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What Readers Are Buying: Two-Player Board Games, Moisturiser, and an Ever-Popular Mister

Photo-Illustration: retailers

Welcome to Your Shopping Cart, wherein we break out the top-ten products that you, devoted Strategist UK readers, bought in droves. Think of this as the TL;DR of the Strategist UK: If your like-minded brethren are buying these items, maybe you’d like to as well.

This month sees three new entries in our top ten — including, most impressively, a new entry that debuted at the top spot. In addition to featuring a trove of board games, our top ten features a couple of hall-of-famers — the Neutrogena gel moisturiser, and the plant mister that you’ve bought in droves.

Impressively, our first entry this month is also a new entry. Jaipur is a board game we first featured when we looked at the best-rated board games on Amazon. It also features in our look at the best board games for two players. Reviewers liked the fast-pace of the game — players must trade items to amass rupees, and it only takes 30 minutes to complete — and the gorgeously illustrated cards were also singled out.

The Flairosol spray bottle is number two this month — which is the highest entry yet for this inexpensive mister. January also marks its ninth month in the Strategist’s most-bought — a rare accolade it shares with one other product (also on this list — see below). Lisa Muñoz, interior plant designer and founder of Leaf and June, says this bottle is “typically something you’d see in salons,” but it’s her favourite mister for plants. “It’s small and lightweight, even when full of water, and it creates a gentle, steady mist.”

£11

Though it’s fallen one more place since last month, Neutrogena’s gel moisturiser remains something of a legacy item in our most-bought round-up. January marks the product’s tenth month in our top ten; it’s come recommended by experts for dry-skin types, the rosacea-prone, and even pregnant women — and staff writer Chris Mandle swears by it.

4. Hive
£22
£22

Hive has gone up three places since it made its debut last month; the board game is a particular favourite of Strategist U.K. editor Ailbhe Malone, and it also came recommended by Lauren Bilanko, co-owner of Twenty Sided Store. The main objective is to use the hexagonal tiles, which are adorned with a different bug and have unique rules, to surround your opponent’s queen bee. “Once you learn how the pieces move, it’s easy to pick up, like a smaller-scale game of chess,” Ailbhe writes.

5. Bananagrams
£13

Another returning board game is Bananagram, which has gone up one place since it debuted last month. Strategist U.K. editor Ailbhe wrote about it in her piece on her favourite two-player board games, saying that “it took us a couple of rounds to learn how to play, but it’s very easy to pick up.” The game is a bit like Scrabble, but with two players racing against each other to make words.

Patchwork has now been in our most-bought three months in a row. It first came recommended to us by four experts when we looked into the best board games for two players. The game challenges players to strategically collect different pieces to create a quilt. Greg May, owner of The Uncommons and Hex & Company, calls it “the perfect game for couples” that is sure to delight “fans of Blokus or Tetris.”

Our second new entry this month is this “challenging, absorbing, and quietly immersive” game for two (although it can be played solo, if your flatmate decides to tap out). Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective asks players to sift through a box of old newspapers, narrative vignettes, and clues to solve a mystery that “puts you and your partner right at the centre of the story,” says Dr. Michael James Heron of Meeple Like Us, a board-game review site with a focus on accessibility. “It’s best for those with some time on their hands or those who like a challenge, because it’s a slow-paced, cerebral affair of poring over evidence and making deductive leaps.”

8. Dobble
£9
£9

We’re not surprised to see Dobble in our most-bought after Christmas — trend forecasters told us it would be a huge seller at Christmas — and January marks its second month in our most-bought. The game has plenty of fans — Strategist U.K. editor Ailbhe Malone loves it, as does comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who told us his family has been playing it a lot during lockdown. “Every card has symbols on it, and every card has something in common with every other card,” explained Romesh. “The objective is to figure out what the common theme is, and the quickest person to get it keeps the card. The person with the most cards at the end wins.”

Another board game that debuted last month (and returns for January) is Imhotep, which sees players try to win by unloading ships from a shared waterfront and earning points by collecting six different types of goods. According to Andy Matthews, the founder of board-game review site Meeple Mountain, “This game is everything I want a two-player game to be: It’s streamlined, it’s tactical, and it’s fun,” he says, adding that because there are a limited number of choices during each turn, every decision is important.

Our final new entry this month is, perhaps unsurprisingly, also a board game. Sushi Go! is a lightning-quick, pick-and-pass style card game, with the overall goal being to create different collections of dishes to score the most points.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

What Readers Are Buying: Board Games and Spray Bottles