2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

How time flies! Can you believe the holidays are upon us already? Celebrate this amazing time of year with some great games! Here are our favorite picks for the 2014 holiday season. You can find more options in our recommended games list.

Family Fun

Young, old, and everyone in between should enjoy these favorites! Try these as gifts or play them before the festivities begin.

Walk the Plank!

Camel Up (Z-Man Games) — Bet on your favorite camel to win each leg of the race around the track, as well as the overall race. Flip the pyramid upside down to drop the camel dice and move the stacking camels. But plan carefully, as the movement can be quite unpredictable! This is a superb game for families.

Forbidden Desert

Forbidden Desert (Gamewright) — You and your team of adventurers are stranded in the desert and must locate several hidden parts of an ancient flying machine to escape. But watch out for the raging sandstorm, which moves around the board and covers important areas with sand. If you don't run out of water and you successfully build the flying machine, you win! This is a must-have cooperative game for any casual game collection.

King of Tokyo

King of Tokyo (IELLO) — Do you have what it takes to be the ultimate monster? Roll and re-roll the dice to decide whether you will attack, heal yourself, gain energy, or score victory points. You can enter Tokyo for extra bonuses, but you'll also be the subject of many attacks from your opponents. The first player to reach 20 victory points or the last monster standing wins. If you already own this game, you may want to check out the new sequel, King of New York.

La Boca

Bugs in the Kitchen (Ravensburger) — Who can resist a little, robotic Hexbug? Place the bug at the center of the board and maneuver the utensils to help direct the bug into your trap (and not your opponents' traps). This is a simple but fun game for all ages to enjoy.

Bang! The Dice Game

Bang! The Dice Game (dV Giochi) — Players take on the secret role of Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw, or Renegade as they try to accomplish different goals to win. Roll and re-roll the dice to determine your actions for the turn. Watch out for Indians and other players who may be planning your demise.

The Party

When all your guests have arrived and you're looking for fun things to do, these easy-to-learn party games are a good choice for larger groups.

Concept

Concept (Repos Production) — If you like games like Taboo, Charades, and 20 Questions, you'll love this game. Give clues about a word or phrase by placing pawns and cubes next to colorful icons on the board — no talking or gestures allowed. Break the topic down into subconcepts to clarify and help the other players guess.

Choose One!

Choose One! (Looney Labs) — If you thought you knew your friends and family, guess again. This party game gives players a chance to predict what each person's preferences are. Peanut butter or jelly? Summer or winter? Aisle or window seat? The results may surprise you. The player who makes the best predictions will win. This is a game that is hard to stop playing.

What's It?

What's It? (Peaceable Kingdom) — In this cooperative party game, players try to determine what a random doodle looks like. A doodle card is revealed and everyone writes down several possibilities, trying to match up what another player wrote. If the answers match, players score a point. However, if an answer doesn't match, the Doodler scores a point. Beat the Doodler to the finish line to win!

RANDOMonium

RANDOMonium (Wiggles 3D) — Place your word tiles like Dominoes, trying to get rid of all of them to win. The catch is that you have to announce the connection between the two connecting words in order to place the tile. "Beards are fuzzy!" "Unicorns are fake!" Creative minds will come up with some funny and unexpected connections under the time pressure.

The After-party

After the kids are all in bed, here are some fun options for the grown-ups who want to put in a bit more gaming before hitting the sack.

Gravwell

Gravwell (Renegade Game Studios) — To win this sci-fi themed board game, just be the first to get your space ship to the end of the spiral. The catch? Instead of just moving forward, you move toward the closest ship — forward or backward. Grab the best the cards and plan carefully to slingshot past the other players (and derelict ships) to escape the gravell and win!

Relic Expedition

Relic Expedition (Foxtrot Games) — This casual strategy game will get you in the spirit of adventure! You are on a quest to gather up a set of ancient relics hidden in the jungle, but many deadly animals and other hazards are out to get you. Explore the jungle to reveal relics and hidden areas, and escape to a helipad with a full set of relics to win.

Splendor

Splendor (Space Cowboys) — You are a merchant from the Renaissance, trying to amass the most wealth from the gem trade. Trade in your gems for mines and other cards that will help you gain even more gems. Gather enough of the right types of gems, and you'll also attract nobles. The first player to reach 15 prestige points, wins.

Get Lucky

Get Lucky (Cheapass Games) — You and the other guests all have motive to kill Dr. Lucky — however, his incredible luck gets him out of most deadly encounters. Plan your moves carefully to finally overcome his amazing luck and take him down once and for all. This casual card game is quite fun for your casual gaming group.

Stocking Stuffers

Forget the candy! Instead, try out these compact games that will bring smiles to your loved ones all year round (and won't cause cavities).

Loonacy

Loonacy (Looney Labs) — In this simple speed game, try to get rid of your cards by matching one of the two illustrations on the top card of the discard pile(s). It's a simple but frantic game that has been well-received by famiies and casual gaming groups.

SET

SET (SET Enterprises) — This classic card game packs the tough challenge of forming sets of shapes, colors, and patterns that are often easy to miss. Just lay out 12 cards and call out "SET!" when you spot one. But be careful — if you're wrong, you'll score negative points.

Cover Your Assets

Cover Your Assets (Grandpa Beck's Games) — Try to gather the most wealth by matching valuable cards and placing them on your stack. However, the top card(s) on your stack are free for other players to take if they have the matching card. This light card game can get quite competitive, but fits easily in a stocking.

BraveRats

BraveRats (Blue Orange Games) — This tiny microgame only consists of 16 cards, but it will get your head spinning as you try to predict the actions of your opponent. Play cards one at a time to try to capture your opponents' cards — but pay close attention to each card's special ability, which may greatly affect the outcome.

Casual Game Insider

Casual Game Insider

Give the Gift of Casual Game Insider — A 1-year subscription to Casual Game Insider makes a great gift! If you're looking for something unique to give to your friends and family this year, our magazine offers the latest and greatest in casual gaming. You can also download and print a gift card to put under the tree or in a stocking! Click here for more information.