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The Ultimate Fathers Day Gift Guide

Elder sign fathers day

Many of us have lost track of time the past few months. Here is your official reminder- Fathers Day is this Sunday! Yes, this Sunday. If you're stuck for gift ideas, or just after some other suggestions, do not fear! We've got you covered. Today we're picking our blogging team's brains for all their best gift ideas.

Gavin Hudson

It was only when I played Monopoly in my late teens at university that I realised my father had duped me. It turned out you could ‘ruin’ sets and that buying The Strand didn’t entitle you to all the red properties for the rest of the game. No wonder I hated playing it as a kid. No wonder my father always won.

My dad does love playing games, though. We had a large collection of trashy roll-and-moves when I was a kid and I remember playing Yahtzee and Frustration a lot. Since I got more into the ‘heavier’ end of gaming, I always take a game when I visit and was surprised at how quickly dad got into a game of Elder Sign when I went over. Even more surprised when we won on his last roll of the game. Must have reignited the old Yahtzee flame!

Elder Sign aside, he probably favours abstract games and I enjoy a two-player head to head with him, making Santorini or Seikatsu perfect choices. The 3-D building of the former would appeal to his practical DIY side; the latter is beautiful and puzzley and he’d appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that’s gone into it.

Mum is more of an iPad gamer these days so I might also consider something he could play solo. He loves technology and was an early adopter of home computing with our trusty, old Commodore 64 and has developed a recent obsession with drones. To indulge this I’d give him Chronicles of Crime. It would provide an experience similar to the old point-and-click adventures he used to love and marries the virtual and physical interface perfectly. If I’m feeling generous, I might throw in the Noir expansion too. It’s more his era.

Kirsty Hewitt

My dad loves a logic puzzle.  He likes thinking outside the box and thinking laterally.  Although he has never done an escape room I am 100% sure that he would enjoy one as they are full of the types of puzzle he enjoys.

If this sounds like your dad then I don’t think you would go far wrong with an escape room in a box game.  There are several such series which exist.  For me, the Exit: The Game series are the best.  They are as close as you can get to an escape room in a box.  These games can only be played once as components can be destroyed during the game.  The game comes with a booklet of information and a series of riddle cards which get revealed at various points.  During the game you solve puzzles and put the answer into the decoder disc.  If you have the right answer and the right information about where the symbol of the puzzle appears you can then progress.

I should also mention the Unlock! series which have a similar feel but use one deck of cards and an app. Players have to try and combine items they have found, or use a “machine” (via an app on your phone) they have discovered to advance to the next stage of the puzzle.  These games can be replayed as nothing gets destroyed.

Both sets of games are great because they can include multiple players or, if your dad wants a hard solo challenge, they can be played alone.  There are also a huge variety of themes throughout both sets of games so you can pick the one you think your dad will enjoy most.  My favourite, at the moment, is Exit: The Abandoned Cabin.

Now I just hope my dad hasn’t read this before Sunday…

Nathan Coombs

With Father’s Day almost on us the questions that need answers are:

  • What would be a suitable gift/ game for my Dad?
  • Have I dropped sufficient hints to my kids for me to receive a suitable/ desired game?

Choosing a game for my Dad will depend on his past experience and personal choices. However, I’d say it is best to keep it relatively simple. Rather than sending a pair of socks as a gift I would consider Welcome to your perfect home. This is a small easily “post-able” card game that plays like a roll and write. For my Dad who grew up in the 50s and worked as city engineer this is the perfect distraction, solitaire game to keep him out from my Mum’s feet!

This gives him chance to design his own suburb and consider houses with pools. Does he still have what it takes to be a fantastic planner and architect. It plays for one and keeps the old grey matter ticking over. More importantly, it would make an easy game for him to play with the grandchildren when they can visit post lockdown.

As a Dad much of the enjoyment of the gaming hobby comes from playing games with the family. As much as I’d love another Euro heavyweight worker placement game, for Father’s Day I’d rather look for an expansion of an existing game we own. I hope I’ve been sufficiently “unsubtle” to keep mentioning Room 25: Escape Room. With teenagers the concept of escaping from a futuristic prison, dodging acid baths and mortal chambers has always been fun. This new expansion provides more rooms and two new co-operative games modes. Sometimes you will need to unlock secret code rooms and solve riddles or puzzles. Think of it as an added twist of an escape room experience on top of the standard Room 25 antics.

Let’s hope my Dad likes his new game and that my children read this memo in time!

Tom Harrod

What should you buy the old man for Father’s Day? Dads are tricky to buy for. They often don’t ask for anything, which means you have to use a bit of imagination when it comes for gift ideas. How about a game, instead? (If only there were a board game about buying socks*…)

Every dad is different. Mine doesn’t care about theme. If anything, it’s more of a turn-off than it is something that would excite him. He’s a fan of Azul – it’s like Sudoku and simple to grasp (and in essence, themeless). Although saying that, I reckon he’d love the idea of Koi. It’s a programming and point-to-point movement game, set in a Japanese fish pond. It’s not as chaotic as Colt Express or Robo Rally, but there’s some take-that elements. The components though, the charming wooden koi fish and dragonflies, do emanate a zen vibe.

I’m bringing my dad around to board games. I had faith he’d enjoy some, if only he’d give them a chance. He’s familiar with traditional card games, so I focus more on mechanisms, over theme. Sure enough, the biggest successes I’ve had with him are simple, hand-management card games. Piepmatz, for example: a set collection game where a ‘pecking order’ at a feeder gains you garden birds.

Dad prefers simpler, lighter games that take less than an hour to play. Ideally, there’d be little-to-no iconography. Arboretum, then, feels like a safe bet. This set collection game focuses on hand management in what can be a cutthroat manner. You only score the sets/runs you’ve played if you have the highest value card of said set in your final hand. Besides, theme-wise, who dislikes trees?

*Major gap in the market, if any wannabe game designers are listening!

Northern Dice

With Father's Day coming up, it raises the classic question. What do I want, and what does my dad want? Well, my old man doesn't overly enjoy complications or messing about. He's a straight forward, give me a task and I'll complete it sort of guy. For me, as a board gamer, I'd naturally want a board game. So what would my dad appreciate that I would enjoy too? Men at Work. It's a balancing, dexterity game with an emphasis on area placement. It runs on a basis of placing things onto things for points, or to hinder instantly.

Men at Work has a way to be won and a way to be lost. You win by claiming so many Worker Of The Month awards or being the last one standing, and lose by losing all your Safety Certificates. You're more likely to win by being the last one standing! Each turn, you pick up a card which tells you the complication of a placement, and the following card's back shows you what you're placing.

This may be a specifically coloured girder in a specific area, or a worker holding things. If you knock things off, you lose a certificate and it falls to the next player to clear the area of loose debris. Should they cause more mayhem, they too lose a certificate! To win, you either have to be the last person with any certificates, or earn awards. These are done when you place a piece higher than the tallest piece currently.

This game is incredibly family friendly and can easily be played with children or those with more years. There's always attention on the game as the suspense of someone messing up is constant. After all, you may be the one tidying it up! Men at Work is reminiscent of Tokyo Highway without the slightly more complicated scoring. It also has scope for more players and more depth in terms of altered play, which is great for longevity of playing the game again and again! It's excellent fun and visually appealing too, and has little downtime between turns. A top choice for Father's Day!

Rob Wright

As countless Father’s Day cards will inform you, all dad’s love football, cars, gardening and beer. As a father, I can assure that the first of these can do one, the second is an unfortunate necessity, the third… see cars, but the last one… I can personally confirm that dads love beer. And the pub. I miss the pub.

So what better game to play or give on a locked-down Father’s Day than a game about making a pub – Taverns of Tiefenthal! Firstly, it’s a deck-builder! It’s a dice-drafter! It’s a jigsaw! It’s a pub! I miss the pub!

In a similar vein to Quacks Of Quedlinburg (Wolfgang’s other alliterative game), players all draw from their decks at the same time to either add more tables, fill the tables with punters or staff the pub, which can bring more beer, more dice or more options with your dice. When the tables are full, the drawing ends and the rolling begins. Different dice do different things in your tavern, from serving thirsty customers for cash to brewing beer in the shady back-room brewery.

With your four standard dice (you can get extra private dice) you take one and pass it on – it’s a bit 7wonders and yes, you can hate-draft. Once you’ve placed your dice, you can spend your beer on customers (or nobles) and your cash on staff and upgrades (you get to flip parts of your tavern like a double sided jigsaw!).

Once you’ve completed eight rounds, it’s time to see how well your pub has done – most cards will have a victory point value and the publican with the most points wins!

It’s a great Father’s Day game, not just because of the theme, but because there’s plenty to do but without getting bamboozled and, unlike some other family games, there’s only ever eight rounds… rounds… pubs… there are also plenty of modules to add straight out of the box. So, Rallyman GT might satisfy the petrol head, Viticulture might satisfy the refined dad, but Taverns certainly refreshes the parts that other board games can’t reach.

Does your dad already have all these games? Why not try some gaming accessories instead. Check out our post on Gifts For Dads With Too Many Games