I'm surprised and delighted by the resurgence of the humble board game. I was brought up playing Snakes & Ladders and Ludo, Dizzy Bugs, Mousetrap and Scrabble. My children were initiated into the ways of the Draughts board long before they could ride a bike, and even now on family occasions we will gather around the dining table for competitive games and a little gentle bickering over the rules.
Today's rash of games is different from those I remember from 'the old days'. The look and feel of them is as much a part of the experience as the actual playing - check out Azul, for instance, which is a strategy game we're playing obsessively at the moment. It involves laying tiles that, to my mind, look like Spangles. Remember them? We also turn to Catan, Seven Wonders and Colt Express, the latter of which comes with a cute train on which Wild West characters are moved in search of booty. Phoney cowboy accents have become obligatory when we play this.
We do still dig into the cupboard for some old favourites. However, the one pictured is the worst of all possible worlds; I mean, Risk is bad enough - it can maunder on for hours - but Lord of the Rings Risk means I have to wrap my head around the intricacies of Helm's Deep and Dol Guldur. Good grief.
I did suggest we got rid of this one, but was met with howls of protest from the rest of the Thorley clan. We'll see.