Ready or not, Christmas is less than two weeks away! And, if you’re anything like me, you’re having some trouble trying to decide on the perfect gift for at least one person on your shopping list. Fret not! We here at Don’t Hate the Geek got your back! We’ve put together a list of ten board game gift ideas. What better way to bring people close for the holidays than to create an overly-competitive environment that the whole family can enjoy! For convenience, we’ve ordered these in order from least to most expensive.
1. Tsuro: The Game of the Path
Tsuro is a game about movement. Each player gets a token that they have to move from one end of the game board to the other before the other players do. Each players path is determined by path cards that players play each turn that create paths that tokens must follow. Tsuro is a really simple game to learn, but a tough one to master. I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t bring out the competitive side of people, because it does do that. There is a small threat of table flip-esque anger when you play Tsuro, but it’s all worth it when you win!
2. Sheriff of Nottingham
Prince John’s coming to town, and it’s time to make a profit! In Sheriff of Nottingham you play as a merchant who just wants to make an honest buck. Thing is, you can choose to try to smuggle some less than honest merchandise to try and make more money. Will the Sheriff find out? Who knows? Each player gets to take a turn as the Sheriff himself and try to uncover contraband. Sheriff of Nottingham incorporates elements from games like Werewolf or Mafia, and a little bit of Clue. This is a wonderfully original game that offers lots of replay-ability and fun!
3. Smash Up
Smash Up is a deck building game about warring Sci-Fi and Fantasy factions (Wizards, Zombies, Dinosaurs, I could go on) being combined together to take over Bases from other players. Players choose faction decks of 20 cards each to combine for each game. The object is to overpower and outsmart your opponents to take over as many Bases as possible. With a large number of expansions, the list of factions to choose from for each game is basically limitless. Ever wonder who’d win a fight between an army of Wizard-Dinosaurs and an armada of Alien-Pirates? Look no further! Smash Up has you covered.
4. Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Survive: Escape from Atlantis is a game of betrayal and ruined friendships. Each player controls a few tokens that are trying to survive and escape from a deserted island. Players can control sharks, whales, dolphins, and sea monsters in an attempt to knock other player’s tokens off the board while making it to the mainland with yours. Will you be rescued and survive, or will you be seafood for the sharks? Survive: Escape from Atlantis offers an incredibly entertaining (and infuriating) gaming experience and is sure to be a big hit for any game night!
5. Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs X-Men
Marvel Dice Masters combines three geek mainstays into one: dice, trading cards, and superheroes. Each player chooses a superhero team to fight with and “purchase” dice to deal damage to the other player. There are action cards that either player can “purchase” during the game as well. Dice Masters uses a starter deck/booster pack model. Marvel is only one of the Dice Masters games that exist, and gamers can find DC, and D&D. Like dice? Like Marvel? This is the game for you!
6. Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is an amazing board game. The game is never really the same twice, and is made up of more than 50 scenarios designed to horrify players. This horror based game drags players through a decrepit house (on a hill…) to face their greatest fears. The house changes based on the scenario, and players must work with and against one another to survive the game’s traps, scares, and mysteries. Not only is there a massive base game, but a large expansion for House on the Hill is also available! If you want a game that will never get boring, Betrayal at House on the Hill is the game for you!
Myth is a game about cooperative fantasy exploration, adventuring, and storytelling. Right away, it needs to be said that the rule book for this game is a beast. There’s a good bit of work to be done on the front end before playing, but the cooperative nature of the game, added expansions, and unique gameplay make Myth a fun board game experience. Myth would appeal to RPG gamers, fans of fantasy epics, and cooperative table top games. Myth may be daunting, but it’s worth a look!
BattleCON is a fighting game emulator that pits players against one another with original characters and fun gameplay mechanics. Each character has a unique ability or mechanic that helps them stand apart and balance the game out. This game has multiple expansions that introduce even more fighters to the game. BattleCON would appeal to fans of fighting games, TCGs, deck builders, or head to head board games.
9. Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Legendary is a seriously fun game! Not only is the base game chock full of different scenarios, heroes, and villains, but there are a large number of expansions that add bunches of new mechanics, characters, and scenarios to the game. This game is never the same two times in a row. It’s easy to learn, easy to teach, and fun to play. The more people that play, the more challenging it becomes. Expansions are still being produced! Legendary would appeal to any Marvel or superhero geek, card gamers, or deck builder fans. Want a fun game with almost limitless replay-ability? Legendary is a must buy!
10. The Gallerist
As an artist, I love the idea of The Gallerist. It’s basically a competitive, board game version of Sim City. But, instead of trying to build a successful city, you’re trying to create the best art gallery you can while competing with the other players to do so. In The Gallerist, you need to attract art and artists, build a fan base, invest in new art, and make your gallery as awesome as you can! So much of geek culture revolves around art, it’d be a shame to not give this game a shot. If you love art of any kind, are an artist yourself, or love competitive strategy games, then The Gallerist has what you need!
Are there any games that you’d recommend for Christmas this year? Let us know in the comments! Good luck with your Christmas shopping. We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!