You’ve heard us rant about the benefits of board games on more than one occasion. For quite some time we have been encouraging people to learn about the board game renaissance and about the vast array of themes, game styles and abilities. In our exclusive interview with Steve Jackson earlier this year, he said, “It’s all been said before, but it’s true: games teach you to cooperate, to compete fairly, to win gracefully and to be a good sport when you lose.” That’s one of the reasons we cover so many family games here on the site, including at least a couple holiday gift guides specifically for this. We already published a guide to family games, but there are ALWAYS more. Hence, THIS gift guide filled with “more must-have family games”.
Peruse the list for games you think your family (or friends… or coworkers… or neighbors… or Secret Santa recipient or… YOU) would enjoy. Click through the logo next to the brand to see more pictures and read more about the game. And hopefully you’ve noticed that we’re doing our annual holiday giveaways a little different this year with more than one launching every day. You can use the gift guides for shopping for everyone else then enter to the giveaways for yourself!
Tribes: Dawn of Humanity
Experience 30,000 years of civilization in 45 minutes. Tribes: Dawn of Humanity is a civilization game with quick turns and fast rounds. The players lead their tribes in short, fast turns through the early history of humanity to the Bronze Age. They settle unknown lands and extract valuable resources through which they in turn discover new tools and inventions. Who will best prepare their tribe against events such as natural disasters? Who will take the lead, and who will follow in the footsteps?
Roll & write your way through the Dungeon to graduate from the most prestigious academy. Play as young students battling monsters, collecting potions and loot to obtain glory points. Players simultaneously enter in different levels of the dungeon to clear rooms as quickly as possible. The more monsters you defeat to closer you are to earning your diploma. Make sure to have enough Mana and Health to escape all 4 levels of the Dungeon before the time is up!
Little Town is a IELLO strategy game for the whole family by Shun & Aya Taguchi, illustrated by Sabrina Miramon.
Become the mayor of Little Town by shrewdly accumulating more Victory Points than your fellow architects.
The end of the word is just the beginning! Using the pool of letters in the middle, take turns spelling words around the outside of the disc. Your word must include at least one letter from the end of the previous word. The more of their letters you use, the more points you make them lose! You score one point for each letter you use in your word, and the previous player loses one point for every one of their letters you used.
Rummy with stacking building blocks! Create Sets and Runs by combining blocks that range in height of 1 to 7. Sets are made with 3 or 4 blocks of the same size, but different colors. Runs are made up of 3 or more blocks of the same color in consecutive order. New opportunities come from the ability to stack blocks on top of others to form new heights. Think ahead and make the right decisions, without losing track of what’s on the table as you disassemble Runs and Sets to reassemble them into new ones, trying to get rid of your blocks.
The city needs your help! The mayor has called on you to create a set of gorgeous parks with greenery to beautify the urban landscape. With a pair of scissors and a plan, use your snipping talents to clip a park full of dazzling multi-colored features. The first player to complete 5 Park cards is the winner!
An original light strategy set collection game for feline lovers who know cats will go anywhere to get their food! As cats, players try to snatch the most food by pushing plates off the edge of the table. It’s Furry Foodies fun for everyone! Surrounding a spread of 25 plates, players move in on numbered cards of food two spaces at a time to knock what they want off the table for points. But watch out for broken dishes! Pushing off the shards alerts clueless humans and ends up taking away from your total.
Trapper Keeper Game
Do you rule the school? Find out when you play the Trapper Keeper Game! Players zoom back in time to the 80’s and 90’s and strategically stash cards in their Trapper Keeper folders. Collect Homework, Quizzes, Signatures, Report Cards, Notes from Classmates, and Field Trip Slips to see who can score the most points. You can also collect doodles to increase your score. The player with the most points at the end of the school day will be crowned the Coolest Kid in School! Features 3 different Trapper Keeper designs!
In Encore!, first published as Noch mal!, the dice determine which color and how many spaces you can mark off on your playing sheet — but the starting player may first evaluate what everyone’s doing, then remove two dice, leaving everyone else to make their choices with the dice that remain.
In Doctor! Doctor!, your patient is waiting, and the other doctors aren’t sure of your surgical skill. Show them who has the steadiest hand in the O.R. by completing more procedures than your competitors in this fast-paced, nerve-fraying dexterity game of concentration and operation.
Kiss My Bass
This bass is a lot of fun, but he’s a little crass. Listen to what the bass tells you to do (high five that fin, kiss my bass, etc.). But do it fast because you only have a few seconds…and if you’re too slow or mess up, the bass will fart and poke fun at you!
In Architectura, by Arcane Wonders®, players take the roll of prominent architects competing to make the most significant contribution to the city’s construction. Architectura is a highly interactive, easy to learn, card game, with two game variants included in the box!
Work together to guide the rolling knight through 20 adventures filled with twists and traps. Players each hold on to a lever and guide the moving platform in all directions, sliding the knight to follow the right paths while beating obstacles. As challenges become more difficult, hold on to your lives to make it to the highest level and win!
Slide Quest turned a video game concept into a board game where dexterity and cooperation are keys to success.
A spell that went wrong has dispersed the inhabitants of Fabulantica throughout the entire land. In Fabulantica, children learn to plan ahead, using their travel cards wisely to optimize their travel routes. At the same time, they have to adapt to changing circumstances, as the inhabitants are moved to new locations all the time. This also trains their memory, as the children need to remember which inhabitant is hiding where, even after they were moved. Thanks to the random setup of the inhabitants, Fabulantica is different everytime you play.
Slide! Dodge! Strike! Score! Now with 4 players, raise the stakes with an action-packed battle that just got more epic. The magnetic gameplay of KLASK is unique, exciting and like no other game out there! This awesome action-packed battle will have everyone in the room playing again and again. Move quick but be tactical too, KLASK demands fast hands and even faster thinking!
Roar-a-Saurus is a beautifully illustrated, family friendly, multi-player dino battle with “easy” and “challenge” modes.
In “easy”, players roll their battle dice as quickly as they can to attack their neighbors, heal themselves, or blow up all the other players. Gameplay is fast and furious, and with super simple rules, everyone can get in on the action as quickly as you can take the game out of the box.
In Piratoons, each turns begins with a treasure of boat parts and equipment being revealed. All at the same time, each Pirate rushes to allocate crew in an effort to plunder the best loot by placing their crew meeples on individual items as bids. Each piece of treasure goes to the player with the most crew invested in the item, but only after removing all tied bids. Therefore, Pirates need to stay alert for sneaky opportunities to cancel out an opponent’s efforts or for chances to swoop in and steal a disputed treasure.
If you’re looking for ways to bond with your kids, then games are an awesome option. You may even be surprised with how excited they’ll get about having regular game nights. You can always add some to your own wish list to ensure there are plenty of choices when the opportunity to play games arises!