so is our marriage!"

Yes, board games can be very relaxing, but they can also bring out all the pent-up family tension that’s been building throughout the year. But still, we can’t resist the lure of the dice and the chance to be champ, and at least it’s a welcome break from staring at screens all year.

But do you ever feel that traditional board games are a bit out of touch with reality? Wouldn’t it be great if someone invented a game that more accurately reflected our real lives? Your wish has been answered! Here’s our new collection of realistic games for Christmas, in which everyone’s the loser. Loaded dice not included.

Snakes and Adders

A parliamentary twist on the traditional board game. In this version, there are no ladders – just more snakes – along with a few toadies, crawlers and spineless euro-slaves. The object of the game is to get your Brexit deal through the House of Commons, but there’s a DUP or Labour MP lurking around every corner waiting to send your deal tumbling back to square one. If you can get past those, there are still any number of Tory rebels and ERG members to get through. Set aside lots of time – this game has been known to run over three years.



A new, Irish-style twist on Monopoly. Players are allocated cash, then they throw the dice and move along the board. But whatever street they land on, they find it’s already owned by vulture funds, which have stuffed it with luxury hotels. Whatever you do, don’t land on their streets – unless you have a reservation. You won’t be able to purchase the electricity company or the waterworks, as they’re already owned by private equity firms, and if you land on an airport or train station, you have to miss three turns due to travel delays. And don’t land on Chance or Community Chest, because you’ll be landed with a big tax, rates or insurance bill.

The upside is that everyone gets unlimited get-out-of jail-free cards (a property developer going to jail – inconceivable!), although the free parking square has – obviously – been removed. Many gamers complain that regular Monopoly drags on too long, but with this game, it won’t be long before everyone’s money runs out.

Trumpial Pursuit

How vast is your general knowledge? How good are you with facts and figures? Are you a stable genius? Here’s your chance to test your brain skills against the most knowledgeable human being ever to have existed – Donald J Trump. You think you’re an expert on a particular subject? The US president knows more about it than you, believe me.

There is no subject on which Donald is not an authority, whether it’s crowd size, golf, international diplomacy or even the weather. Bring up the most obscure, arcane subject, and you can be sure the Donald has a PhD (phoney diploma) in it. In Trumpial Pursuit, you are given four options for answers, but don’t be fooled by the so-called “correct” answer – that’s fake news. Bow before the all-knowing Trump, and vote to make him Emperor of Earth in 2020.


The game of world subordination. Each player is given their own country and army, but they won’t be trying to take over the world. The object of the game is to reduce your own nation’s power and influence, and render it impotent on the world stage. You’ll have to recall your military, repatriate your businesses, close off your borders, annoy your allies, align yourself with tin-pot dictators, and allow other regimes to interfere in your elections. There’s a UK version too – the winner is whichever country can make the biggest fools of themselves.

Operation TV Station

The fun game of telly surgery. The patient is a national broadcaster in serious need of medical attention. You’ve got to try to remove some of its more expensive bits while keeping it viable as a TV station and making sure its viewership figures don’t flatline. But be careful – one slip and the advertisers and licence-paying public might deliver a severe financial shock. It’s up to you to decide which bits to take out – that sickly soap with the dried-up storylines, perhaps, or the bloated Friday night chat show with the terminally smug host, or that anaemic lovely girls contest held in a hard-to-reach spot outside the Pale. You’ll need a steady hand on the remote control for this game!

Twister in Reverse

This game will leave everyone in a tizzy. Players start off intertwined with each other on the board. The idea is to extricate yourself from the rest of the players so you can be free to trade with other, imaginary players on some faraway Twister board. But some of your fellow players don’t want to let go that easily, and will do their darndest to keep you tied up in a customs union or some other nasty constraint. You’ll need to bend more than a few rules to break free from this tangled web!

BusConnects 4

Can you drive a big bus through the city’s planning laws without getting blocked? In this fun game of public transport, each player has to open a bus corridor through the city and get their four buses through. But beware: there are obstacles along the way, including trees, public amenities, people’s front gardens and even people’s homes – not to mention the protestors waiting at every junction. Players will have to collect compulsory purchase orders, bulldoze their way through tree-lined avenues, and roll over everybody’s rights to win this game. But it’ll be worth it to shave 30 seconds off the bus journey.


A heinous crime has been committed in the White House, and it's up to you to work out whodunit. Someone has blown the whistle on the Donald's dodgy phone call with a foreign leader, and now his 2020 election campaign could be dead in the water. Was it Colonel Sanders, in the Oval Office, with a cellphone? Or Dr Pepper, in Melania's bedroom, with a laptop? In this variation on Cluedo, everyone – and I mean everyone, including "Crooked Hillary" – is a "suspect". The Donald will be tweeting you lots of clues along the way, but be careful – he's sure to throw in a few red herrings – and plenty of fishy stories – to throw you off the scent.