Christmas Ideas – Board Games: Stocking Stuffers
Alright, this whole week and probably for a little bit longer, but let’s talk about those things you can get for the nerdy people you have in your life. Or things that you can suggest that people get for you, since you’re the nerdy person in their lives.
Stocking Stuffers are going to be small games, though a few of them might be slightly too large for a small stocking, but they are going to be smaller games and hopefully slightly cheaper options for you as well. These games are not going to be big and grandiose, but hopefully you’ll find a good range of games for the people in your lives. This list isn’t in a best to worst or vice-a-versa order, just alphabetical
Age of War – This game will easily fit into a stocking. It is a simple little dice game where you are trying to collect fortresses by rolling combinations on the dice. If you get a set, you can lock them in, but if not, someone can try and steal it from you, though it’s a little bit trickier. This game is very simple and small. It’s a good game for people who like a bit of dice rolling, but don’t want anything too thinky.
Boss Monster – A game that’s a bit bigger than Age of War, but it’s still easy to play. Each person is a monster in a 8-bit video game and you are trying to set-up your dungeon and lair so that you can defeat all the heroes who are coming from the town. But you also have to be able to attract them. But if they don’t die in your dungeon, you don’t want to take too much damage. This is for someone who likes a lot of nerdy things and retro video games being one of them. There are good nods to other nerdy things on the cards.
Cat Cafe – Your crazy cat lady aunt will love you for this game, though you’ll probably have to teach it to her. It’s a bit more complex than some roll and writes, but in the game, you are creating your own cat towers to attract cats to you. You score in various ways by placing mice toys together or by getting food dishes or other things your cats would love. This is a good game for the whole family.
Criss Cross – Another roll and write, you might see a third on the list, but Criss Cross is a little game, but a good one for people who like to puzzle out the best score. In Criss Cross you are rolling dice and everyone is placing the symbols rolled onto their own board, but you have to remember that you are scoring both columns and rows, so you don’t want to have too many of them that score zero. It’s a very small game and easy to play multiple times.
Gloom – This is completely different than the other games, because Gloom is a story telling game. In it you are taking turns playing down cards to either make your opponents characters lives go better, or to make yours go worst until you can kill off your whole family. You are telling the horrible things that are happening to them as you play card. This has a nice dark humor to the game, and it just ends up being silly fun for a potentially dark theme. Plus, the cards are clear plastic, so that they stack on top of previous cards and you can see through.
Hanabi – A card driven game, Hanabi is unique because the cards aren’t facing you. Your hand of cards is facing your opponents and they are giving clues to help you play down your cards. You are all trying to work together to get stacks of fireworks from 1 to 5 of their colors, but if you play down the wrong number or the wrong color, you lose a fuse, and you don’t want it to blow up in your face. It’s a unique idea and it works well for a small box game.
Hanamikoji – This is a great game to get for your significant other, if they enjoy gaming. It’s a two player only abstract game where you are trying to win favors of various Geisha. But to do so, you must give them gifts using four actions that you can take. And your opponent has the same four actions. When you use them and the choices you make are what work well in this thinky game. It plays fast, though, and generally I’ve found that people want to play again after the first game.
Just One – Okay, you’ll need a large stocking for this one. The game isn’t that huge, but it’s larger than most. A cooperative word based party game, this one is great for your family if you are sick and tired of playing the same party games over and over again from the 90’s or you’ve read every single Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity card. In Just One, one person is it, and you are all trying to get them to guess a word, but you can only write down a one word clue. If you match with someone, though, both clues are hidden. It’s a super fun game that takes the place of a lot of other party games.
Onirim – Maybe you have a family member who likes to play solitaire games, probably including solitaire, but they haven’t jumped into modern board games. Onirim is a great game for a solitaire player with simple rules in the base game, and a lot of challenge as you are playing cards, it’s one of the best purely solo games out there. The artwork is unique, but I like it, and the game is small, just a bunch of cards, so it won’t feel like too much.
Parade – This game can be a bit hard to find, but if you can get your hands on it, it’s an interesting card collection game where you are trying to get as few cards and as few points as possible. But, in a twist, if you get the most of a certain color/suit, those cards only count as a single point. It’s an abstract little game, but the Alice in Wonderland artwork will draw people in.
Say Bye to the Villains – If the person likes hard games, this will be a good option. Say Bye to the Villains is a very hard game, I haven’t beaten it, but a ton of fun. You are all Samurai who have 10 days to prepare to fight a group of villains at the end of that time each of you will face off against one. You can prepare by improving your stats or scouting out the villains. This game works well, because it’s cooperative and you feel like you can’t get everything done that you need to. Extremely tough, good variety in the game, and if you are looking for a challenge it’ll be a good choice.
Second Chance – We’re back to roll and writes, but Second Chance is a great one for it, and a simpler one. In this game, two cards are flipped and you have to draw in the shape shown of one of them on your board. The person who has the fewest spaces left at the end of the game wins. However, to keep it from being the same, each person has a unique starting shape, and if you use larger shapes, you might run out of room faster, but you get a bonus spot. If you can’t fill in one of the shapes, you get a second chance, and if you can use that new shape, that is just for you, you can keep playing. The game has a nice art feel to it and works well in large groups. Another game that you will play multiple times in a single sitting.
Stipulations – Another party game is making the list, and this one will easily fit in a stocking. Too many party games either need to have a ton of cards, Apples to Apples/Cards Against Humanity, because you go through them quickly, or they have large pieces like Catch Phrase, but Stipulations is a fun game in a small package. In the game the person who is it picks a dream job, super power, life time supply or fulfilled dream that then other players write a stipulation for. It’s a good creative game, and one that you can make as dirty or as clean as you want, so you can always play with anyone.
Unlock! – Any of the Unlock games, or the Exit games, would work in this spot, but if you have someone who loves escape rooms, give them an escape room in a box. Unlock puts you into a situation that you have to combine cards, solve riddles and other puzzles and figure out the solution before time runs out. And then when it does, you can still finish, you just get fewer points, but you can watch the clock count down and get stressed out. If you are looking for that escape room experience but on a budget, it works well with groups too, probably up to 6 players maximum, though I think 4 is the ideal number.
Alright, I don’t know how many that was, but it’s a good variety of games that you can stick in people stockings. If you want, you can probably find one for everyone in your family. Board games are fun to give and get over the holidays because you can then turn them into a family activity if you want.
Which game would you want to get in your stocking? Which one would you be most apt to give?
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