Thursday 9 November 2023

The Christmas Express Family Board Game Review (age 6+) Sent by Cheatwell Games For Review

Our latest review for Cheatwell Games is Christmas Express. Designed for 2 to 4 players aged around 6 or over, this a very nicely illustrated family board game with the aim to get your 'train' all the way to the North Pole first -  without sliding backwards down a bridge or getting caught in a snowstorm. 

The Christmas Express Game box front showing large colourful text, and cartoony illustrated snowy forest North Pole scene

The illustrations really are excellent, this is an attractive, bright and colourful game, with a very festive feel. The player pieces are card, with 8 cute animal characters to choose from, so everyone is happy. 

The Christmas Express Game box contents showing colourful bright friendly characters and game board

Movement around the board is via a hand of cards. Each time it's your turn, you pick up cards so that you have 5 in your hand. Most give a number of spaces to move forward, but some are more specialised....

If you collect 3 of the same numbered cards, then you can advance directly to the next train station. In gameplay we've found that has only occurred an average of once each game - it really doesn't happen as often as you'd imagine. 

The Christmas Express Game numbered card examples

Special cards include Hustle Bustle, Snow Storm and Santa, and you choose which card (or cards) to play each time it's your turn. When a special card is played, it triggers a specific action - you can swap places with whoever is in the lead, move other players backwards, make someone miss a turn and other dastardly deeds. 

Cheatwell Games Christmas Express Game playing card examples, showing movement and special cards

The meanest of the cards in my family's opinion is Naughty Elf, which moves another player to the top of the bridge. You can use this to push them back quite a long way if you are battling it out to land on the final North Pole square. You might not want to play this one with a 6 year old in that position, I know it would have caused upset in our house. A 15 year old, not so much. 

The kindest card is obviously Santa, who saves the day by blocking most of the other special cards - even the Naughty Elf. 

For what appears to be a fairly regular 'from start to finish' board game, there can be a lot of strategy in The Christmas Express Game. Having 5 cards to choose from does mean you always have options, and they are really quite varied. You can hold on to certain cards until the perfect moment, and destroy someone else's chance of winning, or streak into the lead. It can actually be quite harsh if you are a very competitive person who is determined to win. Likewise, it can feel very rewarding to block someone else's attempt to snow on your own section of the railway line. 

Three people sitting at a small table playing The Christmas Express

Each game we've played has taken under an hour. The Christmas Express Game has a 'snakes and ladders' feel to it, but with much more opportunity for strategy and gameplay. You find yourself travelling up and down the board a lot, especially when the race hots up, and it's never a straight line 'start to finish'. My competitive boys and partner really love the way this plays - I'm always too soft to be ruthless, so I feel guilty whenever I have to hobble another player, especially when they are younger.

The Christmas Express Game was sent to us by Cheatwell Games for review. It is designed for 2-4 players aged 6+, and ideal for family games night. It's beautifully decorated and a really fun and festive treat, which will make you feel warm and cosy and Christmassy - even the Naughty Elf.

The Christmas Express game in action, showing teenager looking at board while other boy makes a move

Our copy of The Christmas Express Game was sent to us by Cheatwell Games for review. It's available from Amazon for a very good price - just £15.49 at the time of typing, although full RRP is still a very reasonable £22.99. Here's an Amazon affiliate link to The Christmas Express Game with the latest price... 

We were sent our copy of The Christmas Express family board game for review. I was not paid or offered any other incentive, and this review is all my own thoughts and words. Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence if you buy through my link, but you won't ever pay a penny extra. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I read every one and try my best to reply!