Board games and the holidays pretty much go hand-in-hand. Once all the food is eaten and all the presents are unwrapped, what the heck are you supposed to with your extended, family — actually sit around and talk? We kid. However, it is true that board games are a total life saver during marathon family gatherings.
For the above mentioned instance, pretty much any old board game will do — but the same can't be said if you're dealing with a true board game aficionado. What do you gift the board game nerd who already owns every board game under the sun? Well, you take the gift to a whole new level of geekdom. From movie-themed games to the perfect shelf to display their games on, these gifts are sure to delight the board game-lover in your life.
This game is a great introduction to newer styles of board games. Agricola has several rounds of play and makes you think about portioning resources on your little farm. It has a family level, too, which my son always begs to play. The details are so rich, and each game is a little different — so even years later, I still love it. You have to play more than once to get the hang of it, but then it draws you in.
Z-Man Games Agricola, $47.50 at Amazon
2. Moldable fimo clay
One of the most fun things you can do for your games is to create your own pieces. Instead of using brightly colored wood chips in Agricola to represent animals and crops, you can make your own little pigs and cows, which are infinitely cuter. This is a fun activity to do together, which comes in handy down the line as you play. Get a multicolor pack, so can make all the different animals and crops you want.
Niceroker Colorful DIY Malleable Fimo Polymer Modeling Clay Blocks, $7.50 at Amazon
This is a cooperative game where players work together to save the world from four different deadly diseases. It is fun to work together for a change. Everybody wins or everybody loses. This is true in life a lot. And it's a lot more pleasant than most games, like Monopoly.
Z-Man Games Pandemic Board Game, $40 at Amazon
4. Pandemic Legacy Blue
This game is a total paradigm shift in how board games are played. Without giving too much away — in Pandemic Legacy you get two games a month for a year and lots of different cards, which change the conditions over time. Find a group and play together for a year — what a fun way to get a group of friends together on a regular basis. You could even play two games in one night, so the meet ups are monthly.
Z-Man Games Pandemic Legacy Board Game Blue, $70 at Amazon
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Originally published December 2015. Updated November 2017.
5. Pandemic Legacy Red
If you are getting the blue version, why not get the red version as well? I love the idea of being able to play the game again, since you can't restart the legacy game. You can play with a different group or keep the same players, but try different combinations. It's a fun way to see how much is skill and how much is luck. Can you tell I'm obsessed with this game yet?
Z-Man Games Pandemic Legacy Board Game Red, $60.98 at Amazon
Mysterium is a murder mystery game set in 1920s Scotland. The game is played with different mediums and one ghost who gives clues. This is a semi-cooperative game, where a majority of mediums need to solve the crime before the ghost can rest.
Asmodee Mysterium, $42.49 at Amazon
Dixit is a really fun family game. The game comes with a large variety of colorful and whimsically drawn cards, and players take turns telling stories based on a card and getting others to guess the right card. It is a fun way to get kids to recall literature we have read. The Chronicles of Narnia is a common theme, but so are Disney movies.
Asmodee Dixit, $34.99 at Amazon
8. Lucite bookshelf
Lucite is my favorite new look. It is so funky and clean and is a great piece to mix and match with existing decor. The great thing about this lucite bookshelf is that it disappears in a room because of the clear sides. It's the perfect way for someone to store a growing board game collection.
Now You See It Acrylic Shelf, $249 at The Land of Nod
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9. Family Business
This is a card game involving strategy and luck. Family Business uses different historical mob families as the card characters. (It is always fun to read their names.) It is quick to set up and very engaging — a fun one for a small group to play together.
Mayfair Games Family Business, $13.50 at Amazon
10. Black Sheep
Black Sheep is kind of like a beginner version of Agricola in a lot of ways — you collect animals and build your farm. There is a lot of really interesting strategies involved in how you play your cards and influence the other players to put down cards. Kids can play this game as well, making it a great game for players at different levels.
Fantasy Flight Games Black Sheep, $14 at Amazon
11. Risk: Star Wars edition
This is such a cute edition of Risk. If you've played the original before, you know how it can become tedious quickly. The Star Wars edition reboot does a great job of transporting the game into the Star Wars universe and makes game play a lot more brisk and engaging. The board game enthusiast on your giving list will be pleasantly surprised by the new version, which lets you reenact the final scene from Return of the Jedi.
Hasbro Risk: Star Wars Edition Game, $18.89 at Amazon
12. Doctor Who Battle to Save the Universe
Doctor Who and a board game? Heaven.
Diamond Select Doctor Who Battle to Save the Universe Board Game, $50.89 at Amazon
Why play regular old Monopoly when you can play this adorable kitty version?
Late for the Sky Cat-Opoly, $17.90 at Amazon