It can be hard to find the right gift for the gamer on your list, but never fear. The team at the DWP is here to help. We’ve listed off a number of different titles that will be perfect no matter what you’re looking for. Most of the games are 2018 releases, so hopefully that gamer that has everything might not have added them to their collection yet!
- Nicole: Gingerbread House. Phil Walker-Harding’s a solid bet for a family game, and Gingerbread House really hits the spot with its colourful cookie tiles and fairytale characters.
- David: Ticket to Ride New York: Distills the TtR experience down to 15 minutes.
- Sean: Orbis is a quick, simple game that is reminiscent of Splendor, with a few more interesting decisions along the way.
- Nicole: Coimbra. It was close between this and Teotihuacan, but I’ve had a little more time with Coimbra. It’s a delightful melange of movement around a board, and optimization of your tableau and dice. And what a colour palette!
- David: I’m really liking Newton right now as far as the classic point-salad, plus I’m a sucker for the theme.
- Sean: I also have to give Newton the nod here. There is a lot going on in this game about expanding your knowledge like the great thinkers of the time, but it all comes together in a wonderful package.
- Nicole: Holding On – The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr. While it’s not a dice chucker, this is as thematic as you’ll find, with a storyline that drives players through the game’s scenarios.
- David: Tiny Epic Zombies. The usual Gamelyn job well done, as far as I’m concerned. Great components, all the zombie movie tropes are there, and lots of ways to play it. Also, though it came out near the end of 2017, This War of Mine—not only a great port of the videogame but a solid group-storytelling worker-placement experience of its own.
- Sean: Fog of Love is such a unique game, where two or more players navigate the dangerous waters of romantic relationships. In my experience, you can get very attached to the characters you play, and betrayals in the game can affect feelings in the real world. We’ve all loved and lost. This game gives you a chance to win.
- Nicole: Exit – The Mysterious Museum/Fog of Love. One’s quite a lot shorter than the other, so I couldn’t decide. The Mysterious Museum is the first linear Exit game I’ve played and it was a great easy-medium puzzle time. Fog of Love is a fantastic and unique relationship game where players are aiming at not failing their way out of a number of scenarios in their relationship.
- David: The Mind: No way you can have the Pandemic Effect here! Intense, and never outstays its welcome. Also Forbidden Sky—but it’s hard!
- Sean: The Mind is dead simple in its ruleset and delightfully difficult in its execution. Players are working together to lay down cards in ascending order, but no communication is allowed. No description can accurately explain the experience of playing it. Add in the fact that it’s cheap and portable and you have a great gift!
Small Card Game/Roll & Write
- Nicole: Welcome To. I can’t get enough of this “flip and fill” – it’s a great little puzzle of optimization and it’s fab for a group!
- David: Ganz Schon Clever: This is the one I can’t get enough of—especially since the app came out. I can break 200 pretty regularly; I’m not gonna rest til I can figure out how to break 300.
- Sean: Railroad Ink offers two different versions, each with two different mini-expansions. The base game has you building road and rail routes between cities, but the expansions add in lakes and rivers, or lava and meteors. I love the packaging and the included dry-erase boards.
- Nicole: Just One. A wonderful game of tricky clue-giving and word guessing.
- David: Imagine. Charades with icons. What’s not to love?
- Sean: Nessos was a surprisingly fun bluffing game. It might just have replaced Cockroach Poker as one of my favourite go to games for a big group. (6 is a party, right?)
- Nicole: Fireball Island. Romping around an adventure island, doing your best to mash other people with lava marbles. What’s not to love?
- David: Menara. My kind of dexterity game, where strategy is just as important—and it’s cooperative and solo-playable! The finished product is always Insta-friendly.
- Sean: Dragon’s Breath from Haba came out last year, but I didn’t play it until Origins and since I play so few dexterity games, it gets my pick here. Honestly, like so many Haba titles, it’s great for adults and kids alike.
- Nicole: Illusion. A quick fun play in a small package, a visual guesstimation game. Beware those with colour blindness, however.
- David: Timeline Canada (patriotic, eh?)
- Sean: Any of the Unlock or Exit series are great stocking stuffers. They make affordable gifts and can be enjoyed by a group. They are an experience, and once it’s been solved, it’s done, but you’ll love the time you spend on it.
- David: Gotta put in a plug for Orchard. 18 cards, some dice, so portable and so addictive!
- Nicole: I’ve been playing through Legacy of Dragonholt solo and it’s so fun! Like Baldur’s Gate but with much more cool story stuff. Highly recommend this for anyone who loves that classic sort of adventure.
- Sean: While I don’t play a lot of solo games, Zombicide: Green Horde is one title that does work if you’re playing on your own. Take on gangs of zombie orcs with might, magic, oh and a trebuchet for maximum damage.
- David: I’m intrigued by the Armistice edition of the Grizzled, but haven’t played it yet so I can’t tout it. I’ll have to go with Stuffed Fables—hardly a compromise because it’s so well-thought-out and enjoyable for all ages.
- Nicole: I’m going to shout out Holding On: the Troubled Life of Billy Kerr here. It’s an amazing experience.
- Sean: I have actually played The Grizzled: Armistice Edition and I can tell David it does add a lot of excellent elements to an already great game. The campaign takes players through boot camp and hits many of the major events of the First World War. I have always loved The Grizzled for being a war game where you don’t fire a single shot, and this version makes you really care about the characters as they progress towards peace.