With the festive season fast approaching, finding the perfect games to gift this Christmas for that board gamer in your life can often be a difficult task.
Or perhaps there's someone who you'd like to encourage in taking up the noble hobby of board gaming, and want a good entry level game to give them a little taste.
Well, much like Santa's elves, I'm here to guide you by suggesting 10 Great Games to Gift this Christmas!
Just one Santa Clause to mention before I get going... this list isn't in any particular order, and this is just my opinion so please don't turn into a grinch if I don't suggest your favourite game, or I pick something you despise.
Speaking of which...
Ok. Ok. I know, this one is going to divide opinion, but hear me out.
Monopoly is a classic, and certain versions can often be found significantly reduced in price. This makes it a good choice for those with a smaller budget, or someone wanting to pick up a stocking filler.
What's more, there are so many different versions out there now that it's easy to tailor this purchase to your loved ones existing tastes.
Video gamer? There's Mario, Zelda and Fortnite to name just three. TV lover? Dr. Who, Rick and Morty, FRIENDS, Only Fools and Horses... I could go on.
I know Monopoly isn't looked upon too fondly by a lot of gamers, but you can still have a lot of fun gathered round this board at Christmas.
Skull is one of the titles I credit for first drawing me in to the world of gaming, having played it long into the night with the guys from Trolls n' Rerolls and Teleporthole Games after a day at Airecon 2022.
Skull is incredibly easy to pick up and sees players try to bluff their way to victory.
Perhaps one of your opponents has vowed to play a skull every single round... but maybe this is the one time they haven't and they are bluffing. There's only one way to find out, and it might cost you one of your precious cards to find out.
The artwork on the cards is also a thing of beauty, and for under £20 it's a great stocking filler that you're sure to keep coming back to.
If you're familiar with the Warwick Davies fronted TV show 'Tenable' then you already know the basics of Tension.
Two teams go back and forth trying to name 10 answers from random lists such as 'Strictly Come Dancing Winners' or 'Types of Watercraft', moving along a board by the amount they successfully name.
It's a fun, often frantic game to play with the family over the festive period, and beyond. Don't worry about running out of questions either, the base game comes with a big old stack of cards, and expansions based on food, movies and many other topics are also available.
7. Point Salad
Point Salad tasks players with putting together hands of veggies that match up to points cards they have also taken from the common pool.
It's a game that takes no time at all to set up, can be played by almost anyone and keeps players guessing who will win until the very last card is turned.
It's unlikely you'll ever hear anyone say 'Shall we have a Point Salad game night?', but it's the perfect little warm up game, or something to play when you only have half an hour to spare.
On the face of it Wheels Vs. Doors doesn't sound THAT interesting.
Split into up to 4 teams, decide which of the two stats is larger and bet the tokens you've already accrued in the hopes of getting more.
But as soon as the game begins you realise you suddenly, and very passionately, care how many teeth a shark has, or if there are more windows on the Burge Khalifa than active Submarines in the ocean.
Ideal for families, groups of friends, sets of couples or even a bit of team building at work, Wheels Vs. Doors is as fascinating as it is fun.
If you haven't played Codenames or one of its variants yet, then you're missing out. It's one of those perfect family games to gift this Christmas!
Players break off into two teams, with one member of each team becoming the clue giver.
The clue givers are privy to a grid that shows which cards on the table their team have to guess and which ones the other team need to identify. In addition, it also shows them which singular card spells instant game over for any team accidentally selecting it.
It's then the job of the clue giver to... well, give clues! One-word clues specifically, and a number suggesting how many cards said clue relates to.
First team to find all their cards (or have the opposite team inadvertently find their cards for them) wins.
I personally prefer the Codenames:Pictures variant as I think it gives a little more variation when giving clues, but it's hard to go wrong with this game.
Putting the player in the shoes of some of the franchises respective biggest bads, Villainous gives them a win condition and leaves them to battle it out however they best see fit.
Each version of the game comes with a new set of antagonists, all with their own play style and unique way to win. What's more, provided they fall in the same franchise (Disney to Disney, Marvel to Marvel etc) any of them can square off against each other.
Cruella de Vil from the 'Perfectly Wretched' expansion can quite happily battle against Lotso from the 'Bigger and Badder' set, while Gaston from the 'Despicable Plots' pack takes up the third spot.
Voraciously versatile, Villainous isn't too vicious on the budget either, with sets often coming in at under £25.
Mysterium is a fantastic game, but it can take almost as long to set up as it does to play through it. Mysterium Park addresses this issue, streamlining the experience while keeping all the fun. One player assumes the role of a ghost, and desperately tries to tell the other players (or spiritual mediums, if you will) the circumstances of their demise. Their ability to do so is hampered by not being able to interact with the living, other than by presenting them with 'clue cards'. These cards are a jumble of pictures, some relevant... some not so much.
It can sometimes be frustrating, but there are few feelings more satisfying than the one the team gets when a particularly clever clue finds it's mark. And it's that rush of endorphins that will keep you coming back to the table time after time.
Mysterium Park is a lot of fun, it doesn't take up a lot of space on the shelf and it will without doubt show if you're on the same wavelength as your loved ones.
If soaps like Eastenders and Coronation Street have taught me anything over the years, it's that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of treachery and deceit, and that's where Saboteur comes in.
Not much bigger than a deck of cards, Saboteur packs a real punch with its quirky art style and straight-forward gameplay.
At the start of the game players secretly discover whether they are a miner or a saboteur, and from that point on the die is cast!
Miners have to plot a course to one of three mining spots, hopefully choosing the one that contains a big gold nugget.
The saboteurs have to make sure they don't do that by any means necessary; cave ins, dead ends etc.
Subtlety is often the best course of action though, as the miners can put a stop to the saboteurs activities if they suspect foul play.
Will Saboteur cause arguments around the dinner-table on Christmas day? Probably, but I'm sure all will be forgiven by the time the Christmas Pud goes up in flames.
Speaking of flames...
Who doesn't love dragons?
Especially cute little dragons that have chosen to take up a profession like bakery, rather than attacking villages and leaving nothing but scorched earth in their wake.
Flamecraft pits you against up to 4 other Dragons as you try to gather resources and match them off against point cards, with the aim of having the most points by the time the game concludes.
It's similar in a way to Point Salad, but with a lot more going on.
Flamecraft managed to raise over 2 MILLION dollars during it's Kickstarter campaign, which is a testament to just how well Cardboard Alchemy managed to put across their vision to backers.
The game itself is a joy to play, and whether you're a newcomer or you have dozens of games under your belt, the range of different 'shop types' keep things fresh almost every time.
Although a little bit tricky to get hold of at the moment, Flamecraft is relatively cheap for what it is, coming in at under £40 for the base version.
The Deluxe version was a Kickstarter exclusive and at the moment that remains the case. However, the upgraded components (metal coins, resin playing pieces and wooden resource tokens) are available as add-ons so you can essentially 'build your own' if the mood takes you.
I only played a single game and ended up spending far more than I should have on a Kickstarter Deluxe version. Perhaps this speaks more to how impulsive I am, but I'd like to think it also demonstrates just how good this game is too.
There were a few other games to gift this Christmas that I considered for the list, but for whatever reason they just didn't find a spot in the 10. However, I'd like to give them a quick mention here.
The 'Something Wild' games from Funko are perfect entry level games, especially for younger players. They are simple to pick up, but have some real room for strategy once everyone has got to grips with the mechanics.
Depending on the franchise, some of them can be had for as low as £5 too when the sales come around.
Pugs in Mugs is a fantastic little card game by SDR Games. Beautiful artwork, quick and easy to play and it's about small dogs in mugs... what's not to love?
Last but not least, 'The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls' is great, albeit a game that is better played at maximum capacity with people who have some board gaming experience.
It looks great, it's fun to play and it stays absolutely faithful to the source material.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
There you have it! Hopefully I've given you a few ideas for that special someone this Christmas!
All that's left for me to say is that I hope you have a wonderful festive period and prosperous New Year that brings you as many games as your Kallax can hold!
That concludes our list of games to gift this Christmas. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. Have you got any games to gift to Christmas, and who are you gifting them to?