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Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday gift meta-guide

The reader looking for boardgame gift ideas for the upcoming holidays may find recommendations from an overwhelming variety of sources.  Rather than add to the noise, I thought I would help organize it with my own meta-guide of boardgame holiday gift guides.  What follows is a consolidated list of sources, including the categories for which they provide recommendations, as well as a summary of highlights at the end.  I hope the reader finds this meta-guide helpful.

iSlaytheDragon's Holiday Gift Guide 2014 is a multi-part series of posts, each with a different focus:
Casual Game Revolution's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide features four categories:
  • Family Fun
  • The Party
  • The After-party
  • Stocking Stuffers
The 2014 Dice Hate Me Holiday Gift Guide features Chris Kirkman's unique situational recommendations (and only some of them are Dice Hate Me Games):
  • Best Game to Buy the Kids and Then Play It More Than They Do
  • Best Game For Your Bridge-Loving Aunt Sally You’ll Play Without Alienating The Rest of the Family
  • Best Game with Dice for Players Who Hate Dice
  • Best Macabre Theme That Will Brighten the Holidays
  • Best Stuffer for the Stocking
  • Best Game for your NASCAR-Loving Mom
  • Best Game for your Favorite Lovecraft Freak
  • Best Game for Your Graphic Designer Cousin Who Hates Party Games and Won’t Stop Talking About Typography
  • Best Game to Move ‘Em On Up From Ticket to Ride
  • Best Zombie Game for Uncle Raimi
  • Best Two-Player Game For Your Trigger-Happy Significant Other
  • Best Gift To Bring To a Holiday Party
  • Best Game for Those iOS-Addicted Relatives
  • Best Game For Your Grabby Eight-Year-Old
I should note that the Dice Hate Me State of Games podcast provides this kind of unique and thoughtful perspective on boardgames on a regular basis, and I recommend it for anyone with an interest in the workings behind game design and publishing as well as what's new in the boardgaming world.

The GamerChris 2014 Holiday Gift Guide has a few more conventional categories:
  • Party games
  • Children's games
  • Family games
  • Stocking stuffers
  • Advanced strategy games
Trent of the Board Game Family has broken down his extensive and very thoughtful list of recommendations into the following categories:

Ain't It Cool has board and card game recommendations by Eric "Quint" Vespe with an unconventional perspective.  I can't say I agree with everything on the list, but he has some unique ideas here.

GameFront provides ten board game recommendations by Ron Whittaker that seem oriented toward people on your holiday list who live in "adjacent genres" like video games and role-playing games.

GeekDad has nine board game recommendations by Anton Olsen that focus on family and friends spending time together.

GeekMom has 15 board game recommendations by Cathé Post that cover a broad spectrum of options.

GamerDad has 17 recommendations by Dr. Matt Carlson for board games, plus role-playing games and a "non-game" recommendation.

From all these sources, a total of 131 different games come recommended as holiday gifts.  Of these, the most common recommendations across all these sources, with the most widely recommended at the top, are
  1. Gravwell as a light family or after-party game
  2. Concept as a social party game
  3. Five Tribes as a "next step" game after the gateway games that also appeals as a gamer's game
  4. King of Tokyo as a light family game
  5. The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game as an advanced strategy game
  6. Bugs in the Kitchen as a kids' game
  7. Eldritch Horror as an advanced strategy gamer's game
  8. One Night Ultimate Werewolf as a social bluffing party game

1 comment:

  1. Here's another one - Kristen McCarty's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide from her boardgamegeek blog "A Game Built for Two." Her categories are family games, card games, party games, and teenager & adult games. And along with her recommendations, I should add Diamonds (for stocking stuffer card games) and Spendor (for after-part teenager & adult family strategy games) to the list of commonly recommended games.