Are you interested in trying some new board games but not sure where to start? Looking for some good recommendations? Well, ladies, gentlemen, and robots, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my picks for great holiday board-gaming gifts for you or someone you love who also loves gaming. I’ve limited it to my top 5 so as to not get overwhelming.
Settlers of Catan – on amazon
This game is a must for anyone looking to start expanding their board game universe. There’s a reason why Catan has become so popular. It’s easy to learn, challenging without being overwhelming, balanced, and plays in about an hour. Sure it’s not perfect but it’s definitely a winner. If you’re thinking about buying this for a gamer friend or family member, though, there’s a good chance they already own a copy.
Falling – on amazon
Falling is so easy to learn. It’s a great party game for up to 8 people. It’s fast, frenetic, and fun. You may have read my review of the game, which sums it up pretty nicely. This game is great for kids and adults alike, and it’s pretty cheap. Great stocking stuffer or whatever it is you do with smaller gifts.
Cosmic Encounter – on boardgameguy
After picking this game up a few months ago, it quickly became one of my favorites. The rules are straightforward enough and enjoyable, but the real fun comes with the crazy mismatched rule-breaking alien races. Each player plays as an Alien race, and each race has its own special abilities to break certain rules. With 50 races in the box, the game changes every time you play – not so much that you have to re-learn the game, but enough so that you can’t stick to the same old strategy.
The Great Dalmuti –on amazon
Another card game good for larger groups, and easily scalable simply by adding more decks, this little game is a hidden treasure. This plays much like the popular games known as ‘President’ or ‘Scum’ to many. These game have a major twist – the bottom two players must hand their best cards over to the top two players, and the top two players get to choose what they give in return, making it very challenging, but very fulfilling, to move upwards. Dalmuti adds another twist though – it stacks the deck so there are significantly more cards of the lesser power than there are of the higher power. Since you have to lay down an equal number of cards at a higher value each turn in order to play your cards, this shifts some hope back to the underdogs
Dominion – amazon
Though the rest of the list isn’t in any particular order, Dominion is definitely at the top this year. This game is structured so simply, yet the variety of cards available offers a huge berth of strategy. I enjoy it every time I play this game, and there are so few things to complain about. Even my 8-year-old cousins loved playing it and having a blast, but that doesn’t mean its too simple for adults. Despite the ominous title, this is a great family game for up to 5 players. Check out my full review here.
EDIT: Note that Dominion can be played with 2 players, unlike any other game on this list.