Games are a perfect gift for anyone of any age and are fun for the whole family. It is a great way to spend quality time together and is usually a great time. The trouble is finding the right game for the family especially teenagers and adults. Hopefully this list will help with that. Here are the top choices for games this holiday season for teens and adults.
There are a LOT of games out there. Lots…more than even someone who focuses on games knows about or gets a chance to play. With that in mind here are our picks of the best games we discovered this year in no order whatsoever…I don’t like to rate things normally as there are always too many factors. Enjoy!
Roll for it! – Calliope Games
Roll for It! is a dice management game so to speak. You have cards, get to roll dice and keep points…what more can you ask for in a game? Oh wait…there is more! It is inexpensive and portable and even be educational. f you buy one copy you have the option of either the Purple or Red box and one box will work for 2-4 players. If you want to play with more than 4 or if you want to play two games at the same time, then you should get the other box too. I love games that I can take with me and expand to allow for more people AND are tons of fun!
Spike – R&R Games
There are tons of rail and train games on the market these days. Some are about building connections between cities, some are about moving passengers or goods. Spike is a great mixture of both and requires enough strategy (and a little bit of luck) to keep you coming back again and again. In spike you have to build rail between cities but once you’re rail has started, you also need to fulfill your contracts for different commodities.
You only have one engine to move your goods, so you have to decide when to build, when to upgrade and when to start your engine moving. Wait too long on any and you might not have time to catch up but if you start too soon you might find yourself wasting precious turns.
Dark Gothic – Flying Frog Productions
Recommended Age: 12+
Our Recommended Age: 8+
Play Time: 45 Minutes
Our Review: mygeeklings.com/darkgothicreview
Dark Gothic and its expansion, Colonial Horror, is a fast-paced deck-building game set in Flying Frog’s Shadowbrook village. Each player is a hero, trying to rid the area of the evil that threatens all its inhabitants. Recruit allies, get gear and defeat minions to build your deck until you’re ready to fight the villain. Like any village there are dark secrets that can come at the worst time, feeding the shadows and bringing you closer to defeat. As a deck-building game, Dark Gothic uses a single line of immediately-replacing cards – similar to games like Ascension.
However, unlike most other deck-building games, Dark Gothic has three different currencies, all of which may be necessary to defeat each of the three villains. This means that at any moment, you may need to adjust your strategy to deal with the next threat – helping to avoid one player having too good of a deck to beat and keeping the game feeling fresh from beginning to end.
Wild Wars: Family Battle – Wild Wars
Recommended Age: 5+
Our Recommended Age: 5+
Play Time: 30 Minutes
Our Review: mygeeklings.com/wildwarsreview
Wild Wars: Family Battles is a great introduction to strategy card games. Based off of the more complex collectable card game Wild Wars, Family Battles slims down some of the deck-building requirements and makes the game easier to learn and much more accessible for younger players. However, even with those changes it still retains more than enough strategy for a gaming veteran. Add in expansion packs for even more strategy (or players) and it looks like a game that will easily grow with the players.
Oh yeah, did I mention that the game uses real animals instead of random fantastical creatures. Not only that but each animal’s abilities and special powers make sense with what that animal can actually do! And finally QR codes on the cards lead directly to more information about each animal for you to look up on your smart phone or tablet. That’s right, it’s both fun and educational!
Student Bodies – Smirk & Dagger Games
Recommended Age: 14+
Our Recommended Age: 10+
Play Time: 90 Minutes
Our Review: mygeeklings.com/sndstudentbodiesreview
The zombie apocalypse – a time for humanity to work together to stop the zombie hoards and save our species. Or maybe not. With the winner being the first (or only) player to escape the school, Student Bodies definitely takes the maybe not approach. The game takes place in a school, so no guns or other heavy weaponry, the players don’t have much more than a mop or trash can lid to fend off the hoards. Good luck.
Tigris & Euphrates – Fantasy Flight Games
Tigris & Euphrates is a tile laying game set in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, often known as the cradle of civilization. And that’s the goal in Tigris & Euphrates, create the best (or only) civilization. Use tiles to take over land. Add rulers to a simple region to create a kingdom and bring those kingdoms together to create an unstoppable force. Monuments help your civilization grow but catastrophe can happen at any time, brining ruin to what you’ve built. Different clans fight for the best land by revolting against leaders or waging war between kingdoms. But remember a civilization isn’t just about having more food, money or the most influential religion – it’s about balance.
New York 1901 – Blue Orange Games
New York 1901 is a strategic tile placement game where you’re competing against the other players to build up New York City. Progress takes time planning and sometimes a little bit of destruction. Gaining new lots and putting up new buildings can get you pretty far, but sometimes you have to demolish what’s there in order to build something even better. Keep going and maybe you’ll be able to build one of the four legendary skyscrapers!
Super Dungeon Explore – Soda Pop Miniatures
These days most people have played action role-playing games. Even if it was something as simple as Gauntlet, the group of heroes in a dungeon facing incredible (and increasingly) difficult odds is something most of us have experienced. Enter Super Dungeon Explore. You play as a group of heroes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses tasked to defeat an evil dungeon and all its denizens. Unlike those classic video games, you’re not facing a computer controlled opponent.
Instead one player controls the dungeon and all the evil beings within it. As you vanquish easier minions you get new loot and your heroes get stronger. Unfortunately for you so does the dungeon. As the game goes on, harder and harder monsters appear until you’re faced with the dungeon boss. Once that happens… good luck.
Patchwork – Mayfair Games
Some games have gold and gems, other have raw magical power. Patchwork has buttons. But don’t let it fool you, Patchwork is a deceptively deep strategy tile game made just for two players. Use your buttons to find just the right patch for your quilt. Fewer holes means more points, so plan carefully and may the best quilt win!
Ghosts, Graveyards and Haunted Houses – Rather Dashing Games
Ghosts, Graveyards and Haunted Houses is the spiritual (haha!) successor to Rather Dashing’s 2014 release Pirates, Ninjas, Robots and Zombies. Using a similar mechanic, players have to cleverly place their tiles to take over the biggest section of the graveyard. But it’s never just that simple. Action tiles let you rotate, swap or remove other tiles and haunted houses, meddling kids can both boost your points and lock your tiles. Watch out for the gravestone and paranormal investigators though, they’ll turn your winning graveyard into a… um… graveyard.
Munchkin Legends – Steve Jackson Games
The Munchkin games are a great series of card games with one common goal. Be the first player to get to level 10, no matter who you have to backstab along the way. Munchkin Legends takes that great (and evil) formula and adds in the fun and humor of all the classic myths.
Run up against a Minotaur? Hopefully you’re wearing Achilles’ Heels. Need to fight the Loch Ness Monster? You’d better grab Thor’s Hammer. And if the Kraken appears, Excalibur paired with the Holey Grail might be just what you need to survive.
But even if you have all the best gear, when your “friend” tosses a few more monsters into the fight things can get tricky pretty fast. Don’t worry though, you can get them back once it’s their turn.
Legendary Encounters: Predator – Upper Deck
Upper Deck has a number of games in their Legendary series. Most of them revolve around the Marvel universe, but recently they’ve expanded into other areas as well. In 2014 they released Legendary Encounters: Alien based of the hit movie series.
Following in its footsteps (hunting it?) is Legendary Encounter: Predator. Based mostly on the movies, Legendary Encounters: Predator takes the same cooperative style of deck-building from Alien and introduces it to the world of Predator. Combine the cards together to create either of the two movies or mix and match to create an entirely new story. Or even better, flip things around and play as the Predators.
This game comes with everything you need to play as either side adding a whole new layer of strategy. And if that all isn’t enough, you can combine it with Legendary Encounters: Alien for even more combinations. Aliens vs. Predator? Sure thing. Ripley and Dutch team up to take on the Aliens? Have fun! No matter what, just make sure to work together. Like its namesake, this game does not play nice.
DC Deck Building Game: Forever Evil – Cryptozoic
If you’re familiar with Cryptozoic’s DC deck building game, you’ve probably had the same thought as me… wouldn’t it be awesome to play as a villain? Enter the Forever Evil standalone expansion! What happens when Lex Luthor, Deathstroke and Sinestro team up to take on the Justice League? Play Forever Evil and find out! But don’t forget your teammates aren’t the most trustworthy bunch… watch your back.
These are just a few of the amazing games we have discovered THIS year. Check out our reviews and more games from the above companies to discover even more games and spend this Holiday season gaming together as a family!