As the holidays are just around the corner, it’s time to honor a tradition that goes way, way back to last year: The Holiday Buying List! Now while other people (Ryan & Erin) will give you a nice, organized list that will help you make decisions based off of your family or loved ones’ preferences. I’m going to be much more selfish and just tell you what it is that I’m asking for this holiday season. I’ll also try to be somewhat helpful and point out other games that might scratch the same itch, in case you need more ideas. Yes, I know, how selfless of me.
On last year’s guide, I listed Splendor as my favorite game that I don’t own. Now that I got my hands on a copy of that awesome game, that title has been passed down to Istanbul. I’ve played this a handful of times at gaming conventions, and I really like the mechanics. Each player controls a merchant with several assistants, represented by circular tokens. The board is made up of several different locations in the bazaar, acquiring and trading goods with the goal of being the first to collect five rubies. Each time you use a location, though, you have to leave an assistant there, and if you run out of assistants, you can take any actions until you collect them all again. Simultaneously, the goods available and the prices of rubies change based on the actions of the players. All of this leads to a game that requires you to think several moves ahead, while also creating a Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D in case the other players ruin everything. All in all, it leads to a gaming experience that I really enjoy and that I would love to add to my collection.
Other board games I’ve been wanting that you can totally buy me:Power Grid, Sagrada, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, Puerto Rico
Above and Below
I love a good story. I’m also a fan of board games. Why not have an experience where I can combine both? Above and Below is a game I have wanted to play for over two years and haven’t even gotten the chance to do that. But I know I would love it! This game has similarities to Tales of the Arabian Nights (which I put on my wishlist last year and now own but still haven’t gotten to play!) in that you go exploring (in a cave), encounter different things, choose how to react, and then read what happens to you from a big book. There’s a little more to this title, though, as you’re also building a town on the surface. Ryan already has a copy, so maybe I’ll just steal his… I also wouldn’t mind getting my hands on the sequel, Near and Far.
I love me a good round of nostalgia. I remember back a few days ago when I was being nostalgic. Ahh, looking back on that, that was a good time.
Anyways, many games that have a tie-in to a movie or TV show aren’t all that great (like Ghostbusters, for instance). And to be honest, this game based on a classic from my childhood might be terrible, too. But I’ve got to try! I mean, it’s cooperative, it involves finding treasure, and I can play as Chunk. And I’ll make sure to do it while eating a Baby Ruth and doing the Truffle Shuffle.
Other recommendations to get your 80s /90s on:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Bob Ross: The Art of Chill, Stranger Things Eggo Card Game
As you know, I think it’s really important to game with your spouse. Sarah and I have a great collection of two player games that we can go to, but I’m always looking to expand. This year, I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of Fugitive from Fowers Games. From one of my favorite board game minds in the world (Tim Fowers), this game is a quasi-spin off of Burgle Bros (another game I thoroughly enjoy).
One thing that stands out about this game is that it’s asymmetrical, meaning that the players don’t play in the same way. One player serves as the Fugitive, laying down a trail of cards while trying to get away. The other player is the Marshal, trying to deduce where the Fugitive is based on the cards laid down. This different approach to gameplay is something we don’t currently have in our collection, so I’m excited about getting my hands on Fugitive to share in a new gaming experience with the wifey.
Other Intriguing Two Player Games:Raptor, Onitama, Codenames Duet, 7 Wonders Duel
One Night: Ultimate Werewolf and its many expansions have been a big hit among my middle school classes the past two years. They love the fact that they can lie, call out other people for lying, and use an app to play a board game.
Werewords is another hidden identity game from the same creator, but with a little twist. Players are trying to figure out a secret word before time is up. However, some players are actively working against everyone else, trying to get them off the trail of the secret word. I’ve always enjoyed 20 Questions, and this sounds like a great spin on that game. Plus, I love me some Werewolf, so this game feels like a no brainer.
So there you have it! My Christmas wishlist that I hope will be fulfilled, but I’ll probably just end up with a bunch of socks. Adulting… it’s way overrated. Well anyway, I hope you find a few games from this list that will get your family around the table during the holidays and all through the new year!