Christmas and board games may go together like turkey and cranberry sauce, but sadly, the combination can leave a slightly more bitter taste.

Actually, not so much ‘can’ as will’.

[Read more: 7 board games we’ll never get tired of playing]

Because however much the phraseology of  ‘game’ and ‘play’ might suggest otherwise, sitting around a board with slightly tipsy family who you generally make every effort to avoid for the other 364 days of the year can only end in unmitigated disaster.

Here are some tips to avoid an argument:

Lay the ground rules early

To avoid arguments over what’s right and what’s wrong during a game, make things clear at the beginning. “Make sure that everyone is aware of the rules and the consequences of cheating before starting to play,” advises Wright. It might seem a bit planning overkill, but it will also save you wanting to kill anyone in an hour’s time.

Don’t try to prove anything

Desperately competitive at board games? You might think it’s a sign you’re one of life’s winners, but actually, it just proves you’re one of life’s wannabes, according to life coach Sheridan Sloan.

“If you are playing the game to increase your level of significance, it would be good to look inside yourself and ask is it important to be a winner or is it important to have fun and be playful and connect,” says Sloan.

“If you err on the side of needing to win it is indicative of potential low self-esteem or a lack of confidence.”

Be gracious

However annoyed you are that your 10-year-old granddaughter royally trounced you at Trivial Pursuit, never let it show. “It is just as important to be a gracious winner as it is to be a gracious loser,” Sloan stresses.

“You should always congratulate your opponent whether you win or lose and always allow for a rematch at a later date to regain your title of King or Queen of monopoly or preserve it.

[Read more: Trivial Pursuit – the simple game that became a family favourite]

Be over 55

Age might not always bring the wisdom to tolerate foul play, but it does bring enough confusion and gluttony to not really notice it.

A recent survey revealed that while cheating causes almost half (45%) of all fall-outs in the 18-24 age bracket, adults aged 55 and over were apparently likely to be too full from dinner to concentrate on family games and therefore have no idea it’s even happening.

It’s not the winning but the taking part

Easier said than done, perhaps, but try to remember the idea of playing a game is to actually play it, not just win it.

“At Christmas time or any other time when playing with friends and family it is important to remember that the primary gain from playing is to connect with the ones you love. You are not playing for money and therefore you do not have a need to win that outweighs any observation of good board game etiquette,” Sloan points out.