British Columbia

How to enjoy a holiday board game without breaking up your family in the process

The owner of two board game bars in Vancouver dishes on the game most likely to destroy relationships between loved ones.

The real strategy is not to drink too much while playing, bar owner says

Kapalka suggests Settlers of Catan as a board game with a competitive edge that won't end in intra-family fistfights. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Many families enjoy board games around Christmas time, but sometimes mixing competitive spirit with Christmas spirit can be a roll of the dice.

For instance, things can get so heated that Hasbro has even set up a Monopoly hot line in the U.K. this year to help curb fights.

Jason Kapalka, owner of Storm Crow Tavern and Storm Crow Alehouse in Vancouver, both of which invite people to play board games while drinking, says he has seen some games get way out of hand.

"I would agree Monopoly can sometimes bring out some violent emotions, but usually the worst we've seen is Risk. Risk is way worse than Monopoly," he told On The Coast guest host Chris Brown.

"We've had people who say they got divorced over a particularly bad game of Risk. We've had cases where servers have had to tell people to calm down. There's a lot more conflict in that."

Hasbro describes its board game Risk as an 'exciting game ... filled with betrayal, alliances, and surprise attacks.' Tavern owner Jason Kapalka says his servers have had to tell customers playing Risk to calm down. (

Kapalka says he recommends people who want to have fun in a less competitive game try party games like Apples to Apples or its much raunchier counterpart, Cards Against Humanity.

But perhaps the biggest determinant of your board game experience will not be the game itself, but rather the amount of alcohol being consumed.

"You might get people, who, after a few eggnogs, are more worked up about a board game than they might otherwise be," he said.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: How to enjoy a holiday board game without breaking up your family in the process