Best board games for a cosy, koselig evening in: Catan, Takenoko, Azul, Chameleon and Kariba

Five board games for a cosy evening

At the Koselig headquarters, there are few things we find as nice and cosy as a board game night. We spend many of our free evenings at our local board game café, and we often sneak in a game or two between other plans and chores.

We love all kinds of games, from the very competitive to the super simple. But now that the nights are growing darker and there’s a constant chill in the air, we love the koselig games – games that are relaxing, beautiful, charming or fun to play with a group. Here are our best recommendations.

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Best game for a chill date night


This is perfect for a cosy, relaxing evening: it looks gorgeous, it’s easy to learn, it’s slow but never boring and, although there’s an end goal and a winner, there’s little focus on beating your opponents. You tend the emperor’s gardens, trying to make them beautiful with the aid of the gardener and while keeping the hungry panda from eating all of your bamboo. Soon, a forest of bamboo springs up across the board, and you must achieve a number of objectives to gain points and the emperor’s favour.

2–4 players, standard game approx. 45 minutes, ages 8+.

Best game to play with your siblings


This beautiful game is great for groups with various levels of competitiveness – perfect if you want everyone to have fun and still remain calm. Azul is easy to get into and has quite simple rules, yet the variety of approaches to playing make it suitable for just about everyone – from super casual players to ultra-competitive ones. The middle child can half-heartedly place tiles while chatting away; the oldest and youngest can be determined to beat each other with clever, risky or aggressive strategies; and all three can have a lovely time. The objective is to tile a beautiful floor, sourcing tiles from various factories while trying not to break too many.

2–4 players, standard game 20–30 minutes, ages 8+.

Best game for a good laugh with your friends

The Chameleon

This one is as simple as it is clever. You place a card listing closely linked words on the table. All the players but one know which is the word of the round. The final player is the chameleon, and must pretend to know which word is being talked about as each player gives a clue – general enough that the chameleon won’t be able to guess the word, but specific enough that they won’t be accused of being the chameleon. Let the negotiations begin. This is great fun and it can get quite rowdy, but only if you want it to.

3–8 players (best with 4+), standard game approx. 15 mins, ages 14+.

Best game for a double date


If you’re an eager board game player, there’s little chance you haven’t already played Catan, but we feel we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend it anyway. Catan is one of those games that just gets better the more you play it; each game feels different from the last. You play as one of the settlers on the island Catan, scrambling for resources and space to build your settlements. Although the rules can seem overwhelming at first glance, the gameplay is actually very simple. As soon as you get into the swing of things, the trading, scheming and collaboration can make it a good strategic and social game.

3–4 players (or up to 6 with expansions), standard game approx. 60–90 minutes, ages 10+.

Best game for hot chocolate with the children


Kariba is a unique game in that it is aimed at younger children and incredibly easy to play, yet still genuinely fun for adults. Amelia and Nica have played at least 70 rounds this year, just between themselves. The setup couldn’t be simpler: different animal cards are numbered from one to eight and ordered by size – ones are mice, eights are elephants. Players take turns to place cards around the watering hole, and as soon as three of the same animal are gathered, they chase away the next smallest animal. The mice, of course, are the exception: three mice can chase away a stack of elephants. The cards you “scare away” become your points. The game is strategic enough to keep it enjoyable for grown-ups and cute enough to engage the youngest.

2–4 players, standard game approx. 10–15 minutes, ages 5+.