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Board Game Gift Guide 2016

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It’s that time of year again, welcome to the 2016 Board Game Gift Guide. We put this guide together every year to help out you, our awesome readers. Everyone knows that board and card games make the best gifts. It’s a fact. Completely obvious, right? But sometimes it can be hard to choose the perfect game for our loved one.

That’s where we come in. We’ve combed through the thousands of board and card games out there and created a list for you in 8 different categories. No matter what kind of gamer is on your list, there is something for everyone. So sit back and let your fingers do the walking with this years Board Game Gift Guide. Happy Shopping!

Click any name to jump to that category:

Classic Board Games: These are board game staples that make the list every year. If you are looking for a good place to start, this is it. These are amazing board games that will be played for years to come.
Cooperative Board Games: Sometimes players want to work together as a group, and enjoy a sense of camaraderie. When teamwork and overcoming a challenge is your goal, then you want a cooperative board game.
Party Games: Not necessarily a game for a party, but for when you have a large group of people and you want a good amount of social interaction.
Two-Player Games: The perfect choice when it’s just the two of you. Whether it’s you and a friend, or simply you and your spouse, a 2 player game will fit the bill.
Euro Games: These are games that eschew direct conflict and focus more on acquiring victory points. There are many games that fall in this category and should appeal to a broad amount of gamers.
Card Games: Card games are usually fairly easy to take on the go with you, yet offer enough variety that you can find almost any level of complexity you desire. Plus, they are usually much easier on the budget.
Thematic Games: When you don’t want to hunt for victory points, but instead, want a game that sucks you in with its great theme. These games usually have great components and engaging game play, sometimes with direct player conflict.
Family Games: These games will have a family friendly theme and mechanics that are very accessible. From the youngster to the adult, family games are for the whole family!
Stocking Stuffers: These are great games that won’t break the bank; all under $20. These are perfect, when you want just a little something extra for the gamer in your life.


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Classic Board Games

Ticket to RideTicket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is easily one of the most accessible Euro games there is and has sold millions of copies so far and already spawned a number of expansions. In Ticket to Ride, you are trying to build train routes on a map of the U.S. and Canada between major cities. The highly accessible game play makes this one quick to learn and fast to play. If you have played card games like Rummy or Gin, then Ticket to Ride should be an easy transition.

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 30-60 minutes to play Get Your Copy• $37

 

Pandemic Box CoverPandemic (review)
In this award-winning cooperative board game, players are a team of scientists trying to cure the world of four deadly diseases before they destroy the world. Pandemic is one of the most popular cooperative board games and has long since become a staple in every gamer’s collection. Pandemic is easy to learn and very challenging to win, which helps give the game high replay value.

2-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 45 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

 

The Settlers of Catan Game BoxThe Settlers of Catan (review)
The Settlers of Catan is the granddaddy of board games and is probably most Americans’ first experience with a “Euro game.” In this game of trading and construction, players must build up their settlements and roads by using the island’s five resources. The game features very easy to learn mechanics and a healthy dose of player interaction via the importance of trading resources. The Settlers of Catan is a game that every gamer will probably play at least once and is probably one of the ultimate “gateway games.”

3-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 90 minutes to play Get Your Copy• $37

 

Dominion Box ArtDominion (review)
Dominion is the founder of the deck building genre and probably the most versatile of all these types of games. Each player starts with a small deck of identical cards. Throughout the game, players will improve their deck by buying cards from the stacks of cards in the center of the table. Players must have a careful balance between buying useful action cards versus the victory point cards that will win them the game. With easy to learn mechanics, quick playing time and lots of replay value, Dominion is an easy choice for anyone. Dominion also was able to claim the #1 spot in our Top Ten Deck Builders list.

2-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 30 minutes to play • $30 Get Your Copy

 

7 Wonders Box Cover7 Wonders (review)
7 Wonders is a fantastic card game that introduced us to the card drafting (pick and pass) genre. In 7 Wonders, after you select your card, you then pass your remaining hand of cards to the player sitting next to you. The game play is very unique, it has a quick playing time, and expands all the way up to 7 players with zero loss of quality or added game time. 7 Wonders is easily one of our favorite games and one we’re always willing to play.

2-7 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes to play Get Your Copy• $33

 

Carcassonne Box CoverCarcassonne (review)
Carcassonne is a tile-laying game with almost no setup time because you build the game board as you play! In Carcassonne, players are building out cities, roads, monasteries and farms to try to score the most victory points. Each turn, a player will draw a tile and add it to the tiles already played on the table. If the player completes one of their buildings, they score victory points for it. The rules are simple, the turns quick, and the game is very accessible.

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play Get Your Copy• $25

 


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Cooperative Board Games:

Harry Potter: Hogwarts BattleHarry Potter: Hogwarts Battle (review)
This deck building card game is perfect for anyone who loved the Harry Potter books or movies. Actually, the game is fun even if you don’t know anything about the source material! Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is great for people new to the deck building genre, as the game takes players through each of the books in the series over the course of 7 games. The best part is that Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle slowly eases up the complexity as players progress through the books, making this a game even non-gamers can enjoy.

1-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30-60 minutes to play • $50 Get Your Copy

 

Star Trek PanicStar Trek: Panic (review)
Star Trek: Panic isn’t the first in the *Panic series, but in our opinion, it’s easily the best. Star Trek: Panic takes the accessible formula from the Castle Panic series and meshes it up with the great Star Trek license. What you get is a fun, challenging game where players must work together to keep the Enterprise alive throughout its 5 year mission.

1-6 Players • Ages 10+ • 90 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

 

TIME StoriesTIME Stories (review)
One of the best time travel games on the market today, TIME Stories is a cooperative board game that’s actually played over a series of games. Players must try to figure out the best way to complete their mission, however they will rarely, if ever, be able to win on their first try. Using TIME Stories great looping mechanic, players can use the knowledge from a failed run to aid in making their next try at the mission successful.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 90 minutes to play • $36Get Your Copy

 

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Pandemic: LegacyPandemic: The CureLegends of Andor
Temple of Elemental EvilShadowrun: CrossfireForbidden Desert
MysteriumFreedom: The Underground RailroadEscape: Curse of the Temple

 


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Party Games:

Ice CoolIce Cool (review)
Joining Coconuts in the world of games that are way more fun than they have any right to be, Ice Cool has players flicking little penguins around a school house trying to collect their fish. While Ice Cool is accessible enough for anyone to play, those dedicated to practice can also pull off impressive trick shots, making Ice Cool fun for just about anyone.

2-4 Players • Ages 6+ • 20 minutes to play • $35Get Your Copy

 

Junk ArtJunk Art (review)
The second game from publisher Pretzel Games (Flick ‘Em Up), Junk Art has players building sculptures using a variety of wooden colors and shapes. While stacking wooden pieces might not seem like much of a game, it’s actually a blast to play. Junk Art includes a dozen different ways to play, so the replay value is off the charts.

2-6 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $55Get Your Copy

 

Captain SonarCaptain Sonar
Two teams face of in this submarine battle at the bottom of the ocean where your team is trying to locate and destroy the enemy submarine before they can do the same to you. All team members in Captain Sonar sit on one side of a table and they each have their own unique rule in the sub. Teammates must work together in Captain Sonar if players hope to not only keep their submarine afloat, but win the game.

2-8 Players • Ages 12+ • 60 minutes to play • $60Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Two Rooms and a BoomConceptWits and Wagers
CodenamesOne Night Ultimate WerewolfSay Anything
Rhino HeroCash ‘n GunsTelestrations

 


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2 Player Games

AgilityAgility
This two player game has players taking on the role of a dog trainer trying to get their three dogs through an agility course. Agility is unique euro game with some great art and a fresh theme. The rules are easy enough for just about anyone to play, and Agility’s playtime feels just about right ensuring that it gets to the table often.

2 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $25Get Your Copy

 

Star Wars RebellionStar Wars: Rebellion
Looking for an epic game of interstellar conquest? Star Wars: Rebellion pits two players against each other as they take on the event of the galactic civil war in the Star Wars universe. This heavy game is a must own for Star Wars fans as the size and scope of it is unlike any other Star Wars game yet. With some great components and enticing game play, Star Wars: Rebellion makes for an epic gaming experience.

2 Players • Ages 14+ • 180 minutes to play • $75Get Your Copy

 

7 Wonders Duel7 Wonders: Duel
7 Wonders is already in our classic games line, however if it has a flaw, it’s that it doesn’t play great with only two players. Game Designer Antoine Bauza has gone back to the drawing board and brought us 7 Wonders: Duel, a two player only version of his classic game. This one is definitely a bit more cut throat than classic 7 Wonders, so expect a bit more conflict than you are used to, but 7 Wonders: Duel is still a great game in its own right.

2 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes to play • $27Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Tides of TimePagodaAgricola: All Creatures Big and Small
NoirMarvel: Dice MastersNetrunner
WWE Superstar ShowdownBattlelore: 2nd EditionMemoir ’44

 


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Eurogames

QuadropolisQuadropolis
A great city building game where players are drafting tiles and trying to earn points in a variety of ways. There are many paths to victory in Quadropolis, so players have a lot of options when forming their strategy. Published by Days of Wonder, Quadropilis is highly accessible and contains two levels of game play: Basic and Advanced, so it can be enjoyed with gamers of all skill levels.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play • $35Get Your Copy

 

Potion ExplosionPotion Explosion
If you’ve every played a “match 3” type of mobile game (ala Candy Crush) then you know the basics of Potion Explosion. This game takes that matching mechanic and brings it to our tabletop using rows of marbles in a sliding tray. Potion Explosion is both easy to learn and highly unique, making it a must own for euro game fans.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play • $35Get Your Copy

 

Isle of SkyeIsle of Skye: From Chieftain to King
For those that like tile laying games (such as Carcassonne), Isle of Skye has players building out their Kingdom as they try to acquire the most victory points. One of the more interesting aspects of Isle of Skye is how players acquire their tiles, this is done by buying them from other players!

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
ViceroyFive TribesViticulture
DiscoveriesCaverna: The Cave FarmersSuburbia
Between Two CitiesNationsRelic Runners

 


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Card Games

PaperbackPaperback (review)
If you are a fan of the old word game Scrabble, then you should check out Paperback. This game fired Scrabble from my collection, because I’d always rather play Paperback. In this word game, players are forming words through letters on cards in their hand. Using familiar deck building mechanics introduced to us in Dominion, players will be acquiring better letters and victory point cards that allow them to build bigger and better words.

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play • $36Get Your Copy

 

Mystic ValeMystic Vale
One of the highlights from Gen Con this year, Mystic Vale is the first game using the new “card crafting” mechanic where players actually build out the cards in their deck as they play. This is a unique spin on the deck building mechanic as players don’t just draft cards, but pieces of cards are put together during the game. Mystic Vale will have you sliding transparent cards into sleeves as you craft even more powerful cards to use.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 45 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

 

LotusLotus
Lotus is a highly accessible card game with some beautiful visuals. In this area control game, players are creating flowers with petal cards. Simple enough, right? However even with its easy to learn rules, the game play in Lotus is very solid and will have you coming back to it quite often.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $25Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Ashes: Rise of the PhoenixbornImperial SettlersPathfinder Card Game
ArboretumDiamondsLegendary: Marvel Deck Building Game
Sushi Go!Star RealmsFleet

 


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Thematic Games

Star Trek: AscendancyStar Trek: Ascendancy (review)
If you are looking for a deep game set in the Star Trek universe, then look no farther than Star Trek: Ascendancy. A 4x game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) that has players each controlling one of the iconic Star Trek races. Star Trek: Ascendancy is a game for players who want a complex game of interstellar conquest set in a scifi universe rich with history and content.

3 Players • Ages 12+ • 180 minutes to play • $75Get Your Copy

 

Xcom The Board GameXCOM: The Board Game
XCOM: The Board Game is a real time board game where players must work together to defend the earth from an alien invasion. Instead of being a tactical minis game, XCOM has players taking a higher level approach as they control the operation of running the XCOM UFO Defense organization. One of the most unique aspects of the game is that it uses an integrated digital app to throw threats at the players and manage the turn structure.

1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 90 minutes to play • $40Get Your Copy

 

Mansions of MadnessMansions of Madness: Second Edition
Mansions of Madness is a Lovecraftian game of exploration and horror as players take on the role of investigators working to stop an evil scheme. Players will be exploring a mansion that’s revealed as the game progresses, fighting monsters and solving puzzles. This new edition of Mansions of Madness is now fully cooperative as the game uses an integrated app to control the monsters, which makes it a substantial improvement over the first edition.

1-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 120 minutes to play • $90Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Star Wars: ArmadaThe Battle of Five ArmiesStar Wars: X-Wing Miniatures
Rum and BonesBlack FleetMice and Mystics
Xia: Legends of the DriftEldritch HorrorZombicide

 


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Family Games

Adventure LandAdventure Land (review)
Produced by family game veteran HABA Games, Adventure Land has players controlling a group of adventures as they move around the realm, collecting items and fighting monsters. This is HABAs first game that’s both accessible for families, yet also deep enough for gamers to enjoy. The three included scenarios in Adventure Land allow for a scaling complicity so players can choose the mission parameters to suit their player needs and players

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 45 minutes to play  • $35Get Your Copy

 

Lanterns: The Harvest FestivalLanterns: The Harvest Festival (review)
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a set collection and tile laying game where players are laying out lanterns during a holiday festival. Much like Lotus, Lanterns has some great visuals and highly accessible rules. This one is light enough to be enjoyed by gamers, yet still plays quick enough to keep the Eurogame fan entertained.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

 

KarubaKaruba (review)
Another game published by HABA, Karuba has also been nominated for its fair share of gaming awards. In this tile laying game, each player starts with identical boards, and will be placing matching tiles on their board to try to race their adventurers to the treasure. Karuba is another game that manages to straddle the line and be accessible enough for the family, yet entertaining enough for adults.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $30Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
Flick ‘Em UpRampage (Terror in Meeple City)Click Clack Lumberjack
CoconutsCamel UpZombie Kidz
GravwellSplendorThree Little Pigs

 


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Stocking Stuffers

3 WishesThree Wishes (review)
3 Wishes is a micro game where players are trying to collect three different wish cards over the course of the game. With only 18 cards in the game, 3 Wishes is both quick to play and highly portable. The game also feature some great, entertaining artwork and makes a perfect impulse buy for gamers and non-gamers alike.

3-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 5 minutes to play • $10Get Your Copy

 

Bottom of the NinthBottom of the 9th
If you are a baseball fan, then you’ll love Bottom of the 9th. This quick playing card game has players competing on the baseball field. However, instead of playing a full game of baseball, they are just playing half an inning. Bottom of the 9th manages to capture the tension of a close game of baseball coming down to the wire.

1-2 Players • Ages 8+ • 10 minutes to play • $14Get Your Copy

 

The GameThe Game
Probably one of the worst titled games out there, it’s generic name always makes it hard to find in a search. That being said, this little cooperative card game is super easy to learn to play, yet very challenging to win. Players are playing numbered cards to ascending and descending piles, while trying to play as many cards as possible. Teamwork is a must if you have any chance of winning The Game.

1-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 20 minutes to play • $15Get Your Copy

2015 Recommendations2014 Recommendations2013 Recommendations
The GrizzledHanabiLove Letter
PairsSushi Go!Dungeon Roll
Welcome to the DungeonNo Thanks!Friday
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