Board games are an excellent gift for friends or family this Christmas, whether they like short adventures, a quick party favourite or longer, story-based RPGs. They’re usually packed with hours of entertainment and endless replayability — and in a world where coronavirus has dampened a lot of the fun of going outside, it’s hard to look past just how valuable board games really are for safe, enjoyable holiday gatherings.
From the latest Marvel adaptations to classics like Ticket to Ride, these board games would make for absolutely excellent Christmas gifts.
Marvel Splendor is a themed adaptation of Asmodee classic Splendor. Rather than mining gems and building properties, this game sees players attempting to take down Thanos by travelling the multiverse, finding Infinity Gems and recruiting local heroes.
It’s perfect for any Marvel fan, or if you just love the classic Splendor formula. There’s plenty of heroes and villains to find throughout the game, so there’s a good deal of replayability, too.
You can grab Marvel Splendor from Amazon AU for $78.
Speaking of Marvel board games, here’s another excellent adaptation. Marvel Villainous is based on Disney Villainous (another superb game you should add to your list) and features similar mechanics to the original. Basically, players take on the role of various Marvel villains (Hela, Ultron, Taskmaster, Thanos and Killmonger) and attempt to sabotage other players to conquer the world. It’s good, vicious fun and great for a small group of friends.
You can grab Marvel Villainous from Amazon AU for $70.
It’s no secret travel is a bit of an issue in 2020, but luckily Ticket to Ride is coming in clutch to save the day. In this game, players travel across North America and attempt to visit as many cities as possible by building out their railway line and establishing a transport empire. Whoever builds the most impressive track and visits the most cities wins the game.
The original Ticket to Ride is currently on sale at Amazon AU for $52.50.
Mansions of Madness is an all-time favourite at the Gizmodo Australia offices. In it, players take on the role of detectives exploring various horror-themed scenarios. All the action is controlled by an app, with players taking instruction and story from app-enabled events. It’s easy to learn, easy to teach and perfect for a terrifying family gathering.
You can grab Mansions of Madness for $114 on Amazon AU. That’s about as cheap as the board game ever is, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck.
If horror isn’t quite your thing, Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth uses a similar app-based system and is just as good.
Dixit is perfect for a nice family afternoon or a sweet, socially-distanced party. In the game, every player has a unique set of illustrated cards which other players must guess via verbal clues and other hints. Votes take place at the end of each round, and you’re able to work your way up the board by interpreting these clues correctly.
It’s very simple, but requires a lot of creativity and quick thinking to work through.
You can grab Dixit from Amazon AU for $41.40.
Sometimes you just have to lean in, right?
Pandemic is a very timely game for today, but it may just give you some sense of control over your circumstances. In this game, you’re be tasked with tracking down the outbreak of a deadly virus and curing patients as they turn ill. It’s a frantic game (and again, very relevant) but it’s perfect to play co-op with mates.
Pandemic is currently on sale for $48.80 at Amazon AU.
You can also grab the latest version of the game, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0 for $110.
There’s a reason why Monopoly still ranks as one of the best board games of all time. It’s simple, easy to learn and features rapid-fire gameplay everyone can join in on. While it is likely to cause some fights, there’s always fun to be had in Monopoly no matter which version you’re playing.
The game is still going gangbusters in 2020 with versions from every major franchise available. These are a few of our favourites:
- Monopoly Classic – $25
- Avengers Monopoly – $80
- The Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly – $44
- Ghostbusters Monopoly – $49
- Sydney Monopoly – $38
- Mega Monopoly – $40
- Super Mario Monopoly – $55
- Monopoly Cheater’s Edition – $40
- Disney Villains Monopoly – $65
- The Mandalorian Monopoly – $82
If you’ve got a favourite TV show, film, or comic, there’s probably a version of Monopoly for it.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
If you’re after something that requires a bit more thinking, the Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective series is for you. In these self-contained adventures, players must work together to solve various crimes in the shoes of Sherlock Holmes. The game presents various clues and insights including murder weapons, town maps and ledgers — and it’s up to players to solve the case.
Each set contains a number of crimes to solve, giving you many hours of excellent puzzle-solving goodness.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia for more Christmas inspiration as we head towards the silliest season of them all.