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Best board games to gift in 2018

Welcome to the ultimate gift guide for card games, board games and tabletop fans. We divided this list into several sections so you will be able to find a gift for whatever kind of person you are looking for. Make use of this list and surprise your loved ones with the perfect gift this year in 2018!

Classics

The games in the classics categorie have been long time favorites of a lot of the hardcore board game fans. We are convinced any of these games will be an excellent addition to anyone’s collection!

7 Wonders

In 7 Wonders you are the leader of one of the 7 big cities of the Old World. Collect resources, develop commercial routes and underline your military supremacy. Build your city and create an architectural miracle that will stand the test of time.

Score: 7.8
Players: 2-7
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.34 / 5

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile placement game in which players draw and place a tile with a piece of South French landscape on it. The tile can contain a city, a road, a monastery, grassland or a combination of these, and must be placed next to the tiles already played, so that the cities are connected to cities, roads, etc…… After placing a tile, the player can decide to place one of his pawns on one of the areas: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a monastery as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. If that area is complete, that teaspoon scores points for the owner.

Score: 7.4
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30-45 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.93 / 5

Ticket to Ride

With a gracefully simple playing style, Ticket to Ride can be learned in less than 15 minutes, while players can make intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn. Players collect maps of different types of train wagons which they then use to claim railways in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Extra points can be earned for those who execute the destination tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and for the player who builds the longest continuous route.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 30-60 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.96 / 5

Settlers of Catan

In Catan, players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities and roads. With each turn, dice are thrown to determine which resources the island produces. Players collect the resources (cards) – wood, grain, stone, brick, sheep or stone – to build their civilizations to reach 10 victory points and win the game.

Score: 7.2
Players: 3-4
Playtime: 60-120 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.35 / 5

Pandemic

In Pandemic, several malignant diseases have broken out all over the world! The players are specialists in the field of disease control with the mission of treating outbreaks and examining treatments for each of the four pests before they run out of control.

Score: 7.7
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 45 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 2.43 / 5

Dominion

Image courtesy of: mikehulsebus @BoardGameGeek

In Dominion, each player starts with an identical, very small deck of cards. In the middle of the table is a selection of other cards that players can “buy” if they can afford them. By choosing the cards to buy, and how to play their hands as they draw them, players build out their deck and strive for the most efficient way to the precious victory points at the end of the game.

Score: 7.7
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 2.37 / 5

Hot in 2018

Each year a lot of new games are published. But not all of them are good. Beside that, collecting board games can become a pretty expensive hobby, so chances are your family of friends don’t have all the new ones yet. Therefor, if you are looking for a gift it might be a good idea to look at recent releases. Below are some recent titles that will certainly be a good present.

Codenames Duet

Codenames Duet maintains the basic elements of Codenames – give one word directions to try and find someone your agents among the agents on the table – but now you’re working as a team to find all your agents.

Score: 7.9
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Age: 11+
Difficulty: 1.38 / 5

Magic Maze

Magic Maze is a real-time, cooperative game. Each player can control each hero to have that hero perform a specific action to which the other players have no access: Move north, explore a new area, take an escalator….. All this requires a rigorous cooperation between the players to move the heroes in a sensible way. However, you may only communicate for a short time during the game; the rest of the time you must play without giving each other visual or audio signals. If all heroes manage to leave the mall in the limited time allocated to the game, each of them having stolen a very specific item, then everyone wins together.

Score: 7.3
Players: 1-8
Playtime: 3-15 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.77 / 5

Clank!

Steal your way to adventure in the deckbuilding board game Clank! Sneak into an angry dragon hole to steal precious artifacts. Dive deeper to find more valuable booty. Get cards for your deck and watch your thief skills grow.

Score: 7.9
Players: 1-4
Playtime: 30-60 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 2.24 / 5

Kingdomino

In Kingdomino you are a Lord who is looking for new countries to expand your kingdom. You should explore all the farmlands, grain fields, lakes and mountains to find the best plots. But be careful, because some other gentlemen also love these countries……

Score: 7.4
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.19 / 5

For All Ages

The board games in the list ‘for all ages’ are easy accessible for a broad audience. They mostly have easy to follow rules, yet still reward creative ways of playing as well as strategy. These games a excellent gift for young and old!

Splendor

Splendor is a game of coin collecting and card development. Players are Renaissance merchants who try to buy precious stone mines, means of transport and shops – all to gain the most prestige points. If you are rich enough, at some point you may even get a visit from a nobleman, which of course will further increase your prestige.

Score: 7.5
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.83 / 5

Tsuro

Tsuro is a beautiful and simple game where you place a tile in front of your own token to continue each turn. The goal is to keep your token on the board longer than anyone else, but as the board becomes fuller, this becomes more difficult because there are fewer empty spaces left…. and another player token can also expand your own path in a direction you prefer not to go. Tsuro is easy to introduce to new players, takes only 15 minutes and works for any number of players from 2 to 8.

Score: 6.7
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age:  8+
Difficulty: 1.25 / 5

King of Tokyo

In King of Tokyo you play as mutant monsters, giant robots and strange aliens, all destroying Tokyo and destroying each other to become the only real king of Tokyo.

At the beginning of each turn you throw six dice, showing the following six symbols: 1, 2 or 3 victory points, energy, healing and attack. In three consecutive throws, choose whether or not you want to keep or throw away the die to gain victory points, gain energy, restore health or attack other players to make Tokyo YOUR area.

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.51 / 5

Forbidden Island

The Forbidden Island is a visually stunning cooperative board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone has to work together to win the game. Players take turns moving their pawns across the ‘island’, which is built by placing the many beautiful silkscreen tiles before the game begins. As the game progresses, more and more island tiles sink, making them unavailable and the pace of play increases. Players use strategies to prevent the island from sinking while they try to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, more and more difficult choices have to be made.

Score: 6.8
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.74 / 5

Camel Up

In Camel Up, up to eight players bet on five race camels, in a fast race around a pyramid. The sooner you place your bet, the more you can win – if you guess correctly, of course. Camels don’t walk neatly, sometimes they land on top of another one and are carried to the finish line. Who is going to walk and when? It all depends on how the dice come out of the pyramid shaker, who releases one die at a time when players pause long enough to see who is actually moving!

Score: 7.1
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 20-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.49 / 5

Mysterium

Mysterium is set in the 1920s. Then Mr MacDowell, a gifted astrologer, immediately discovered a supernatural being as he entered his new home in Scotland. He collected prominent mediums from his time for an extraordinary séance, and they have seven hours to contact the mind and explore all the clues it can offer to fathom an ancient mystery.

Score: 7.5
Players: 2-7
Playtime: 42 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.93 / 5

Teens and Adults

The games in this list prove to be more of a challenge for older kids and more experienced board game players. All these games have a higher difficulty level and more complex rules. These are an excellent gift for the more veteran players!

Sheriff of Nottingham

In Sheriff or Nottingham, players will not only experience Nottingham as a city merchant, but each turn one player will step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself. Players indicate that they want to bring goods into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their jute bag. The Sheriff then has to decide who gets into town with their goods, who is inspected, and who may confiscate their goods!

Score: 7.3
Players: 3-5
Playtime: 60 minutes
Age: 13+
Difficulty: 1.67 / 5

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue: The call comes in…… “911, what is your emergency? On the other hand, there is a panicky answer “FIRE! A little later you put on the protective suits that will keep you alive, collect your material and hurry to the scene of a burning inferno. The team only has a few seconds to assess the situation and draw up an attack plan – then you jump into action like the trained professional you are. You have to face your fears, never give up, and above all work as a team because the fire is raging, the building threatens to collapse and lives are in danger.

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 45 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.21 / 5

Galaxy Trucker

Galaxy Trucker: In a galaxy far away, far away…. they also need sewer systems. Corporation Incorporated builds them. Everyone knows their drivers – the brave men and women who fear no danger and who, if the wages were good enough, would even fly through hell.

Now you can join them. You get access to prefabricated spacecraft components cleverly made from sewer pipes. Can you build a spaceship that is durable enough to withstand storms from meteors? Armed enough to defend themselves against pirates? Big enough to transport a large crew and valuable cargo? Fast enough to get there first?

Score: 7.5
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 60 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.32 / 5

Small World

In Small World, players compete to conquer and control a world that is simply too small to accommodate everyone.

Designed by Philippe Keyaerts as an imaginative successor to his award-winning Vinci, Small World is inhabited by an absurd group of characters such as dwarves, wizards, giants, orcs, and even people, who use their troops to occupy territory and conquer neighboring lands to conquer the other races of the earth.

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 40-80 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 2.37 / 5

Lords of Waterdeep

In Lords of Waterdeep, a strategy board game for 2-5 players, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents you recruit adventurers to search on your behalf, earn rewards and increase your influence on the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and obstruct – or help – the other men by playing Intrigue cards to carry out your carefully planned plans.

Score: 7.8
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 60-120 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 2.49 / 5

For the whole family

When playing with people form different ages and different skill levels, games need to offer a variety of game elements. The games below offer a more challenging game then your ‘standard’ family games like Catan or Monopoly, but keep it simple enough that everyone can join in without much effort.

Colt Express

In Colt Express you play a bandit who at the same time robs a train like other bandits, and your goal is to become the richest outlaw in the Old West. The game consists of five rounds, and each round has two phases.

Score: 7.2
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 30-40 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.81 / 5

Escape: The Curse of the Temple

Escape: The Curse of the Temple is a cooperative game in which players must escape (duh…….) from a temple (oh really….) that is cursed (surprising….) before the temple collapses and kills one or more explorers, causing everyone to lose.

Score: 7.1
Players: 1-5
Playtime: 10 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.48 / 5

Castle Panic

Castle Panic is a cooperative, light strategy game for 1 to 6 players from 10 years old. Players must work together to defend their castle, in the middle of the board, against monsters attacking the edges of the board from the forest. Players exchange cards, hit and kill monsters, and plan strategies together to keep their castle towers intact. The players win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared Master Slayer. Players must balance the survival of the group with their own desire to win.

Score: 6.7
Players: 1-6
Playtime: 60 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.67 / 5

Takenoko

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 45 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.98 / 5

In Takenoko the players cultivate plots, irrigate them and grow one of the three types of bamboo (green, yellow and pink) with the help of the imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. The player who manages his parcels best, grows the most bamboo and at the same time feeds the delicate appetite of the panda, wins the game.

Ice Cool

ICECOOL is a game where each round one of the players takes on the role of the Hall Guard (also called “the Catcher”) – his goal is to catch penguins and get points for them. The others (also known as “Runners”) will try to run through different doors to get fish (which gives them points) on their way. When the Hall Guard has caught the other penguin once or when one of the other penguins has gone through all 3 doors that offer fish, the round is over. Each player takes on the role of Hall Wachter once and at the end of the game the winner is the one with the most points on the fishing cards.

Score: 6.9
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 6+
Difficulty: 1.02 / 5

Young Children

For really young kids publishers often come up with special ‘kids’ or ‘junior’ editions of well know games. This is a fun way for kids to get to know the games older people are playing. You can’t go wrong gifting one of these to you kids!

Catan Junior

Catan: Junior takes place on a ring of islands where 2 to 4 players build shelters and encounter the mysterious Spooky Island, where the ghost captain lives. Each island generates a specific resource: wood, goats, syrup or swords, and players can acquire gold. Each player starts with two pirate houses on different islands, and can use the resources he or she buys to build ships, build hiding places or get help from Coco the Parrot. By building ships they can expand their network; the more hiding places they build, the more raw materials they can receive. Watch out for the dreaded ghost captain!

Score: 6.7
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 6+
Difficulty: 1.52 / 5

Carcassonne Junior

My First Carcassonne: On 14 July, the national holiday in France, the sheep, chickens and cows are released in the town of Carcassonne. The children have a lot of fun catching the animals before dusk.

The players in turn draw a landscape tile and place it; unlike in the normal Carcassonne, they always fit together. The tiles show, among other things, children in the colors of the players on the roads. When a road is finished, each player places one of his pawns on each matching picture.

The first player to place all his pawns wins the game.

Score: 6.8
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 10-20 minutes
Age: 4+
Difficulty: 1.14 / 5

Monopoly Junior

Monopoly Junior: Join Pennybags and his nieces and nephews for a sensational day at the theme park – the roller coaster, the magic show, the water slide, the games hall and much more.

Score: 4.9
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 45 minutes
Age: 5+
Difficulty: 1.18 / 5

Uno Junior

In Uno Junior players are dealt 5 cards, the rest is a draw pile. The first card of the draw pile is turned over and the players take turns taking the top card of the discard pile. Cards can match by number, color or animal. A player who is unable to match a card must withdraw from the draw pile. A player must call “UNO” as soon as he has left on one card. A player who fails and is challenged by another player must draw 2 cards.

The first player to lose all his cards wins.

Score: 5.7
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 3+
Difficulty: 1.18 / 5

Labyrinth

Labyrint has produced a whole line of Labyrint games. The board has a set of tiles that are firmly attached to the board; the other tiles that make up the labyrinth slide in and out of the rows. One tile always remains outside the labyrinth, and players take turns taking this extra tile and moving it in a row of the labyrinth, moving all these tiles and pushing one out of the other side of the board; this newly removed tile becomes the piece for the next player to add to the labyrinth.

Score: 5.7
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age: 5+
Difficulty: 1.20 / 5

Rhino Hero

In Rhino Hero the players start the game with five roof cards each, and in turn they add walls and roofs to one building. In a turn, first place walls on the top floor, then choose a roof card in your hand and place it on the wall. Each roof card has markings that indicate where the next player should place walls on the card. In addition, some roof cards force a player to perform special actions, such as placing a second roof, changing the direction of play, or moving the Super Rhino to a new location on the tower. Hold your hands firmly!

The first player to have built all his roof cards wins the game. If the building collapses, the player who caused the collapse automatically loses, and the player with the fewest roof cards in his hand wins.

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 5-15 minutes
Age: 5+
Difficulty: 1.03 / 5

PARTY GAMES

‘Party games’ are easy and fun games made to be played in big groups. They often don’t require a lot of explaining before you can join, so even new players will have fun playing these games.

Dixit

In Dixit, one player is the storyteller of the turn and looks at the pictures on the 6 cards in his or her hand. She turns one of them into a sentence and says it out loud (without showing the card to the other players).

Each other player chooses the card in his hands that best suits the sentence and gives the selected card to the narrator, without showing it to the others.

The storyteller shuffles her card with all the received cards. All pictures are shown face up and each player has to bet on which picture the storyteller has placed his bet.

If no one or everyone finds the right card, the narrator scores 0, and each of the other players scores 2. Otherwise, the storyteller and the one who found the right answer will score 3. Players score 1 point for each vote on their own card.

The game ends when the deck is empty or when a player scores 30 points. In both cases, the player with the most points wins.

Score: 7.3
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 6+
Difficulty: 1.25 / 5

Codenames

In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can first make contact with all their agents. Spymasters give clues of one word that can indicate multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding the words of the opponent. And everyone wants to avoid the killer.

Score: 7.8
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 15 minutes
Age: 14+
Difficulty: 1.34 / 5

Sushi Go Party!

Sushi Go Party, an expanded version of the bestseller Sushi Go!, is a party dish of mega maki, super sashimi, and endless edamame. You still earn points by choosing winning sushi combos, but now you can customize each game by choosing à la carte from a menu of over twenty delicious dishes. In addition, up to eight players can participate in the sushi party. Let the good times begin!

Score: 7.6
Players: 2-8
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.31 / 5

For 2 Players (great for couples)

A lot of the board games on the list above require a lot of players. But sometimes you ar looking for a present for that special someone you enjoy playing games with. Luckily publishers know this and regularly publish excellent games to pay with just 2 players. This can be co-op or against each other.

Jaipur

Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan. You are one of the two most powerful traders in the city.

But that is not enough for you, because only the merchant with two Seals of Excellence has the privilege of being invited to the court of Maharaja.

So you’ll have to outperform your direct competitor by buying, exchanging and selling at better prices while keeping an eye on your two camel herds.

A card game for two seasoned traders!

Score: 7.5
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 12+
Difficulty: 1.53 / 5

Patchwork

In Patchwork two players compete for the most beautiful (and high scoring) patchwork on a personal 9×9 game board. To start playing, randomly place all patches in a circle and place a marker directly clockwise from the 2-1 patch. Each player takes five buttons – the currency/points in the game – and someone is chosen as the starting player.

Score: 7.8
Players: 2
Playtime: 15-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.71 / 5

7 Wonders Duel

In many ways, 7 Wonders Duel resembles the mother game 7 Wonders, as players throughout the three centuries purchase cards that provide resources or promote their military or scientific development to develop a civilization and complete miracles.

Score: 8.1
Players: 2
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 2.24 / 5

Santorini

Santorini is an accessible strategy game, simple enough for a primary school classroom with the aim of providing depth and content for hardcore gamers to discover. The rules are simple to learn and execute.

Score: 7.9
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.76 / 5

Onitama

Onitama is a two-player game. It is a ‘perfect information’ and abstract game with a random starting position. On a 5×5 board both players start with five pawns on their side, with the main pawn in the middle.

Score: 7.6
Players: 2
Playtime: 15-20 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.66 / 5

Small, Fast and Cheap

Board games and card games don’t always have to be expensive. The games below are cheap but still very fun. A bonus is that they are easy to take with you while traveling and can also be played in half hour or less. So when you don’t have much time you still have something to keep you entertained while traveling!

Love Letter

Love Letter is a game of risk, deduction and luck for 2-4 players. Your goal is to get your love letter into the hands of Princess Annette while deflecting the letters of competing suitors. From a pile of only sixteen cards, each player starts with only one card in his hand; one card is taken from the game. In a turn, you draw one card, and play one card, in an attempt to expose others and throw them out of the game. Powerful cards lead to early winnings, but make you a target. But trust weaker cards for too long, and your letter can be thrown into the fire!

Score: 7.3
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 20 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.20 / 5

Hanabi

Hanabi, named after the Japanese word for “fireworks” – is a cooperative game in which players try to create the perfect fireworks show by placing the cards on the table in the right order (In Japanese hanabi is written as 花火; these are the ideograms flower and fire respectively).

Score: 7.2
Players: 2-5
Playtime: 25 minutes
Age: 8+
Difficulty: 1.71 / 5

For Sale

For Sale is a fast, fun game that is about buying and selling real estate. During the two different phases of the game, players first bid on multiple buildings and then, after buying all buildings, sell them for the greatest possible profit.

Score: 7.2
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 30 minutes
Age: 10+
Difficulty: 1.28 / 5

Red7

The rules of “RED” are simple: the highest card wins! But “RED” is just one of seven games you play in Red7, and if you don’t win the current game at the end of your turn, you’re out! The last person who is standing wins the round. The game in Red7 has 49 cards: each in the colors of the rainbow numbered from 1 to 7.

Score: 7.0
Players: 2-4
Playtime: 5-30 minutes
Age: 9+
Difficulty: 1.67 / 5

Happy Salmon

Happy Salmon is a simple, ultra-fast, very foolish card game.

There are no turns. Players call the action on their cards as fast as they can. When two players have a match, they celebrate it by performing the action. Actions include the classic “High 5”, the unifying “Pond It”, the frantic “Switcheroo” and the delicious and bizarre “Happy Salmon”.

Each time a player celebrates a match, they quickly discard a card. The first person to lose all his cards wins.

Score: 7.0
Players: 3-6
Playtime: 2 minutes
Age: 6+
Difficulty: 1.13 / 5