Christmas is upon us once again! I thought a combined ‘gift guide/what to play’ might be a good idea for anyone who wants to game or gift games to family and friends. Boardgames at Christmas can be a bit of a difficult affair – balancing time with the family against chilling out, so you aren’t going to find exceptionally heavy and in-depth games on this list. I have tried to make sure that these games hit that sweet spot between keeping people excited, but not taking too much time or effort.
The new to Gaming
Cockroach Poker – This is a great little game for the family. Lots of bluffing and silliness to go with it. Play it with a group who loves to banter and have lots of talk at the table otherwise it will descend into a bit of a boring affair. The aim is to make sure that your opponents have 4 of one type of card in front of them, first to have 4 is the loser.
Dutch Blitz – If you think of this as solitaire, but you are playing on the same piles competitively, then you will get the hang of what this game is about. There are quiet periods which then burst into chaos with cards going everywhere at once. This one is becoming one of my favourite family weight fillers and one that can be taken out when there is 10 minutes to spare.
Zombie Kidz Evolution – I recommend this one all the time. Quick and cooperative gameplay with a hint of legacy, so it isn’t always the same game over and over. Probably around 15-20 minutes per game, so people aren’t ‘stuck’ at the table for longer than they want to be.
The Chess Player
Go – I just got into this one and it is great fun as a strategy game. Easier to learn than Chess and with countless ways to get good, there is a reason why this game has lasted for literally thousands of years. There is also something aesthetically pleasing about just placing those little black and white stones.
You want something that you can quietly sit and play without too much strategy and deep thinking? Then I would be recommending Land vs Sea – a great tile laying, area building game. Primarily 2-player, with the ability to add a third or play in teams, this one has you trying to complete areas of your land or sea to score points. Reminiscent of Carcassone at times, which I would definitely recommend if you have more than 2 players wanting to chill.
A little more strategy
This is the hardest category. You don’t want to bring something that takes hours and excludes a bunch of people, but players of heavier games probably want something that will give them a bit of a challenge.
Hadrian’s Wall – A brilliant roll and write from Garphill Games, easy to set up and get played. Not a massive amount of interaction but great fun to see what you can do with your city/wall. For a bit of an alternative theme I would also recommend Fleet – The Dice Game.
You want something that you can play alone, but won’t take up a whole table? Then I would highly recommend Orchard – a great little puzzly card game of 9 cards or check out something a bit longer and strategy based like Star Realms – a game with a ton of content and also can be played multiplayer as well if the feeling takes you.
So what boardgames will you be playing at Christmas this year?