I’ve already tackled the Holiday Picks list, but I always add a bonus Stocking Stuffers list that includes games that are smaller and often a bit cheaper (not always). Hopefully you’ll find some great gifts on these two lists!
Chuckle and Roar, Ages 3+, 1-2 players, ~10 minutes, $8 or more at Target only
Did you know that the inventors of this item first designed it as a GAME? Yep! And if you buy and original Pop It! (not the zillion knock offs) it comes with rules on how to play. Also if you buy the Letters and Numbers Pop It! it comes with rules for 2 games and 4 learning activities.
In A Flash Firefighter
HABA, Ages 5+, 2-4 players, ~15 minutes, ~$17 at Amazon
In a Flash Firefighter is a fun speed game for players ages 5+. It has players racing to get a hose from their fire hydrant to the fire first by grabbing hose pieces that edge-match the previous hose piece in line. When a player completes their hose, the round is over. They receive an award token and then they have to move their hydrant piece one space back making it harder for them to win the next round. The player who did the worst gets to move their hydrant forward one to make it easier during the next round. You can also start the game with hydrants at different spaces based on age/skill, making this a really fun game to play with a variety of ages. First to get 3 awards wins.
MindWare, Ages 6+, 3-5 players, 15 Minutes, ~$16 at MindWare
Admittedly, Feisty Dice is one of my designs — but I designed it with the intent that the WHOLE family can play it. Parents, teens, and even non-reading kids who are ~5/6 and up will enjoy playing this dice rolling game! Players are trying to be the first to cross off all of the colors on their card and they do that by scoring either all of the same color or 1 of each color dice on their turn. The fun is that at the end of your turn you get to keep all of the dice that are your color (and yellow) and then all other players grab the dice of their color. So that green player might be happy at the end of your turn because you rolled 4 green dice! And then you start your turn with a different number of dice each time. Lots of fun in one fancy tin! (note: this link is for MindWare, because it’s currently sold out on Amazon)
Poetry for Neanderthals
Exploding Kittens, Ages 7+, 2+ players, ~15 Minutes, ~$20 on Amazon
Poetry for Neanderthals is a bit ridiculous but also quite hilarious. You have to use one syllable words to explain a word or phrase on your card. If you use a multi-syllable word, you get hit with the inflatable club. Interestingly, it might take a tiny bit of brainpower to only use 1 syllable words since we don’t often spend time thinking about syllables. Altogether a good laugh!
GIGA Mech, Ages 14+ but I say 8+, 1 player, ~10 Minutes, ~$16 on Amazon
Orchard is a bit of an obscure choice, but it’s tiny — the box is like a double deck of poker cards. It’s also a solo player brainteaser type game. There’s a deck of 18 card each with 6 fruit trees on them. You play with only 9 cards and start with one of those cards face up on the table as your orchard. Put two cards in your hand and you have to add cards that overlap the other cards in your orchard. You use the dice to score. One point for 1 overlap, 3 for 2 overlaps, 6 for 3 overlaps, and the max is 10 points for 4 or more overlaps. Play all the cards and then total up your score. You can record it in the mini-rulebook and try to beat yourself or other players in your household. Orchard is a nice, quick, puzzle-y fun solo game. And I love the quick replay — discard the 9 cards you played with and grab the other nine to start right away without reshuffling!
Next post is going to be about Holiday THEMED games if that’s your jam this holiday season!