There isn’t much time left to buy gifts, but perhaps you are still looking for that perfect gift for your gaming friends. Or, possibly a game to get your friends exposed to the hobby! Here are my recommendations for some games that just might fit the bill this holiday season.
Light Game – Cadwallon : City of Thieves (Fantasy Flight Games)
Want a game that looks complicated on the outside, but is really a quick setup and easy to learn game? Then you need to check out Cadwallon : City of Thieves. This Fantasy Flight publication occurs in Cadwallon, like many other games have, in which you play a thief trying to avoid the city guards and collect goods and escape the district before it is locked down! With cool miniatures and a little element of chance with dice rolls, this makes for a fast to learn, fast to teach board game.
Heavy Game – The Hobbit : Escape From Goblin Town (Games Workshop)
If you like war games, and you’re a fan of Tolkien’s works, you’ll like this one. The Hobbit: Escape From Goblin Town does require some miniature assembly (and comes with a painting guide for those that want it). One player controls Thorin Oakenshield, Bilbo, Gandalf, and the rest of the dwarves trying to escape Goblin Town, the iconic scene in The Hobbit. The other controls the Goblin King and his army of many, many goblins. Both sides have conditions that must be met in order to claim victory, such as moving X number of dwarves off the board, or killing X number of “good” characters. It really is fun from the perspective of a war gamer and a Tolkien fan!
Family Game – Mice & Mystics (Plaid Hat Games)
I really couldn’t decide what to put this game under, because it could be considered heavy, family, party, or two player. However, I’m placing it under family for its ease to learn and to teach. I have recommended this game to individuals many times throughout the year, especially to those that are looking for games to teach their kids, light RPG’s, or those wanting to get into games with miniatures. Mice & Mystics really does have many benefits of an RPG, board games, and miniature games. From encountering the sorceress’s countless minions to proudly playing with minis that you and your family have painted yourselves, Mice & Mystics is well worth the money to possess it, and the time it takes to play it.
Party Game – Hanabi (R&R Games) / Mysterium (Portal Games)
Hanabi is an interesting card game in the sense that everyone in the game knows the cards you have in your hand – everyone, that is, except for you. Each player holds their hand face out for other players to see. Give each other hints by calling out card numbers and colors that other players have in their hands to correctly place cards down on the table. The object of the game is to create stacks of cards according to color to represent a firework! If you place incorrect cards, the fuse gets lit and you have a limited number of mistakes you can make before the end of the game is triggered. It is a lot of fun, and the difficulty/enjoyment of the game increases when you play by strict rules!
Mysterium is also going to make this list, though it is difficult to pick up right now. Mysterium is currently not printed in English, though Portal Games is working quickly to fix that. This game doesn’t really need an English rulebook though, because the game reminds me a lot of Dixit, though it is a murder mystery game. One player is the ghost of someone who has recently been killed, and tries to communicate to the investigators (other players) to help them eliminate various locations, weapons, and people, to find the real killer. The ghost communicates using cards with images, and tries to best correlate the clue cards to the each investigator’s individual mystery. We played this game at BGG.con and had a really good time with it.
Two-Player Game – Berserk : War of the Realms (Hobby World)
Based on a Russian game, Berserk: War of the Realms was brought to the USA through a Kickstarter ran by Hobby World USA back in 2013. This game has taken a lot of heat for not having a great rulebook, which I can admit isn’t the best. However, as a fan of tactical card games that require some individual player builds, I really enjoy this game. Move your cards across the board to try to be the last player standing with cards on the field!
Stocking Stuffer- Star Realms (White Wizard Games)
Star Realms got a lot of attention this year as a new deck building game that comes in very small packaging. The base game is a small box with enough cards for 2 players. More base games can be purchased to increase it to a 4 or 6 player game – these get crazy! Star Realms features 4 different factions that you can recruit into your personal arsenal to take down the opponent. Each player starts with 50 Authority, and the player to be reduced to 0 Authority loses!
I think these are pretty varied and you could get almost any gamer something from this list! Are you hoping for anything in particular for the holidays? I’ve got a few things on my wishlist