It’s that time of the year again! A time to eat, be merry, play games and give (receive) gifts! By now everyone should know that board games make the best gifts, right? Thinking of that perfect game to gift this season? Well, look no further because UnGeek’s got you covered!
Be it a casual, party, euro, competitive, or any type of tabletop gamer, there is sure to be a game for everyone! So just sit back and relax as we go through our very own game recommendations this holiday season!
To start the list lets start with the classic bestsellers! These are the staple games that make every gamer’s list, expect lots of playtime with these time-proven gems.
Ticket To Ride – If you are looking for one of the greatest gateway games out there, you won’t go wrong with this game! Easy to teach and play, and did I mention there were TRAINS involved? The Collector’s Edition of the USA map is simply EYE CANDY!
The Settlers of Catan / Catan
Catan, simply put, is one of the grand-daddies of board games and is most likely the western’s first experience with a “euro” game that went mainstream. This may look deep at first glance but don’t be fooled, a lot of gamers got their “gateway” experience playing this game in the 90’s! (Me included). Expect loads of laughter just by simply trading sheep for wood.
Other recommendations: Dixit, Pandemic, Puerto Rico, Agricola, Carcassone
We all know that this season is all about the little ones, right? What better way to start them off in this wonderful hobby than with these games!
Animal Upon Animal
Whether you are giving this for gameplay’s sake or simply for it’s “toy factor” this should definitely be one to consider! Excellent dexterity games mixed with die-rolling and “take that” mechanics.
Other recommendations: The Tales and Games series from Iello, Battlesheep
Some gamers prefer to play as a group. Whether they win or lose together, it’s all about the camaraderie… And the occasional accusation of your teammate being the betraitor (the unholy combination of BETRAYER and TRAITOR)! Squad goals anyone? Take a look at our recommendations for cooperative games!
Mechs vs Minions – Robot-programming cooperative game (and my personal favorite programming game) from the team that brought us the immensely popular game League of Legends digital game. Think this is just another lame tie-in from the video game? Think again! This game is very well thought of by digital game designers who happen to be boardgamers as well! Yeah I know the first wave sold out quick and you might have a bit of trouble getting this now, but there is a second wave coming out so yey for rainchecks?
Mansions of Madness Second Edition
Most people complained that the first edition was very fiddly and had a very long setup and pack-up time. Well now, thanks to a very handy, official (and free) app, all of the tedious book-keeping is done for you! So you can now focus more on the all the Lovecraft-lore goodness! Highly recommended just for the well thought and highly-diverse scenarios alone! As Naruto would say… Believe it!
Other Recommendations: Dead of Winter, Eldrtich Horror, Pandemic Iberia, Descent 2nd Edition
Some people just want to have fun! These games make the perfect gift to those who always play with a large group. Check out these awesome party games!
Now THIS is a party game! Imagine two teams face of in a submarine battle at the bottom of the ocean where one team is trying to locate and destroy the enemy submarine (before they can do the same to you, of course!) The only drawback I see in this game is that it needs to have the full compliment of 8 players for the game to truly shine. But hey, it’s not that hard since you are in a party, right?
From publisher Pretzel Games, makers of the popular game Flick Em Up! In Junk Art players build sculptures using a variety of wooden colors and shapes. Just when you think that stacking pieces might not seem like much gameplay-wise, it’s actually a hoot to play! And the replay value is something to note too, given that this is a party game.
Ice Cool has players flicking little penguins around an ice-walled enclosure trying to catch fish. Very accessible game that can be both easy to play and impressive to watch just for the trick-shots alone!
Other recommendations: Codenames, Mysterium
For the card-chuckers and min-max deck-builders out there, these are some of the must-have games for your collection!
By far and hands-down my favorite deck-builder of all time! So much variety and replayablity in the heroes, villains and schemes, the base game alone has a lot of mileage! The numerous expansions might be a barrier for entry but if you are a Marvel fan and into coop-deckbuilding, this is worth it and really one of the best games out there!
Arkham Horror LCG
Scared of jumping into the LCG format? Well this one is relatively new in the scene so you wont be overwhelmed as much as the older ones out there. For the Lovecraft card chuckers out there who miss the Call of Cthulhu LCG, this one is for you! Coop Card-based Arkham Horror at it’s finest!
Other Recommendations: Paperback, Mystic Vale, Sheriff of Nottingham
For those who want a bit more meat in their games, these games certainly fit the bill! Ok now I’m hungry. @__@
Tyrants of the Underdark
Based on the DnD Legend of Drizzt series, this game is a neat hybrid of deckbuilding mechanics mixed with a game board… And to everyone’s surprise it blends quite well with the Underdark cavern theme!
One of Eric Lang’s greatest creations, this game is a solid mix of area control and card drafting and variable player powers that is really fun to play!
This is a neat city building game where players are drafting tiles and trying to earn points in a variety of ways (Think point-salad). There are many paths to victory because of the multitude of options when formulating your strategy. Days of Wonder hit a home run with this game.
Other Recommendations: Isle of Sky, War of the Ring 2nd Edition, Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar, Broom Service
There are other awesome boardgames out there not on this list, but these are sure to fill the needs of any gamer’s stocking. Any games that we might have missed? (And I’m sure there are plenty) Shout it out in the comments below! Happy holidays everyone and till next time! Keep on gaming!