2022 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide

The Family Gamers Board Game Gift Guide
The Family Gamers Board Game Gift Guide

Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, or just because, it feels good to give board games as gifts. Board games encourage us to connect with each other, stretch our minds, and practice important skills. But there are so many new games, it can be hard to figure out which ones will be a hit for your family! Here at The Family Gamers, we compile a list every year of great new board games to help make your gift shopping a little easier.

Click on the name of a game to buy it on Amazon (with an affiliate link that helps support The Family Gamers).

We recommend games based on our experience. Although The Family Gamers received some of the games listed below at no cost for evaluation, all of the games below are games we would (and do!) buy for our own family and friends.

Use the buttons to skip straight to the recommendations for your family.

Disney It's A Small World

Games for the Very Young (under 6)

Very young children are still learning to take turns and follow rules. They need games that are simple and fast, and will help them practice motor skills and matching symbols. The best choices are ones that don’t make a big deal out of one player “winning”. And of course none of these games require reading.

My Very First Games: Rhino Hero Junior (our review) is a nearly-perfect “first” game for toddlers or preschoolers. What little kid doesn’t love stacking and knocking down? And big chunky pieces keep it safe and hard to lose or destroy.

Disney It’s a Small World (our review) is a surprisingly excellent game for young kids to play with parents or older siblings. Travel around the “small world” ride and match picture cards with what you can see from your boat.

Magic Mountain (our review) is just plain fun, which is probably why it won the highest honor for a children’s game this year (2022 Kinderspiel des Jahres). Roll marbles down the track in this Plinko-like game of students and witches – who can reach the bottom first? Unfortunately, it’s currently out of stock on Amazon. But you can find it at Walmart and local game stores.

Speaking of high honors…

Dragomino (our review) won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2021. This kid-version of the classic Kingdomino has less math and more luck, plus baby dragons! Who doesn’t love cute baby dragons?

Games for Early Elementary (6-9)

Kids this age are ready for games that take a little longer and reward practice and skill. But this age also comes with a greater desire to win – sometimes outstripping their ability.

Peek-a-Mouse (our review) tests memory by randomly dropping items into a “mouse house” with a clever flashlight timer. Search through the windows before the light turns off – then work together to answer questions about which items were in each room. With four difficulty levels, this game can be adjusted to any age, but we think it’s best for ages 5-9.

Kids Chronicles: Quest for the Moon Stones (our review) is an interactive story that requires a smartphone or tablet – and one player who is a strong reader. Our 7-year-old (and his grandma) had hours of fun solving the puzzles and reading each character’s responses.

Quest Kids (our review) is a very simple dungeon crawl game where you’re clearing Tolk’s cave of all the monsters! It can get a little samey so we highly recommend the expansion (which requires more reading).

CoraQuest (our interview with the creator) is another RPG-dungeon crawl for younger kids. Perhaps the most adorable thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, CoraQuest was created by a father-daughter team out of the UK. Play through the campaign as characters like “Sword Girl” in this delightful and charming game.

Sulley and Mickey

Games for Older Kids (10+)

Stronger reading skills, longer attention spans, and an openness to strategy marks older kids who are ready for more “grown-up” games. These games are still appropriate for younger kids, as long as they are solid readers.

Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances (our review) pits your favorite Disney and Pixar characters in an epic arena battle. Build your team and use their abilities to knockout your opponents and gain the most points!

Zombie Teenz Evolution is the sequel to Zombie Kidz Evolution, which we recommended last year. You don’t need to play Kidz first, but they’re both a ton of fun!

Stroop is a speedy matching game for strong readers. It uses the Stroop effect to stretch your brain, matching words written in different colors, sizes, and typefaces with the words that describe them. Play is fast and furious, and perfect for the lunch table or a quick game after school.

First Rat (our review) – A truly introductory Euro-style game where you play as rats trying to become the first Rat-tronauts and make it to the cheese moon! Plan your movements to get the right supplies faster than your opponents and build your rockets first.

Games for Teens & Adults

Adults, like children, can really be drawn in by the theme of a game. All of the games in this section are playable by 10+ (or even younger), but the themes and game style are more attractive to adults.

Gutenberg (our review) pulls you into the era of the first printing press. Set your moveable type, study decoration styles, and choose ink colors to fulfill orders and please your patrons. The components are beautiful and the decision making is always tight.

Pan Am (our review) was our top game of 2020 and remains a stand out favorite. This theme won’t mean much to anyone under 40 unless they love the history of aviation. But the unusual map, tight decisions, and fun planes will bring other adults and teens to the table.

Merchants of Magick (our review) is a fantastic roll-and-write game, where players take on the role of magical equipment merchants. Roll the dice and research materials and magical disciplines so you can fill orders. It’s not currently available from Amazon, but you can buy it directly from Rock Manor Games.

Games for the Whole Family

What can little Jimmy play and keep up with older siblings and parents? These games are best at three or more players but don’t require lots of reading or speedy reactions.

Kim Joy’s Magic Bakery (our review) will have the whole family (up to five players) working together to craft baked goods and fill orders. This adorably-illustrated game is fun for everyone, but even better for fans of The Great British Bake-Off.

Point Salad (our review) challenges players to craft the most valuable veggie collection. Choose every turn whether you want to grab more vegetables, or add new personal goals. Point Salad moves quickly and allows up to six players.

So Clover (our review) is a cooperative game that requires reading and writing. Everyone simultaneously creates clues for their own personal board. Then all the other players need to guess how words are related. Up to six players can find out if they are clever, lucky, or maybe a bit of both.

Green Team Wins (our review) is a quick and silly game for up to twelve players that feels a little bit like Family Feud… except the teams keep changing! Guess the most popular answer to earn points and be added to the Green Team. But if you choose poorly, you’ll be demoted to the Orange Team. And the Green Team always wins!

Jekyll vs. Hyde

Games for Two

Whether it’s date night or special one-on-one times with a kiddo, these games are perfect for two players.

Jekyll vs. Hyde (our review) is our favorite two-player game of 2022. Explore balance vs. extremes in a battle for the mind of Dr. Jekyll… in a trick-taking game.

Unmatched: T-Rex vs. Dr. Sattler (our review) – we love the Unmatched series. But this set, with a huge and powerful T-Rex figure, is hugely fun, while also making us think harder about our strategy!

Land vs. Sea (our review) can also be played with three or four players, but shines at two. Create continents, lakes, streams, and islands as both players lay tiles. With one player scoring landmasses and the other scoring water areas, who can win this epic struggle?

Similo cards

Stocking Stuffers

When you need a stocking stuffer or something small for a randomized gift exchange, these games are a great fit. Most of these games are under $15.

Holiday Hijinks games (our reviews) offer an hour or more of mystery-solving fun, each with a holiday theme: Santa and his cookies, a romantic Valentine’s dinner, Halloween trick-or-treating, or a celebration of USA history (for Independence Day). Find the ready-to-play games, or the print-and-play versions, at Grand Gamers Guild.

UNDO games (our reviews) are a different kind of mystery. Here, you must travel back and forth through time to see if you can find enough clues to stop a tragic death.

Flip-Pix (our review) is great for kids (or adults) who love Spot It! Match pictures with the letters that start them in this speedy game to empty your hand. Find it at retailers like Walmart and Macy’s.

Similo (our review) continues to be our favorite cooperative card game. There are almost a dozen options including animals, historical figures, and Harry Potter – and most are $10. Why not get a deck for each member of your family?

Get Everyone Playing – Games for Non-Gamers

We promise these games will get everyone in the family playing, even grumpy great-aunts and surly teenagers.

Magic Mountain (our review) is not just for kids! Although it’s simple enough for young children, a game only takes about 10 minutes and is loaded with fun. Bring it out at your holiday gathering and watch Aunt Carol start hollering for her marble to go the “right” way down the board. It’s currently out of stock on Amazon, but you can find it at Walmart and at local game stores.

Tapple (our review) is not exactly a new game, but it’s another game that will pull in everyone – even sulky teenagers who are normally “too cool” for family games. Pass the timer device and say a word that starts with a letter that hasn’t been used yet. Will you come up with a word in time, or be eliminated when the timer goes off?

Super Mega Lucky Box (our review) is perfect for bingo-loving Grandma and Uncle Larry who will reminisce about watching Schoolhouse Rock. Combos and the ability to adjust your number lead to fun, lightweight strategy as everyone tries to complete their Lucky Box cards first for the most points.

Drop It (our review) was our favorite game of 2018. In our experience, even preschoolers can play this strange mix of dexterity and color/shape matching.

Want More?

The best part about giving games as gifts is that you’ll often get a chance to play them with the recipient! If you didn’t find quite what you wanted, check out the GIFTS tag on TheFamilyGamers.com for older holiday lists, podcasts, and guides. Board games don’t expire!

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