Game On!

1228858320At this point, we’re past Thanksgiving, and all that holiday’s typical accoutrements—unexpected relatives, post-turkey lethargy, valiantly trying to catch up with Great Aunt Agnes. And heading straight into late December’s more of the same…

Well, you heard it here first: This year can be different. Herewith, some of our party-saving favorites:

Twenty-first century Scrabble, minus the snooze-factor and confusing point system.

The Appeal: It’s perfect for groups. One set suits up to eight players, but you can add more sets to accommodate more people. It’s also super easy to learn; you won’t even need a practice round.
The Best Part: All 144 tiles come in a portable banana peel pouch. Pop it in your handbag and bring it with you.
The Tip: Stock up! The game is a best seller, which means if it’s on shelves now, it won’t be for long.
$14.95, Barnes and Noble, Prudential Center, Boston, 617-247-6959,; 1+ players, all ages and reading levels.

Cranium WOW!
For people who’ve played the original Cranium so many times they’re considered “cheaters” by most standards.
The Appeal: Basically, it’s a newer version of the original, but with 600 brand-new cards and funky new character pieces with interchangeable hats and hairdos.
The Best Part: “Sensosketch”-ing and “Humdinger”-ing your way to victory!
The Tip: It’s especially great for rowdy parties, so bring it to your next Dirty Santa gift exchange.
$20, Target, South Bay Center, 7 Allstate Rd., Dorchester, 617-602-1921,; 4+ players, ages 13 and up.

Red Sox Monopoly2007 World Series Edition
A New England themed twist on a timeless classic.
The Appeal: It’s ideal for adult groups, especially guys who say they hate board games but love baseball.
The Best Part: Trading, buying, and selling your favorite players. (Goodbye Manny, hello Jacoby!)
The Tip: It’s obviously a winner for Red Sox fanatics, but also consider other Monopoly themes (Family Guy, Shrek, 007) for the non-jocks on your list.
$32.99, Newbury Comics, 332 Newbury St., Boston, 617-236-4930,; 2-6 players, ages 8 and up.