Posted Sunday, 18-Dec-2016
The holidays are about to go into full swing, and what better way to bring joy and cheer than with games you can play with your family?
Contributed by Calvin Wong
In the spirit of things – here are 8 winter-themed games you should be playing this holiday season.
3-6 players 240 Minutes Ages 14 & Up
Winter is coming – and the kingdoms of Westeros must prepare – but too busy are they in struggling for power and glory. When you play the game of thrones, you win… or you die.
Quoting the series is optional, but intrigue and betrayal are not. In this epic game of armies and archrivals, players play as one of six great houses, whether honorable Stark in the north, treacherous Lannister in the west, or royal Baratheon in the east. Raise your banners to war, strike deals with other houses, and remember, for all your political and strategic maneuvering, only one can sit the Iron Throne.
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is a beautiful game that will whisk its players away on an epic adventure – but one that you may not necessarily survive.
2-5 players 40 Minutes Ages 8 & Up
Classic tile laying game Carcassonne gets a fresh coat of white in this new edition, adding new tiles with wolpertingers, beer, and other fun twists.
In Carcassonne, players slowly build up a board representing the titular city. Lay claim to icy roads, white fields, and snow-capped castles in order to score the most points by game’s end – assuming of course, that you can complete those features by laying the appropriate tiles.
If you’ve never played Carcassonne, it’s a wonderful introductory game for beginners and non-gamers alike. Easy to learn, with the simple satisfaction of slowly building something as you play.
2-5 players 210 Minutes Ages 8 & Up
Beware fair weather friends. The zombies have come. You and the other survivors are holed up in a colony, but how far can you trust them? Is one of them out to betray you all?
Dead of Winter is a story-driven game of secret motives, survival, and zombies. The game’s central idea is the Crossroads system – where players must make difficult moral choices in order to ensure they come out alive.
Keep up morale, scrounge for food, and accomplish your objectives – but don’t get bitten. Or stabbed in the back.
2-4 players 20 Minutes Ages 8 & Up
Competition for food is fierce in the animal kingdom – and penguins are no different. Hey, That’s My Fish is a simple game of placing penguins and moving them to claim the best fishing spots.
Easy to learn and somewhat ruthless, players slowly claim fishing spots and remove tiles from the board, which restricts movement and can leave your opponents stranded on the ice, surrounded by open ocean.
As the ice gets thinner and thinner and the food supplies dwindle, players must make hard choices as the islands shrink. A surprisingly tough game with very simple rules, Hey, That’s My Fish is a fun game for families to play with each other.
3-6 players 120 Minutes Ages 10 & Up
Are you ready to fight some monsters? This new take on Munchkin, the card game of dungeon-exploring and fantastic loot, goes to Halloween Town (and Easter Town, and Christmas Town…)
Featuring characters from the films, new mechanics to add a twist of flavor to the original Munchkin (haven’t you ever wanted to ride Santa’s sleigh?) that doesn’t require any other Munchkin sets to play (although it can be mixed in with all of them). It also comes with a gorgeous custom Oogie Boogie die you can appropriate for your other spooky games.
Kick down the door, fight the monster, get the treasure, and level up – and stop your friends from doing it before you do. If you love The Nightmare Before Christmas and want an easy-to-learn game to play with younger players, this game is a great pickup.
2-4 players 45 Minutes Ages 7 & Up
The Arctic is merciless, and first is the only place that matters. Brave the harsh conditions and endlessly shifting weather in this game with the rotating board.
In Race to the North Pole, players must try and move their teams towards the center of the board while avoiding ice cracks and your opponents (who can knock you back to the start) – but beware the storms! When a storm hits, the board will rotate, and now the terrain is completely different, spinning you around.
Race to the North Pole is a unique game of take-that and dealing with ever-changing circumstances with a fun central mechanicism. The game even comes with an optional companion app to help determine when the storms will blow. Are you ready to Race?
2-5 players 60 Minutes Ages 10 & Up
Get ready for some snow tails! It’s a race through the snow!
Snow tails is a sled racing game where players must control their doggy sled crew by making sure their dogs are running at the right speeds to negotiate turns, avoid slamming into the corners, falling into a chasm, or colliding with the other sleds.
Snow Tails comes with several pre-constructed tracks, or you can make your own and get ready to race! Surprisingly tricky and difficult to maneuver, while Snow Tails might be challenging for younger gamers to grasp, it’s got a unique theme and is one of the best racing games on the market. Woof!
(Note: While the game comes in two different box covers, the game itself is identical no matter the box)
2-3 players 60 Minutes Ages 8 & Up
Go on a trip through Northern Europe! Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden beckon in this wintery edition of the classic game Ticket to Ride.
Ticket to Ride is a simple, easy to learn game (that retains a depth of strategy and a ton of ‘friendly’ competition) where players must collect different colored train tickets to complete their routes and score points. Apart from a new map, the Nordic Countries introduces ferries, tunnels, and is designed for 2 to 3 players only – making the game much more accomodating to small groups or a cosy evening with a partner.
Have you got your Ticket to Ride? All aboard the Nordic Express!
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