As I write this we have sixteen shopping days until Christmas (please remember, we close at 6:00 PM on Christmas Eve and are closed Christmas Day), and if you're still wondering what might be fun to play this Christmas, let me help you! There are five great types of people to play games with, so we should find them something else to play this holiday season. (Credit to whatNerd for these gamer types, the article is fun and discusses the five gamer types you may not want at your table as well.) I'm going to give you two neat ideas for every gamer type that I love to share my table with.
The Host A beautiful host gift is an awesome thing to receive, whether the host is putting together a fancy dinner party or has been the place you go for your weekly board game sessions all day. Let's take a look at some beautiful, and fun, host gifts you can take to a holiday party this week.
Ark Nova Build a zoo and support conservation efforts in this clever, strategic, hand management game. Use your cards to carry out special tasks, to build animal enclosures, and accommodate your animals, both exotic and common. This stellar game features 255 cards playable in endless combinations, and is good for hours of fun each time you put it on the table, and is a great experience for one to four players, making it the perfect gift for your host no matter how many people are in their normal playgroup.
Trekking Through History If your headed out to a party and you're not sure if your host is a gamer, Trekking Through History was made for them! Embark on a three day journey through time, climbing aboard your time machine to experience great moments and meet the people who made history. This drafting game is simple enough to learn that's a great entry to modern board gamers, but it's hiding some subtlety that will bring gamers back to it time and time again.
The Teacher You know that person who teaches you all the new games? Their job is rough, and they've spent a lot of hours before game night learning the game so that you can have more fun in your limited gaming time. Why not give them some choices that are easy for them to teach. These games come in endless varieties with the same basic rules set, just some variations. This means your teacher can work less and have more fun! Pandemic Every teacher has played the original Pandemic, the game is not only simple to get on a table and a lot of fun, but it's cooperative, which makes it easy to introduce people to who might be a little afraid of gaming. Pandemic has so many great varieties that your teacher might enjoy a new twist on it. There are two great licensed versions of the game that I'm getting on my table a bit; Pandemic: Clone Wars, and Pandemic: Wrath of the Lich King. If your teacher is a Star Wars fan (who isn't) or really loved the glory days of World of Warcraft (I did) they may enjoy new takes on this bestselling classic. Carcassonne Speaking of bestselling classics, the work being done on Carcassonne these days is absolutely stellar. Not only can you still get original Carcassonne (but your teacher probably already has it) you can get the limited anniversary edition, with new treatment on every tile that brings a brand new vibrancy to your table, but available for the holidays is the massive new Big Box, featuring Carcassonne and eleven expansions. At $89.99 it's a steal, with more than $120.00 in content stuffed in the box.
The Omnigamer We love our Omnigamers! (I'm decidedly not an Omnigamer, but that's beside the point.) The Omnigamer will play any game with us, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't get to play truly great games, so let's talk about some of our absolute favorites over the last two years. Root An asymmetric wargame where every player is part of a different faction and has their own strategies and win conditions, Root has been a runaway hit since 2018, but finally in 2020 it was possible to keep it in stock, and we've been loving it since then! Lead your army of adorable creatures to victory in the forest by crushing your frienemies, and then dance on their little animal corpses! If your Omnigamer already loves Root, there are expansions! You can find several expansions in stock to add to the joy of Root, and if you want a different kind of joy in the Root universe, there are now rules for Root: The Roleplaying Game. Everdell In this fantasy city builder you will send your animal workers out into the world to gather resources, draw cards, or take other special actions. Lead your group in the founding a new city, building up your own paradise in this game that lasts four seasons, from winter to winter. Your Omnigamer will love how adorable the cards are, they feature truly beautiful artwork, and just like Root, if they already have it, you have a lot of great options for expansions!
The Vibrant One Gaming is so much more fun if you have this person at your table, the one is always having fun and always sharing that in an upbeat fashion! The vibrant gamers deserves games that reflect their personality, so here are two great ideas for the vibrant one at your table. HerStory At my table, the vibrant ones are almost universally badass women who are kicking ass and taking names out in the world when they're not rocking out and beating me at most games, so in their honor I present Herstory, a recent release from our friends at Underdog Games, who gave us Trekking the National Parks, Trekking the World, and the aforementioned Trekking Through History. I love their games! In HerStory each player takes on the role of an author, writing a book about great women throughout history. You'll draft chapters to write your book, earning victory points along the way, and then at the end of the game, the best book wins. The game comes with 120 stunning cards featuring beautiful pictures of historically important women on the front, and stories from their lives on the back. It's amazing, and a not just fun, but a great educational experience (like all Underdog Games). Spirit Island What better way to reward the vibrant players at your table than giving them something they can be excited about with the whole group, and that's the experience Spirit Island provides. In this cooperative game you'll all work together to keep the invading colonists from plundering your island home. The spirits of land, sky, and nature seek to keep European invaders off their island in this territory building game that has piled up the awards. Already have Spirit Island, check out the various expansions to add more excitement to this beautiful game!
The Gameskeeper Does every group have a gamekeeper? I know that in my group I am the gamekeeper, with more than 500 of them in various places around the house. The gamekeeper is the person in your group with the disposable income and/or storage space to keep all the games, and they keep buying them to fill up more empty space. So, we should help the gamekeeper with their goal and fill up their spaces. Let's look at two great big boxes they may enjoy. Nemesis: Lockdown Giant box. Hundreds of cards, hundreds of other components like dice, tokens, rooms sheets, markers and bags. Dozens of unpainted minis begging for paint. Nemesis Lockdown is both an expansion to Nemesis, but also a complete standalone game featuring all new mechanics, like multi-level buildings with stairs and elevators. You also get new characters and a new alien race in this semi-coop combination of horror and combat. Dwellings of Elder Vale If you're prefer your big box game come in the competitive variety, check out this truly epic worker placement game that adds elements of engine building and area control as you work with unique units. Designed for 1 to 5 players (check out the solo game, Ghosts of Eldervale), Dwellings combines wizards, warriors, dragons, and hundreds of tokens and components, all neatly organized in customer trays...included in the box! Your gameskeeper has spent a lot of time organzing their games, and this one makes that easy! No matter who you're shopping for, we're here to help! Take these suggestions, or let us help you find something else, the staff at Total Escape Games (or your own FLGS if you're reading this from far away) would love to help you find the perfect gift. Happy gaming, and a joyous holiday season. John PS: I'll be in the store almost every day until 18 DEC before I head back home to Nevada, if you want to come see me to get help choosing a game.