Today myself and two housemates headed to Birmingham to visit the German Christmas Markets - begun in 1966 in collaboration with the German city of Frankfurt. It was very pretty, with festive decorations everywhere and an incredibly lively atmosphere. Highlights included half-metre sausages, enormous steins of beer and a ton of trinkets and stalls to peruse.
After wandering the markets we headed to our coursemate's flat (who conveniently happens to live in central Birmingham). Board games were on the table (pun most definitely intended) and we started with Spyfall, a title wherein a selection of different locations are visible to all players, including examples such as a subway, casino or library. All but one of the players will receive a card featuring an occupation relevant to one particular area, while the remaining player becomes a spy (who unlike the others does not know which location has been chosen). Players must ask one another questions about their work to try and work out the identity of the spy, while the spy must use the answers of other players to establish the correct location. I'm a big fan of hidden identity / limited knowledge games like Mafia, Werewolf and Secret Hitler, so this was right up my street.
This was followed by the old German classic Settlers of Catan, friendship ruiner of the ages. For those unfamiliar, each player tries to accrue resources (including stone, sheep and wheat) through dice rolls and placing settlements on tiles that produce the desired resource. Accumulated resources can then be spent on building roads and new settlements, meaning players can spread outwards and cover as much of the fictional island of Catan as possible. Players can trade resources freely, acquire development cards which change gameplay, as well as buildings roads in such a way as to box other players in and prevent them from expanding their colonies. Well worth a play if you haven't tried it before.