Holiday Help from GP

It’s miserably cold outside. We are all stressed, running around with too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it. Clerks are either wearing fake smiles so big that they look a little crazy, or they have succombed to their true emotions and wear a grimace instead. That’s right, the holiday shopping season is upon us.

As I have mentioned before, I used to work in a board game store in Minnetonka, Minnesota called “Games By James”. It was odd; my first year working retail I braced myself for a black Friday rush that simply never came. Our store was dead… tumble weeds blew by. I couldn’t figure it out, until…

The final week before christmas was like everyone elses black friday, every single day. Our shelves were quite literally bare before they were done with us. That’s when I realized: board games are the universal fall back gift for millions of people. When you have no idea just think “everyone likes board games, right?”.

Well, that’s mostly true. I think most people enjoy board games, but it has to be the right game for the right person, and that’s where I hope to help. Here is this years list of games for the gift giving gamer, and who they might be appropriate for.

Gift receiving Gamer: The family of five or less, with kids.

Recomended Game: Ticket to Ride.

Why: This game plays great from 3 to 5 players. It is pretty easy on the rules, yet offers enough strategy to keep Mom and Dad entertained. The theme is very family friendly, and the main mechanic is creating sets of colored train cards. This is a great family game.

Gift receiving Gamer: Grandma.

Recomended Game: Sequence.

Why: This is a “get four in a row” game that uses a regular deck of playing cards. This mix of slightly new mechanics with old familiar cards seems to be right up grandparents’ alley. It’s also something that can easily be played with the grandkids. It supports as few as two players, but can be played by any number that is evenly divisible by two or three in teams (so, 6 players is fine, but 5 is right out).

Gift receiving Gamer: The young couple who entertains.

Recommended Game: Catch Phrase.

Why: This is a very fast paced party game that is extremely easy to learn. It can support any number as long as they can be evenly divided into teams.  Games are short, approximately fifteen minutes (depending on how much laughing is in between rounds).

Gift receiving Gamer: The young couple who are a bit more introverted.

Recommended Game: Go.

Why:  It’s a great two player game with a lot of replay value.  The game is ancient, like Chess or Checkers, but with an asian flair.

Gift receiving Gamer: The ten year old boy.

Recommended Game: Hero Scape.

Why:  This is a great gateway game into miniature gaming, but it’s non-collectible, they don’t have to paint the pieces, and it looks really cool. The pieces are made out of hard plastic, so they are pretty durable, so even if he deviates from the rules and just wants the giant dragon to have a romp with his G.I. Joes, that’s ok too, no harm done.

Gift receiving Gamer: The ten year old girl.

Recommended Game: …

Why:  Ten year old girls are tricky beasts.  This is one of those gamers that is best to know before you start shopping.  Yes, you could get them a game about princesses, but there is a good chance they’ll hate it.  However, you could get them a game about tanks and guns and they’ll love it! It’s so hard to say.  Often family style games, are a good bet, so you may want to consider Ticket to Ride, or even Sequence.  This one is really a crap shoot.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 10:58 am and is filed under Random Things that Fall out of my head . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Aly says:

    This isn’t a board game per say, but a game typically sold alongside board games so I feel it appropriate. I guess it fits in with the “young couple who entertains” category. Apples to Apples. I cannot count how many nights I’ve sunk hour after hour into this game that seems to have limitless replay value. It’s great for groups as small as 4 or so, but perfect for small parties or groups of friends.

  2. If you like “Apples to Apples” you might also look at a game called “In a Pickle”. It’s also a word association game, but with a different spin, and majority rules rather then a single individual.

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