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2023 Holiday Buying Guide

Happy Holidays everyone! I want to start out by saying that traditionally black Friday and Cyber Monday have been days to catch deals at retailers here in the US. I am not going to discourage you from getting a great deal on some great games. However I would encourage you to visit your friendly local game store first. FLGSs offer so much more than the game itself. At a FLGS you can talk to experts who are passionate about games and there is most likely a community of like minded people there that you can engage in. Playing games in your neighborhood with your neighbors is much more rewarding than just heading to a big box store to grab a game where there is likely nobody there to guide you to a game that fits you.

This year I am thankful for the many folks (its really surprising to me) who tune in here to listen to my recommendations for games. There are a lot more that I wanted to put on to this list but I think keeping it short and sweet is helpful. The games are sorted by category to help guide you through. With that here is a list of gift suggestions for the gamer in your life.

Solo Games

Final Girl - Is a horror themed solo game that has a ton of variability. There are 11 movies that you can purchase individuals or as series. Van Ryder Games has made the game so you can interchange the antagonists and the scenes of the movies. This means that you can have a Mike Myers like character stalking the Antarctic base from the Thing. You can also go the distance with these and add in miniatures and special scenarios. We have been having a lot of fun with this game.

Final Girl: The Outpost
Final Girl: The Outpost

Choose Your Own Adventure - There are a couple of titles in this series. The Choose Your Own Adventure games harken back to the books that some of us grew up with. You make your way through the game collecting items and solving mysteries and fighting the occasional baddie. My partner and I enjoyed playing this game on the patio chairs with a cocktail this last summer while our little one took naps. You can play solo or we just took turns reading while the other decided. It was a nice light game.

Cartographers - This is a roll and write game that has you exploring the Northern lands for the Queen. You will stake the kingdom's claim, but the Queen will let you know what land types are best for the kingdom. This is an exciting roll and write that will have plenty of replay value. There are expansion maps that you can get for the game too. The beauty of this game is that its fun solo and you can play it with 99 friends if you wanted to.

Party Games

Everything Ever - This party game will have you relying on your accumulated knowledge of Everything you Ever knew. This game has been hard to keep off the table. People have loved it every time we have brought it to the table. My partners coworkers ask about it every time they have a meeting. Everything Ever will have players naming things that fit the category for example "every movie title thats a question"

Everything ever Game
Everything ever Game

Charty Party - Is another fun party game but this one throws an interesting twist on things. Instead of players playing cards that match up to a common card in the middle and having someone choose the winner. Charty Party has a chart in the middle and players playing cards that will match the chat that has a title and numbers or words along the X-axis. The players cards are the title of the Y-axis. Its easy hilarious and we have had a lot of fun with it at family gatherings.

Hues and Cues - The last party game I am going to mention is the one of our family favorites. Hues and Cues will have players guessing from a spectrum of color squares on the board what color swatch the current player has. The current player will offer 2 one word clues, players will have 2 chances to guess once after each clue. This is a fun game that spurs a lot of talk about color and debates on what colors are what.

Role Playing Games

Everyday Heros - This role playing system is build on the D20 system (D&D 5th Edition). Everyday Heros brings the game into the modern era and sheds the fantasy genre for a modern cinematic experience. Players can enter into movies like Highlander and Escape from New York The Cinematic adventure series is awesome. My roleplaying group is playing through the Highlander supplement right now and its been amazing. I have been the game master and the system works and rules are easy to find in the books. This would be a good gift for that role player in your life.

Everyday Heros
Everyday Heros

Fate - I recently ran a Fate home-brew campaign using the Fate of Cthulhu book as my main source of badies and inspiration into the mythos. Fate is a system that is more open than most games. You wont find your self rolling for states, rather you will be invoking aspects of your character or the scene you are in. This makes game play smooth and gives the players more of a chance to influence the story as they move though it. If players have grown tired of heavy rule games then this is for them.

Alice is Missing - This game impacted me at a deep level that I was not expecting. It comes in a small box but packs a huge hit. The game is timed and there are events that happen at certain times of the game that help move the players along the journey. Alice is missing has no game master only someone responsible for moving along the game and making sure the event cards get played by the players. This game is not for the young ones. Alice is Missing has some hard topics but its handled well and has guardrails to keep players from going to far off. If you are looking for more of an experience this is the game.

Two Player Games

Lawyer Up Season 2 - This game has players pitted against each other in the courtroom. There are 3 different cases in the box for players to play though, a noir case, a casino heist and a high profile divorce case. There is also a solo mode that is fun to play included. The players are asymmetric in Lawyer Up each has their own cards. Chain together the evidence and your arguments to influence the jurors.

Lawyer Up Season 2
Lawyer Up Season 2

Stool Pigeon - This is a game as the box says on it "A card game for people who love pigeons and hate their friends. Players are the head of their respective pigeon mafia family and they are trying clean up their crime scene and have the feds go after the other player. Be sneaky, take up a vendetta and well, disappear some witnesses in this great game from Barrel Aged Games.

Boop - This is a great cozy strategy game. It is so cozy that the board is actually a quilt. What could make this game even more cute? Cats, the answer was cats. Boop has players playing their cat pieces on the bed knocking the other players pieces away from them. Players can also upgrade their pieces to larger cats. This game looks sp cozy and casual but there is some deep strategy that can be played out on the quilted comforter.

Neo Classic Games

Fire Tower - This is one of my favorite games. Fire Tower is about influencing a forest fire to burn down your opponents fire tower. This premise seems a little weird as I type it out but trust me here this is a fun game and has some awesome table presence. The fire is represented by orange gems. It always looks so great on the table. This game is fun for most of the family I have played it with 8 year old kids and they have enjoyed it quite a bit. This wont collect dust on your game shelf.

Fire Tower Game
Fire Tower Game

Wingspan - Wingspan is all about the birds. Wingspan is a crd driven game that has players competing as bird watchers or ecologist trying to attract a diverse array of birds. Elizabeth Hargrave's award winning game is sure to please and has a hand full of expansion to make this an even bigger gift.

Terraforming Mars Ares Expedition - This is the little version of the big classic game Terraforming Mars. This plays much quicker and is more likely to end up on your table. I enjoy the solo version of this game a lot too. Each player runs a corporation that is terraforming mars for their own profit. This game is reliant more on players making their own choices than a lot of interaction. The interaction comes in the form of players choosing what phase they want to execute on the turn.

Strategy Games

John Company 2nd Edition - Players will run the East India company together. The players are also trying to extract the most wealth out of the company at the same time. pull too much out or not run the company well and everyone loses. This historical game has a lot of push and pull as players vie for roles within the company so that they can meet their own personal goals and obtain the wealth of the empire.

John Company 2nd Edition
John Company 2nd Edition

Hegemony: Lead your Class to Victory - Players will simulate a nation and its struggles within through the viewpoint of the classes within. Players can be the working class, middle class, corporations or the government itself. The economy is failing can you lead the country into prosperity with your influence and laws? Who will you work with to get favorable laws passed for your faction? This is sure to please a heavy gamer who like political intrigue.

Cuba: The Splendid Little War - This asymmetric war game has players facing off as the Spanish and the Cubans seeking independence from Spain (With some American support). Players will play through both the Cuban War for Independence and the Spanish American War. in Cuba players will have to deal with yellow journalism, assassins and disease. This will keep everyone on their toes as they vie for victory. Perfect game for the strategy gamer in your life.



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