The holidays are nearly upon us and what better way to enjoy time with friends and family than with some great board and card games! This was a fantastic year of gaming where I learned and played many new games and enjoyed old favorites. To me the best thing about board gaming is the fun I have with friends old and new. Here are my gift recommendations for the gamer or soon-to-be gamer in your life!
Light Game – For Sale (Gryphon Games)
For Sale is an older game for 3-6 players that’s split into two parts. In the first half players bid on properties ranging from an outhouse to a space station. In the second half players try to turn those properties into profit by selling them at just the right time. A light, easy to teach game that still offers plenty of fun and plays in 20-30 minutes. The whimsical art style of the cards fits the game perfectly and there’s no better feeling than selling your outhouse for $10,0oo!
Heavy Game – Nothing Personal (Game Salute)
Nothing Personal is a new game released this year where players take the role of crime families using their influence to control various members of the mob from the lowliest thug all the way to the capo. Players who control mobsters can use their positions and abilities but have to watch out for other players and the feds unless they want to sleep with the fishes or get sent up the river. The constant negotiating, deal-making (and inevitable back-stabbing) make this the perfect game for the right group. Don’t be surprised to hear famous quotes from various mob movies during this one! (Horse heads in beds not included.)
Family Game – Quarriors!/Quarriors! Quarmaggedon (WizKids Games)
Do you like dice? A handful of dice? A gigantic fistful of colorful dice? Would you enjoy throwing said fistfuls of dice in attempt to get more and better dice? If so, Quarriors! is the game for you. Essentially, deck-building with dice, a game of Quarriors! revolves around using your dice to purchase other dice that represent monsters and spells that you allow you to score points. The first expansion Quarmaggedon adds even more dice and a couple of rule-changes that make the game even more fun. This is dice-chucking at its finest!
Party Game – Telestrations (USAopoly)
If you’ve got a good-sized group and are looking for some serious chuckles Telestrations is the way to go! Essentially, a souped up version of the old “telephone” game, players try to guess the meaning of other player’s drawings. Each player begins with a phrase like ‘car chase’ or ‘Jaws’ and then draws it on a whiteboard notebook. They pass the drawing to the next player who tries to guess what the previous player drew. Then the next player draws that player’s guess. This continues until each player has their starting notebook back. Then player’s take turns revealing their notebooks and showing how ‘car chase’ evolved into ‘chicken coop’ by the time it got back to them! This game is so much fun we don’t even bother keeping score when playing!
Two Player Game – Mage Wars (Arcane Wonders)
In Mage Wars, players take on the role of mages battling for supremacy. With a variety of mage types to choose from including the Warlock, Beastmaster, Force Master and more there’s an enormous amount of variety in Mage Wars. Each player also builds their own unique spell book for their mage adding a layer of personalization and deck construction to the game. Mage Wars is immersive, deep and very rewarding for those who put the time in to learn and play. This is a gamer’s game but well worth the effort. It’s also a very good value as the base set comes with 4 mages and enough cards to build two spell books allowing players to jump in and get started while still providing a lot of variety for future play.
Stocking Stuffer – Love Letter (AEG)
A lovely microgame, Love Letter is easy to teach and play. Primarily a deduction and bluffing game players try to win the affection of Princess Annette by knocking other players out of the round or having the character closest to the princess at the end of the round to ensure that their love letters reach the princess! A light, fun game that is easily accessible, this is a great stocking stuffer and an excellent ‘filler’ or quick game.
Good gaming and happy holidays!