Ric’s 2020 Christmas Wishlist

Ric's 2020 Christmas Wish List

It’s mid-November and I’m writing a holiday buyer’s guide. Why?!? Most of the leaves are still in the trees. It’s 72 degrees outside. There’s a rotting pumpkin still sitting on my porch. I have also been strictly forbidden from playing any Christmas music until we eat dried out turkey in a few weeks.

But I guess it’s good to get ahead of the holiday madness. I mean, the earlier I get this list out there, the longer that people have to buy these things for me. Yes, my buyer’s guides (like this one or this one) have been less of a guide for what you should get loved ones, and instead what you should get me. So far, I’ve been pretty successful at getting what’s on my list… but not from other people. I just I end up getting the games for myself a few months into the next year. I’m like a ridiculously late, less obese, equally reclusive Santa Claus. (Now there’s a fella who knows his way around some social distancing.)

I’ve decided to help everyone out by breaking my games up into the categories of people that would likely buy them for me. You, of course, don’t have to restrict yourself to just one group. Far be it from me to limit your generosity.

Enough of the chit chat! Here’s them games!

From My Secret Santa

Silver & Gold

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Amazon

Silver & Gold player maps

For a Secret Santa, I want to stick to a pretty low budget. I’m not looking for the most exclusive title out there. A nice little card game will do.

And Silver & Gold from Pandasaurus Games will certainly do. I’m a big fan of dry erase games (yeah, I know a weird preference), but I’ve never seen one with cards before. But it’s genius! The game sets each player as a treasure hunter, seeking to explore islands, find treasure, and collect gold. It’s super easy to learn, turns move quickly, and you’ll want to play it again right after. That’s a whole lot to love for $15. 

Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game

Publisher: Z-Man Games
Player Count: 2-6
Purchase on Amazon

Love Letter is one of my most played games, so it might seem a bit redundant to add this Marvel-themed version to my collection. However, the game is significantly different, taking on a “one-vs-many” approach, with one player operating as Thanos and the others as the heroes trying to take him down. A perfect stocking stuffer for this superhero nerd.

12 Days

Publisher: Calliope Games
Player Count: 3-5
Purchase on Amazon

12 Days card game

I’ve seen this game on shelves for the past few years and never really paid much attention to it. But looking a little closer, it seems like a great option for families who love trick-taking games but are open to trying something festive over the holidays.


From A Loving Family Member

ArchRavels

Publisher: XYZ Game Labs
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Backerkit

What’s a good way to get my wife to the table more often? Get a game that centers around her favorite hobby. When I first saw ArchRavels back at Origins 2019, I was very excited about getting my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, I missed out on the Kickstarter, but I’ve been following it very carefully over the past year. The game’s components look amazing, and the mechanics seem solid. I wonder if this could turn into a “I got this for you, but it’s really for me” situation…

Santa Monica

Publisher: AEG
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Amazon

Santa Monica player area

Our family loves Cat Lady, and Ryan has been talking up this title quite a bit over the past few months. I still don’t know all that much about it, but I trust the designer and I’m digging the artwork. That’s good enough for me!

Cloud Control

Publisher: 25th Century Games
Player Count: 3-10
Purchase at 25th Century Games

Cloud Control

I first experienced this game many years ago, and it has gone through quite a lengthy process to finally see the light of day. I’m glad I can finally get a copy for myself, as I believe that this unique spin on Pictionary-esque games will provide plenty of happy moments around the table.


From a Big Fan

The Quest for El Dorado: The Golden Temples

Publisher: Ravensburger
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Amazon

Loyal OBF followers know of my love for the original Quest for El Dorado. It’s probably a top 5 game of mine, and I seek to find new people to play it with whenever I can. I never got my hands on Heroes & Hexes – I just wasn’t convinced I needed it. However, the content that I’m seeing in The Golden Temples has caught my attention. It builds on the original title’s deck-building, map-moving mechanics by adding deliveries. So now, there’s not just one path forward, but instead you’ll be moving all over the place. I’m sure that someone out there would love to send a copy my way so that they can hear more about this title, right?

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Publisher: Cephalofair Games
Player Count: 1-4
Purchase on Amazon

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

I’ve played Gloomhaven once, and I had a really good time with it. However, there’s no way I would ever get my regular gaming friends to play. However, this seems a little more digestible, so I’m willing to give it a shot.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars

Publisher: Space Cowboys
Player Count: 1 – ?
Purchase on Amazon

You know I love it. You know I need it.


From an Artsy-Fartsy Friend

Azul: Summer Pavilion

Publisher: Next Move Games
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Amazon

The first Azul was very popular upon its release. Since then, two “sequels” have come out, and I think this one might be my favorite game of the three. The designers have done a great job of retaining the same tile drafting and placement feel of the original, while also updating the mechanics to provide for more individual player strategies. I’ve only played this once (during our gaming marathon back in January), but I immediately wanted to play again.

Near and Far

Publisher: Red Raven Games
Player Count: 2-4
Purchase on Amazon

I really enjoyed playing Above and Below the couple of times it has hit the table with friends. And it’s so darn pretty. But my copy has yet to be opened. Why not add Near and Far to the “shelf of shame”, too?

Mandala

Publisher: Lookout Games
Player Count: 2
Purchase on Amazon

I first heard about this title from Shut Up & Sit Down. Since then, I’ve wanted to add it to my rather extensive 2-player library. It’s pretty, it’s straightforward, and as far as I can tell, it’s fun!


From… Myself?

Burgle Bros. 2

Publisher: Fowers Games
Player Count: 1-4
Purchase at Fowers Games

On last year’s list, I dedicated an entire section just to games from Tim Fowers. And while I was fortunate enough to finally get my hands on a copy of Sabotage, I never pre-ordered a copy of Burgle Bros. 2. That’s disappointing, because I’m a huge fan of the original, and it looks like this sequel is taking everything up a notch. The pandemic hit the production schedule of this game pretty hard, but what that means is that I can still pre-order my copy and it will possibly be here by Christmas! Now I just gotta figure out what I write on the tag when it’s a gift from me, to me, without looking like a jerk.

The King’s Guild

Publisher: Mirror Box Games
Player Count: 1-6
Purchase Link

I became a huge fan of this game when it hit Board Game Arena a few months back – so much so that it became my first review of a game that I’ve only played digitally. Since then, I haven’t been able to play it as much. However, I think this resource management / tile-laying / set collection game would be a great game on the table, so maybe I can get my hands on it soon.

Wingspan

Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Player Count: 1-5
Purchase on Amazon

Wingspan from Stonemaier Games

It got a lot of attention last year for good reason. Beautiful art, solid mechanics, and… birds! It’s a lot easier to get your hands on a copy these days, so maybe I can finally add it to my shelf.