Video games are all well and good, but sometimes you just have to get down and dirty: roll some dice, place some meeples, and activate your trap card. The world of linen backed playing cards and cardboard has a little something for everyone, but with all the options, you may be at a loss for what to get the dice thrower in your life. Luckily, we have you covered here at CGM, even if they’re really just for your own collection. Boardgame aficionado, Lane Martin, has assembled a few of the finest games that will be sure to please anyone this Holiday season.
At its heart, Captain Sonar is eight-player, team-based Battleship, played in real time. Players fill out a role on one of two duelling submarines, maintaining various systems while trying to locate your opponents and keep your own location a secret. There is a turn-based variant, which I highly suggest for players in louder settings or those that just don’t want the stress.
Why They’ll Love It: Captain Sonar is a game of amazing moments and organized chaos. It’s a game where the tides can turn at any moment and furtive whispers are the sign of your impending doom.
Popular history books usually leave out all the giant mechs trampling around Europe at the end of the First World War. Luckily, Scythe has us covered there. Anachronisms aside, Scythe is a massive engine building game with some heavy theming and secret objectives.
Why They’ll Love It: If giant mechs in the 1920s wasn’t enough to open up your wallet, Scythe comes in a positively enormous box, jam-packed with a torrent of high-quality components and hours of fun.
Dive into the dungeon, grab the treasure, and get out without attracting the attention of the hungry dragon. Part dungeon delving, part deck building, Clank! is a race against your ever dwindling health pool as you plan the most profitable route and leave all of your friends to their dark fate.
Why They’ll Love It: Clank! has what you want as far as delving into ancient places—minus the heroism. The winner is the player that finds the best balance between caution and their own greed, and there’s nothing tenser than pulling cubes blindly from a black bag to see who the dragon attacks.
Mysteries are afoot, but some secrets are best left undisturbed. Mythos Tales tasks the players with insidious puzzles and occult murders. Take to the street, shake down the usual suspects, follow the clues, and you might just crack the case.
Why They’ll Love It: If you enjoyed Sherlock HolmesConsulting Detective then you know what you’re getting into here: well written mysteries packed with compelling stories and infuriating dead ends, only with a Lovecraftian spin. The cases are finite, but each makes for a memorable evening that you’ll always have, no matter how hard you try to forget it.
Near and Far
The follow up to Above and Below, Near and Far is nothing short of an adventure. Your task is to explore the land, secure trade routes, and tell the stories you find along the way—of which there are many. Near and Far tells stories on a larger scale than its predecessor, with a solo and campaign mode to play as well.
Why They’ll Love It: Near and Far is all about the storytelling in the heartwarming universe Red Raven Games has created, and it’s perfect for gamers of all varieties. There’s enough strategy for the hardcore and whimsical stories for the less serious. There may only be one winner, but everyone at the table is guaranteed to have a great time.
Still unsure about what to get that special someone this Holiday season? For more suggestions, check out the CGMagazine Buyers Guide – Best of 2017 Edition, available for pre-order now, in print and digital formats. Get yours here.
EDITORS NOTE: Retail versions of these games were purchased by the reviewer for the purposes of this article. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedureshere.