It’s Cyber Monday and Christmas shopping is in full swing. We’ve been highlighting great game ideas for all kinds of people: families, college students, and beginning gamers, as well as stocking stuffers. Today we’re talking about some great gift ideas for those friends of yours who have frequent game nights and are all well stocked on the standard fare.
We’ve mentioned Betrayal at House on the Hill before. It’s an eerie game for the holidays, true, but a lot of fun if you love haunted houses. Players start the game by exploring an old mansion, avoiding traps, uncovering items, and revealing omens. Part way through the game, though, everything changes and the haunt starts: one player turns traitor and the others must figure out who and stop them. The modular board ensures the game never plays the same way twice.
Play time: 60 minutes
I’ll admit I’m not personally the biggest fan of Risk!, in part because inevitably with my friends it comes down to two of them battling it out for control of Australia. And while that was more or less the case with Risk! Legacy, there is a lot of cool stuff in this version of the game. If you and your friends have a regular game night, this is the perfect choice. The game play is basically the same as the original, but you get a customizable board and unlockable content. Yes, that means you get to create your own strongholds, name continents, and get other advantages for playing certain factions. Events and milestones over the course of several games trigger the unlockable content and add more rules to the game.
Like I said, Legacy is really about customization. The first 15 games will affect the board permanently, so you really need to have a regular group. And if you’re really daring, you can open up the little envelope that explicitly says never to open it.
Play time: 60 minutes
When you’re all played out on Catan, Castles of Burgundy is a great option. The concept is similar — it’s all about resource management — but you have a lot more control over your resources. The game has a Renaissance theme, set in France’s Loire Valley (a.k.a. land of the chateaus). Each player starts with a small princedom, and they must build settlements and castles as they trade with others, gain silver, and use information they gather. The game is played in 5 phases, each one with 5 rounds, and at the end the person with the most victory points wins. Even better, the game includes basic and advanced rules so you can introduce newbie gamers as well.
Play time: 90 minutes
It’s a great feeling when fandoms collide, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here. Legendary is a deck-building game (like Dominion) based on the Marvel Comics universe. Players must ultimately work to stop the evil mastermind from completing his mission objectives while earning points for themselves. Players are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who must recruit heroes from the ranks of the Avengers and the X-Men as they battle villains such as Red Skull, Loki, Ultron, and more. The roster of villains changes and grows throughout the game and players hone their abilities to recruit and fight. The game will be a bit different each time because you only use a few heroes rather than the entire roster.
There’s even a Guardians of the Galaxy expansion available for the game, and a standalone version, Legendary: Villains, where players become supervillains who must battle against heroes.
Play time: 45 minutes
Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. The game is similar to other European-style games, as you earn points by completing quests and amassing resources. Players become one of the unnamed lords of the city of Waterdeep. You’ll hire heroes to complete missions that benefit the city as well as your standing and purchase buildings to expand the city (and the actions available to you). Amid all of that, you can play “intrigue” cards that will help other players achieve goals or hinder them, all to your benefit. However, bear in mind that you only have 8 rounds to achieve your ends: after that, everyone tallies up points and the person with the most wins.
Play time: 60 minutes
So that wraps up our holiday gift guides. What games did we miss? Who are you struggling to buy games for? Tell us about it in the comments and we’ll provide recommendations!
Melissa is an independent writer and editor, as well as a board game lover. When she's not creating or perfecting web content, she's usually playing games with her friends or experimenting in the kitchen.