15 Great Games to Fill Your Table This Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas, Auntie Sandra, Lying to your mother
What are the very best card and board games to play with coworkers and family this holiday? Games that are actually FUN - that you could bring to a party as a great gift for cheap, or tuck in the stocking for Christmas Eve?

Quinns will be writing a piece next week about games more suited to those who already love the hobby, but as part of our ongoing mission to convince the world that board games are great, we wanted to put together an easy resource for the question we seem to get almost all the time: “What game should I buy to play with my family?”

If you’ve been linked to this by someone else who loves board games, hello! We’ve put this list together as both a video and a written list. Enjoy!

Matt: Greetings Holiday Humans, it’s time to mildly panic as you realise that family will soon descend upon you like a flock of seagulls to a discarded ice-cream. Rather than trying to explain your job to relatives to the point that you might have a mental breakdown, we’d recommend playing board games instead.

These are the 15 best big-family games: all play with at least 6 people, and most can handle 8. In no particular order, let’s go!


Podcast #85: Do you have any Fascist Fish?

let's buy a forest, marduk's loyal goats, when a potato becomes a samurai
Come on up! Make yourself at home in our twiggy podcast nest, where Paul and Quinns are ready to regurgitate some warmed-up board game knowledge into your waiting beak.

This episode features the quietly fabulous tile-laying of Gunkimono. There's Taj Mahal, the fourth in a fantastic series of beautiful Reiner Knizia remakes. We've had a first play of Trade on the Tigris, a new negotiation game from the designer of Space Cadets. Quinns talks about how GKR: Heavy Hitters is almost his favourite game of all time, if it could just be combined somehow with Critical Mass (see podcast #84). Also, like the rest of the internet, we've begun playing Root and can't seem to stop.

Finally, the pair chat about a reader mail asking when, and where, we'd consider playing board games for money. 💷💷💷

Full podcast transcript available here.


Our Holiday Gift Guide, 2017!

big or small, wood or plastic, candle or no candle
Quinns: Christmas is almost upon us, everyone! That sweet stretch of the calendar where board games take center stage, or at the very least share the stage with potatoes and Jesus Christ.

Are you thinking about buying a new game to play with your relatives? Or are you wondering which game to buy for the stalwart board game collector in your life?

Either way, we’ve got you covered with the below holiday game guide. Enjoy, everyone!


Review: Diamant

Conversational sex act, Danny DeVito, No no no no no
Paul: QUINTIN. I know we want to tell people all about Diamant and how this cute-but-cruel game of pushing your luck can make you either rich or dead, but I’ve got to say one thing right thing right here, right now, right off the bat. Right?

Quinns: I'll allow it!

Paul: Diamant is probably the most fun I’ve had for the least investment of time and energy SO FAR THIS YEAR. I’m so sorry. I just had to blurt that. It’s a petite wonder. PETITE. WONDER. Like… Danny DeVito. Or... a teabag?

Quinns: You’re arriving at this party a little late though, aren’t you? Last year I called Incan Gold the best little push-your-luck game I’d played in forever. Diamant is just a beautiful new edition of the same game! You can’t talk about it like you’ve just found a dead sea scroll in your back garden.

Paul: All right, all right, back that boulder up, snarkaeologist. Incan Gold? The 2006 game? And when did you come to it, exactly?

Quinns: Erm. 2016.

Paul: An entire decade of incompetence.


Diamant

Diamant is a quick, fun game of push-your-luck. Players venture down mine shafts by turning up cards from a deck, sharing the gems they find on the way down. Before the next card is turned up, you have the chance to leave the mine and stash your finds, including any gems you get on the way out. Why would you leave? Because the deck also contains hazards: scorpions, snakes, poison gases, explosions and rockfalls. When a duplicate hazard turns up (such as a second scorpion), anyone left in the shaft has to flee for safety and loses all the gems they got this turn. The trick is, the more players that leave, the bigger your share in the next card will be.

Incan Gold

Incan Gold is a quick, fun and tense game in which you and other adventurers explore an old Incan temple in search of gold and treasure. In each of the five rounds, you secretly choose if you want to continue exploring the temple in search of more treasure or retreat to the safety of your camp with your share of the treasure that has been discovered so far.

Each time that an explorer braves new territory, more treasure or a danger appears. When a second card of the same type of danger is turned over, all exposed treasure is buried, leaving the remaining adventurers with nothing. Do you flee the dangerous temple with your portion of the treasure that has been uncovered so far or do you venture into the exciting temple in search of more hidden valuables?

After five rounds of exploration, whoever has the most treasure is the ultimate explorer and winner!