Christmas is almost here and you have a gamer in your life, but don’t know what to get for them? Fear not, we here at Good Games have you covered with suggestions for all situations (and hey, if you are the gamer in your life and just want something cool, we’ll keep it between you, us and Santa!!)
What do the critics like?
Between conventions, podcasts, clubs, stores and blogs, word gets out quickly about wonderful games. Only a few of these games win awards like the Speil Des Jahres or the Origins award. Both of these games have won multiple awards and been praised almost universally by the gaming community worldwide.
7 Wonders: Duel
- 2 Players
- 30-40 minutes
- Expansions: 7W Duel Pantheon
7 Wonders: Duel is an engaging and beautiful game in which two players pit their civilisations against one another. The game features multiple paths to victory, variation each time it is played and great tactical depth. Will you attempt a military victory, develop your scientific discoveries or build amazing monuments to outdo your opponent?
- 2-4 Players
- 45 - 60 minutes per game
- Expansions: None, but part of the Pandemic family of games
Pandemic: Legacy has risen to become the #1 game on Boardgamegeek.com in less than a year - no mean feat against competition from the entire history of board gaming! In the game, you take on the role of CDC agents trying to stop the spread of infectious diseases throughout the world. The game changes across multiple plays as diseases ravage cities and you get new specialists and items with which to battle them! Legacy gaming is the next big thing, give it a go now!
What’s the best new game this year?
Some games develop a following over time, others are like a bolt from the blue, instantly striking gamers with their originality and gameplay. Here are the new games this year that have impressed us.
- 2-8 Players
- 15 - 20 minutes
- Expansions: Codenames: Deep Undercover, Codenames: Pictures (both standalone too)
Codenames is a simple premise with a devilishly satisfying execution; there is a grid of words on the table and two teams of agents. The Spymasters on each team know which words represent the contacts their agents need to find and which represent the deadly assassin. Using only one word, they must connect as many clues as possible for their team, avoiding the danger words. How good is your word association? Find out in Codenames!
Isle of Skye
- 2-5 Players
- Expansions: Not yet
Hailed as “The game that killed Carcassonne”, Isle of Skye is a tile-laying game with scoring conditions that change each game. As chieftains of rival Scottish clans, you build your territory containing items that score you points in each round, or ignore those scoring conditions and build in your own. To get your tiles, you’ll have to go to market with the other players though, each of whom sets the price for each tile according to the value they see in it… A superb game of tactics and negotiation.
What’s always been popular?
Not everyone is looking for a gift for an experienced gamer; people new to the hobby are perfect recipients for a Christmas game. Here are some good places to start if you’re buying for someone still exploring the world of games.
- 2-4 Players
- Expansions: Eight to choose from. The game can go to six players with Dominion: Intrigue.
Dominion is the original deck-building game, in which players begin with a small deck of cards that earn them gold and points, which they can use to buy better cards and more points to add into their deck. At the end of the game, whoever has the most victory points in their deck wins. Cards not only serve as points and gold though, they represent new additions to your budding kingdom, as you extend your Dominion over all!
- 2-6 Players
- Expansions: Six to choose from, also available as a Big Box including all six.
In Alhambra, players are building the titular Spanish townships out of tiles that they purchase. To make life difficult, the tiles are being sold by architects from all over the world, each of whom wants to be paid in different currency. By collecting the right amount of money and building wisely, you can make a township to last through the ages, but focus too much in one area and your dreams will crumble to dust.
What’s great that they won’t already have?
It’s always hard to pick a present for people with a hobby; they tend to buy what they want for themselves and without specialist knowledge, how can you be sure about what you’re getting? Here are some suggestions for the Gamer that has everything.
Level Up Dice
- Any number of Players
- Prices vary
- No expansions needed; they’re dice.
Level Up Dice are works of art; cut from precious stones and tinted metals, they are weighty and beautiful, colourful and striking. While not all of our stores carry them, they are worth tracking down as they enhance the experience of any game they are used in. Plus, as any good gamer will tell you, you can never have enough dice. You can find these in the following stores: Ipswitch, Newcastle, Gosford, Town Hall, Top ryde, Hurstville and Bondi Junction.
A Game of Thrones: Hand of the King
- 2-4 Players
- No expansions yet
Sometimes, a great game slips through the cracks without getting the notice it probably deserves. Hand of the King is one of those games. The Game of Thrones license on it is a bonus for fans, but the gameplay itself is compelling. By moving their agent Varys around the grid of cards on the table, players gather the support of 7 great houses. If a player takes the last member of a house from the table, they get to activate one of the special bonus cards, giving them new powers! The game continues until Varys cannot move, at which point the player with the most house banners wins. Hand of the King is quick, easy, fun and beautiful and most gamers haven’t heard of it yet.
What do we play at our Christmas party?
Games are wonderful for parties, but it’s inconvenient to pull out your copy of Ticket to Ride in a room full of people. Here are some great party games to play over the holiday period.
Telestrations: 12 Player Party Pack
- 4-12 Players
- Expansions: Also available as a non-party edition.
The concept of telestrations is easy, but the execution is always hilarious. A player gets a clue card, then draws what is written on it. They hand that drawing to the next player, who writes down what they see, passing that to the next player, who draws and so on until you see what the original concept has become (hint: it almost always seems to end up involving Bacon). Telestrations is a riot and sure to keep you entertained for hours.
- 5-10 Players
- Expansions: Three, plus an alternate version, The Resistance: Avalon
In the Resistance, players are members of the rebellion against tyranny in a dark future. Working together, teams of the players must go on daring missions to disrupt the actions of the corrupt government that oppresses them. Unbeknownst to them, traitors lurk in their midst who, if sent on missions, will betray them to the government. If the loyal agents of the Resistance can find the traitors in time, they will prevail - otherwise, all hope is lost. One of the most popular social games in the world, the Resistance is a game of bluffing and cunning in a dystopian world.
Whatever you end up playing and however you celebrate, all of us at Good Games would like to wish all of you reading a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!