2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Board Games

  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

Board Games make great gifts for the holidays, whether it’s for someone new to the hobby or a veteran gamer. It’s not always easy to gift them, though! There’s only so much mass-market stores carry, and you don’t want to be the person who purchases someone their 45th copy of Monopoly of Scrabble. Here are some ideas to help you navigate the insanely large world of board games this holiday season.

Gateway, or GREATway, Games

Gateway games are the perfect entryway into the hobby and are excellent for gamers just getting started. GREATway games are games that are gateway games that are also great for veteran gamers as well! Here are a few that are sure to please a crowd:



Azul is one of the best GREATway games to come out in the past few years. Its simple rules, visual appeal, and depth of play always seem to be a big hit with gamers of any level of experience


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Stained glass never looked so good

Sagrada is another visually stunning game with simple rules and a crazy amount of depth. The game can be made easier or harder using different play cards in the player boards for a great amount of replayability and appeal.

Century Golem Edition

Amazing artwork and awesome plastic crystals just add to the fun

Century Golem Edition is a fantasy-themed version of Century: Spice Road. Both play identically, but Golem Edition is a lot more colorful and comes with really cool plastic gems. Century is all about resource management as you harvest gems, trade gems for other types of gems, and try to purchase Golems. It’s quick to learn, quick to play, and has many different combinations of cards that can lead you to victory.

Stocking Stuffers

Sometimes you just want to get a little something for someone. That doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality! Here are some great games that pack a lot of punch without taking up a lot of space or financial burden!

Tussie Mussie

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The whole game fits in a tiny wallet

You really can’t go wrong with any of Button Shy Games wallet games. Tussie Mussie, though, stands above the rest. For $12 you can’t go wrong! Learn the Victorian language of flowers in this compact and floral themed game.

Pocket Sub

Much sub. No so much box.

The ocean just is not big enough in Pocket Sub. Maneuver your subs around a modular board and drop mines in hopes to be the last player standing. Available spaces to move get less and less as the game goes on, so smart movement and clever thinking are required to survive.


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This game always makes me smile

Coloretto is an oldie, but goodie, and still one of my favorite card games. Its all about collecting sets of colored cards without having more than three different sets. Any more than that and you are going to lose points. Seriously, this is a game that should be in everyone’s collection.

A Bit Heavier

This last category of games might be better suited for someone already ingrained in the hobby. Don’t let that deter you from buying them for a new gamer, though! Just do a bit of research and taste matching before attempting that feat of magic.


BirdGame Setup
Just don’t mistake the eggs for chocolate!

Stonemaier Games really knocked it out of the park with Wingspan. The theme may be a bit unassuming, but the game is a truly solid engine builder packed with amazing avian illustrations and facts. It also comes with a sweet birdhouse dice tower.

Rise of Tribes

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Rise of Tribes saw a new edition target at mass-market stores this year. It’s a step above a GREATway game, but still approachable and has a wonderful deluxe component upgrade that really pull everything together. Players are sure to get a ton of play out of this one.


Vindication 2
This just looks way too cool

Vindication is a big jump from other games on this both, both in price and complexity. It’s been a surprise hit and one that was strongly suggested to be on this list by Ben Lunches, one of the writers here at A Pawn’s Perspective. Looking to impress this holiday season? This is the one to gift if you’re able.

Did I Miss Your Favorite?

There are a ton of games that ALMOST made this list, but I wanted to keep it to a decent length. Did I miss your favorite? Do you have any other suggestions, or games that people should steer clear of? Leave a comment below!

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  1. Kevin
    November 28, 2019
    • Rob Kalajian
      November 28, 2019

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