The Ultimate Board Game & Tabletop Christmas Gift Guide!

Ohhhh it’s that time of year again. Yep, the time of year where it gets too cold to stand outside for long periods of time, and people decide to decorate their houses with glittery ornaments just because a rotund man in a funky red and white outfit is going to come down their chimney at midnight. Ho ho how wonderful.

What ACTUALLY happens at this time of year though is we all get stuck trying to figure out what to get people as gifts, so I’m here to tell you the answer is simple… get a board game! You can even play it ON THE ACTUAL CHRISTMAS DAY, how lovely and magical is that!

The following list is a list of board games I would GENUINELY recommend (because they are all great), and covers (and I’m pretty confident here), every single type of person that you would ever know in your life. Hurrah! Plus, there’s a bonus description of each game just because y’know, some people won’t know, and that’s totally fair.

Simply read on until the type of person you’re buying for pops up, and choose something from the list!

I’m buying a Christmas gift for…

…the person who likes board games but has only ever played the classics

  1. Carcassonne – Score points for building castles, roads, and farming… farmland, obviously
  2. Forbidden Island/Desert – Work together to escape from the island/desert in a race against the clock
  3. Survive: Escape from Atlantis – Get all your people to Escape from Atlantis before everyone else whilst also simultaneously drowning other players people and eating them with sharks
  4. Machi Koro – Beatifully illustrated game where you draft buildings and cards to construct the best city

…the person who has absolutely no idea about board games but you think they might like one

  1. One Night Ultimate Werewolf – Use social deduction to figure out which player is the werewolf and stop them before they kill everybody
  2. Sushi Go/Sushi Go Party – Take turns to choose different sushi (and pudding of course) to have for dinner, different combos score points
  3. Love Letter – Try and get your love letter to the Princess before anyone else by staying in the game as long as possible

…the person just getting into tabletop as a hobby

  1. Takenoko – Score points by either growing bamboo combos, eating bamboo with a panda, or arranging your bamboo garden in the right layout
  2. Kingdomino – Build a kingdom in a pattern that scores the most points by taking turns to add land to your kingdom
  3. Tokaido – Score points by having a better holiday than everyone else in Japan (also this game looks INCREDIBLE)
  4. Pandemic – Save the world together by stopping a contagious outbreak from spreading

…the tabletop nerd who loves reaaaaaally heavy games

  1. Great Western Trail – Earn money and victory points by keeping your cattle in the best possible condition to sell in Kansas City
  2. Scythe – Area control with farmers and mechs with almost no random elements, set in a dystopian future
  3. Lisboa – Use your influence as noblemen (or women) to reconstruct Lisbon after the great earthquake (and tsunami… and fire, it was a bad time) of 1755
  4. Kingdom Death: Monster – Develop a character and settlement over multiple sessions whilst fighting incredibly difficult monsters through a unique AI system (legacy, also really really expensive)

…the tabletop nerd who hates really heavy games

  1. Jaipur – Be a better merchant and trader than your opponent to win an invitation to the Maharaja’s court (2 player)
  2. Photosynthesis – Grow trees in a forest better and… more, than anyone else (honestly not as boring as it sounds)
  3. Codenames – Word association game between 2 teams where you have to guess all your teams spies via their ‘codenames’ before the other team
  4. Burgle Bros – Work together to steal something valuable in this classic tower heist with brilliant humour and varying levels of difficulty

…the D&D Dungeon Master

  1. Dungeon World – Free yourself from the constraints of classic D&D with this narrative driven and player focused dungeon crawler
  2. Misspent Youth – Rebel against the system (DM) as anarchistic teenagers in this combative and competitive episodic role player
  3. Dread – Horror movie pen and paper role player using a Jenga tower instead of dice to decide your players fate
  4. Any dice – (no literally, any… and they’re called polyhedrals… naturally.)

…the person who loves a good murder mystery (or just mystery in general)

  1. Mysterium – Work together as a team to solve a murder mystery through picture association before the night comes to an end
  2. Sherlock: Consulting Detective – Travel around london to solve complex and difficult murder mysteries as the Broad Street Bullies in this open world whodunnit
  3. Betrayal at House on the Hill – Explore a haunted house and survive whilst a member of your party turns traitorous and tries to kill the group (LOADS of different stories here)

…the person who loves card games (and played Magic: The Gathering as a kid… or now for that matter)

  1. Arkham Horror – Living card game where you work cooperatively to beat encounters using player built decks
  2. Android: Netrunner – Living card game set in a dystopian future with player built decks where each player sets out to score points by either advancing corporate agendas, or stealing those agendas with ‘netrunners’
  3. Dominion – Medieval themed deck building game where players draft cards to their hand in order to score the most victory points
  4. MORE Magic: The Gathering cards – Ok so it’s low hanging fruit but come on, nobody can really have TOO MANY magic cards right? (Just make sure to buy the right colour)

…the Strategist who loves chess (or games like chess)

  1. Hive – Deploy and move bugs around in this chess-like, mensa award winning strategy game (great for holidays as well)
  2. Onitama – Strategic oriental themed game where players compete to either manoeuvre their master across the board or capture the opponents master using sets of positional moves
  3. Santorini – Play as a greek god and race against the other player to reach the top of a building in Santorini (unfortunately this may be out of print)

…the person who loves to lie and bluff their way to victory

  1. Coup – Lie and bluff your way to being the last player with influence left in the game
  2. Sheriff of Nottingham – Lie and bluff (or tell the truth) your way to earning the most money through smuggling (or just bringing) goods into Nottingham under the watchful eye of the Sheriff
  3. Skull – Deceptively simple push your luck bluffing game where players bet on how many flowers they can reveal from each players stack before revealing a skull

…the person who loves collecting, or building… stuff

  1. Settlers of Catan – Collect resources and score points by building settlements and roads
  2. Lords of Vegas – Play as powerful developers in an early Las Vegas, vying to make the most money and win the most points by building and running the biggest and most profitable casinos (this game is quite long)
  3. Ticket to Ride – Score points by building trains in various routes across America (or whichever version you choose to buy)
  4. Diamant – Pretend to be a rubbish Indiana Jones by pushing your luck against other players to collect the most amount of precious gems from an Aztec temple
  5. Castles of Burgundy – Classic medieval themed eurogame in which players collect and match tiles to score points

…the person who will only ever play party games (I’m looking at you cards against humanity…)

  1. Secret Hitler – Work as the German government to stop fascist regimes being pushed through by players disguised as fascists/hitler
  2. Funemployed – Card based party game where players try to convince each other why they should be employed for a certain role using ridiculous qualifications
  3. One Night ultimate werewolf – Popular version of the hidden traitor werewolf party game
  4. Monikers – Take turns in getting team members to guess well-known people by either describing or imitating them
  5. Bucket of Doom – Take it in turns to come up with ridiculous ways out of random situations from card prompts in your hand

…the person you don’t want to spend much money on (secret santa anyone?)

  1. Love Letter – Try and get your love letter to the Princess before anyone else by staying in the game as long as possible
  2. Fluxx – A card game where the victory conditions, play style and purpose of cards literally changes constantly (or in flux you could say… badum, tsh)
  3. Sushi Go – Take turns to choose different sushi (and pudding) to have for dinner, different combos score points
  4. Skull – Deceptively simple push your luck bluffing game where players bet on how many flowers they can reveal from each players cards before revealing a skull

…the person who only ever plays board games with their other half (2 player)

  1. Hive -Deploy and move bugs around in this chess-like, mensa award winning strategy game (great for holidays as well)
  2. Patchwork – Compete to score points by designing the best looking patchwork quilt (how lovely)
  3. Onitama – Strategic oriental themed game where players compete to either manoeuvre their master across the board or capture the opponents master using sets of positional moves
  4. Jaipur – Be a better merchant and trader than your opponent to win an invite to the Maharaja’s court (2 player)

…the person who already owns ALL the tabletop and board games ALREADY

  1. Honestly can’t help you here I’m afraid

Phew…

Well, that’s it! The one and only ever board game and tabletop christmas list/gift guide you could ever possibly need!

And if there is someone you’re buying for who doesn’t fit into one of these categories, well then send me a comment and I’ll try my gosh darndest to find a game that they’ll love!

That or I’ll just recommend one of the games above…

Yours festively,

Chris

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