Christmas: pretty much the only time of year you’re likely to sit down and play games. Some people are rubbish at them but are just happy to take part. Others are VERY bad losers (especially after one too many snowballs). And how many people have actually finished a game of Monopoly, let alone won it?! But there’s no need for you to fall into any of these categories this year, because friend of InStyle and writer Tom Whipple has written an entire book all about beating people at games. Here are his top tips - read on and you’ll be #winning...
Do you know your ‘zo’ from your ‘za’ and your ‘yo’ from your ‘ya’? Players can dramatically improve their game by learning all the two letter words there are. There aren’t many, but it’s surprising how often ‘qi’ (even if you don’t know what it means) can win you a game – if not many friends.
As everyone knows, you can only use one hand in Jenga. But no one said anything about elbows. This is the trick used by Leslie Scott, a Jenga expert from Oxford. ‘To steady the tower, I put my elbow on the table and rest my forearm vertically against it.’ People accuse her of cheating but she has a very good response: Ms Scott invented the game.
Tom Whipple: here's a guy who knows how to win games AND look festive
Rather than scrutinising Wikipedia for hours each day, there is a (marginally) easier way of succeeding at Trivial Pursuit. A typical set has 2,400 questions. Spending an hour a day for a month, memory experts estimate that you can learn them all. Which may seem extreme, but does make for a very satisfying family Boxing Day.
Nola Rae, founder of the London International Mime Festival, is very good at charades. But, she says, we all can be too. The trick is to move away from the book/film/play formalism and be inventive. ‘You just have to bring out the best mime in you. My friend once acted out a bowling ball – she picked herself up by her nose. Be as simple as possible. ’And, maybe, have a drink or two.
The most salient fact about Monopoly? Just like in the real financial markets, people go to prison. And the square most landed on in the board game? Jail (which you’ll either land on, be sent to, or have rolled three doubles). Now, you can’t buy jail, but you can buy the orange squares that come after it. On average, every five times someone pays you rent on blue, they do six times on orange.
How To Win Games And Beat People by Tom Whipple is out now (£9.99, Virgin Books)