Christmas in the Magwitch household is all about games, and oddly, not all of them are on the Xbox.
I've lived in this house for eight Christmases and our routine never changes. The day before Christmas Eve my eldest two boys 1 arrive and the game cupboard is raided. Over the years we've aquired many, many board games, both new and second hand. We have many original versions and few 'special' editions as well. Two version of Mousetrap, the older one still fucntioning and holding together better than the new one with the toilet. We have three versions of Risk - Star Wars, Transformers and the Original. Although essentially the same game, both the Star Wars and Transformers have odd little rules in them that aren't in the original and can lead to confusion after the sherry's been opened. It took me a while to get hold of a copy of the original and I was very pleased when I did as I'm the reigning champion and no-one has come close to ever beating me. I also really enjoy attacking Brazil from North Africa while singing Aquarela do Brasil - the version from the Terry Gilliam film - and I'll do it at any opportunity, even if it's not part of my mission.
Pass the Bomb can be quite fun, although we've gone through three different bombs from three different versions of the game because the boys think the game is called 'Chuck the Bomb Very Hard at the Person on your Left' after shouting out their word - I play it with a cushion for a shield. At least we don't have arguments over money in Monopoly anymore, we have the Revolution set as well as several other versions. There's no need for a banker because everything is electronic - you have a credit card and a hand held debvice that debits and credits accordingly. It can be quite annoying, however, because it plays music and sound effects - perhaps not something for Boxing Day morning.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas of course, without the video games. Skylanders has pretty much sewn-up this year but in the past we've had Link's Crossbow Training (with a zappy crossbow-type thing), Hitman Absolution, various Final Fantasy figures and console versions of board (and other) games. We have a couple of different Family Game Nights. One is for the Wii (Volume 2) and is like a game show and includes Jenga, Bop-It, Connect 4 and a couple of others, it's ok but the Wii-mote is not quite as precise as you would like and it doesn't support the Classic controller. The other dowside is that although up to four players can take part, out of necessity each round is only two player and I was never really a fan of Operation anyway. The best Family Game Night, in my opinion, is Volume 3. You can get it on PS3 and Wii as well as Xbox and is hours of fun. The trap never fails on Mousetrap, Twister gives your fingers a good workout, Cluedo is much more fun and Game of Life can last for an hour and there's no faffing about with the cards and little pink and blue pieces . I still don't understand Yatzee Hands Down, though. There are also alternate and quicker versions of each game, although we tend to only play the alternate Mousetrap.
One of the many versions of Monopoly that gets played is Monopoly Streets for the Xbox. It has many different boards including Classic, but the best way to play is with your avatar on the interactive board. No tedious hand rolling of dice and arguing over who's nicked your cash or train station and the city grows around you as property is bought and built on - the flamingo hotel on Old Kent Road is sight to see. Going to jail is quite fun if you have the dog, because he sits outside your cell wasiting for you to get out. Bless. The best part of all, mind, is that you can save the game at any point and continue exactly from you left off.
However you spend the end of year holidays, I wish you happy gaming.