2016 Holiday Gift Guide – Board Games

Engaged Family Gaming Holiday

The Holidays are just around the corner, and we at Engaged Family Gaming know that you are looking for the PERECT gaming gift for your family! Earlier this week we released our favorite video game titles for the year.  Now, you can read on to see which board games top our list of family favorites for the holiday season.  Also, take a listen to our numerous board game podcasts for specific recommendations categorized by different learning experiences, genres, and age groups.  We have lists of reading games, math games, geography games, dexterity games, etc.  There are so many great choices out there it made it difficult for us to narrow it down to 10.

Sushi Go Party

Sushi Go Party! is an expanded version of Gamewright’s bestselling game Sushi Go. It is as much fun as the original version, but it packs it’s own punch with some added sushi fun. In this version of the game you can play with up to 8 players and you can customize the menu a la carte each time you play to create a unique and ever changing game. It is designed for players ages 8 and up and can be found at a price point of $19.99. This pick and pass game is great fun for the whole family.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1

Pandemic Legacy was not released in 2016, but it made our list because it is truly an epic gameplay experience that we played well into this year. It is one of the pricier games on the list, but the ever changing and unique challenges keep this game fun for each session you play.  Pandemic Legacy puts a unique twist on the classic Pandemic game mechanics. Just like standard Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy is a co-operative campaign game where you are disease fighting scientist trying to save the world from disaster while racing against a clock. This game, however, has a top secret set of files with an overarching story-arc played through 12-24 sessions where every gameplay choice you make literally changes the whole board/world map. The MSRP on this game is $69.99, but you can find it for about $45 at various retailers. It is an intense gameplay experience that has us here at EFG desperately waiting for Season 2.

Kill Doctor Lucky 19.5 Anniversary Edition

Kill Doctor Luck is a very Clue-esque game where you are invited to dinner with a group of people at Lucky Mansion, a sprawling country estate, owned by Doctor Lucky. For some reason (determined by the character you choose to play as) you and all of the other dinner guests HATE Doctor Lucky and want him dead. Luckily, the mansion filled with unusual weapons, good hiding places, and unique obstacles designed to help or hinder the plans of all of you would be murderers. The game is for up to 8 players ages 12+ and comes with rules for many different variants to choose to continue to make gameplay interesting and relevant. With an MSRP of $40, this is a neat looking and fun game with lots of replay value. It has been a real winner at family gatherings.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Ticket to Ride: First Journey is one of the newer additions to the “My First” game genre designed to introduce younger players to the new Euro style classic board games.  Ticket to Ride: First Journey takes the concept of the Ticket to Ride formula and strips out several of the more complex concepts in favor of a streamlined experience that can be played by your youngest gamers. This version has a simplified map, more clear and understandable win conditions, larger and more easy to manipulate game pieces and cards. While some things have changed, the core of the Ticket to Ride family of games stays the same. This is a great introduction to the more advanced game, but it is still fun for the whole family to play together. At an MSRP of $29.99, this is a great way to bring your younger players to the game table with you.

Code Names: Pictures

Code Names pictures is a spinoff of the award winning Code Names game. Pictures uses similar mechanics to the original game, but with a few differences. Instead of words, the cards consist of nicely drawn pictures designed to spark imagination. The grid is smaller, the rules for valid clues are more accessible and the agents have spy themes to add to the atmosphere of the game.  These simple changes make the game more accessible to younger players.  This game is for up to 8 players and has an MSRP of $12.99, making it another great addition to your family game shelf for larger parties

Potion Explosion

Potion Explosion is a game that will fit right into any household dominated by Harry Potter fans. Players take on the role of wizards who are trying to make potions. They take turns pulling marbles out of an (ingenious) game board to collect resources. If marbles of the same color are touching when they pull out their first marble, then they get those as well. The concept is straight forward and the puzzle-like mechanics will keep everyone engaged.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter is everywhere and five Fantastic Beasts movies over the next decade or so are going to keep him in pop cultures sights for a very long time. This means we really couldn’t make a holiday gift guide without making at least one suggestion for the Harry Potter fans out there.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck building game produced by USAopoly where players choose between different characters and work together to over come challenges as they play through seven different games. Each game represents a different year of Wizarding school and the mechanics get more complicated as the games progress.

This is a great option for the Potter-head in your family.

Ice Cool

It wouldn’t be a holiday list without at least one whacky dexterity game. Ice Cool is, put simply, a game where you flick penguins to make them spin through a building in search of fish. I can’t really describe it… so take a look at the video before and order it.

Oregon Trail

The Oregon Trail card game is based on the 1980s video game of the same name. Oregon Trail was an edu-tainment videogame that attempted to teach the history of 19th-century pioneer life when traveling by covered wagon across the country. This new game is basically the same game (right down to the artwork and commands) in a card game format.  The only difference is that this game is a cooperative game designed to be played socially instead of playing by yourself on a computer. The MSRP of $14.99  on this game is very reasonable. If you are looking for a game that has a neat nod to nostalgia, then this will make for a fun evening.

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