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Board Game Gift Guide 2015



Welcome to the 2015 Board Game Gift Guide. Every year we put together this handy little guide to help you choose the right tabletop game for that special person in your life. Everyone knows that board games and card games make the best gifts. It’s a scientifically proven fact (ok, maybe not actually proven). But unless everyone in your life has a board game wish list, it might be a little hard figuring out which game to buy.

That’s where we come in. We’ve curated a number of high quality board and card games for you to browse. We’ve broken them down into 8 different categories depending on what kind of game you are looking for. We have also noted previous year’s selections in case you want extra options. Happy shopping!

Click any name to jump to that category:

Classic Board Games: These games are staples of the board game industry and appear in our gift guide every year. You really can’t go wrong with any of these.
Cooperative Board Games: Games for players that love to work together and be part of a team. Cooperative games usually involve a lot of player interaction and are also a good challenge to win.
Party Games: For those times when you have a large group of people and you want a healthy dose of social interaction.
Two-Player Games: When it’s just you and another player, two player games are what you need. Also a great category if you are shopping for your spouse.
Euro Games: If you prefer collecting victory points and trade to combat and miniatures, then you are probably a euro game fan. No player elimination and resource collection are some of the mechanics you’ll find in the euro game.
Card Games: Games that don’t need a board or lots of tokens, card games are usually highly portable and inexpensive to purchase.
Thematic Games: If you want a game where you get sucked in by a great theme, then this is the place for you. Also a good start if you love games with lots of plastic miniatures.
Family Games: Games that are perfect for all ages, Family Games can be a great amount of fun for both children and adults alike!
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.


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 with no sign of slowing down. In Ticket to Ride, you are trying to build train routes on a map of the US 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 building and trading, 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 build up their deck by buying cards from ten stacks 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 unique card game that introduced us to the card drafting genre. In 7 Wonders, you have to pass your hand of cards each round to the player next to you. The game play is very unique, it has a quick playing time, and expands all the way up to seven players with no 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 zero setup time because you build the game board as you play! In Carcassonne, players are building out roads, cities, monasteries, and farms to try to score the most victory points. Each turn, a player draws a tile and adds it to the game board. If the player completes one of their structures, they can score victory points for it and get their worker back. The rules are simple, the turns quick, and the game is accessible to anyone.

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



Cooperative Board Games:

Pandemic: LegacyPandemic: Legacy (review)
Most gamers are no stranger to Pandemic, it has been in our gaming collection for many, many years. However this year Pandemic designer Matt Leacock has teamed up with Risk: Legacy designer Rob Daviau to bring us Pandemic: Legacy. Having personally played through it a number of times, I can assure you it’s nothing short of stellar. It’s a game of Pandemic that changes as you play over the course of 12-24 sessions. This copy will truly be your own after you finish the full campaign. There is nothing else quite like it on the market today.

2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 60 minutes to play • $50 Get Your Copy


Temple of Elemental EvilTemple of Elemental Evil
If you are the kind of person that loves a good dungeon crawl, or to control a hero as they level up, then Temple of Elemental Evil is the game for you. This is actually the fourth game in the Dungeons and Dragons board game series and easily the best. With Temple of Elemental Evil, they transitioned from single session games to a full on campaign game that’s a lot of fun to play through. Up to five heroes of the iconic classes can join forces to defeat the guardians of the temple.

1-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 60 minutes to play • $50 Get Your Copy


MysteriumMysterium (review)
There are a few different version of Mysterium to choose from, but all have mostly the same gameplay. In Mysterium, one player takes on the role of a ghost and must work with the spiritual investigators to help put his spirit to rest. The ghost can only communicate with the other players through the use of abstract dream cards, which helps give Mysterium a really unique and engaging game play.

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $35Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations 2012 Recommendations
Pandemic: The Cure Legends of Andor Space Alert
Shadowrun: Crossfire Forbidden Desert Sentinels of the Multiverse
Freedome: The Underground Railroad Escape: Curse of the Temple Elder Sign



Party Games:

Two Rooms and A Boom2 Rooms and a Boom (review)
If you have a large group, than there is no better game to choose than Two Rooms and a Boom. In this social game, players split into two secret teams and you have three rounds to determine where everyone’s loyalties lie. The ultimate goal if you are on the red team is for the player who is the bomber to end up in the same room as the president at the end of the game. The blue team wants to keep them separated. With a lot of trickery, deduction, and social engineering, Two Rooms in a Boom is a hit with our group.

6-30 Players • Ages 8+ • 15 minutes to play • $25Get Your Copy


One of the darlings of Gen Con 2015, players have been heaping lots of praise onto designer Vlaada Chvatil’s newest offering. In Codenames, two teams face off and one player, the code giver, must try and successfully get his teammates to guess the correct group of words on a grid, using only cryptic clues. Codenames is both very easy to learn and surprisingly fun.

2-8 Players • Ages 12+ • 15 minutes to play • $25Get Your Copy


Rhino HeroRhino Hero (review)
Rhino Hero is published by Haba Games, a company known for making high quality children games. However, Rhino Hero has been able to transcend its age demographic and turn itself into a game that’s both addictive and thoroughly enjoyable for all ages. Players are tasked with building a tower of cards that gets more unstable as the game progresses. With some surpassingly strategic choices, Rhino Hero is as much for for kids as it is with adults.

2-5 Players • Ages 5+ • 15 minutes to play • $12Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations 2012 Recommendations
Concept Wits and Wagers Jungle Speed
One Night Ultimate Werewolf Say Anything Dixit
Cash ‘n Guns Telestrations Cards Against Humanity



2 Player Games

Tides of TimeTides of Time (review)
I love card drafting games, but until now, there really hasn’t been a drafting game that played well with only 2 players. Enter Tides of Time. This quick playing card game has players drafting sets of cards in the hopes of scoring the most victory points over 3 rounds. Very easy to learn, quick to play, and highly portable makes Tides of Time an easy choice for just about anyone. The perfect game if you are looking for something you can quickly jump in and start playing.

2 Players • Ages 8+ • 15 minutes to play • $15Get Your Copy


This game of deduction has players trying to figure out which card belongs to your opponent. It’s a game of cat and mouse where players need to plan out their moves to either avoid the police or capture the killer. One of the interesting things about this edition of Noir is that it has up to 6 different modes of play, and also accommodates more players for when you aren’t just a pair.

2-9 Players • Ages 8+ • 10 minutes to play • $20 Get Your Copy


WWE Superstar ShowdownWWE Superstar Showdown (review)
OK, not a game I expected to be on here, but after playing it many times, I’ve really come to enjoy this wrestling game. Publisher Gale Force 9 once again knocks it out of the park with a thematic license and creates a game that perfectly captures the spirit of WWE Wrestling. Sure the theme is not for everyone, but if you have fond memories of watching Randy “Macho Man” Savage do an elbow drop off the top turnbuckle, than I guarantee you will have some fun with this quick playing, thematic game. While it can play with more than two, WWE Superstar Showdown is really a 2 player game at heart.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $40 Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations 2012 Recommendations
Pagoda Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small Lost Cities
Marvel: Dice Masters Netrunner Jambo
Battlelore: 2nd Edition Memoir ’44 Stronghold




ViceroyViceroy (review)
In this unique card game published by Mayday Games, players are trying to build a pyramid of power to earn the most victory points. Using both a light bidding system for card acquisition and also creative card placement rules, Viceroy has seen its way to our tabletop countless of times already. If you like games with many paths to victory, than Viceroy will be right up your alley.

1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 45 minutes to play • $30 Get Your Copy


DiscoveriesDiscoveries (review)
A while ago a board game called Lewis and Clark debuted that was both fun to play and also had a great theme. Discoveries was created to be the dice rolling version of Lewis and Clark and the designers absolutely succeeded in pulling it off. They were able to distill Lewis and Clark down to its core elements and create a game that’s easy to play and also is interspersed with some historical tidbits.

2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 60 minutes to play • $30 Get Your Copy


Between Two CitiesBetween Two Cities
While we’ve seen plenty of card drafting games, Between Two Cities is one of the first tile drafting games I’ve played. In this game, players are trying to build two cities, one each with both of their neighbors. There are a number of different buildings that can be constructed, each which will score you points in different ways. The key feature of Between Two Cities is that you only score points for the lower to your two cities, so you can’t ignore one of your partners while you build a super city with the other.

1-7 Players • Ages 8+ • 20 minutes to play • $34Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations 2012 Recommendations
Five Tribes Viticulture Lords of Waterdeep
Caverna: The Cave Farmers Suburbia Kingdom Builder
Nations Relic Runners Puerto Rico



Card Games

AshesAshes: Rise of the Phoenixborn
Ashes takes the familiar type of game play that originated with Magic: The Gathering and puts a new spin on it. Instead of using lands to power your spells, players use dice. There are a number of other difference that help set Ashes apart, including separate decks for a player’s summoned creatures vs. other spells. Ashes also boasts some absolutely incredible artwork and also allows you to play with pre-constructed decks or do your own deck construction.

2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 45 minutes to play • $40 Get Your Copy


In this clever little card game, players are trying to complete paths of trees in numerical order. Arboretum boasts well drawn, thematic artwork, easy to learn rules, and really unique scoring mechanics. Aboretaum can be a really thinky game, depending on how into it you get, but it’s enjoyable game play helps to make sure it comes to the table quite often.

2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes to play • $17Get Your Copy


Sushi Go! TinSushi Go! (review)
Sushi Go! has been around for a while and has become one of the go-to gateway games for card drafting fanatics. Known as the “pick and pass” game, Sushi Go! takes the gameplay 7 Wonders brought to our table and distills it down to a game that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. If you are looking for a fun set collection game that can be played with family and friends alike, pick up a copy of Sushi Go!

2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 15 minutes to play • $12Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations
Imperial Settlers Pathfinder Card Game
Diamonds Legendary: Marvel Deck Building Game
Star Realms Fleet



Thematic Games

Star Wars ArmadaStar Wars: Armada
For the longest time, when it came to star wars ship based miniatures games, X-Wing ruled the roost. Well no longer as Star Wars: Armada has arrived. If you’ve ever wanted to jump on the bridge of a Victory Class Star Destroyer, you’re in luck. Publisher Fantasy Flight Games has taken some of the lessons they learned from creating Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures and turned it into a game about massive capitol ships battling it out. Armada is a highly strategic game with some great looking components. This one is a must for any Star Wars fan.

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


Rum and BonesRum and Bones
You can never go wrong with a good pirate theme and this time the minds over at Cool Mini or Not have brought us a MOBA style game with Rum and Bones. Each player takes on the role of a pirate crew trying to destroy their opponent’s objectives. As with any Cool Mini game, the components, specifically the miniatures, are extremely well produced and the game play is solid.

2-6 Players • Ages 12+ • 60 minutes to play • $75Get Your Copy


Xia: Legends of the DriftXia: Legends of the Drift System (review)
With Xia, first time designer Cody Miller wanted to create an open world, sandbox style game. After a number of plays of Xia: Legends of the Drift System, I’d say he absolutely succeeded. In Xia, players are trying to become a legendary starship captain. To do so, they can earn victory points in a number of different ways. Trading, combat, exploration, luck, missions, there are so many ways to play Xia that this is a game that can appeal to just about everyone!

3-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 120 minutes to play • $85Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations 2012 Recommendations
The Battle of Five Armies Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Mansions of Madness
Black Fleet Mice and Mystics Mage Knight: The Board Game
Eldritch Horror Zombicide Battlestar Galactica



Family Games

Flick em UpFlick Em Up
Set in the old west, Flick ‘Em Up is a dexterity based game where you play out a duel in the old west. The gameplay has players flicking discs across the board to try and win the shootout. In addition to some great components, Flick ‘Em Up also has a number of different scenarios to help keep the game fresh. With a new expansion on the horizon, it looks new publisher Pretzel Games has a lot of plans in motion for this title.

2-10 Players • Ages 7+ • 30 minutes to play • $85Get Your Copy


Coconuts BoxCoconuts (review)
Coconuts is also a dexterity game, yet is also one of the most addicting games I’ve played. The gameplay is devilishly simple. Take a coconut and use your monkey to try and flip it into a cup at the center of the table. Coconuts is WAY more fun than it should be, but there is just no denying the attraction and charm this game has. This is a game that repeatedly makes its way to our table.

2-4 Players • Ages 5+ • 20 minutes to play • $40 Get Your Copy


Gravwell: Escape from the Ninth DimensionGravewell (review)
Published by Renegade Studios, Gravwell tasks players with trying to be the first ship to escape the gravity well. This is done via the games unique card playing mechanic. Players will need to use other ship’s position to help slingshot themselves around the board. The game play is very easy to learn yet winning is definitely no easy task.

1-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 20 minutes to play • $26Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations
Rampage (Terror in Meeple City) Click Clack Lumberjack
Camel Up Zombie Kidz
Splendor Three Little Pigs



Stocking Stuffers

The GrizzledThe Grizzled
This thematic game is a cooperative game about survival in the trenches during World War 1. The rules are simple, the game play fun, and from what you might expect from a cooperative game, winning will definitely be a bit of a challenge. Planning, teamwork, and a little luck are a must if you hope to win The Grizzled.

2-5 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes to play • $17Get Your Copy


Pairs Card GamePairs (review)
This single deck of cards was billed as an easy to play pub game. The rules take about 30 seconds to explain, yet the game play is entertaining enough to have you coming back for more and more. Pairs is a bit of a push your luck game where you have to decide how high of risk tolerance you really have. The size of a deck of cards, it also makes the perfect travel game.

2-8 Players • Ages 6+ • 15 minutes to play • $9Get Your Copy


Welcome to the DungeonWelcome to the Dungeon
Welcome to the Dungeon is a casual, push your luck game where players are trying to earn the most points. Each round you will be either adding monsters to the dungeon or removing equipment from heroes. The key is that players can pass the round on their turn, and the last player left in has to fight in the dungeon with the hero and only what they have left. Take too much from him and you will fail, but bow out too early and the other player will zip to victory.

2-4 Players • Ages 8+ • 30 minutes to play • $15Get Your Copy

2014 Recommendations 2013 Recommendations
Hanabi Love Letter
Sushi Go! Dungeon Roll
No Thanks! Friday
While he will play just about anything, Tony loves games that let him completely immerse himself in the theme. He also is a bit of a component addict.


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