2023 Board Game Gift Guide
No matter what the occasion, 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! We’ve compiled a list of great 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 many 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.
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.
Stampfarm (our review) asks kids to roll dice and use stamps on their paper. There is scoring, but at the simplest level it’s just counting. This game will grow with kids and let them try a bit of strategy (and math) when they’re ready.
Disney It’s a Small World (our review) is based on the ride of the same name. Kids get to “flip” the walls around as they move their boats along the track while looking for matching items. Can you find the children and animals depicted on your cards?
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.
Monza (our review) is a racing game that suits kids just coming into the 6-9 year old age range. It’s got enough complexity that parents can play (even on their own, but don’t tell the kids!). With design informed by pediatric neuroscientists, Monza is specifically intended to help kids learn about sequencing.
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. Expect hours of fun solving the puzzles and reading each character’s responses.
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. Games here are also appropriate for older ages, but are simple enough for this level.
Junk Drawer (our review) Junk Drawer tackles a common problem in everyone’s house, the junk drawer. Strategically organize four drawers at once in this simultaneous play, polyomino placement puzzle. It’s easy to learn but comes with three levels of challenges that can be mixed in tons of combinations.
Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances (our review) pits your favorite Disney and Pixar characters in an epic arena battle. Build your team, then use their abilities to knockout your opponents and gain the most points! Since its release last year, there have been four expansions, adding even more of our favorite characters.
King of Tokyo – This game is a classic for a reason! Play as a giant Kaiju in this oversized battle game with Yahtzee mechanics. You’ll enjoy attacking each other and rolling for upgrades as you seek to gain control of the city of Tokyo.
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 at age 10+ (or even younger), but the themes and game style are more attractive to adults.
Starry Night Sky (our review) This gorgeous game is a little bit fragile alliance, a little bit Ticket to Ride. Complete constellations for points, and move between completed constellations to cast your net farther and farther. Starry Night Sky is beautiful and relaxing to play, and is a great game to play while catching up around the table.
Flamecraft (our review) is a game with a little bit of everything: worker placement, set collection, hand management, etc. Play as a Flamekeeper, placing dragons, collecting items, and enchanting the adorable shops in town. Adorable art and cute dragons pepper the game. Gameplay is surprisingly deep, while remaining mechanically simple.
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.
Roll to the Top: Journeys (our review) has you climbing landmarks by writing in numbers in ascending order. Choose dice to add or take away, for a slow-motion race with a little bit of arithmetic. (Buy directly from AllPlay.)
Green Team Wins (our review) is a quick and silly game for up to six players (or more with spare paper or the 12 player booster pack from 25th Century Games) 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!
Illiterati (our review) is a wonderfully collaborative scrabble-like word game. Fight against the evil Illiterati to save the world from ?word crimes?? We’re not really sure, but this is a super fun word-building game with adorable art and a theme that just barely ties it together – enough to learn some new vocabulary from the logophile in your family.
Games for Two
Whether it’s date night or special one-on-one times with a kiddo, these games are perfect for two players.
boop. (our review) is a little bit mean – but it’s so adorable, we don’t mind! Kittens and cats jump onto a bed and bump each other farther away. Can you make a line of three cats before your opponent does?
Royal Visit is a card-based see-saw battle of push and pull. Can you convince the king and his court to visit your duchy? This beautifully illustrated game belies its simplicity, and is a wonderful game to play on a sleepy Saturday morning with your partner, friend, or kiddo.
When you need a stocking stuffer or something small for a randomized gift exchange, these games are a great fit. Each of these games are under $20.
Math Rush (our review) is a math game, but it’s surprisingly fun. Parents will like it because it’s educational, but kids will enjoy racing the clock to put equations in order. Finally, math practice is meaningful!
The Sports Dice series (Hockey, Soccer, Baseball, and Football) (our reviews) are fast-moving dice-based games. Each one simulates a game in a way that is satisfying for fans, but easy to pick up for novices, as well.
Similo (our review) is back again! Perhaps one of our longest lasting holiday gift recommendations, Similo is a simple cooperative clue-giving game. It encourages conversation and collective reasoning without being heavy or hard to learn.
Sushi Go is a legendary pick-and-pass drafting game themed on cute Japanese food. This easy-to-approach game will have you coming back for more – even if you don’t like raw fish.
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.
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.
Blob Party (our review) Break this one out when you take a pause from opening presents! In Blob Party everyone at the table starts with a little piece of squishy dough (included). Everyone secretly answers a category and word combination. Whoever matches joins their blobs together and forms a team! Can your whole party make one mega-blob? Only one way to find out!
Super Mega Lucky Box (our review) is perfect for bingo-loving Grandma and for 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.
If you didn’t find quite what you wanted, check out the GIFTS tag here on TheFamilyGamers.com for older holiday lists, podcasts, and guides. Thankfully, board games don’t expire!
The best part about giving games as gifts is that you might get to play them with the recipient!
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