In this shortened holiday season I feel like time is flying past and I’ve barely finished half of my holiday shopping and I just realized today that Christmas is less that two weeks away. Just as I need to get moving on my holiday shopping lists, I also need to get a holiday suggestion article published. There are many sites who do end of year best of guides – but this site always has a slightly different take on the holiday article. This year, I’m going to tackle games that make great stocking stuffers.
I know everyone has a different view on what exactly a “stocking stuffer” is so we’re going to use the term very loosely. These games had to fit into the pretty standard sized stocking I have and it had to be less than $20. This means that they could also be good gifts for anyone who has to lug bags full of presents from their house to their relatives – or worse, ship boxes of gifts cross country.
This game has nothing to do with poker but there are definitely cockroaches in it. It’s a bluffing game where 2-6 players try to trick their neighbors into believing them. There are seven different types of critters in the deck and a player will place one card on the table and declare “This is a Rat” (or one of the other critters) and the next player in line will have to either: 1. Agree or disagree or 2. Pass the card. If a player agrees or disagrees, they flip it over and whoever was wrong or lied has to place the card in front of them. If a player chooses to pass the card, they can take a peek at it before passing it to the next player in line. They might say “This is a Rat” or they can change it and say “This is a Cockroach.” Play goes until a player has 4 of the same type of card face-up front of them. Great game for a group of adults and kids from ages 8 and up.
Kakerlakenpoker Royal Stats:
~$15 at Amazon and your local game store
Ages 8 and up
This ridiculous card game is based around the idea of a cage match between animals with insane attributes. Each card has 2 things on it: an animal and an attribute. Players each toss in an animal (shark, shrimp, etc.) they like to start the round and one is added from the deck. After being mixed up they are put face-up for everyone to see. Now looking at the attribute side of their cards, each player adds 3 cards to any of the animals on the table. You can add them to your own, to someone else’s animal and the three can be together or separate – doesn’t matter. Once everyone is done, the player who is the judge for the round reads the new animals (“Sassy shark who is afraid of sea creatures” vs. “Transparent Rabid Shrimp” vs. “Near-sighted Sloth with 2-foot long incisors” and selects a winner. You’ve got to love ridiculous to like this one, but if you do there are a lot of good laughs in this little box!
UnNatural Selection Stats:
$9-11 at Amazon, RandRGames.com and your local game store
Ages 8 and up
This game doesn’t require much brainpower and is exactly what you think it’s going to be given that it’s 25 magnetic “rocks.” Give 1 magnet to each player and then place the rest of the magnets a couple inches apart on a flat surface. The first player flicks their shooter magnet across the table trying to “capture” other magnets. When you shoot, the magnets either clump together or repel away. You get to keep the magnets that clump to your shooter and the rest remain on the table. You play until all of the magnets are gone and the player with the most is the winner. Silly but fun skill game, just remember kids: magnets DO NOT go in your mouth. Game is for ages 14+ (probably due to the magnets), 2-5 players takes about 10 minutes.
~$16 at RandRGames.com and your local game store
Ages 14 and up (because of magnets)
Games I reviewed this year that are also great choices:
5. Cards Against Humanity – almost any 20/30 something with a sense of humor will enjoy this game. Just don’t give it in front of an old grandmother who might want to suggest the whole family play as this is definitely not suitable for anyone under 16 unless you really want to give them an interesting holiday education. (4 or more players) $25 AMAZON
I was looking for a great little kids game to add to this list but it’s kind of hard to find small, compact games for the younger set. So 100% shameless plug – it’s going to be a tight squeeze but it just fit into my stocking: Raccoon Rumpus. It’s gotten all sorts of great reviews (beyond me) and has been named to loads of holiday wish lists including FamilyFun Magazine’s to 30 Coolest Toys of 2013. So it’s worth a peek. (Ages 3+) ~$10-12 AMAZON
Lastly, thanks everyone for a great 2013! Have a wonderful holiday season and don’t forget to PLAY SOME GAMES! (yes, introduce your relatives to new game, they’ll thank you for it!)