Five Fantastic Games for the Holiday SeasonNovember 26, 2018
After stuffing ourselves silly on Thanksgiving and depleting our bank accounts on Black Friday, we’re now in full-on holiday mode. Work parties, family gatherings, and get-togethers with friends will take up most of our time until the end of the year, which means plenty of opportunities for us gamers to introduce others to the wonderful world of modern board games.
You probably won’t convert people to the hobby if you crack open a copy of Twilight Imperium for their first experience of a hobby game, but there are plenty of games that are perfect for new players.
Here are five fantastic games for the holidays.
If your family and friends have played Monopoly, then they’ll recognize the roll-and-move mechanism in the pirate race game, Jamaica. But Jamaica does it better by giving everyone cards for their movement and resources so that you’re not totally dependent on a lucky roll. You’ll be quoting Pirates of the Caribbean as you and your opponents face off in sea battles and, best of all, the game wraps up in less than an hour.
Qwirkle is like an abstract version of Scrabble: you simply lay down your tiles, trying to match either colors or shapes, and scoring points for each tile you connect. You’ll try to maximize your points each turn by finding those perfect spots on the table, and thankfully you don’t have to memorize lists of two-letter words or go through the hassle of challenging someone’s word.
Vegas Wits & Wagers
The base game Wits & Wagers is an excellent game for any occasion. Players try to answer trivia questions, but you don’t have to know a lick of trivia to win the game. All of the answers are a number, so you can easily ballpark your answer. Best of all, you can wager on someone else’s answer if you believe they know what they’re talking about. The Vegas edition ramps up the betting atmosphere with Vegas-centric questions and a ginormous roulette-style betting map.
In this classic auction-style game, players use their money to bid on various pieces of property, each one numbered 1-30, with 30 being the best. After all of the properties have been auctioned off to the highest bidders, random cards depicting money are laid out. Now, players try to earn the most money by playing their properties, with the highest-numbered property earning the biggest money card. If you bring this to a party, be ready to play it multiple times: it’s easy to get caught up in the hot and heavy bidding wars.
Not all of the fun at the tabletop has to be a cutthroat competition. Instead, you could bring Magic Maze and try to get everyone to work together to help a group of adventurers complete their mission at a local mall (don’t ask). The most interesting twist in Magic Maze is that each player isn’t assigned a character; instead, you’re tasked with a specific movement and can move any character. It can be a frantic and stressful game, but it’s bound to lead to a whole lot of laughs.