Are you looking for some board game Christmas gifts? It could be a gift for a family member, a co-worker, or maybe even a treat for yourself.
Regardless, you’ve most likely heard that board games are bigger than ever now, but you might not be plugged in enough to know where to start. Well, you can start here:
7 Great Board Game Christmas Gifts and Who to Gift Them To
7. Pandemic Legacy is the overall #1 rated board game on Board Game Geek, the scene for board game information. So to say Pandemic Legacy is legit would be an understatement.
The game takes the basic underlying structure of Pandemic, the popular co-operative board game that has players working together to stop a worldwide virus outbreak. What Pandemic Legacy does differently is to bake in the legacy feature to the game.
Legacy games are games that change play to play, dependent upon if you won or lost the previous session. New rules might be added, cards might be ripped up and discarded, new boxes might be ripped open to reveal fresh tokens. The game changes as you play, in other words.
This makes for a fantastic shared experience. That said, Pandemic Legacy is a great game to purchase for a significant other to facilitate a string of quiet date nights. The shared experience doesn’t work well with gaming groups of infrequent attendance. But if your group is consistent, Pandemic Legacy is a big win there as well.
(Note: Start with Pandemic Legacy Season 1.)
6. Onitama is a super slim game, comprised of just a few pieces that takes mere minutes to learn. But it also likely has the greatest depth of strategy on this list.
Think of Onitama as streamlined Chess, being that each side of the two player game has a “king” piece flanked by 4 “pawns.” Whereas Chess movement is determined via the restrictions of th individual pieces, Onitama moving is determined by a set of rotating cards.
As the movement dictated by the cards changes, players are required to think several steps ahead, just like Chess. But Onitama plays in just 10-15 minutes. It’s quick and light, yet has a ton of depth. It’s a brilliant little game actually.
I play Onitama with my 9-year-old as it’s a perfect vehicle for introducing strategic decision-making skills. But Onitama is actually the perfect gift for a co-worker, as it’s just about the best lunch hour game out there. Keep it in your workplace break room and enjoy a quick game over your kale salad. I’ll have the cheeseburger.
5. X-Wing has been popular for several years now, so you may be familiar. But if you aren’t, and you are a living human being who enjoys Star Wars, X-Wing is a great board game to consider.
The Core Set comes with an X-Wing and two Tie Fighter miniatures. Each miniature has a little dial on the bottom that lists a unique set of movement options for that particular ship.
Players turn the dial, selecting how they want their ships to move, and they have “dog fights”, using distance markers to see if they can take a shot at the other ships. Of course, there are expansions that allow you to collect literally every starship in the Star Wars universe.
4. Dancing Eggs comes in an actual egg carton, so you’ll have that going for you, which is nice. The carton is also filled with eggs, a bunch of rubber ones and one wooden one.
Players roll a big chunky die and must grab an egg and make the action on the die. As the game progresses, you might be holding an egg between your knees, have one tucked in your arm pit, and be yelling “cock-a-doodle-doo!”
When an egg is dropped, points are tallied. As my 9-year-old says, “It really is a fun and active game. Everybody keeps moving.” In fact, Dancing Eggs is the perfect game for families with elementary-aged children.
3. Sushi Go is a card that has players trying to make sushi for points. If you think you read that sentence wrong, you didn’t. But boy does this card game make sushi making fun.
Each player gets a had full of cards that you need to string together in order to add up the most points. But after you lay down your card, each player passes their hands of cards to the player next to them. So while you might have thought you had the perfect strategy going, you’re now looking at a whole new hand of cards.
It’s a game that works in all settings. I play it with my young girls. Their granddad gets in on the action occasionally. It’s simple and fun, so it’s also a game that works well as an introduction to new players. Besides, it’s super affordable, so it’s a no-brainer purchase.
(I know this has been two party-type games in a row, but what follows is one more.)
2. Happy Salmon is a card game that comes in a zippered bag shaped like a fish. It also plays very fast because there are no turns in the game.
Players get cards and call out an action as fast as they can. When two players are able to match up, they can perform that action and pitch their card. Actions might be to “pound the rock” or offer a classic “High 5.” First player out of cards wins.
Happy Salmon is a simple, silly, and super high energy game that works well with big groups. It works for a group of teenagers, a family gathering over Thanksgiving, or maybe an office holiday party. You’ll have a few people grouse at the thought of having to play something so juvenile because some people hate fun, but once they settle in, they’ll have a great time with it.
1. Century Spice Road is my favorite game of 2017, so let’s get that out of the way. But with most of the above games being active or party games, it’s important to end this list with a good ‘ole fashioned strategy game where players sit around a table.
The conceit of the game is that you are a 15th century spice trader. Players take actions to collect and upgrade little colored cubes that represent a variety of spices. Once a player collects the correct combination of colored cubes, they can then trade them in for cards which give them points.
Century Spice Road is smooth. It’s easy teach teach and the turns move super quickly. It’s a great game for couples while also serving as a nice game if you are having another couple over.
Considering the depth of gameplay, it’s remarkable that the game has a simple one page rule sheet. It’s a no-brainer purchase.
So these are only a few board game recommendations if you are looking for Christmas gifts. But if you take away anything, take away the fact that board games are in a really great spot right now and there is absolutely a game for anyone you can think of.
If you want further recommendations, feel free to jump over to The Boarderlands, our Facebook group dedicated to board games. We’d be happy to help you find the perfect gift game.