Holiday Lists Table Top

Holiday List – Stuff the Stockings with Board Games

Yesterday I talked about games that would work well for that just slightly too competitive person in your life. You still want to get them board games, but which ones, today I’m looking at smaller games. These are the games that are going to be able to be stuffed into a stocking with less than 68% of it sticking out of the top of the stockings. Now, I don’t know how big your stockings are, but I’m assuming that wi-fi is spotty at best for Big Foot, so I’m going with more of a standard size. Also, right now I’m starting with board games but I’ll be moving onto other holiday lists as well.

Fox in the Forest/Fox in the Forest Duet

Two different versions of a trick taking game. But both are two player only only games. In Fox in the Forest, you are trying to take tricks, but scoring is more challenging than just taking all of the tricks. Certain cards have certain powers on them. In Fox in the Forest Duet you are working together, trying to keep the fox moving along the board and picking up tokens, more tokens you get the better you do, but it’s still trick taking. There are paw prints on the cards, or fox symbols I forget which, and that is how much the fox moves, but which direction depends on who wins the trick. Both of these are clever little games and good for 2020 if you have a limited number of players you can play with.

Zombie Dice

While the previous ones were for casual gamers, I think that this one is one you can pull out with anyone. It’s a simple push your luck game where you are grabbing three dice from a cup, rolling them, keeping brains, seeing if you’ve been shot, and then deciding if you want to draw more dice and roll those. There is a bit more going on than that, but that’s basically it. Once someone hits the point total to win, everyone else get’s one shot to push their luck. It’s like a simpler version of the game Farkle, and it has a theme. I think that the theme and the simplicity of the game is going to draw people in, even though the theme is just goofy fun versus involved in the tactics. It also is really small and needs about no table space, just enough to roll the dice, so it’s good for at a bar, or a picnic.


I’ve done two player, any number of player, and now a solo board game. Onirim is one of the best known solo games. It’s all about playing out cards, matching colors and changing symbols so that you can get doors out and escape the nightmares. It’s really an abstract game, but it’s a lot of fun. Plus, the new printing has all the expansions in the base box, which I need to learn all of them. The game is clever in what it does, because there are very powerful key cards, key cards can be played like any other card to find a door, but if you flip a door from the top of the deck and you have a matching key color, you can just spend the key and immediately get that door, or you can use it to look at the top five cards of your deck, discard one, can’t be a door, and order the rest how you want, or finally you can use it to stop some other affect from a nightmare being drawn. And the nightmares have as many things they can force you to do as the keys. It’s a really interesting puzzle to see if you make the right decisions with those really important cards.


Maybe you like the idea of a cooperative game, Hanabi is a very small box cooperative game where you are trying to put on the best firework short. You want to display all five colors of fireworks from 1 to 5, playing down their cards in order. However, you can’t see all the cards, in fact, you can’t see your cards, but you can see everyone else’s cards. On your turn, you can do one of three things. You can spend a clue token to give another player a clue as to what they have in their hand. The clues would be something like “This and this card are blue” or “That’s a two and that’s a two”. You have to give the person all of the information for a given color or number. You can also play down a card to one of the rows of fireworks, but if you get it wrong, the fuse gets shorter. Or you can discard a card to get another clue token to use. The game is somewhat lucky as you try and give specific enough clues to be helpful, but are stuck some on the draw. But the more you play, the more you know how to give good clues that mean something, even if it might not be as obviously straight forward.

Image Source: Board Game Geek

Ganz Schon Clever

There are so many roll and write or flip and write games that I could say. Silver & Gold, Railroad Ink, Patchwork Doodle, Floor Plan, Second Chance, Cross Cross, Cat Cafe, and Cartographers are all ones that would pretty easily fit into a stocking. But I’m picking Ganz Schon Clever because that’s the one that I’ve been playing a lot of recently. It’s an interesting little puzzle of a roll and write, where you have five different areas where you are placing die values. Each of them scores in their own different way, and each of them has their own way you want to place the dice. It’s an interesting challenge and it’s based so much off of combos and how you can fill in a spot in one row to then be able to fill in a spot in another. It’s very satisfying that way.

Now, there are a lot more small games out there that’d work well, obviously I tossed out a bunch of roll and writes. But if none of those work for you, you can also find games like Stipulations, Parade, The Lost Expedition, Not Alone, Love Letter, Hanamikoji, Marrying Mr Darcy, Point Salad, Gloom, Arboretum, and so many more. There are a lot of good small games out there that are a lot more than just just a take that sort of game, or the classics like Uno, Skip-bo, and Pit.

What small game would you like to find in your stocking at the holidays?

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