The 30 Best Games To Choose From For Gifts This Year
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The 30 Best Games To Choose From For Gifts This Year

No, not Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity

If you’re still looking for Christmas gift ideas, seriously consider buying your loved ones a game. No, a game is not a set of Wüsthof knives or an iPad. But it’s more affordable and it will similarly “go far.” And if you say you hate games because of Monopoly, The Game of Life and Scrabble, you simply haven’t lived.

You know your friends who lament that social networks like Facebook are replacing real, live face time? Board games can combat that and help reveal parts of your different personalities.

So if you want to buy a game or two, where do you start? Sure, you could get Pictionary or Taboo. Or you can play interesting games. The following recommendations come under certain categories with a snippet about each game to help you figure out the right game to give.

Game of the year

If I made one game recommendation this year, it would be 7 Wonders, the game my husband and I probably teach and play the most. It’s fairly easy to learn, the range of two to seven players is excellent (ages 10+), you can get a game in 30 minutes, there are expansions to mix it up and it’s about $33. If you already own games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride, this is a good next step.

Best party games

Dixit: Similar to Apples to Apples, you have a series of cards to pick from, describing a piece of art with a word or phrase. The group has to pick which one they think is the “right” one. There are several versions of the game. $20. 3-6 players, ages 8+

The Game of Things: Someone picks a category like “Things you shouldn’t say to your mother-in-law” and everyone writes one-line responses. Then guess who said what. $70 (unusually high right now. I would wait or look in stores), 4+ players, ages 12+ (You could also make your own version)

Telestrations: Similar to the game Telephone, you write a word or phrase. Throughout the game, you alternate boards, drawing a picture based on another person’s phrase or writing a phrase based on a previous person’s drawing. At the end, look at how the phrases devolved. $20, 6+ players, ages 12+ (You could also make your own version)

WhooNu: Similar to Apples to Apples, pick a card you think the person will like the best (or hates the most). You get points based on where the person ranks the items in order. (out of stock) 4+ players, ages 8+

Best party games you can fit in your purse

Spot It: There are many versions of this game that comes in a little round tin. There is always one (and only one) matching symbol between any 2 cards that you find and match before your opponents. $13, 2-8 players, ages 10+

Jungle Speed: Spot matching symbols and grab the totem before your opponents. $11, 2-8 players, ages 8+

Bang: Similar to the game Mafia, each player has roles (sheriff, the deputy, the outlaws) that unwittingly work together to eliminate players not on your team. You can also get The Bullet, which has the base set and all the expansion packs. $19, 3-7 players, ages 12+

Dutch Blitz: A speed card game similar to Double Solitaire, place your cards in the proper sequence within the proper color, all while your opponents are beating you to the punch. $8, ages 2-4, ages 8+

Bananagrams: Like speed Scrabble, players race to build completed crossword grids. $14, 2-8 players, ages 7+

Best strategy games you can fit in your purse

Bohnanza: Plant and harvest a wide variety of beans (e.g. green, coffee, and even stink) while trading with other players. A big plus is that it surprisingly plays well with two players. $20, 2-7 players, ages 10+

Coup: Each player has two hidden roles. Keep them hidden by lying about your roles; lose them when someone correctly contests your bluff. The quick game allows for repeat plays. $15, 3-5 players, ages 10+

Love Letter: The hottest microgame on the market has extremely simple gameplay: draw a card, then play one of your two cards. The challenge is deducing what cards others have. $12, 2-4 players, ages 8+

Citadels: Select the right role each turn to build your fortune, keeping it safe from the Thief and avoiding the Assassin’s debilitating ability. Longer than other options in this category. $25, 3-7 players, ages 10+

Best light strategy games

Settlers of Catan: You build roads, settlements, and cities while collecting and trading for resources. Settlers offers several expansions if your loved one already owns the base set. There’s even a cookbook. $32, 3-4 players, ages 10+

Ticket to Ride: A fairly easy game to learn where you collect cards to build railroads that connect different cities. Different maps include the United States, Europe, and Germany. $38, 2-5 players, ages 8+

Carcassonne: Choose where to place your tiles to create a large kingdom, scoring points by building long roads and large cities while preventing other players from doing the same. $25, 2-5 players, ages 8+

Takenoko: Fulfill your secret objectives by playing land tiles, growing bamboo, and having a hungry panda eat that bamboo. One of the most gorgeous board games on the market. $35, 2-4 players, ages 13+

King of Tokyo: Roll dice Yahtzee-style, choosing when to stop for the perfect combination of damage, health, and energy. Win by knocking out all the other players’ giant monsters. $25, 2-6 players, ages 8+

Best strategy games

Dominion: Build an individual deck of cards over time, using a combination of abilities to get the most victory points. One of the most popular games of the last decade has many expansions. (The best: Prosperity and Seaside. The worst: Alchemy and Cornucopia.) $32, 2-4 players, ages 13+

Stone Age: Figure out the right locations to place your workers to collect enough wood, clay, stone, and gold to buy cards and buildings. And figure out how best to block your opponents. $64, 2-4 players, ages 10+

Puerto Rico: You’ll find that turn order matters immensely as players select a role each round. Then recruit workers, construct buildings, and produce goods before shipping them away. $28, 3-5 players, ages 12+

Agricola: Place your workers correctly to develop the most well-rounded farm that includes animals, fields of grain and vegetables, pastures and stables, and an improved home. $43, 1-5 players, ages 12+

Best 2-player games

Lost Cities: Take risks as rival explorers, deciding which expeditions are safest despite limited information. The more confident you are at success, the more points you earn (or lose). $18, 2 players, ages 10+

Jaipur: Buy and sell wares, but make sure to time your purchases correctly so you can earn the maximum amount while preventing your opponent from taking advantage of the market. $20, 2 players, ages 12+

San Juan: Thematically related to Puerto Rico, players are forced to use their cards as the currency to construct buildings and produce and sell goods. Can play up to four players. (Out of stock), 2-4 players, ages 10+

Best cooperative games

Pandemic: Find cures for four viruses that quickly spread worldwide, with outbreaks and epidemics ruining even carefully-laid plans. Unique roles make each player’s job important. $40, 1-4 players, ages 13+

Flash Point: Similar to Pandemic, but the scourge is an expanding fire, and you must save the trapped victims before the house collapses. A major plus is the variety of difficulties available. $40, 1-6 players, ages 10+

Hanabi: You’re trying to put together the best fireworks show, but only your teammates can see the cards you hold. Give out one clue a turn to prevent the celebration from fizzling! The game won the 2013 Spiel des Jahres Game of the Year. $10 (largely out of stock), 2-5 players, ages 8+

Shadows Over Camelot: Mostly a cooperative game with a twist, with one player secretly works against the rest of the team. $50, 3-7 players, ages 12+

Photo By thekellyscope
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