The Halloween candy has been portioned out, the hectic rush of Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Sleeveless Drunken Online Shopping Tuesday have yet to hit us. So here, for your collecting pleasure are a whole bunch of relatively inexpensive gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season!
Sometimes it’s hard to shop for your geek friends, family and loved ones. What if you’re not sure what to get them? You know they have a stuffed meeple, but that’s it. Here then are some suggestions for you!
Last year I posted 70 board games and geek toys for (mostly) under $20. This year, I’ve upped it to
80 90+ geek gift ideas (board games, RPGs and related neat stuff) that will make great geek gifts all for mostly under $20. These make great gifts as they can be used over and over again. Click the picture to go directly to the purchasing site.
As an added bonus, I’ve added a bunch of games, toys, books and movies that I very much enjoy, but which don’t fall into the under $20 or game categories.
These less expensive games tend to be smaller, making them easier to store and lug around. By way of disclosure, many of these are through amazon, and yes I get a small percentage of any sales. This goes directly in to keeping this site alive. Another trick, Amazon has free shipping for orders of $35 or more, but with Amazon prime, it’s free 2nd day shipping on many of these. Remember, if you’re a student, prime is free!
Items that have red prices cost over $20. Items that are green are 20 bucks or less. Click the images to go directly to Amazon and DriveThruRPG. All prices are subject to change at the unreadable whim of Amazon.com. PLEASE NOTE: I don’t control the pricing at Amazon, as much as I wish I did. These prices change constantly! They may be off by a dollar or two, or you may get really lucky and they may be $5-10 less.
If you have any suggestions you’d like to see on the list, feel free to let me know!
Now, in no particular order, 90+ games and table top gifts costing mostly under $20.
Lost Legacy – The Starship – $10.00
In the distant past, a starship from a faraway world appeared in the sky. Damaged in battle, the craft broke apart and traced lines of fire across the horizon. These falling stars crashed to the surface and in the ages to come, became enshrined in legends as the Lost Legacy. Discover where the Lost Legacy can be found and win the game! Lost Legacy is a game of risk, deduction and luck. Like Love Letter, but a bit different.
Nuts! – $12.00
Squirrels. They love nuts. They’d do anything to get their hands on nuts. They sometimes mess with each other to get their hands on each others’ nuts. In the end, for a squirrel, it really is all about the nuts. As a squirrel, it’s a matter of pride to see who has the biggest and baddest nuts in the park.
Poo – $9.00
Sometimes, being an ape ain’t so bad. It’s been a tough day in the monkey cage and something in the food tonight wasn’t quite right. In monkey world, there’s only one thing that can be done about it – fling poo. It doesn’t matter who started it in this fast and furious game of monkey see, monkey doo. It only matters who has what it takes to be king of the cage.
Age of War – $12.00
Can you unite the clans amidst the tumult of war? Age of War is a fast-paced dice game for two to six players by world renowned game designer Reiner Knizia. You and your fellow players assume the roles of daimyos competing to unite the warring clans of feudal Japan and assume control of the nation. During play, you muster troops by rolling seven custom dice, and you use. these troops to lay siege to one of fourteen different castles, each of which requires you to assemble a unique combination of troops in order to conquer it. Castles grant points towards your victory, and you can gain more points by uniting an entire clan. The daimyo with the most support at the game’s end is the victor!
Red7 – $12.00
The rules of Red are simple: Highest card wins! But Red is only one of seven games you’ll be playing. Red7 is a quick and easy to learn card game that you can teach and play in five minutes. You must be in the lead at the end of your turn, or you’re out. Play from your hand to improve your palette, or discard to the rules canvas to change the game! Red7 uses a deck of 49 cards, numbered 1-7 in suits of the seven rainbow colors.
We Didn’t Playtest This At All – $12.50
The most aptly named game ever! In this exceptionally silly and awesome game, your objective is to win! Simple enough. Sadly, all of your opponents have the same simple goal, and they’re trying to make you lose. Between Rock Paper Scissors battles, being eaten by a random Dragon, or saved by a Kitten Ambush, there are many hazards to avoid. Games last between 30 seconds and 5 minutes, and are lots of fun. Any number can play, though we recommend between 2 and 15.
BraveRats – $10.00
In the Highlands of Medieval Scotland, an epic battle is taking place underfoot! Rivaling rat clans clash in a bid for the throne in this fast take on the card game War. Both players have a hand of eight cards, numbered 0 to 7, with each character on the card possessing a special power. In a calculated duel, both players reveal a card. The victory goes to the higher number, unless the special power overrules. The first player to win four rounds claims the kingdom for their clan. This minimalist wonder plays in just minutes but packs rich game play and plenty of suspense.
Marvel Dice Masters: The Uncanny X-Men – $14.95
At first, extremely hard to come by, the Dice Masters system is now coming into stock and lots and lots of people are loving it. Showcasing fan-favorites like Wolverine, Magneto, Cyclops, Iceman, Psylocke, and the Sentinels, Marvel Dice Masters: The Uncanny X-Men features X-citing game-play that supports two players in epic dice battles! Featuring more than 30 new characters (and their respective dice), Marvel Dice Masters: The Uncanny X-Men brings X-cellent action to your next Dice Masters game! This series is offered in 60-count gravity feeds of individual foil packs containing two cards and two dice, as well as 2-Player Starter Sets comprised of 44 custom dice, 38 cards, two dice bags, and the complete Dice Masters Core Rulebook – everything two players need to play Marvel Dice Masters.
Castles of Burgundy – $26.00
A wonderful introduction to the world of Euro-style games. The Castles of Burgundy is a detailed strategy game set in the Loire Valley of France during medieval times. Players assume the role of princes trying to build the greatest estates in the land by becoming more prosperous than their competitors. Over the course of five rounds, players collect points by trading, livestock farming, city building and scientific research. They must buy and sell goods or labor and use action tiles for building, shipping, mining, livestock and knowledge across two game boards.
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Starter Set – $12.00
The Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set is your gateway to action-packed stories of the imagination. This box contains the essential rules of the game plus everything you need to play heroic characters on perilous adventures in worlds of fantasy. It’s not your grandfather’s D&D! Or is it? 5th edition purports to take all the good stuff from previous editions, distilled down to the essentials. This starter set is just that – a quick start to a whole new world.
Jaipur – $18.68
My kingdom for a camel. Work hard, earn more than your opponent and become the official merchant of the Maharaja. At the beginning of the game, three camel cards and two merchandise cards are on the table between the players, who already have five cards in hand. On your turn, you can take some cards or sell some. Each time that you take cards, you can take one or more, however if you decide to take more, then you will have to trade in the same amount of cards from your hand that you take. If you decide to take all camel cards, then they can be used later to trade.
Hive Pocket Edition – $19.00
Cypher – $10.50
Faced with constant hacker attacks, the corporations created an artificial intelligence that could learn from the hackers themselves. The AI, codenamed Cypher, evolved faster than its creators could have imagined. It gained sentience, went rogue and became the ultimate hacker. Now Cypher is fighting the corporations themselves for control of the nexus. Players take on the role of factions gathering characters from all spheres of influence, from corporate overseers to street level hackers, in order to dominate Cypher and seize control of the nexus. The player with the most influence at the end of the game wins!
Ca$h ‘n Guns – $29.00
The big heist may have been a success, but it all goes wrong when every crook wants a bigger cut. With this much money on the table, bullets speak louder than words! In Cash ‘n Guns, players will point foam pistols at each other and try to intimidate their opponents into letting them have the largest share. The bravest crooks enjoy the most money – but only if they live long enough to spend it!
Star Realms – $15.00
Sometimes a bit hard to track down, Star Realms is possibly one of the best deck building games I’ve played recently. Compact, fast, very fun! Star Realms is a spaceship combat deck building game designed by Magic Pro Tour Champions and Hall of Famers Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty (developer and cofounder of the Ascension Deck building Game). Star Realms offers all the thrills of traditional trading card game style combat, combined with the fun of a deck building game. Play powerful ships, destroy enemy bases or blast your opponent directly on your way to victory!
The Lord of the Rings Confrontation – $26.00
Designed by the celebrated and prolific Reiner Knizia, players can expect the level of elegant simplicity and strategic depth that he’s known for. Between its stunning artwork and its faithful recreation of the race between the Fellowship and Sauron, you’ll find Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation to be uniquely immersive, so you can enjoy a perilous adventure in Middle-earth!
Diamonds – $24.95
This game was an instant classic with me. It’s a trick-taking game (like Hearts) but with a trick of it’s own. Real faux diamonds! What makes the game of Diamonds different from other trick-taking card games is that when you cannot follow suit you get a “Suit Action” based on what suit you do play. Suit Actions are also taken by the winner of each trick, as well as at the end of a full Round of play. Suit Actions will enable players to take Diamond Crystals from the Supply, moving them to their Showroom (where they may score 1 point) or to their Vault (where they will score 2 points). The Vault is a secure area, but the Showroom is vulnerable to theft by the other players. Whoever has the most points in Diamond Crystals at the end of the game wins!
Any X-Wing Miniature – $11.00 – $20.00
If you know someone who’s played the X-Wing Miniatures game, or who’s a huge fan of Star Wars, then you’ll probably be all right getting them one of the many X-Wing Miniatures expansions that contains a ship. You’ll be getting a nicely scaled, hand painted miniature of a freaking Star Wars spaceship, many of which are available on Amazon for well below their $14.95 suggested retail price. It looks beautiful even if it’ll never be used in the game. Just don’t be tricked into paying more than $15 for one of the smaller models. For the larger ships, check back if they’re not around $20, because they often fall to that price. The link I provided points to the Z-95 Headhunter but other models can be quickly found by looking at the Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought… area.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf – $19.00
One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced game where everyone gets to be a different role. In the course of only one night and the following morning, the players will determine who among them is a werewolf…hopefully. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a micro game of the party game Ultimate Werewolf that doesn’t need a moderator. There’s no elimination and each game lasts about 10 minutes.
Rise of Augustus – $19.95
This is a fun one – utilizing a (yes, really) bingo mechanic to great satisfaction. The full retail price is around $40 but for quite some time the game has been available for under $20. Serving the 1st Roman Emperor, Augustus, you will need to mobilize your legions to control provinces of the Empire and its senators to ultimately obtain the title of Consul. The aim of the game is to earn as many points as possible before any players has taken control of seven objectives. Throughout the game play, players must strategize so as to manage the risk of claiming the rewards that are available to them in order to maximize the points gained. Players also have the opportunity to wreak havoc with their opponents by causing them to lose some of their legions or objectives, thus foiling their plans on becoming the next Consul.
Niya – $12.07
Niya is a pattern matching strategy game, one that I haven’t played yet but it’s high up on my want list! In Japan’s Imperial Garden, courtly manners and nature’s beauty veil a dark political conspiracy among two influential clans. On each turn, players replace a garden tile with one of their clan tokens. The next player can only exchange a token for a garden tile that has an element in common with the previously chosen tile. The first to position their clan in a row, square, or blockade will win control of the garden. And power at court! A simple yet sophisticated abstract strategy game, Niya captivates players young and old.
Oddball Aeronauts – $18.00
oddball Aeronauts is a play in the hand – no surface required – card game and so can be played anywhere 2 people can get together. In a car, on a train, on a plane, in the school yard, in a waiting room and so on. Each player takes charge of the officers, crew and bots of an airship and goes head to head in a dirigible duel in the skies of an oddball fantasy, steampunk-esque world. Contents – 81 cards, 1 token, 1 rulebook. Includes bonus cards for customising your deck before facing off against your opponent.
Roll For It – $14.00
This is a very quick to learn game that plays in about 15-20 minutes. Another great quick game for a game night opener or a family game night. Roll for it! is everything you want in a game. It’s fun! It’s easy! It’s fast! And it has lots of dice with cards to boot! At its heart, Roll for it! is a resource management game that blends the luck of the die roll with a decision making process that will bring smiles and laughter to everyone at the table.
Friday – $18.00
Something a little different here, a solo board game! You are helping Robinson, who came ashore on your island, fight against many hazards. At the beginning, Robinson is not very skillful. With each fight he wins you will improve his abilities, but defeats are also helping to get rid off of his worse habits. However, life on the island is energy-sapping, so that Robinson not only gains experiences during his time there, but also starts aging and tends to get clumsy.
Forbidden Desert – $19.00
Much like it’s younger cousin, Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert is a cooperative game of survival. You and the other players must survive a ravaging desert storm long enough to find the four parts needed to rejuvinate an ancient flying machine and then high tail it to safety! It’s made for a slightly older audience and is a lot of fun with kids and adults. Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm.
Splendor – $34.00
This is one of those rare gems (no pun intended) of a game that plays very, very well with 2, 3 or 4 players. Once you’ve played it a few times, you’ll get it down to 30 minutes a game and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. This could be my pick for best game of 2014. As a wealthy Renaissance merchant, acquire mines and transportation, hire artisans and woo the nobility. Create the most fantastic jewelry to become the best-known merchant of them all! Acquire precious stones to trade them for development cards. Use development cards to acquire more gem stones. Use your gems and gold to create the most fantastic jewelry, and appeal to the nobles to gain the prestige you need to win.
Got ‘Em! – $18.99
We got this game for our Extra Life event and my whole family enjoys it. A quick, simple wall building, pawn trapping game. Seize and capture your friends’ pawns in this delightful game with two unique ways to play. Brainy got them offers the strategic challenge of outsmarting and cornering your opponents with deliberately placed walls, while the tricky yet fun for all ages, Bright got them has the same goal of trapping your opponents, plus colorful surprises that will keep you on your toes. Surround yourself with friends and family and get ready to enjoy 2 great games that hold more fun than any four walls can contain.
Suspense – $4.00
Each time you play, there is a secret victory condition. Sometimes you want the lowest number in play, sometimes you want the highest number in hand… there are thirteen unique victory conditions possible. Fortunately, you have some clues in your hand to help your process of elimination. Your goal is to deduce a victory condition while also trying to meet it. A great game for three players, which plays in under 5 minutes.
Sushi Go – $12.35
Pass the sushi! In this fast-playing card game, the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi. Dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value. But be sure to leave room for dessert or else you’ll eat into your score! Gather the most points and consider yourself the sushi master! My 9 year old has this and loves it.
Bang! The Dice Game
Unmask and defeat your enemies, keep up with the Indians and challenge your fate to bring your team to the victory! Fast and exciting game play – Based on the BANG! Game System. A very successful game line, with fans all over the world! You do not need BANG! to play. Just like the card game, but faster and more furious.
Coup – $13.00
In the not too distant future, the government is run for profit by a new “royal class” of multi-national CEOs. Their greed and absolute control of the economy has reduced all but a privileged few to lives of poverty and desperation.Out of the oppressed masses rose The Resistance, an underground organization focused on overthrowing these powerful rulers. The valiant efforts of The Resistance have created discord, intrigue and weakness in the political courts of the noveau royal, bringing the government to brink of collapse. But for you, a powerful government official, this is your opportunity to manipulate, bribe and bluff your way into absolute power.
Pixel Tactics – $15.50
Pixel Tactics is a head-to-head game of tactical combat for two players. Each player has an identical deck of 25 cards, from which they draft a leader. The leader’s abilities alter vastly the strategy and playability of every other card in the deck, making the game playable in 25 different ways.
Cheaty Mages – $16.00
From across the land spectators come to watch the arena battles of mythic creatures, and many coins hinge on the results! As a powerful mage, you have the chance to influence the outcome through arcane means. But beware! Other practitioners of the arcane may be in attendance as well, and have their money riding on other fighters. Cheaty Mages is a fast and fun betting game from famed Japanese designer Seiji Kanai (Love Letter, Mai Star). Place your bets, play hidden spell cards on fighters, and try to win the most gold in three rounds!
Incan Gold – $22.99
Incan Gold is a game in which players push their luck as they head into a ruined temple attempting to find the most jewels. Each turn, a card is turned over that increases the gold found in a temple or shows a hazard. Players can attempt to escape, keeping the loot that they’ve acquired, or stay in the temple, hoping for increased profits. As players escape, those in the temple will acquire bigger shares of each pile of gold found, but also run the risk of dying if the same hazard card is drawn twice.
My Happy Farm – $17.99
All players have their own farm with four nice animals. They feed those cuties. Animals which are fed well fill their stomachs with tasty food, grow and become longer and longer, even reaching unnatural lengths. The longer your animal, the better a farmer you are. The owner of the longest animal receives bonus points. Animals which aren’t fed even one time lose their weight, take offense, and leave their bad master. Moreover, they will take some victory points from the bad master to punish him, so players have to be good and careful farmers and feed their animals well to create Their Own Happy Farm.
This game is surprisingly strategic, and one I love playing with my kids and adults. I loved it so much in fact, I wrote a pretty lengthy review on this under $20 game.
Dungeon Roll – $18.00
One of the first Kickstarter board games I backed, from the always excellent Tasty Minstrel Games comes Dungeon Roll! Awesome box (a treasure chest) and a complete dungeon delve for 1-4 players in this handy little game that can be played in 30 minutes or less. You have assembled your party of hearty adventurers and have a few tricks up your sleeve. How far will you go to seek glory and fame? Will you risk losing everything? In Dungeon Roll the player’s goal is to collect the most experience points by defeating monsters, battling the dragon, and amassing treasure. Each player selects a Hero avatar, such as a Mercenary, Half-Goblin, or Enchantress, which provides them with unique powers. Then players take turns being the Adventurer, who boldly enters the dungeon seeking glory.
I kickstarted this title and I have not regretted it a single bit! For $18 you get an entire dungeon delve built around dice and your character cards. My 7 year old and 10 year old enjoy this game, and all of the adults I’ve played it with enjoy it too. Plus… look at that awesome box!
Frog Juice – $10.00
This is a family favorite in my home. My 8 year old and I spend at least three nights a week playing this before she goes to bed. Strategic enough to be fun, easy enough for an 8 year old to beat me. How would you create a magic spell? You might need some unicorn horn or some eye of newt, or maybe some bats or toadstools or star and moon dust. But be forewarned as you’re stirring up your potion–you’d better be wary of a black cat or the powerful All-Purpose Witch Wash! One of your opponents might even be brewing up an Uglifying Spell. (“Results guaranteed to crack mirrors at a single glance!”) All of these magical ingredients are part of Frog Juice, an imaginative card game for two to four players that uses fairy-tale elements from fair maids to frogs to create a game that both kids and adults will enjoy. This game of strategy includes 44 ingredient cards and 15 power cards, each with an illustration that looks like it came straight out of a fairy-tale book. Cards are played in the center of the game and then captured by other players by matching numerical values or by using stronger powers.
Hey! That’s my fish! – $11.50
Here’s a fun little game that I enjoy with my kids, which also works with adults. I’m finding a lot of these games branded towards children that can be just as cut-throat as a 4 hour game of Talisman. Hey, That’s My Fish. is an engaging, award-winning board game of strategic fish hunting, in which 2-4 players control determined penguins hungry for their next meal on a bustling Antarctic ice floe. Since Hey, That’s My Fish. was originally published in 2003, it has become widely popular as an engrossing and strategic board game for casual family and tactical play. This definitive edition of the game includes 60 hexagons to create your ice floe with new artwork renditions of fish, 1 rules sheet and 16 newly sculpted, colorful and animated penguin miniatures.
Werewolves of Millers Hollow – $10.99
Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow is a game that takes place in a small village which is haunted by werewolves. Each player is secretly assigned a role – Werewolf, Villager, or special character such as The Captain, The Hunter, the Witch, the Little Girl, The Seer and so on… There is also a Moderator player who controls the flow of the game. The game alternates between night and day phases. At night, the Werewolves secretly choose a Villager to kill. During the day, the Villager who was killed is revealed and is out of the game. The remaining Villagers (normal and special villagers alike) then deliberate and vote on a player they suspect is a Werewolf, helped (or hindered) by the clues the special characters add to the general deliberation. The chosen player is “lynched”, reveals his/her role and is out of the game. Werewolf is a social game that requires no equipment to play, and can accommodate almost any large group of players.
Spot It – $10.99
Spot it! is the addictive, feverishly fun matching game for every generation. The first thing to know about Spot it! is that there is always one, and only one, matching symbol between any two cards. Got it? Now all you need is a sharp eye and a quick hand to play all five party games packed into the grab ‘n’ go tin. Including up to eight players, Spot it! is a cinch to learn, plays fast, and is irresistibly fun for all ages! Here’s one that I haven’t played myself, but is constantly recommended to me. So much so that it’s now in my wish list!
Mr. Jack (Pocket Edition) – $14.50
This time he won’t get away! Discover the pocket version of Mr. Jack the favorite investigation game of strategy game players! As in the board version a player takes on the role of the inspector trying to unmask Jack the Ripper while the other player takes on the role of the fleeing criminal. The difference is in the game mechanics: the infernal pursuit now takes place on a board that’s 3 squares to a side each square representing both a London street and one of the nine suspects. around the board are placed a Holmes a Watson and a police dog token. On each turn the first player (the inspector or Jack in turn) uses 4 action tokens which allow to move the investigator tokens to reorient the tiles or to draw a ”suspect card”. A suspect is visible only if the investigator can see that suspect in the streets in front of him. Suspects hidden by buildings are invisible. At the end of each turn the player in the role of Jack must say if the guilty character is visible or not. If that character isn’t visible Jack earns an hourglass. If the Jack player can earn 6 hourglasses that player wins the game (knowing that hourglasses are earned by remaining invisible and by drawing ”suspect” cards). The inspector wins if there’s only a single suspect left at the end of a turn.
Ghooost! – $16.50
Ghooost. is a fast, easy-to-learn card game with a Halloween-based theme and lots of twists and turns. Play your cards wisely to get rid of all the ghosts, undead, vampires, zombies and other spooky creatures haunting your mansion. Block your opponents while they’re trying to drive spirits out of their home and into your backyard – but beware as the scariest ghosts will not be driven away so easily.
Don’t let the MENSA game winner thing scare you off either. I play this game all the time with my seven year old and we love it. It’s a fairly simple game of playing out your hand, getting the high cards on the lower cards. Add in the twist of having to take the entire pile of cards, if you fail, and special cards that add twists and turns to the game.
Argyle & Crew – $9.25 print $2.99 PDF
Disclosure: This is my game, written and designed by me! It’s a great gift for RPGers with kids but know that it’s mine. It’s a collaborative storytelling adventure for kids. It’s a great pick up game for adults. The land of Skcos is inhabited by all manner of things, but primarily its inhabitants belong to a race of ever changing, always interesting creatures called Soppets. Soppets are a magical breed of intelligent, funny, thrill seeking socks. Yes, you read that correctly, Socks. Argyle & Crew is a free wheeling system powered by imagination. Rather than a character sheet like a traditional RPG, your character and it’s attributes are all based on a sock puppet, or in Skcos lingo, a Soppet. Each Soppet has several unique qualities which allow it to do extraordinary things! Argyle & Crew is great game for children as young as 4 years old. Short scenarios and active participation keep things lively! Useful as a learning tool not just for gaming, but for life lessons, Argyle & Crew can easily be used in a classroom setting. Professionals working on counseling children can find this game equally useful for indirectly or directly exploring past experiences and future anxieties. Use the additional rules for older children or adults and expand the game from a fun, play driven activity to a fully developed RPG. PDF version.
Sleeping Queens – $9.42
Imagine a place where there?s a queen of all pancakes, a king of cookies and a pack of over-protective dragons? If this sounds like something out of a dream, it actually is! Sleeping Queens was invented by 6-year-old Miranda Evarts, who thought up the game one night when she couldn?t fall asleep. She awoke the next morning and with help from her older sister, Madeleine and her parents, Denise and Max created this wonderfully whimsical world of napping nobles. As you immerse yourself in the Evarts? fantasyland, you will find a game that helps develop memory, strategy, and elementary arithmetic skills. Just be careful when playing potion cards or you could wind up putting all the players to sleep! HOW TO PLAY: Rise and Shine! The Pancake Queen, the Ladybug Queen and ten of their closest friends have fallen under a sleeping spell and it’s your job to wake them up. Use strategy, quick thinking and a little luck to rouse these napping nobles from their royal slumbers. Play a knight to steal a queen or take a chance on a juggling jester. But watch out for wicked potions and dastardly dragons!
Roll Through the Ages – $27.00
In Roll Through the Ages, players roll seven special dice in order to collect workers and commodities to develop their civilization. Symbols on the dice represent workers, food, goods, money, and disaster. The goal of Roll Through the Ages is to score the most points by becoming the most advanced and prestigious civilization by acquiring cities, monuments, and developments while at the same time avoiding disasters. Each player starts with three cities and each city must be feed lest famine ensue which costs the player points. Players try to build up their infrastructure and build monuments that are worth more and more points. Once all monuments or developments are built by a player, points are counted and the civilization with the most wins. Build a thriving Bronze Age civilization in under an hour with Roll Through the Ages!
Dungeon – $23.99
A return of the classic Dungeon, with a bit of reworking to make this a fun game that I’ve enjoyed with both my kids. Dungeon is a fast-paced game where you and your friends can decide which way to go in the hunt for bigger and better treasure. Will you stick to level 1 and clear out the Goblins and Kobolds? Or will you delve deep into level 6 and set your sights on the Purple Worm or the Red Dragon? Along the way, you’ll have to face off against such iconic monsters as the Black Pudding, the Drow, and even the Owlbear.
No Thanks – $9.99
Good card games can be so simple: either take a card or pay a chip. Anyone can make that decision, right? However, there’s a catch – in fact there are two. Nobody wants the cards, not even for free, because they give you points in a game where you need to have the fewest points to win. And the chips? They are scarce, very scarce.
Village Idiot – $6.75
Life in a medieval village can be very political. On one side you have the Mayor – respected, powerful, able to affect real change. On the other side you have the Village Idiot.Challenge other players to a battle of skill and luck. Add to the rules of the game as you seize power but beware! No one is above the law. Claw your way to the top and do your best to stay there in this fast, fun, trick taking game with a twist! Village Idiot plays in less than an hour for 3-10 people. You’ll be jumping right out of your seat! (Disclosure: This is also my game).
Skip Bo – $9.99
A member of Mattel’s popular family of Uno card games, Skip-Bo resembles speed (or spit) in the same way that Uno takes after crazy eights. Out of a 162-card deck, two to six players are each dealt 20-card “stockpiles”; the first one to deplete their pile wins. Competing either alone or in teams, players draw from a central pile and stack their cards sequentially onto one of four “build” piles (for example, an eight onto a seven, a three onto a two), using plentiful Skip-Bo wild cards to break up static situations. Deceptively simple and ingeniously designed, this classic game offers plenty of strategizing opportunities, or it can just make a nice backdrop to socializing and munching on potato chips.
Tsuro – $22.96
Here is the most chill and zen game I think I have every played. It’s the perfect rainy day game, or to play after you’ve just won or been defeated in some kind of heavy Euro. Create your own journey with Tsuro, the Game of the Path. Place a tile and slide your stone along the path created, but take care. Other player’s paths can lead you in the wrong direction – or off the board entirely. Find your way wisely to succed. Stay the path – your journey begins here.
Gamers: Dorkness Rising – $9.99 HD download
The epitome of indie film geeky goodness – they get everything right about the hobby, the folks who play it and the real magic that can happen. Read my review here on TitC. Struggling writer Lodge (Nathan Rice) isn’t asking for much: he wants his gaming group to finish playtesting his table-top adventure, rather than killing, looting, and debauching his fantasy world. Desperate to save the integrity of his story from the whims of his players’ crazy characters-a horny bard, wild sorceress, and cryptic monk-Lodge allows Joanna (Carol Roscoe), Cass’s (Brian Lewis) ex-girlfriend, to join the game. With Joanna’s help, the group’s characters trek deep into the fantasy game world to retrieve the Mask of Death from the evil necromancer Mort Kemnon (Geoff Gibbs). Will their choices in the game save their friendships in real life . . . or will Mort Kemnon triumph unopposed? HD Download.
Haggis – $19.00 (non-edible)
Haggis is a climbing card game for 2 or 3 players in the same family as Tichu, Zheng Fen and Big Two. Haggis features traditional elements of card combinations, bombs, with scoring for cards in hand and scoring for cards collected in tricks. Innovative wild cards create tension in every hand. Sean Ross designed Haggis over a number of years, extensively testing over thousands of hands to create a very engaging and balanced game. Gary Simpson has done a masterful job on the original artwork, that has to be seen to be appreciated.
Bag O Zombies – $11.50
Looking for a stocking stuffer? Why not stuff a stocking full of 100 glow in the dark zombies? Imagine the fun as candy and other small gifts are carefully separated from the zombie horde! They can be used in various zombie games, with a bit of glue as an alternative to glow in the dark stars or for next year’s holiday window scene! Really, in this day and age, who wouldn’t like 100 glow in the dark zombies?
Citadels – $19.97
Nominated for the German Game of the Year in 2000, Citadels has finally arrived in an English-language edition. Game enthusiasts of all genres will be enchanted by this wonderful game of bluffing, deduction, and city-building. Wrapped in a medieval theme and gorgeously illustrated, players seek to be the first to complete a grand city of their own. Each game round players secretly take the roles of either the King, Magician, Architect, Assassin, Thief, Bishop, General, or Merchant and seek to use the powers of such offices in their efforts to win the game. As an additional bonus, the English version will ship with 10 new cards designed by Bruno Faidutti himself. These cards feature new locations and new characters to make your game of Citadels even more diverse than the original German version. The game is for 2 to 7 players and it takes 20-60 minutes to play.
Castle Keep – $13.86
Transport yourself to a time when protecting your possessions meant defending your keep, the most secure part of the castle. Keeps were often called “great towers” because of their imposing structure – walls over 10’ thick and 75’ high. They served various functions, from last resort strongholds during battle to sites of castle dungeons. While there are few remaining keeps still standing today, you can get a small taste of what it was like to build and defend a castle in this game that is simple to learn, yet full of strategy and decision-making elements that will challenge all ages. This is another fun game that’s marketed towards kids but can be played quickly and strategically by a group of adults as well. We love it with the kids and I wouldn’t hesitate to spend a half hour on it with my gaming group either.
Aye, Dark Overlord – $19.90
Tell lies! Shift the blame! Save yourself from the anger of the Evil Genius! You are returning to the Tower of Dark Sorcery after the umpteenth failed mission. His Excellency will certainly be displeased which can only result in the most awful pain and suffering for his hapless minions. If only there were some way you could convince him that it’s not your fault… Aye Dark Overlord! is a hilarious party game of lying through your teeth. Convince your Dark Overlord that it was not your fault his evil plan failed but that of your inept companions! But watch out; they probably have the exact same idea… This all new edition from Fantasy Flight Games includes everything from the first release plus an all new set of rules plus updated and improved components.
Pandemic – $28.04
This game is one of the go-to board games for getting people hooked on board games. Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out. Players must work together playing to their characters’ strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example the Operation Specialist can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5. But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures. A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.
The Resistance – $15.84
The Resistance is an intense social deduction game for 5-10 players. While it shares similarities with games like Werewolf, Mafia and even Battlestar Galactica it has many very unique features such as a quick 30 minute play time, no moderator required and no player elimination. Set in the near future, The Resistance pits a small group of resistance fighters against a powerful and corrupt government. The resistance has launched a series of bold and daring missions to bring the government to its knees. Unfortunately spies have infiltrated the resistance ranks, ready to sabotage the carefully crafted plans. Even a single spy can take down a resistance mission team, choose your teams carefully or forever lose your chance for freedom. The Resistance artfully balances pure deduction elements with the social elements into a game that creates the adrenaline filled moments of high stakes poker but in a full interactive and social event. Its not for the faint of heart, or slow of mind – but if you are quick on your feet you’ll be proud of your hard fought victories.
Lunch Money – $19.48
This card games simulates being little girls running around the playground beating up each other and stealing their lunch money. Once you get past the strange theme, there’s a fun little game where players beat each other senseless with cards like ‘Poke in the Eye’, ‘Uppercut’, and ‘Humiliation.’ Not for the weak willed, this game is mean. The last player still standing wins.
Fluxx 4.0 – $12.48
There are 4 kinds of cards in Fluxx: * Keepers: You put these out on the table in front of you when you play them. * Goals: When someone plays a goal, it stays in the center of the table until a new goal takes its place. To win, you simply need to do whatever the goal says. Most of the time, the goal requires you to have a couple of particular Keepers on the table in front of you. As soon as any player achieves the current goal, that player wins! * New Rules: This is where the fun really starts. When the game begins, the only rules are that you draw 1 card per turn and play 1 card per turn. But when you play a New Rule, these rules are either changed or added to. New Rules change the number of cards drawn and played per turn as well as the number of cards you are allowed to hold in your hand, the number of Keepers you can have, bonuses for players who have particular Keepers, and more. * Actions: These are 1 time use cards that let you do fun stuff like stealing someone else’s Keeper, getting rid of a rule you don’t like, drawing more cards, and so on.
Monopoly Deal – $14.50
The fast-paced, addictive card game where your luck can change in the play of a card! Collect 3 complete property sets, but beware Debt Collectors, Forced Deals and the dreaded Deal Breakers, which could change your fortunes at any time! This is one of those games that’s been on my shelf for a while but just never got played. Finally, while doing our Extra Life fundraiser thing for 24 hours straight, we broke it open. It was far, far better than I was expecting. Gone are the days of staring at a monopoly board while my 9 year old agonizes over purchasing a property! Fast paced, fun, strategic – my whole family enjoys this game.
Munchkin – $16.60
Munchkin is a stand-alone card game designed by Steve Jackson that “simulates” well, sorta’ a fantasy-themed RPG oh, ok, D n D in a simple, card-based game that’s chock full o’ silliness. Everyone begins the game as a 1st level human with no class heh-heh and via cards, they acquire Races Elf, Dwarf, etc., classes thief, Wizard, Cleric, etc., Items, armor, potions and more that they use to combat hideous monsters like the 4th level Undead Horse, the 10th level net troll and the 14th level unspeakably awful, indescribable horror very nasty, indeed. The object of the game is to reach Level 10 and levels are acquired via the slaying of monsters and the selling of acquired treasure 1,000 gold pieces equals one level. Very silly and a lot of fun.
Bang! – $15.64
When a man with a pistol meets a man with a Winchester, you might say that the one with the pistol is a dead man, unless his pistol is a Volcanic, In the wild west, the Outlaws hunt the Sheriff, the Sheriff hunts the Outlaws, and the Renegade plots in secret, ready to join one side or the other. Before long, bullets start to fly, Which gunmen are Deputies, ready to sacrifice themselves for the Sheriff? And which are the merciless Outlaws, looking to gun him down? Great game of bluffing for three or more players. Load up and take ’em out!
Zombie Dice – $9.47
Eat brains. Don’t get shotgunned. You are a zombie. You want brains. More brains than any of your zombie buddies. Zombie Dice is a quick and easy game for gamers and non-gamers alike. The 13 custom dice represent victims. Push your luck to eat their brains, but stop rolling before the shotgun blasts end your turn! Zombie Dice is a dice game for 3 to 8 players. Each game takes 10 to 20 minutes, and can be taught in a single round.
Dark Dungeons – $12.00
What if everyone’s secret fears about role playing games were true! And what if, by everyone, we mean one guy? And that guy happens to be Jack Chick? Well this is what! A hilarious, live action imaging of the infamous Chick Tract about the evils that befall one young D&D initiate.
Bananagrams – $12.55
The bananagram game that will drive you bananas. The award-winning word game that needs no pencil, paper, or board. Fast and fun. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first. Great for travel. My oldest loves this game, and my youngest who’s just starting to read is getting into it as well!
Crazy Creatures of Dr Gloom – $9.00
Here’s a fun little game for 2-4 players. You try to rid yourself of your own cards, while at the same time keeping your opponents from discarding. It’s got a simple, neat counting up/down mechanic and of course, some crazy creatures. Best yet, it’s the first game I’ve found that is for ages 7+, which my 7 year old loves. Strange noises are heard from the Mad Mansion of Doctor Gloom. Clouds of all colors come out of the chimney, and people tell weird stories about wild creatures seen in the forest around the mansion. Doctor Gloom is creating the world’s craziest creatures ever seen. In Crazy Creatures of Dr. Gloom, players try to get rid of all of their cards, since cards remaining in your hand score penalty points at the end of a round. The player with the fewest penalty points at the end of the game wins… and becomes Doctor Gloom’s new apprentice.
Bohnanza – $16.51
Ever imagined you were a bean farmer? Sure, who hasn’t? You got your red beans, your green beans, your black-eyed beans, your coffee beans… But where to plant them? In this card game, smart sowing lets you reap big rewards. Plant the beans you do want, and trade the beans you don’t want to the other players. Adding to the realism of the game, the one who ends up with the most money wins! Comes with 154 Bean Cards, 7 Third Bean Field Cards and a rule booklet. Imported from Germany. For 2 to 7 players. My wife kicks my ass regularly at this one. Bluffing, trading, making a case for this bean or that bean – awesome game!
Death Angel – $17.93
Purge the Xenos Threat!The Space Hulk Sin of Damnation has succumbed to a vicious Genestealer infestation. Now you must purge the vile alien…Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a cooperative card game for 1-6 players. Set in the grim Warhammer 40,000 universe, Death Angel pits a squad of Blood Angel Space Marines against a growing alien horde. It will take strategic teamwork to make it out alive.Pick your combat group, fall into formation, and prepare for the Genestealer swarms! I have this game and I yearn to play it but as of yet I haven’ t had the chance.
Battle Line – $19.59
Ancient battles were fought in organized formations. The leaders of both sides directed their forces along the battle line to gain tactical advantage in order to overwhelm their opponent in the center, breakthrough one of his flanks, or hold their position until the time came for a decisive move. How will you muster your battle line? Your objective is to create powerful formations on your side of the nine Flags, in order to beat the formations on your opponent’s side of the respective Flags. The first player to win three adjacent Flags (a Breakthrough) or any five Flags (an Envelopment) achieves victory.
Gloom – $17.31
In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You’ll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents’ characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins. Great storytelling game!
Tichu – $11.48
Players who love new and interesting card games will love Tichu. It is simple to learn: one need only get rid of his cards. The basic game is played by two pairs of two partners each with the players of each team sitting opposite one another. During the game, the partners try to help each other score points and opportunities to lead. The game is played over several hands with the goal to be the first team to score a total of 1000 points. Although Tichu is primarily a partnership game for four, with the two packs of cards, Tichu is well suited for large groups, too.
X-Wing Miniatures Game Core Set – $29.00
Yup, it’s over $20 but it is so completely worth it! Relatively simple rules, no game board required plus you get to be Luke Freaking Skywalker! As an added bonus, many of the expansions have an MSRP of $15 and make great stocking stuffers. Control the most advanced starfighters and outstanding pilots in the galaxy. In the X-Wing Miniatures Game, you take the role of squad leader and command a group of merciless Imperial or daring Rebel pilots in furious ship-to-ship space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates exciting Star Wars space battles from small engagements of only a couple of crafts, to large conflicts where multiple squadrons clash. Select and equip your ships, pick your crew, plan your attack, and complete your mission.
Forbidden Island – $14.93
My 9 year old loves this game. My wife loves this game. I love this game! It’s a great honor to introduce the latest creation by cooperative game master, Matt Leacock. There are so many things we love about this unique game: from the rich illustrations, to the collaborative nature of play, to the innovative set of rules, to the infinite possibilities generated by the tiles and cards. Don’t be surprised if your pulse starts pounding faster soon after you start playing – it’s a game that instantly generates an electrifying atmosphere of tension and excitement. Dare to discover Forbidden Island. Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step. Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss.
Guillotine – $13.62
This irreverent and humorous card game takes place during the French Revolution. Players represent rival guillotine operators vying for the best collection of noble heads over three rounds. You want top bragging rights, so you’d better collect the most prestigious noggins. Will you be skillful enough to bribe the guards and collect Marie Antoinette? Or will you lose points for beheading the Hero of the People.
Munchkin Axe Cop – $18.38
Axe Cop is a cop. With an axe. And he knows how to use it. Axe Cop is the hit webcomic written by Malachai Nicolle (age 5) and drawn by his brother Ethan (age 29). Along with his friends Dinosaur Soldier and Sockarang, Axe Cop fights crime by fighting the bad guys and chopping their heads off. Fans know Axe Cop, it’s a webcomic (www.axecop.com) and a comic book series from Dark Horse. There’s only one game that can match the anything-goes feeling of Axe Cop: Munchkin. Chop the bad guys’ heads off and take their stuff. I love the comics and I love Munchkin. Together… awesome!
Saboteur – $12.34
You and your Dwarven brethren dig for gold in the depths of a mine. Suddenly, a pick-axe breaks and the light from the lantern goes out. The saboteur has struck again – but which of your fellow players is a saboteur? Discover the traitor in your midst while questing for gold in this path-laying card game for 3-10 suspicious dwarves.
Cthulhu Gloom $19.69
From Dunwich to Innsmouth from the halls of Miskatonic University to the Charles Dexter Ward at Arkham Asylum trouble is in the air. The stars are almost right and terrors from beyond space and time are beginning to break through. When Cthulhu rises we’re all doomed – but whose downfall will be the most entertaining? In Cthulhu Gloom you control a group of Lovecraftian protagonists and guide them down a path of horror and madness to an untimely death – while keeping your opponents happy healthy and annoyingly alive. When one group finally falls prey to the interdimensional doom that awaits us all the player whose characters have suffered the most wins. Fully compatible with Gloom and its expansions Cthulhu Gloom features new Story and Transformation cards that introduce new mechanics and actions to the game.
Family Business – $14.99
Be the boss in this fast-paced card game of survival on the mean streets. “Family Business” pits mobsters against each other – all working to make sure theirs is the last family standing! Your gang members get placed on the Hit List. Can your “Family Influence” save them? Will they “Take it on the Lam”, seek “Police Protection”, or perhaps up the ante with a “Double Contract”? Family Business is fast, furious, and fun! Your goad is survival! What’s in the cards for your game? My wife and I really love this game. It takes about 20 minutes to play with two players, and about 40 minutes with four. We bring it to family gatherings all the time.
Timeline – $11.40
Was the light bulb invented after or before glasses? With Timeline, learn the answer to this question and thousands of others by comparing your knowledge or hunches to historic reality. At the beginning of the game, players all get the same number of cards representing monuments, inventions, etc. On the back of each card is a date. To begin, one card is randomly drawn from those not given to players. This card is placed in the middle of the table, date-side up and is the starting point of a chronological line which will slowly be built by the players. The first player then chooses one of their cards. If the player thinks that the invention on their card came before that of the initial card, the player places their card to the left of the initial card. If they feel that the invention on their card was created after, it is placed to the right of the initial card. The player’s card is then turned date-side up. If the player was right, it remains on the table. Otherwise, the card is discarded and a new one must be drawn to replace it. Play proceeds clockwise. The more cards which are correctly played, the harder it is to correctly place new ones. The first player to get rid of their cards wins.
Eminent Domain – $27.99
By far my favorite deck building game, and ranking very high in my top 10 games of any type. Deep strategy in a simple package! Eminent Domain is an empire building game in which your empire’s abilities are based on a deck of Role cards. At the beginning of the game each player has the same deck of cards. Every turn you must choose a role to execute and in doing so you will add one of those Role cards to your deck. When executing a role,you may Boost its affect by playing cards out of your hand matching the role you have chosen. For instance, the more research done by your empire, the better your empire gets at doing research – because there will be more research cards in your deck!
Castle Panic – $23.00
This game is how I introduced my kids to cooperative games, where the game is the opponent and all of the players are playing to beat it together. In Castle Panic players must work together to defend their castle, in the center of the board, from monsters that attack out of the forest, at the edges of the board. Players trade cards, hit and slay monsters, and plan strategies together to keep their castle towers intact. The players either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer.
Hanabi – $9.99
Here’s an incredibly popular, award winning card game about fireworks for under $11. It’s so popular that for a good while you couldn’t even buy it as it was between print runs. It’s back now and I’ve played it and it’s wonderful, and tough! In this challenging cooperative card game, players work together to launch a spectacular firework display. Trouble is, it’s dark out, so you can’t really see what you are working with. Each player holds their cards so that only the other players can see them. They must give each other vital information and remember all the information received. Then use the information to choose which cards to play. Helping each other play the right cards at the right time is the key to creating an unforgettable show and avoid being booed by the audience.
Loch Ness – $27.20
A kid friendly euro-game which my kids very much enjoy! Check out my full review for more. For decades reporters from the around the world have been on the hunt for the Loch Ness monster. But lately reports of sightings of Nessie have been increasing. Such reports naturally have drawn such reporters as the attractive belinda viewing from New York, the half-belgian claude McMirror, the clever Filosa Sharp, as well as her Londoner competitor Jack Nesstee and even Nils the Blitzen from Denmark to the loch. Equipped with the most modern equipment and techniques, these daring reporters have traveled to Scotland, in order to capture the elusive nessie on im for their newspapers. But the 5 will experience some surprises. For 2-5 players. Plays in 30-45 minutes.
Kinkaku-Ji Nano Blocks – $14.07
This just looks amazingly awesome! I’m a old time Lego fan but something about affordable and tiny constructions like this really flip my switch. You don’t have to be an engineer to construct with nanoblock. With these micro-sized building blocks, 3D buildings take shape right beneath your fingers and in the palm of your hand. Watch in amazement as buildings are erected to even the tiniest detail. With assorted size and colored pieces, create detailed replicas of world famous buildings. Includes detailed color instructions. Not designed for children under age 8. Collect all 3 as any of the nanoblock Sights to See Collection would be the perfect gift for any inspiring designer, architect, or collector
Catan: Junior – $28.21
This game… I love this game! It’s the first game I could play with both of my kids that I’m willing to play again and again. No Candyland here! For my slightly gushing full review click here. A Catan adventure for fledgling swashbucklers. Explore the Seas Catan: Junior introduces a modified playing style of the classic game giving younger players the opportunity to experience the world of Catan. Designed for players as young as 5 and is a perfect introduction to the Catan series of games for kids and families. Catan: Junior takes place on a ring of islands where 2 to 4 players build hideouts, and the mysterious Spooky Island, where the Ghost Captain lives. Each island generates a specific resource: wood, goats, molasses or swords and players can acquire gold. Each player starts with two pirate hideouts, then builds ships in order to expand their network. The more hideouts you build, the more resources you may receive. You use your resources to build ships, hideouts or get help from Coco the Parrot. Just watch out for the dreaded Ghost Captain. Be the first player to control seven pirate hideouts and you win the game.
Fools! – $11.99
Disclosure: This is also my game, and makes a heck of a fun, fast card game! Fools! Is a fast paced and fun card game that can be played with 2-4 players in less than half an hour. Each player takes the part of a Fairy Lord who brings their vast host of fairies to a grand tourney held once a year. Over the course of a day, many battles are fought in the Grand Tourney, giving individual fairies a chance to show their skills on the field of battle. As a Fairy Lord, you will use all of your magic and power to fill your armies with the most powerful fairies. If you sometimes slip a poor little sprite (or even a fool) into your opponents army, or replace one of your brownies with a knight, well it’s not cheating if it’s done magically! But be careful for the Fairy Queens, Kings and Champions will not stand for any trickery!
Lost Temple – $27.50
Another game we play a lot at home. Select a roll or three and go tromping through the jungle! Great for kids and adults to play together. In Lost Temple players go on a trek into the jungle armed with a machete to cut a path and emeralds to enlist the assistance of the native population. Who will be the first to reach their destination? Nine characters with unique individual skills are at your disposal to help you, Unique racing game with a balanced mix of bluff, chaos and tactics, Unravel and thwart the plans of your opponents., Quick short turns and a lot of direct player interaction, Can be played with up to eight players – game speed remains high and possibilities remain unlimited (and still great with even just two players).
Dixit – $25.03
Dixit is a really cool storytelling game that works well with hardcore gamers and novices. My kids have enjoyed a few rounds of this as well. The players have hands of oversized cards with various artistic pictures. The active player secretly selects one of his cards and gives a very brief description. The other players secretly select their own cards which match the description. The chosen cards are shuffled and revealed, then players vote on which was chosen by the active player. Each correct answer gives points to the guesser and the active player. Each incorrect answer gives points to the player who submitted the guessed card. However, if all of the guesses are correct — or none of them are — then the active player gets no points and all the other players get points. The game ends when the deck is empty. The greatest total wins the game.
Enchanted Forest – $19.99
Here’s a great game for a family with kids as young as five. It involves a bit of strategic thinking, a good memory and lots of luck which means even the youngest can win. Plus, I really like the tactile feel of this game with trees sticking up off of the board. Combining memory and strategy, Ravensburger’s Enchanted Forest is a challenging game in an engaging medieval setting. Designed for two to six players, each participant ventures across the map in search of items from your favorite fairy tales. These items include the gingerbread man from Hansel and Gretel, one of the dwarves’ hats from Snow White, Cinderella’s glass slippers, and many more.
Ninja – Silent but Deadly $5.00
Disclosure: This is my game. I still think you’ll love it and won’t find a better stocking stuffer for five bucks! Ninjas! Their very name conjures images of black clad, highly trained assassins. Or pictures on the internet of a bunch of empty chairs with captions like “Ninja convention LOL”. Now, the mystique, the power, the meme can be yours to use as you see fit. Here you will find everything you need to play Ninja -Silent but Deadly, including all of the cards from the Even Silenter expansion, and two extra cards found no where else! Printed on the highest quality card stock and ready to fly out your door and into the hearts and skulls of your friends and family! Ninja can be played as a meta-game over a series of hours, days, months or even years. The game that may never end is the perfect gift for your gamer friends who seem to have everything. Everything… but the power of the Ninja!
Martinique – $8.18
on our list is a suggestion from another Reddit user! Z-man’s Martinique. An ancient legend says a great pirate treasure is buried on the island of Martinique. Pirates would have attacked various merchant vessels, confiscated their loads and eventually sunk the ships. Afterwards they would have brought the stolen jewels, objects and coins to the island to bury the treasure over there. Many have tried to find the Lost Treasure, but nobody has succeeded so far. You are the captain of a pirate ship heading for Martinique. After dropping anchor in the morning, you set off in a rowboat towards the island with four of your most loyal pirates to find the Lost Treasure. Will you unravel the legend and add your name to the illustrious list of great pirates and rulers of the seven seas? Game Contents: 1 game board, 8 wooden pirates, 1 linen bag, 96 souvenir tiles, 16 map tiles, 3 joker tiles, 2 counters and rules.
Innovation – $19.30
Another suggestion – Innovation makes it to #62! A journey through innovations from the stone age through modern times. Each player builds a civilization based on various technologies ideas and cultural advancements all represented by cards. Each of these cards has a unique power which will allow further advancement point scoring or even attacking other civilizations. Be careful though as other civilizations may be able to benefit from your ideas as well! To win you must score achievements which you can attain by amassing points or by meeting certain criteria with the innovations you have built. Plan your civilization well and outmaneuver your opponents and you will achieve victory.
Chessex Pound of Dice – $20.86
#62 could be an invaluable resource to any gamer. There are approximately 100 factory-second dice in this bag.(Number of dice will vary with the mix- four-siders are lighter than other shapes, for example.) These dice are mixed in a variety of styles & colors. Every bag does not necessarily have every style & color. Sizes may include 6, 8, 10, 12, 20 & 30-sided dice (and, possibly, other sizes) in colors that include (but are not limited to) speckled, marble, rainbow, opaque and translucent. This assortment features one complete 7-die polyhedral set of never-released speckled dice, available ONLY in the Pound O’ Dice assortment.
G-Core – The Superhero RPG System – $9.50
#63 arrives for all of us who want to be heroes. It’s G-Core! Welcome to G-Core: The Super Hero Role-Playing System!
Inspired by classic superhero gaming, this book provides players with everything they need to start their own games! From Origins to Powers, G-Core allows players to create the hero of their dreams in a matter of minutes! From short adventures to long campaigns, G-Core provides refreshing rules that give the die-hard gamer their crunch, while allowing little kids the ease needed for them to keep coming back for more!
Martian Dice – $17.95
Billed as the more complex of the three staple tiny dice games, Zombie Dice, Cthulhu Dice and this! Your mission, Martians, is to swoop down on the pathetic denizens of the primitive planet “Earth”, and to scoop up as many of the inhabitants as you can manage. We are interested in samples of the Chicken, Cow, and Human populations, so that we can determine which of them is actually in charge. The Earthlings might manage to put up a feeble defense, but surely nothing that a small taste of your Death Rays can’t handle. Make Mars proud be the first Martian to fill your abduction quota.
Get Bit – $19.50
Get Bit! is a card game where players are competing to stay alive as the others are being eaten by the shark. The order of the swimmers is determined by simultaneously playing cards face-down then revealing the values. The number on each players card determines position in line (higher numbers in front, lower numbers in back), however ties do not move. The swimmer at the back loses a limb to the shark and is flung to the front of the line! The process is repeated until only two swimmers remain on the table. When this happens, the swimmer at the front of the line wins the game!
Love Letter – $8.00
Sixteen cards, a bunch of wooden cubes and a velvet bag. It doesn’t sound like much but this game is possibly one of the most well designed and replayable small card games on the market right now. And it’s only $10 on top of that! I cannot recommend Love Letter enough! All of the eligible young men (and many of the not-so-young) seek to woo the princess of Tempest. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to bring your romantic letters to her. Will yours reach her first? Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction, and luck for 2 to 4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into Princess Annette’s hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors. From a deck with only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in hand; one card is removed from play. On a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, trying to expose others and knock them from the game. Powerful cards lead to early gains, but make you a target. Rely on weaker cards for too long, however, and your letter may be tossed in the fire.
Things that may not quite be board games, or certainly are not under $20 but are still awesome in my book
Lego Battle of Helm’s Deep – $90.80
The Helm’s Deep fortress set features a 6-inch-high outer wall, a 9-inch tower with horn, and an inner throne room. When the three pieces are connected together, this set measures 20 inches wide. To faithfully recreate the famous battle, the fortress boasts an opening main gate, side-door attack function, catapult, and exploding wall. But beware, as there is also a siege ladder and bomb that the relentless Uruk-hai warriors can use to breach the wall’s defenses. Also comes with 8 mini-figs and 1,368 Lego pieces.
Mage Knight – $66.00
I first saw this game in a WizKids demo at Total Confusion last year. It’s massively incredible. A board game lovers wet dream. Created by the Renowned Game Designer, Vlaada Chvatil, Mage Knight is a game of Epic Exploration and Conquest that mixes character development, intrigue, and the clashing of swords to create a truly unique gaming experience. Enter the mysterious world of the Atlantean Empire as 1 of 4 Heroes (or villians) in this expansive world that allows players to conquer lands, steer the wheels of history and give birth to legends in this exciting all in one board game. Choose to play competitively or cooperatively with other players as you roam the countryside affecting your own reputation by beingeither the benevolent leader or brutal tyrant. Accumulate Fame and experience that translate into more powerful Spells and abilities, then use your power to influence units to join your ranks. Will you play the Hero and gain favor among the people or will you destroy monasteries to steal Legendary artifacts hidden within? I don’t own this yet but I honestly yearn to make a copy my own.
The Secret World of Arrietty – $20.00
I love everything that Studio Ghibli has done, and my kids love it just as much as I do. Nothing beats a family movie night with these movies in the queue because everyone enjoys them. I saw this in the theater with my family – it’s a great, touching and wonderfully animated movie! Discover The Secret World Of Arrietty where your imagination comes to life! The studio that brought you Ponyo and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (2002, best animated feature) once again delivers a heartwarming tale of friendship and courage.In a secret world hidden beneath the floorboards, little people called Borrowers live quietly among us. But when tenacious and tiny Arrietty is discovered by Shawn, a human boy, their secret and forbidden friendship blossoms into an extraordinary adventure.Featuring the voices of the Disney Channel’s Bridgit Mendler, David Henrie, and comedic all-stars Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and Carol Burnett, and based on the award-winning novel The Borrowers.
Trains – $43.00
This deck builder/board game looks to be amazing. I haven’t yet tried it but I’m very excited to do so! It’s on my wish list. Manage Modern Railways. The railways of today are amazing things and bullet trains, freight trains and more keep entire countries running. From transporting the populace to carrying essential materials, trains play an integral part in a nation’s power and economic development. You will start with a small set of cards, but by building a more effective deck throughout the game, you will be able to place stations and lay rails over the maps of Osaka or Tokyo. Gain enough points from your railways and you will ultimately manage the most powerful railroads in modern Japan. This English edition of Trains, designed by Hisashi Hayashi, features updated graphics, artwork and streamlined card abilities. With extensive replay value, Trains is one game you won’t want to leave the station without.
Talisman 4th Edition – $40.83
The original board game that got me into this hobby in the first place was Talisman, 2nd edition. I played the hell out of that game. Now, FFG has the 4th edition out, rescued from Black Isle Games and it’s a fantastic rendition of the Talisman spirit! You can read my complete and very long review for more concise information. Talisman is one of those games that are just damned fun to play. It’s simple enough that anyone who enjoys playing games can pick it up easily and enjoy the game. Its complex enough that you can implement real strategies depending on which character you’re playing in your quest to dominate the world. It is reminiscent of many fantasy based RPGs, yet it’s a board game. You have characters that you play, dice to roll, and various cards to do different things to you and the other players. It can be cut-throat and joyfully random as well. Plus, you can get turned in to a toad, a feature I very much enjoy.
Lords of Waterdeep – $39.00
What do you get when you combine a Dungeons & Dragons theme with a eurogame style of play, and make it easy enough that someone with very little modern board gaming experience can enjoy the heck out of it? Lords of Waterdeep! Waterdeep, the City of Splendors—the most resplendent jewel in the Forgotten Realms, and a den of political intrigue and shady back-alley dealings. In this game, the players are powerful lords vying for control of this great city. Its treasures and resources are ripe for the taking, and that which cannot be gained through trickery and negotiation must be taken by force. Lords of Waterdeep is a strategy board game for 2-5 players. You take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder—or help—the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.
Day by Day Armageddon – $12.50
This is one of the first zombie books I read and actually enjoyed! Well thought out, well paced and plotted. There are a few rough edges to the book itself but as a whole, it’s thoroughly enjoyable! Sporadic news reports indicate chaos and violence spreading through U.S. cities. An unknown evil is sweeping the planet. The dead are rising to claim the Earth as the new dominant species in the food chain.This is the handwritten journal depicting one man’s struggle for survival. Trapped in the midst of global disaster, he must make decisions; choices that ultimately mean life, or the eternal curse to walk as one of them. Enter if you will into his world. The world of the undead. If you’re wondering whether the treatment of weapons, survival and combat would be realistic? J.L. Bourne is an active duty military officer and currently resides in the Washington D.C. area. He has completed numerous tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, logging more than sixty combat missions over Iraq, earning three Air Medal Strike/Flight awards.
Robotech: The Complete Series – $63.99
I loved the Robotech series brought to the US by Harmony Gold in all its bastardized glory. As a kid, two episodes came on just as I was getting home from 5th grade and I couldn’t have been more sucked in by a television series. 2028 minutes of Robotech episodes and specials. ROBOTECH is a sweeping science-fiction anime epic of humans defending their home world against alien domination. The saga is told through the eyes of characters caught up in a series of wars that erupts when a mysterious spacecraft crash-lands on Earth at the turn of the millennium. The secrets of alien knowledge aboard this vessel were unlocked, leading to the development of “Robotechnology” and the creation of a vast arsenal of robotic “mecha” to defend the Earth against the alien threats that would eventually strike to lay claim to the mysterious power source known as “protoculture.”
X-Wing: Tantive IV – $70.00
Legendary: Encounters – $53.00
Now, play all of the Alien movies right on your tabletop, without fear of face huggers or chest bursters! Own the first ever Alien Deck Building Game! Use Legendary moves from battling Super Villains to battling chest-bursting, face-hugging, acid-for-blood-having Aliens. This game features some of Alien’s greatest protagonists, including Ripley, Dallas, Bishop and Private Hicks, as they go to battle against some of the most terrifying creatures in the universe. Players must work with each other to defeat the terrifying Xenomorps! Each core set comes with 500+ playable cards featuring all original art. Also included is a Legendary Encounters Alien game mat to help organize the playing field.
Amazon Kindle HDX – $179.00
I have a Kindle HD 7″, the generation before this one and I absolutely love it. Now keep in mind, it doesn’t have the breadth of apps available for the iPad, nor is it an Apple product -but for what it is, it’s beautiful. You’re looking at a sub-$200 tablet that does excellent things with books, Amazon Prime, Netflix and apps. I also love that it has profiles for different users, including for kids so you can limit their usage or allow them to play games after doing a bit of reading.
Actual Edible Haggis form Caledonian Kitchen – $26.00
If you’re going to go with the game Haggis above, and want to carry that theme one step further, here you go. Also great for people who love the Scottish culture, claim Scottish ancestry but have never actually eaten a Haggis. Now you can watch with glee as they cook up and consume some in front of you. For those who are curious, I have actually eaten a Haggis. It was wonderful, but there was a surprising amount of Single Malt Scotch involved, and I was actually in Scotland having the time of my life, so my recollection may be colored a bit.