2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Board Games

Engaged Family Gaming Holiday

The board game market has been growing at a rapid pace for a while now and the last few years have been especially good. Take a look below for our recommendations for board games to share as gifts this year!


Hoagie is a fun, quick paced, and lighthearted card game great for anyone ages 5 and Up. In this game you are building a 5-piece sandwich and trying to spoil the components of your opponent’s sandwich.  The pictures on the spoiled food and special action cards are gross in a silly cartoon way, and are not excessively disgusting or scary, rather Hoagie has a level of gross that kids and adults will find entertaining. The first complete sandwich unspoiled wins. This game is great for the whole family and can be taught in minutes.  There is some strategy to Hoagie, but there is enough random chance it really is anybody’s game.    


Tak is an abstract strategy game similar in play to Chess, Go, and Mancala, recommended for ages 12 and up. It has simple rules, looks beautiful and is easy to play, yet has complex layers of strategy.  Players use beautiful wooden pieces to build a road from one side of the board to the other. The concept of Tak originated in the second book in The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. For any fan of the series or of fantasy in general to connection to literature is an intriguing extra layer to the game.  Pairing the game with the novels is a great gift set!


Imhotep is a beautiful Egyptian themed game. Players use wooden blocks as stones to “build” different ancient Egyptian structures. The game is designed for 2-4 players ages 10 and takes about 40 minutes to play. Imhotep has an alluring aesthetic to draw in younger gamers, and the Ancient Egyptian theme has a great deal of appeal to a wide range of ages.  This is a game that is easy to learn, but has a deeper strategy that is much more challenging.  Imhotep was also a 2016 Spiel des Jahres nominee.

Lanterns the Harvest Festival

Lanterns is a tile laying game which also incorporates color matching and set collecting.  Players are decorating the lake for the Harvest Festival in Imperial China.  Players collect cards based on the color lanterns that are oriented towards them on the lake cards.  Players then cash in sets of the lantern cards to make a dedication.  These dedication cards each have a number, and the player with the highest number of dedication points at the end wins.  The game is beautiful as you expand the lake covered in lanterns as tiles are added.  Gameplay is very easy to learn, and the easy steps on each turn make this game great for the whole family.


Seikatsu is a visually beautiful and serene competitive token laying game. Players lay tokens with birds on them and the token is bordered by flowers.  The objective is to gather flocks of matching birds, and to line up rows of matching flowers from the perspective of their pagoda. A significant amount of strategy is needed to balance these two objectives.  The components of the game as well as the the board are gorgeous. The game is for 1-4 players and is recommended for ages 10 and up, though it ages down well.  The game is very easy to learn and has a good combination of luck and strategy infused into the gameplay.

Monopoly Gamer

Monopoly Gamer is a must see for any Nintendo fan.  Not only is the Nintendo elements infused through the game, but the gameplay is vastly different.  Power-ups have been added to the game and give players the ability to collect coins, force opponents to drop coins, and move forward. Instead of paper dollars, coins have replaced them, and are used for everything. Passing Go now has player activating Boss Battles, and these Boss Battles will reward the victor with additional coins for the end of the game, as well as some fun treats like a free property, or stolen goods from an opponent. Finally, Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi come with the base game. Other characters can be purchased through a $3.99 character pack, which comes with the board figure, a sticker, and the player card with the character’s abilities.  This game is vastly different from versions of Monopoly in the past, and is worth a look.


Kingdomino , the 2017 winner of The Spiel Des Jahres (The Game of the Year), combines the universal simplicity of dominoes with kingdom building. Players draw domino shaped tiles and lay them out in their 5×5 block kingdom. The goal is to sort their kingdom to that they have large contiguous biomes (lakes, forests, etc) to earn points. The gameplay is quick, easy to teach, and the game ages down very nicely.

DropMix by Harmonix

Harmonix is well known for being the company behind the music game genre in video games. They are bringing their expertise to play in a video game/board game hybrid called Drop mix now.

Dropmix is built around a series of cards that each represent the different pieces of a song that are mixed together. One card might represent the drum line to Cary Rae Jepson,’s “Call Me Maybe” while another card might represent the rhythm track from a song by The Roots.

There are multiple game modes available. One of them is a free play mode that turns players into a DJ. Another is a battle mode when players place cards down of various colors to try to be the first to play fifteen cards. All of the game modes are interesting, and all of them allow for some very interesting card combinations that result in sweet music.

Googly Eyes

Googly Eyes is a Pictionary style game with a twist. The artist during each turn has to put on a pair of whacky glasses that distort their vision while they draw. Families that find games like Telestrations , but have been craving a different experience will want to check this one out.


Square up by Mindware

Square Up is a fast paced puzzle games where players slide tiles around the game board to be the first to match the color pattern in a special cube shaker. This is a great puzzle toy that will be perfect in competitive families. It comes at a relatively low price point too!

Be sure to take a look at our other Holiday Gift Guides for 2017!

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