Christmas & Holidays = Boardgames!

22 Dec

Don’t know gifts what to get people for Christmas? Get games – boardgames or card games, it’s all good.


Normally giving presents is all very sweet and altruistic. You carefully select a gift, present it to your friend and wish them hours of enjoyment, expecting never to hear of it again…

The clever thing (sneaky?) about giving boardgames is that your friends will need someone to play the game with … how about you? In a way it’s been a present to yourself as well …

I always remember the story from blogger Defective Yeti about a boy trying to give his sister a Star Wars playset as a gift, in the knowledge it would be given back to him – nice try, but boardgames work better!

  • Get your family boardgames – more quality bonding time
  • Get your friends boardgames – more excuses to catch up, and it makes for cheaper nights out where you really get to interact – so unlike going to see a movie!

There are all sorts of games to suit all sorts of people. There are long games and short games, quiet thoughtful games, and loud silly games. Go into a games store and see what you can find!

Where can I buy games?

Oh dear, asking this question means you haven’t seen my Map of Boardgames Shops up under the About Us menu at the top of this site! Just to save you the effort of clicking the link, here is the map again. You’ll note there are three boardgames shops in the Melbourne CBD:

What Boardgames Should I Buy?

There are so many different boardgames, it’s best to go into a shop to browse, but here are some ideas..

If you’re looking for silly, funny, social boardgames that often involve teams, quick reactions, guessing, answering questions, persuasion, even acting … ask for “Party Games”. Boardgames in this category include traditional favourites like Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Taboo, Pictionary and even card games like Uno, Perpetual Commotion, Curses and Werewolf.

Perhaps you’d like to get some games where you can really flex your mental muscles, employing strategy, tactics and forethought in clever ways, then ask for “Euro Games”. This kind of boardgame is very popular and exciting, but is quite new so you may have not heard of some of the games. Popular titles include Pandemic, Power Grid, Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico and Dominion.

Boardgame GeekThe definitive boardgame site BoardGameGeek has this 2010 Boardgame Gift Guide, complete with lots of pictures and descriptions and links for more info. Cafe Games club attendees will recognise several games we’ve played including Qwirkle, Pandemic, Dixit, Apples to Apples and Carcassonne.

Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti, has also written his annual Good Gift Games article , a light hearted look at some of the most interesting new boardgames of the year.

Our suggestions

At Cafe Games we’re always trying out different games. Sometimes these games are quite new, some are old but we’ve never played them. Asking around at Cafe Games, here are some of the exciting new discoveries people made this year:

Apples to Apples gameApples to Apples (a party game) – this light game is good even with big numbers – up to 10 people! Which of your cards best represents “slimy”? A politician? A Frog? Your Laundry Basket? Which of your cards will convince the judge? Good for a laugh and discussion.

Bang card gameBang! (a party game, best 5-7 ppl) – not as light as some, but this card game has achieved cult status in many places. Gives you all the action of life in the Wild West – sheriffs, shadowy outlaws, duels, hold-ups, and the old fashioned version of a drive-by shooting – charging up on your horse, firing the one shot in your rifle and then galloping out of range … Has overtones of the game Werewolf … who are the crooks, and who’s the law? In a nod to the tradition of the 1960’s “Spaghetti Western” movies, many of the cards have Italian on them as well as English.

Primordial Soup BoardgamePrimordial Soup (strategy/euro game, 3-4 ppl) – Fascinating concept of being rival races of amoeba drifting around in the ancient oceans. At the start of the game all is well with plentiful food for everyone, but it won’t last. Soon you’ll have to evolve to survive … faster swimming? Tougher? Carnivorous? There are a myriad options, but chose wisely because you can’t be everything … NB The game can take a few hours, but it’s delightful.

Qwirkle BoardgameQwirkle (strategy, 2-4 ppl) – Looks like a preschooler’s game with bright colours and shapes, but that hides a cunning strategic game some of our regulars have described as “Scrabble without words”. It’s relatively light, but will have you staring at the table for ages looking for the best place to place to play your tiles.

Billionaire card gameBillionaire (party game, 3-8 ppl) – for those of you who like the madcap rush of Perpetual Commotion, this game often involves lots of yelling and trying to catch the attention of people you want to swap cards with. Also sold under the name of “Pit”, both are quite common in games shops.

If there are other boardgames you’ve enjoyed playing at Cafe Games, but you can’t quite remember the names, try looking on our “What Boardgames?” page (also in the top menus).

What do you think? Suggestions? What did you Get?

Whatever you do, whatever you play, I hope you all have a Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.

Let me know below what boardgames you’ve found exciting this year, or even if you get some boardgames as gifts! Good luck!


One Response to “Christmas & Holidays = Boardgames!”

  1. Michael December 23, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Thanks for the info! Saved me from the headache of searching, now off to the store!

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