Player2 Christmas 2023 Tabletop Gift Guide

Player2 Christmas 2023 Tabletop Gift Guide

Christmas is fast approaching and with it comes hordes of family descending on a poor relatives’ house, the beleaguered host tasked with entertaining people of all ages and reading abilities (or lack thereof). To help pass the time and make some happy memories, Player2 Deputy Editors Jess & Stephen have put together a list of tabletop games that are easy to learn, can support a wide range of players and won’t break the bank in the process.

6 nimmt! – 2-10 players

6 nimmt! (also known as Take 5 in some locations) is a modern classic from Wolfgang Kramer, a simple idea that makes for compelling gameplay which feels different across its wide range of player counts. Players are given 10 cards from a numbered deck of 1 to 104, then each round play a single card face down. Once all players have revealed their card, they are added in numerical order to one of four rows on the table, with numbers going up sequentially – if your card would become the sixth in a row, you take the five cards before it and it sets the new floor for that row. Lowest scores win, and it’s entirely possible to play so well you don’t pick up a single card. The magic in 6 nimmt! emerges in the way everyone is essentially gambling, playing with probability and occasionally hoping that somebody else just has worse cards than they do. Having personally worn out one copy of this game and part way through a second, I can’t imagine it’s too much longer before I order my third copy!

The Fuzzies – 2-4+ players

I covered most of what I loved about The Fuzzies in our review, but here it is again for those who might’ve missed it: 

The Fuzzies is a fun dexterity challenge which relies on some skill, strategy and luck – the perfect blend for an approachable game that stands up to multiple plays. The quick playtime and reset means it’s not hard to get through multiple plays a row and the packaging solves one of the biggest issues faced by its competitors which often require a lengthy setup process to create the ‘tower’; here, you just squish the Fuzzies back into their cup and you’re good to go. Because of its broad appeal, easy to learn rules and flexible player count, The Fuzzies makes an ideal gift this holiday season for couples and families looking for something a little different.

Order your copy here and support Player2 at the same time!

 

 No Thanks! – 3-7 players

Much like 6 nimmt!, No Thanks! is a game with minimal components – 33 cards, 55 plastic chits – and a rules overhead that belies just how engaging each game can be. The large included cards range from 3 to 35 in value, with the lowest score winning. Each round, a card is drawn from the deck and the starting player can decide to add it to their hand or say ‘No Thanks!’, placing down a chit on the card and sending it to the player on their left. This continues until someone takes the card by choice, or has run out of chits and is forced to pick it up. Once the deck is empty, players count up the total across their cards, subtracting one point for every chit they still have in hand. The trick is that sequential cards only count for the lowest number, so picking up 33 would cover the 34 and 35 sitting in front of a player while also collecting plenty of chits from others who really don’t want to take a 33 with only 3 chits on it, making it possible to really turn the screws on others and pump up your own chit numbers – of course, make someone else too desperate and the number you want might not make it back around once it has more and more chits on it.

 

Order a copy here and support Player2 while you do it!

 

Herd Mentality – 4+ players

 Party games are always a tricky proposition – not enough gameplay and they risk veering into more of a group activity like Cards Against Humanity, too much rules overhead and they scare off people and of course, many of them aren’t exactly ‘family friendly’. Herd Mentality manages to straddle the line admirably, a game that can be explained in under a minute and suits large groups, only limited by the pencils and paper you have on hand. On each card is a question – only the majority answer will win, so much like the title of the game, it’s on players to not just put what they really think, but what they think everybody else thinks as their answer. Even splits are no points, and anyone that truly goes it alone and has the most individual answer takes the dreaded Pink cow, which is a handy little stress ball cow that happens to prevent you from winning, even if you’ve hit the conditions for it. The nature of the questions means the maturity level of the answers can scale up or down as appropriate for your group as well, so feel free to knock it out of the park with ‘What’s your favourite kind of meat’ in front of your grandma if you dare. There’s also a new smaller edition of Herd Mentality available now replaces the squishy Pink Cow with a small wooden one, but in a box 1/3 the size and a price appropriately titled Herd Mentality Mini!

Order a copy here and support Player2 at the same time!

 

Concept – 4+ players

Concept is a party guessing game that requires you to have no artistic skills of your own, instead relying on your ability to convey themes or objects to your teammates using a grid of icons. Each icon comes with its own set of associations, like ‘fictional character’, ‘holiday’, or ‘inside’, and the idea is to place coloured blocks on these icons to describe anything from the movie Shrek to the saying “all that glitters is not gold”. It requires lateral thinking and creativity, and the ability to choose your own prompts from a set of three means that there’s something for the whole family.

Order a copy here and support Player2 at the same time!

 

Just One – 3 – 7 players

If you’re worried about your group exploding over a hint of competition, why not try something co-operative instead? Just One is a guessing game that requires you to think a little differently to the other members of your group, encouraging you to come up with unique hints to steer your teammates in the right direction. The player in the hot seat blindly chooses a word from an unseen card, and it’s everyone else’s job to write single word answers to prompt them to guess it – but if you write the same word as someone else, they cancel each other out. So do you write something obscure, or risk the obvious hint that you know everyone else is thinking of too? It’s so simple but can get weirdly strategic, and the sense of satisfaction you can get from accidentally crafting the perfect set of clues as a group is far greater than you’ll expect.

Order a copy here to help Player2 keep the lights on!

 

​​Caesar’s Empire – 2-5 players

 

Route building is one of my favourite mechanisms, and this simple game with a weirdly pasted on Asterix theme is near the top of my list for games that can be played quickly but have some agonising decisions in them and a good level of interaction with the other players. While the publisher has sadly gone bust, there are still plenty of copies of this available – for now. Players are building routes out from Rome, collecting trade goods along the way that will accumulate points on their personal player boards if they collect a wider variety of goods or focus on a few. But it’s not quite that simple – other players will mess up your routes, block you from getting what you need and even collect points if you’re forced to use one of their connections as you trace your way back to Rome. Playing in 30-45 minutes, this is a quick game that you’ll want to play back-to-back.

Order a copy via this link and Player2 can keep doing what we do!

 

Archeos Society – 2-6 Players

Rarely do games work well at every player count, especially such a broad one as Archeos Society, but this rework of designer Paolo Mori’s Ethnos does exactly that. Simple to pick-up gameplay – draw a card or put down a set of cards – has a few twists that will keep players engaged the entire time as they venture out on expeditions across six archeological sites in search of the most valuable treasure of all, victory points. Lovely art from John McCambridge rounds out excellent production from publisher Space Cowboys with an included tuckbox for tokens and player pieces alongside a built-in card divider to keep the various sets of cards separated and ensuring the game can get to the table quicker. Even better, a number of additional modules are included to assist in keeping the gameplay fresh and altering group meta when needed.

Order Archeos Society via this link and Player2 don’t need to explore the depths of our couches for spare change!

 

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