“Is it a bottle?” your Dad jokes. You nod at him encouraging him to open the large rectangle box. He smiles and chuckles to himself, he knows what it is, he’s been waiting for that English ale brewing kit all year. He doesn’t want to show his excitement though, he’s your dad, stoic. Dad rips at the paper carefully revealing 2 large words across it’s front. “Twilight…Imperium? What the shit is this?”

Oh no you’ve just ruined Christmas by getting your dad a 12 hour space game when he wanted to make himself a months supply of beer. That won’t be you this Christmas though, no, because we are putting together our Christmas present guide for all of your family, to get them the perfect board game cheer.

I don’t know your family, but I do know there’s a perfect game for each of them.

For the puzzle enthusiast – Karuba

Players: 2-4 | Time to play: 30 mins | Complexity: Simple | Style: Softly Competitive

Jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, word searches they’re all calming. There is always someone in the family that has a soft spot for them, or maybe has a jigsaw organiser hidden under their sofa. Well Karuba gives you that nice feeling of a good jigsaw combined with a maze puzzle. Everyone is playing the same tiles each turn, trying to find the quickest route for all of their explorers to gather treasure and make it to the temple. You could just copy your neighbour. Maybe take a risk on the pieces you need coming up, or just enjoy figuring it out yourself.

Read the full recommendation here

Treat someone this Christmas and get it here on Amazon

They might also love to try one of the escape room games in a box like Exit or Unlock

For the crime show binger – Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Players: 1+ | Time to play: 60+ mins | Complexity: Moderate | Style: Cooperative

Whether it’s the trashy enjoyment of CSI, the real world didtheydoits like Making a Murderer or those gripping thriller whodonits like Seven. There are always those in your family that can’t get enough of trying to solve a case, second guessing the protagonists and trying to stay one step ahead. Cluedo did almost nothing to full fill that role, but let me tell you a game that gives you precisely that feeling. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is unlike almost any board game, armed with a case book, a map and some newspapers you hunt for clues and interview suspects. Furiously writing down notes as you attempt to unravel the mystery in front of you.

Read the full recommendation here

Treat someone this Christmas and get it here on Amazon

They might also like the ghostly cluedo who-dunnit Mysterium.

 

For the gambler – Camel Up

Players: 2-8 | Time to play: 20-30 mins | Complexity: Simple | Style: Softly Competitive

There’s always an uncle or a cousin who loves a flutter. Watching whatever sport is on just to make obscure bets. Well get them and everyone else around the table for some betting on something even more obscure, camel racing. Camel Up is a daft game about watching camels climb all over each other whilst you place bets on who’s going to come out on top. You’ll all be laughing when the blue makes a mad dash over the top of the green, rides the yellows back to first place. Always bet on blue.

Read the full recommendation here

Treat someone this Christmas and get it here on Amazon

They might also like the push your luck games like Incan Gold and Deep Sea Adventure.

The game show addict

Players: 3-7 | Time to play: 30 mins | Complexity: Simple | Style: Competitive

I don’t know about your family, but my retired elders are either mad into their day times soaps, game shows or both.  I’m not sure what to do with your relative addicted to soaps but I know how much drama can be found in a good game. Wits and Wagers is a quiz game but unlike a Trivia Pursuit where you are made to feel stupid if you don’t know the answer, in this you each guess and then you all bet on who is closest. How tall is the Empire State Building? “Dad will know that…unless he knows I would bet on his answer and he’s trying to throw me off.”

Treat someone this Christmas and get it here on Amazon

For the word lover – Codenames / Codenames Duet

Players: 4+ (or 2 with Duet) | Time to play: 20-30 mins | Complexity: Moderate | Style: Competitive / Cooperative (Duet)

There’s someone in your family, they love a crossword, they love scrabbled. They love the playfulness and connectivity of words. A Best Play list wouldn’t be complete without recommending Codenames. It’s a game all about words. It’s a game about connecting key words with just a one word clue. Finding that perfect clue to guide your team mates to find the exact words you mean.

Read the full recommendation here

Treat someone this Christmas and get Codenames here or Codenames Duet here right from Amazon.

For the artist – Pictomania

Players: 4+ (or 2 with Duet) | Time to play: 20-30 mins | Complexity: Moderate | Style: Competitive / Cooperative (Duet)

This might not be fine art but if someone loves a doodle then Pictomania is for them. It’s like a frantic dictionary in which everyone is drawing AND guessing at the same time. It’s chaotic brilliance whether you’re sketching a cat as quickly as possible or ponderously trying to figure out how to draw “Argument”.

Treat someone this Christmas and get Pictomania right from Amazon.

Doodlers and Artists might also love the line drawing platform style game Loony Quest.

For the board game connoisseur – Vast

Players: 1-5 | Time to play: 60-90 mins | Complexity: Advanced | Style: Competitive

For those looking for something a little deeper to get your teeth stuck into, do we have a crazy suggestion for you. Vast is on the face of it a simple dungeon game of Dragon vs Knight vs Goblin vs Cave (yeah a player is the dungeon itself). Every player gets their own rule book because everyone plays differently. That might sound daunting but it leads to amazing moments where the knight grabs some crazy treasure, only for the dragon to blow up half the dungeon meaning the goblins have to ride an underground worm across the caverns. It’s like writing your own crazy fantasy story.

Read the full recommendation here

Treat someone this Christmas and get it here on Amazon

They might also love a game from our longer list of great games for connoisseurs

If nothing on this list tickles your fancy I recommend you check out our best games for couples, best alternatives to Cards Against Humanity or best alternatives to Monopoly for more Christmas inspiration.