I really enjoyed all of these games this year (yes, some aren’t 2015 releases but I didn’t get to them until this year). Thanks for reading and I’m really hoping that whomever you buy for (yourself or someone else) will LOVE these games too!
Note: All the names have links to Amazon (except Klask) and Amazon purchases support my hosting fees, BUT I also encourage you to visit your local toy/game store as they keep the industry alive. They might also gift wrap for free. 😉
Top 2 Most Played (by ME) in 2015:
Splendor by Asmodee 2-4 players ages 10+ 30 min ~$30-40
Qwixx by Gamewright 2+ players ages 8+ 15 min $10
Splendor and Qwixx are the two games that I bought this year and I played the most (BY FAR). I love them both with only 2-players AND with more people (up to 4 for Splendor and for Qwixx, I think the most I played with was 7). While these games are quite different, I highly recommend them both. Splendor is slightly geekier strategy game: READ REVIEW Qwixx is a strategic dice game that makes a great stocking stuffer but do everyone a favor and buy extra score pads to go with it: READ REVIEW
Pre-School and Children’s Games
Koala Capers is one of my games so it’s self-serving to have it on this list, BUT I haven’t met a kid who didn’t love it – both as a toy and a game! It’s essentially the pattern version of Raccoon Rumpus (released in 2013), which is a HUGE HIT. The goal of both games is to dress your little character with outfits that match what you’ve rolled on the dice. First to 5 outfits wins, but be careful – rolling the underpants and you must return your character to their skivvies! READ REVIEW Raccoon Rumpus: REVIEW
Three Little Piggies by SMART Games 1 player ages 3-6 ~$25
This is the cutest solo-puzzle for 3-6 year olds. The puzzle has little houses that the pigs hide in for some puzzles that makes kids want to sit down and just PLAY with it. Three Little Piggies also has a really well illustrated picture book in the box that tells the story of the little pigs with the little girl pig kicking ass with her brick house! Yeah! READ REVIEW
Bugs in the Kitchen by Ravensburger 2-4 players ages 6+ 20 min ~$30
This is a great kids game with a huge toy-like feel to it. You’re trying to capture a HEXBUG by guiding it into your trap by moving utensils based on what you rolled (fork, knife, or spoon). It’s a little frenzied and has lots of different ways to start, so tons of repeat play value in this one!
Maze Racers by Foxmind 2-4 players ages 8+ 20 min $40
This is a great toy-esqe game for kids 8 and up. The quick overview is that you are creating a maze as fast as you can using magnetic walls, and then you’re solving your opponent’s maze as fast as you can by tilting the board to move a ball around. Great for kids who aren’t really into games too! READ REVEIW
New York 1901 by Blue Orange 2-4 players ages 8+ 30+ min ~$30-40
This game is a new type of offering from Blue Orange games, and kudos to them because I really enjoyed it. Easy family strategy game about controlling city blocks, building on them, and then knocking down and building bigger buildings for more points. This would be great for anyone who loves Ticket To Ride–type strategy games but needs something new to play! READ REVIEW
Klask available only at Marbles 2 players aged 8+ 15 min $60
Klask is a wacky Danish game that looks a little like air hockey but has some crazy magnet movers and a little ball instead of a puck. Looks strange and is kind of pricy but it’s addictive and everyone I know that has played it has enjoyed it – even when they lose badly! READ REVIEW
Rolling America by Gamewright 1+ players ages 8+ 10+ min ~$11
I just reviewed this one and without repeating myself too much I’m just going to say that this is an amazing brainteaser dice game that makes everyone feel like they’re losing badly in really weird frustrating yet super challenging way that makes you want to play it again right when you’ve finished. Curious? READ REVIEW
Codenames by Czech Games 4+ players* ages 14+ 15+ min ~$20
I just played this one for the first time this past weekend even thought it’s been on my radar for a while. I loved it! In fairness, I wrote that it’s for 4+ players but there are variations for 2 & 3 players that I have not tried. I played with 5 and while an even number might have been better it still worked out just fine. The game is quite simple. You lay out random word cards in a 5×5 grid and then 2 players are the callers (one for each team) and they get to see a graphic that shows that some cards are designated as Blue-owned cards, some are Red-owned cards, some are neutral, and one is the Assassin. The goal is for the caller to get the players on their team to guess all of their color words without guessing the assassin, as that will kill your team and ends the game. The challenge comes in when the caller says 1 word and then how many cards that word is associated with. So you might say “Pacific, 2” (and hope that your players get the words “Australia” and “Islands.” Okay—that’s an easy example. But the first team to get all of their words without guessing the assassin wins and coming up with clue words that cover multiple cards can be a challenge! There are some other fun little nuances to the game that I won’t cover in this short blurb. It’s $20 so just try it!
That’s it! Enjoy the last month of 2015 and I hope you get in lots of games with family and friends!