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Holiday Board Game Gift Guide 2014

Card Games

Most of these games involve a deck of cards and maybe a few other components.  They aren’t your traditional card games like UNO or solitaire, but they can all be enjoyed by the family and are easy to learn.  They are also very portable making them easy to take to a holiday gathering.

1.  Spot It

Spot It! makes a great stocking stuffer for young and old alike.  If you like speed or pattern recognition, this is the game for you.  The circular Spot It! cards has eight different size symbols in varying sizes.  It is pretty amazing when you think about it, but any two Spot It! cards have exactly one symbol in common.

The game does come with rules for a few different ways to play the game.  In the base game each player is given one card and one central card is revealed.  Players try to be the first to “spot” the symbol on their card with a revealed card.  Whoever calls the common symbol first claims the card.  A new card is revealed and play continues.  When the last card is claimed whomever has the most cards wins the game.

Spot It! is a game that any age can play an age doesn’t really matter.  There are also so many different versions that you will likely find a theme to please anyone on your list.  And yes, there is even a Frozen version!

2.  Love Letter

Love Letter manages to take only sixteen cards and create a game that can be played over and over.  The theme of the game is that the young men of the Kingdom of Tempest are vying for the hand of the princess.  But she has locked herself in the place and the only way to reach her is by sending the romantic letter through the palace workers.   But, at the same time you need to stoop the other suitors’ letters from reaching her. 

Each player starts with just one card, and of the sixteen one is removed.  They must rely on their deduction skills and risk the win the hand of the princess.  During the game players draw one card and must play one card.  They want to expose the other players and remove them from the game.  Powerful cards are handy, but make you the target of other players, weaker cards have their uses but they may not win the hand of the princess.

This beautiful game does include player elimination but each play is quick so no one will feel left out for long.  Love Letter has been a hit with many groups and has even inspired different versions.  So even Batman fans will soon enjoy their own version of Love Letter.

3.  Famous Card Games Series

Another series of Games that come in a small package are the six games of the Famous Game Company Sports Games.  There are the beginner games Famous Fastballs (Baseball) and Famous Forehands (Tennis).  Next are the intermediate level games Famous Fairways (Golf) and Famous Flagships (Sailing). Finally, Famous 500 (Racing) and Famous First Downs (Football), the advanced games, complete the series.  Each game is played with only few cards, minimal rules, and in less than thirty minutes. The Famous Games Company Series offers a lot of game play in six different sports and for a fantastic price.  For less than the price of a quality board game your can get six different card games.  You can also choose your favorites separately.

The Famous Games Company Series offers a lot of game play in six different sports and for a fantastic price.  For less than the price of a quality board game your can get six different card games or choose your favorites separately.  These card games are perfect for the sports fan of the family and you would be supporting an amazing company.  For more information on all the Famous Games, How to Play tutorials, designer Rob’s blog and more check out the website at:  Also check out some of the newer offerings at the website.  I’m really intrigued by his Pocket sized sports dice games.

4.  Diamonds

Trick-taking games like Bridge, Euchre and Hearts are a favorite of many a family member.  Diamonds carries along that tradition, but adds a twist.  The game plays like other trick taking games were player’s lead with a card and others must follow suite if possible.  The twist is that players may take “Suit Actions” based on what suit they play.  Suit actions are taken when a player cannot follow a suit.  The winner of the suit, the one who played the highest card, gets a suit action.  Players are also collecting “diamond crystals” as they take suit actions.  These will be placed in their vault or the showroom.

The winner leads a card to start the next trick. After a full Round of ten tricks, whoever has taken the most cards in each suit once again gets a Suit Action. If a player has taken no tricks, that player gets two Diamonds Suit Actions. Players then start a new round.

Different suit actions let players take Diamond Crystals from the Supply, moving them to their showroom or their vault.  Diamonds in the showroom score 1 point and can be taken by other players.  Diamonds in the vault score two points and cannot be taken by other players.  Whoever has the most Diamond crystals at the end wins the game.

The suits of the game are the standard club, hearts, spades and diamonds. The artwork is a very nice art deco style.  Admittedly I have never understood or really enjoyed trick-taking games but family members do enjoy the games.  But Diamonds is different, makes sense.   Diamonds is a quick, strategic, and understandable trick-taking game.   It will have wide appeal to many players.

5.  Battle Line

Battle Line was one of the first modern card games I learned to play.  In this two-player game, players form two different battle lines on the table.  They are trying to win flags, either by winning 5 of the 9 flags or by winning three flags in a row.  They do this in a poker style game play.  To win a flag players must place cards similar to 3 of a kind, flush, straight flush, etc.  The highest formation wins and they take the flag to their side.

There are also tactics cards players may choose to take on their turn.  These give players an advantage on the battlefield.  The rules to Battle Line are simple and easy to teach.  The depth of the game comes in the strategic game play.  You need to survey the whole battlefield and be aware of what your opponent is doing.  Battle Line is a modern classic and a great edition to any collection.

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