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Game Giving Guide 2013

2013 Game Giving Guide

(image: Geek & Sundry)

Thinking of giving a game as a gift? Looking for a game to play with the family on a long winter evening? Here’s a list of some favorites of tabletop gaming. I’ve played most of them, and all of them have been featured on Wil Wheaton’s TableTop; so if you want to see the gameplay, check them out there. I’ve organized the list roughly by age, but players on Board Game Geek tended to agree that a bright 8 year old can play most of the games on the “10 and up” list.

If you have a well-stocked game store in your area, you will find most of these on the shelves. Barnes & Noble will have the popular ones like Settlers of Catan, but if you buy them from Target or Walmart, you’re probably getting a cheaper “family” version of the game.

 Ages 8 and up:

12 Days – A trick-collecting game, based on the twelve days of Christmas.

Alhambra – A strategy, building game set in thirteenth-century Spain.

Fluxx – A card game that starts out with only two rules, but is constantly in flux.

Gloom – A storytelling card game about death, so many parents recommend it for slightly older audiences.

King of Tokyo – It’s a Japanese monster movie in a board game.

Once Upon a Time – A storytelling card game.

Qwirkle – A tile-based game with colors and shapes (6 and up).

Small World – A board game where there are 14 fantasy races and not enough room for everyone.

Takenoko – Grow bamboo to satisfy a very hungry panda.

Ticket to Ride – Build your railroading empire across the United States.

Tsuro – Keep your dragon on the board as you add tiles.

Ages 10 and up:

Castle Panic – Tower defense, recommended for more experienced gamers.

Settlers of Catan – Probably the biggest Euro game to sweep the US. If you’ve never played it, you know someone who has.

Munchkin – A card game that lets you explore a dungeon, kill everything, and try to keep all the loot.

Smash Up – Shuffle two different themed decks together to make your invasion force.

Unspeakable Words – A word game with a Lovecraftian twist.

Wits & Wagers – If you don’t know the answer, it’s enough to know who knows.

Zombie Dice – Roll dice, eat brains, don’t get shot.

Ages 12/13 and up:

Elder Sign – Cooperative dice game with a story right out of Lovecraft.

Lords of Waterdeep – Instead of going on adventures, you recruit people to do it for you to increase your power base.

Pandemic – Cooperative strategy board game where you try to save the world from deadly diseases.

Resistance – Go on missions to unmask the spies and thwart the evil Empire.

Say Anything – Party game designed to be an ice breaker.

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