Holiday Board Game Gift Guide 2023 – killer board game gifts

If you're hunting for the best board game gifts of 2023, then look no further! This list has wallet-sized and wallet-friendly games; games for the first timer and for friends who have been playing for years. From lightweight games you can play in minutes to multi-hour games your gamer will love.

The last few years have seen a resurgence in the popularity of board games. Games about birds are selling millions of copies, live play RPG events are selling out 13,000 seat arenas, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide are spending time playing games with their friends, families, and even perfect strangers. All for the love of the game. And now you’re here, looking for gifts for friends, family, and coworkers. Never fear, our 2023 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide is up to the challenge.

The titles in our 8th annual 2023 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide represent the best games that this year has to offer, and have been hand picked to provide great holiday cheer to anyone who receives them. Our 2023 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide features a wide range of categories, from wallet-sized and wallet-friendly games, games for the first timer and games for friends who have been playing for years. From lightweight stocking stuffer games you can play in minutes to multi-hour epics your gamer will love. Or maybe you’re the board game geek and you’re on the prowl for something new and interesting! But no matter what you’re looking for, or who it’s for, the Meeple Mountain 2023 Holiday Board Game Gift Guide has something for everyone!

Small Games
Games on a Budget
Games for the First Time Gamer
Party Games
The Essential Collection
Games for the Family
Games for the Young Gamer
Games for the Experienced Gamer
Epic Games
Two Player & Solo Games
Apparel & Accessories

Small Games

These lightweight games prove that you don’t have to be big to have lots of “game”. Give these great games to your loved one and wait for the fun to start.


Trailblazers is a competitive outdoor adventure game, for up to 8 outdoorsy folks, where players aim to earn points by constructing biking, hiking, and kayaking loops from their campsite cards. The game involves drafting trail cards strategically, arranging them in their personal area, and completing closed loops that start and end at matching campsites. It’s so ultra-portable that the base game even comes with a clip so you can hook it to a backpack!

1-8 players, ages 8+, 30 minutes

Read our review of Trailblazers.

Around the World Fluxx

Take the ever-changing world of a Fluxx card game, add in a trip to some of the best-known sites around the world and this is what you get. It’s a fun game of global destinations for families, parties, or the closer to a weekly game night.

1-6 players, ages 8+, 5-30 minutes

Read our review of Around the World Fluxx.

Noobs in Space

Noobs in Space is a cooperative board game where a team of 3 to 5 players, each lacking complete knowledge, must navigate and complete tasks on a spaceship in outer space. Since players have only partial information, the challenge is to communicate effectively without revealing their cards, combining their knowledge to solve tasks. With a series of levels and tasks, the game unfolds as an action-packed event, requiring quick thinking and collaboration to succeed in the mission. Even better, it’s barely bigger than a paperback.

3-5 players, ages 10+, 15 minutes

Read our review of Noobs in Space.


GAP is a light card game in which players attempt to earn the most points. In each round of GAP you play cards from your hand in order to take cards from the middle of the table. The number of your most collected color cards minus the least collected color cards is your score at the end of a round. You continue collecting points over several rounds until someone reaches the total target number of points. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. GAP is an excellent addition to any collection with its clever gameplay, shimmery foil artwork, and small footprint.

2-6 players, ages 7+, 10-20 minutes

Read our review of GAP.

Deep Dive

Deep Dive is a penguin-themed press-your-luck set-collection game where players utilize their penguin friends to dive into the ocean and gather the most valuable tasto morsels. Turns involve flipping over ocean tiles, with players deciding whether to collect revealed items in the shallows or take a risk by diving deeper, where more abundant prey is countered by increased predator threats. Deep Dive is a great game for the family, but also has something for experienced gamers.

1-6 players, ages 10+, 15-20 minutes

Read our review of Deep Dive.

Fox in the Forest

The Fox in the Forest is a trick-taking game for two players, each playing cards to win tricks against the other over multiple rounds. Utilize the special abilities of Fairy Tale characters to change the trump suit, lead even after you lose a trick, and more. The beautiful illustrations of the unique characters will help you quickly analyze your options! Score points by winning more tricks than your opponent, but don’t get greedy! Win too many tricks, and you will fall like the villain in so many fairy tales.

2 players, ages 10+, 30 minutes

Read our review of Fox in the Forest.

Games on a Budget

While there’s nothing wrong with expensive games, we know there’s people out there who want to maximize their dollar. The games on this list will help you pinch your pennies without sacrificing great gameplay.


Fiction is a deception game inspired by Wordle, where one player takes on the role of the Lie-brarian and selects a secret word from classic literature. The remaining players have ten guesses and two ten-minute time periods to work as a team to figure out the word. However, the Lie-brarian gets to seed the clues with one intentional lie, and the outcome is determined by whether the guessers uncover the word within the given constraints or if the Lie-brarian successfully stalls them. Fiction is part of the “1 Minute to Teach” series from All Play.

2-8 players, ages 10+, 20 minutes

Read our review of Fiction.

800 Pound Gorilla

In 800 Pound Gorilla, players are in a jungle surrounded by countless gorillas of different sizes. Spin the spinner to determine the gameplay. If the spinner lands on a gorilla, quickly find the right-size gorilla — but your eyes may deceive you! If the spinner lands on coconuts or bananas, act quickly and resolve the action/phrase card, then race to grab the bananas and coconuts on the table. 800 Pound Gorilla is loads of fun, and easy on the wallet.

3-6 players, ages 8+, 10-15 minutes

Read our review of 800 Pound Gorilla.

Romi Rami

Romi Rami is a new entry in the family of Rummy games. The game involves a double market, with one section featuring number cards and the other containing contracts to fulfill. Players aim to earn the most points by optimizing combinations required by the contracts and strategically pursuing trophies that vary from game to game, ultimately aiming for the top spot on the podium. Romi Rami is a simple and accessible game, with crystal clear graphic design, and gameplay that will keep you engaged.

2-4 players, ages 8+, 30 minutes

Read our review of Romi Rami.


Inheritors is a 2-4 player card game featuring open drafting and hand management mechanics, where players, as the King’s Inheritors, strive to gain influence among five clans and secure their place on the throne. The game involves building influence in different realms, gaining the support of unique Clan leaders, utilizing Advocates to outsmart opponents, racing to claim Honors, and embarking on Quests to prove oneself to the Realms. Inheritors offers a satisfying gaming experience. with a wallet-friendly price point.

2-4 players, ages 10+, 30-45 minutes

Read our review of Inheritors

Games for the First Time Gamer

Can you believe that every day there are people who are playing modern board games for the first time? The games on this list are sure to delight and engage first-timers and experienced players alike. If you’re trying to introduce board games to someone in your life, these titles are an excellent place to start!

Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition) glamour shot.

Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition)

Celebrate 100 years of Disney magic with this commemorative edition of the award-winning Disney Villainous game, Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition). This limited-edition game reintroduces four classic Disney Villains – Maleficent, Captain Hook, Ursula and Prince John – along with streamlined gameplay for beginners. Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition) also introduces first-ever QR codes to the game’s rulebook, a new box design featuring Ursula, lustrous movers and platinum rainbow-foil packaging, as well as a Disney100 sticker.

Buy a copy of Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition) from Target.

2-5 players, ages 8+, 30 minutes

Read our review of Disney Villainous: Introduction to Evil (Disney100 Edition).

In the Footsteps of Darwin

In the Footsteps of Darwin is a board game where players take on the roles of junior naturalists aboard the HMS Beagle, assisting Charles Darwin in completing his book, On the Origin of Species. Players study animals, conduct cartographic surveys, publish findings, and develop theories by selecting tiles from the Beagle’s journey. Grouped with a number of recent games about Charles Darwin, In the Footsteps of Darwin is a streamlined and satisfying game for beginners and experienced gamers alike.

2-5 players, ages 8+, 30 minutes

Read our review of In the Footsteps of Darwin.

Everdell Farshore

Everdell Farshore is a standalone board game set in the country of Farshore, a land filled with adventure and mystery. Players lead a crew of critter workers through each season of the year, constructing a prosperous city and exploring the enchanting ocean. Success in the game hinges on careful planning, adaptability to changing circumstances, and strategic choices in building and sailing as players embark on an adventurous journey. Everdell Farshore can serve as a great entry point to the world of Everdell, or as an addition to your Everdell collection.

1-4 players, ages 10+, 40-80 minutes

Read our review of Everdell Farshore.

Dorfromantik: The Board Game

Dorfromantik: The Board Game transforms the popular cozy video game into a family board game for all ages. In this tabletop adaptation, up to 6 players collaborate to lay hexagonal tiles and create a beautiful landscape, fulfilling the orders of the population and strategically constructing long tracks and rivers. The game also features a replayable campaign mode where earned points unlock new tiles with additional tasks, allowing players to progressively increase their high scores. Dorfromantik: The Board Game has an easy onramp for new players, but also has satisfying challenges for experienced gamers.

1-6 players, ages 8+, 30-60 minutes

Read our review of Dorfromantik: The Board Game.

Party Games

These lightweight games prove that you don’t have to be big to have lots of “game”. Give these great games to your loved one and wait for the fun to start.

Everything Ever

Everything Ever is a game where players show off their knowledge across a range of categories like movies, soap brands, and dinosaurs. Players take turns listing items that are able to fit 2 categories simultaneously, while avoiding repetition of previously mentioned things. Everything Ever involves strategic play of category cards, penalties for inability to name items, and judge cards to keep track of answers, with the goal of collecting the fewest cards by the end of the game. Get your group together and talk about everything…ever.

2-10 players, ages 12+, 20-60 minutes

Read our review of Everything Ever.


Chicken! is a dice game where players press their luck to score points by rolling dice with Chickens while avoiding Foxes. Players can choose to roll all the dice passed to them or “chicken out” and roll fewer dice, scoring points for Chickens but busting if three or more Foxes appear. Egg symbols hatch dice from the Coop, and players decide whether to reroll or score points, aiming to be the first to reach 25 points and win the game. Chicken! is a blast and is sure to generate loads of groans, laughs, and cheers.

2-8 players, ages 8+, 10-20 minutes

Read our review of Chicken.


Monikers is a party game based on the public domain game Celebrities, where players take turns attempting to get their teammates to guess names by describing or imitating well-known people. In the first round, clue givers can say anything they want, except for the name itself. For the second round, clue givers can only say one word. And in the final round, clue givers can’t say anything at all: they can only use gestures and charades. Monikers supports a high player counts which means more of a good time.

4-16 players, ages 17+, 30-60 minutes

Read our review of Monikers.

Green Team Wins

Green Team Wins is a hilarious party game played over 15 rounds. Each round begins with one of 3 types of questions: Fill in the Blank, This or That, or Multiple Choice. Players simultaneously write their answers on their dry-erase board, and those with the most popular response join the green team while the other players join the orange team. Players moving from orange to green earn one point, and those already on the green team earn two points. Simple, easy, and fun, Green Team Wins will entertain your group for hours.

3-12 players, ages 10+, 15-45 minutes

Read our review of Green Team Wins.


Dubious is a deduction game where players aim to discern details about each other’s characters, such as occupation and secrets, based on their stories and responses to questions. Players must answer five questions and use their detective skills to guess the identity of others. The game involves creating a narrative for one’s character, listening to others’ stories, and showcasing detective finesse to win the majority of guesses.

3-6 players, ages 13+, 30 minutes

The Essential Collection

Amun-Re: 20th Anniversary Edition

In Amun-Re: 20th Anniversary Edition players act as leaders of royal Egyptian families, and aim to build the most pyramids. To achieve this, they acquire provinces for trading and farming, purchase building stones, and make use of power cards while offering sacrifices to the gods. The Amun-Re: 20th Anniversary Edition introduces a number of new modules which offer additional bidding strategies, bonus tiles, unique powers. There’s never been a better time to pick up this classic Reiner Knizia strategy game.

3-5 players, ages 12+, 90 minutes

Read our review of Amun-Re: 20th Anniversary Edition.


Azulejos are a form of intricately detailed and colorful glazed tile found all over the country of Portugal. They were also the inspiration for the smash hit and Spiel des Jahres winning strategy game Azul. In Azul players collect tiles from a central play area and place them onto their personal player board; the goal being to cover one section of their board with tiles of 5 different colors. Easy to teach, satisfying to play, and full of gorgeous artwork and great components, Azul is a board game that belongs in any collection.

2-4 players, ages 8+, 30-45 minutes

Read our review of Azul


If you’ve played board games in the past few years then there’s a good chance you’ve either played, or at least have heard of, Splendor from Space Cowboys. It’s a streamlined engine building game in which players work to gather raw gemstones, polish and refine them, before finally selling them to various wealthy patrons. Sure the theme is a bit dry, but the gameplay is great, and those gem tokens are so satisfying to play with.

2-4 players, ages 10+, 30 minutes

Find out why we love Splendor


Who knew that a game about birds, from an unknown designer, would descend upon the gaming world like a flock of starlings? Stonemaier Games did when they took a chance on Wingspan! And they were rewarded with a huge hit, including a Kennerspiel des Jahres win. Wingspan is a card driven game about bird enthusiasts – discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves and earn the most points to win the game. Come for the gameplay, stay for the multitude of photorealistic bird illustrations.

1-5 players, ages 10+, 40-70 minutes

Read our review of Wingspan

The Search for Lost Species

Thousands of plants and animals have been discovered but haven’t been seen for decades and could be on the brink of extinction. In order to save these species, we must first find them again. The Search for Lost Species is an eco-friendly game about this real-world search utilizing the game system created for the award-winning Search for Planet X.

1-4 players, ages 13+, 60-75 minutes


Furnace is an engine-building Eurogame set in the 19th century, where players act as capitalists aiming to build industrial corporations and accumulate wealth. The game involves auction and production phases over four rounds. During auctions, players strategically place discs on company cards, aiming to claim them and gain resources or processing abilities, followed by a production phase where cards are used to acquire resources, process them, and upgrade cards. Add in 2022’s Interbellum expansion and the handy playmat to complete the collection.

2-4 players, ages 12+, 30-60 minutes

Games for the Family

Family game night is a classic activity dating back decades. It’s good to know that with the surge in popularity for board games, many families are still sticking to this tradition. Liven up your family game night with one of these modern choices, and make memories you’ll cherish for years to come.

Castles by the Sea

Castles by the Sea is a sandcastle-building game for 1-4 players where shorelings aim to construct and populate a seaside kingdom. Similar to abstract strategy games like Santorini, players strategically place blocks and meeples on a shared grid to earn victory points. Castles by the Sea features very little randomness, with hazards depending on player choices, and concludes after a set number of turns, determining the winner based on the kingdom which has the most sand dollars.

1-4 players, ages 12+, 30-60 minutes

Read our review of Castles by the Sea.

First in Flight

First in Flight is a push-your-luck, deck-building game centered around the early race for aviation, with players assuming the roles of historical pioneers like the Wright Brothers and Samuel Langley. Each player’s flyer design, represented by a deck of cards, undergoes continual improvement and refinement, potentially harboring unknown design flaws that can affect success. First in Flight features a blackjack-style flying challenge to test designs, break records, and gain experience. The game encourages players to return to the workshop to enhance their flyers and customize strategies with numerous technologies, pilot skills, and field friends.

1-4 players, ages 12+, 45-75 minutes

Read our review of First in Flight.

Fit to Print

Fit to Print is a tile-laying game set in the bustling town of Thistleville, where players take on the role of newspaper editors competing to create the most newsworthy front page. In the game, players simultaneously collect newspaper tiles (photos, headlines, and ads spots), then strategically placing them on their desks to construct the perfect front page layout. Fit to Print has a real-time mode for a hectic spatial puzzle experience or alternative modes like Slo-Mode and Puzzle Mode to cater to various play styles, making it a great family game.

1-6 players, ages 10+, 15-45 minutes

Read our review of Fit to Print.

After Us

After Us is a deck-building and resource management game set in a post-apocalyptic world where apes have evolved, forming tribes and striving for collective intelligence. As the leader of a tribe, each player starts with tamarins and must strategically combine cards each turn to collect resources and gain victory points, recruiting powerful gorillas, resourceful orangutans, versatile chimpanzees, and wise mandrills into their tribe. After Us ends when one player reaches 80 points, marking their success in the race to achieve collective intelligence and win the game.

1-6 players, ages 12+, 40-60 minutes

Read our review of After Us.

Hey, That’s My Fish

Don’t let these cute penguins fool you. One beauty of this game is that you can play it simply as a clever little game with the kids. They’ll love moving the penguins around the board, creating holes from where they moved from. (Bonus: they’ll need to add up their own scores!) Then, if you want a deeper dive into the game, play it with one other person and see just how impressive the game really is.

2-4 players, 8+ 20 minutes

Read our review of Hey, That’s My Fish.

Robo Rally

If you thought that factory robots took the weekend off like you do (well, most of you), then you haven’t seen a Robo Rally yet. When the supervisors are gone and the cameras have been angled to watch the ceiling, the robots take charge and participate in exciting and deadly race-battles. Robo Rally is a competitive racing game full of robotic chaos! Program your robot to tag checkpoints, attach powerful upgrades, and turn this dreary old warehouse into a fabulous fast and frenzied fun factory!

2-6 players, ages 12+, 45-90 minutes

Games for the Young Gamer

The dream of every board game loving parent is a child to follow in their footsteps: shuffling cards, rolling dice, and maybe even beating mom or dad at their favorite strategy game. But you can’t just expect your little one to jump into a game of The Castles of Burgundy, you’ve got to start them off gradually. The games on this list are tailor made for younger minds and hands, and are sure to grab their attention.If this list isn’t enough, then check out our top lists of games for younger kids, and for older kids.

Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy!

Capt’n Pepe’s Board Game Ahoy! is a cooperative legacy game designed for the whole family. It features an adventure with Captain Pepe and his animal crew across 25 chapters. In this unique board game, players experience a changing narrative and rules from game to game, adding new elements and modifying pieces using stickers. Capt’n Pepe’s Board Game Ahoy! invites players to embark on an exciting and evolving journey, making it more than just an ordinary board game, and ensuring your children will love every minute.

2-5 players, ages 6+, 20 minutes

Read our review of Capt’n Pepe: Treasure Ahoy!.

Exit: The Game–Kids: Jungle of Riddles

Exit: The Game – Kids: Jungle of Riddles is an escape room-style board game designed for children, featuring an engaging jungle theme. In this game, players take on the roles of young adventurers navigating through the jungle, solving puzzles and riddles to progress. Aimed at kids, Exit: The Game – Kids: Jungle of Riddles offers a series of challenging and interactive puzzles, encouraging teamwork and problem-solving skills.

1-4 players, ages 6+, 20 minutes

Read our review of Exit: The Game–Kids: Jungle of Riddles.


Spots by CMYK Games is a casual push-your-luck game where players roll and place dice onto dog cards, aiming to match spots. Unplaced dice are buried in the yard, and if too many are buried, the player busts. The objective is to complete six dogs cards for victory, making each turn a mix of risk-taking, laughter, and interesting decisions in this simple yet strategically engaging game. The artwork in Spots is adorable, and who doesn’t love a good dog-themed board game?

1-4 players, ages 10+, 20-30 minutes

Read our review of Spots.

Games for the Experienced Gamer

Experienced board games can be hard to please. They’ve either played every game, or own every game. But we guarantee that the titles on this list will delight even the most discerning gamer.

Darwin’s Journey

In Darwin’s Journey, players embark on a worker-placement Eurogame that recreates Charles Darwin’s exploration of the Galapagos Islands, shaping the development of his theory of evolution. As players progress they leverage the game’s innovative worker progression system, engaging in activities like exploration, correspondence, gathering, and dispatching repertoires to contribute to the understanding of biology. Darwin’s Journey takes place over the course of five rounds, and features a variety of short and long-term objectives. Each action taken in the game earns victory points in different ways, providing an immersive and deeply satisfying experience of Darwin’s scientific journey.

1-4 players, ages 14+, 60-120 minutes

Read our review of Darwin’s Journey

Motor City

Motor City is a heavy roll-and-write game from the designers of Three Sisters and Fleet: The Dice Game, and set in the prime era of Detroit’s auto industry. Players manage an auto plant on dual player sheets, progressing through interconnected tracks that offer bonuses and unlock points. Motor City spans eight rounds, involving dice drafting and placement on the blueprint table, with points scored for advancements in engineering, assembly, testing, and more, determining the winner based on overall progress and points. Motor City is combo-licious and would be a great gift for the car fan in your life.

1-5 players, ages 14+, 45-60 minutes

Read our review of Motor City.

East India Companies

East India Companies immerses players in the 18th and 19th-century era of shipping, trade, and commerce between the West and the Far East. In this strategic game, players take on the role of managing a large shipping company, navigating the complexities of trading posts in India. Decisions involve managing ships, investing in shares, and strategically responding to the constantly fluctuating market prices of sought-after commodities like tea, spices, coffee, and silk. East India Companies is a hidden gem you should definitely take onto the high seas..

2-4 players, ages 14+, 90-120 minutes

Read our review of East India Companies.

Ierusalem: Anno Domini

Ierusalem: Anno Domini transports players to Jerusalem in 33 AD, where they represent communities of Jesus of Nazareth’s followers aiming to approach the site of the Last Supper. The goal is to position followers as close as possible to Jesus and his apostles, earning points for proximity and contributions. Players strategically navigate locations, gather resources, and utilize cards to form combinations, all while managing the growing impatience of the Sanhedrin, making optimal placement and resource management crucial for victory. Devout gamers don’t need to look further: Ierusalem: Anno Domini is your game!

1-4 players, ages 12+, 90 minutes

Read our review of Ierusalem: Anno Domini.

The White Castle

The White Castle is a Euro-style board game in which players control clans vying for victory points in Himeji Castle. It focuses on resource management, worker placement, and dice actions. Over three rounds, players strategically deploy clan members to tend gardens, defend the castle, and climb the social ladder, earning victory points in various ways. The White Castle features Himeji Castle’s visually stunning layout, including its rooms, gardens, walls, and bridges, with accessible rules and deep strategic depth, making it one of this year’s standout hits.

1-4 players, ages 12+, 80 minutes

Read our review of The White Castle.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester

​​Codex Leicester is a worker placement game for 1 to 5 players, designed as a reimplementation of 2006’s Leonardo da Vinci. In this game, players take on the role of inventors drawing inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific journal, the Codex Leicester, working to bring their designs to life. Players race against time, managing workshops, procuring Automata, and hiring apprentices to be the foremost in completing inventions and amassing the largest fortune after 7 rounds.

1-5 players, ages 14+, 30-150 minutes

Read our review of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester.

My Father’s Work

My Father’s Work is a multi-generational game of mad scientists and their offspring. Players try to bring their maniacal ancestor’s greatest work to fruition by collecting the ingredients for experiments. Along the way, you’ll also be playing within three different storylines, each with decision points that will alter the landscape and your ability to get work done. My Father’s Work is one of Tom’s favorite games of 2023.

2-4 players, ages 12+, 60+ minutes per player

Read our review of My Father’s Work.

Paladins of the West Kingdom

Paladins of the West Kingdom is a game of efficiency across multiple areas on your player board. Being a generalist won’t score you points, but specializing in only one area won’t win you the game, either. With your actions being determined in part by the Paladin you choose for each round and the available workers, each game will be different. Paladins of the West Kingdom offers deep, complex, and sophisticated gameplay to satisfy even the most discerning of players.

1-4 players, 12+, 90-120 minutes

Read our review of Paladins of the West Kingdom.

Epic Games

If you love multi-hour gaming sessions that immerse you into other worlds, with deep lore, and strategic gameplay, then the games on this list were designed just for you. Epic in scope, and sometimes in physical weight, these games will take you on a deep dive and keep you immersed from beginning to end. Just make sure to stay hydrated, and don’t forget the game night snacks!

Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory

Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory is an asymmetric politico-economic card-driven board game designed for 2-4 players, each representing a socio-economic group in a fictional state. The game involves players strategically navigating policies such as Taxation, Labor Market, and Foreign Trade to achieve their class-specific goals. Drawing inspiration from actual academic principles like Social-Democracy and Neoliberalism, Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory offers players a dynamic and engaging experience as they aim to increase the power of their class and pursue victory through various strategic paths.

2-4 players, ages 14+, 90-180 minutes

Read our review of Hegemony: Lead Your Class to Victory.

Thunder Road: Vendetta

Thunder Road: Vendetta is a newly restored version of the classic 1986 game focused on chaotic car mayhem. Players gather their crew, roll dice, race cars, and engage in gun battles while navigating random hazard tokens such as wrecks and oil slicks. In this updated version, damage is not a one-and-done affair; players draw damage tokens with varied effects, providing more strategic choices during their turns, such as repairing damage, using nitro boosts, or deploying an attack copter for added mayhem. Head into the badlands with Thunder Road: Vendetta.

2-4 players, ages 10+, 45-75 minutes

Read our review of Thunder Road: Vendetta.

Freelancers: A Crossroads

In Freelancers: A Crossroads Game, humanity is gone, leaving behind a broken gig economy and heaps of garbage. As a freelancer, players take on loathsome jobs, delving into ruins, facing wild creatures, and collecting loot to blow and start anew each day. Freelancers: A Crossroads Game offers a fantasy RPG experience condensed into a single night, featuring funky dice, multiple stories, and a magical companion app that handles storytelling with fully-voiced audio and hundreds of branching paths.

3-7 players, ages 14+, 90-180 minutes

Read our review of Freelancers: A Crossroads.


Frosthaven is a standalone adventure from the creators of Gloomhaven. The game is set in a small outpost far to the north of White Oak, struggling against harsh weather and invasions. In Frosthaven, a group of mercenaries aim to save the settlement from destruction, facing threats like Algox, Lurkers, and rumors of wandering machines. With sixteen new characters, three races, over twenty enemies, and a 100-scenario campaign, Frosthaven expands on Gloomhaven‘s combat mechanisms, introducing more non-combat activities like solving mysteries and managing the village’s expansion through a seasonal event system.

1-4 players, ages 14+, 30-120 minutes

Read our review of Frosthaven.

Two Player & Solo Games

Sometimes you just want to play head to head, skill against skill, and see who comes out on top. Or sometimes you just want to spend quality time with that special someone in your life. In any case the games on this list are custom made for two. Just add a table, and let the gaming commence.

Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa

Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa is a two-player card-driven game from GMT’s Lunchtime Series, expanding on the award-winning Twilight Struggle. Set in 1974, the game focuses on the Horn of Africa, where the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia triggers Cold War competition. With a more limited scope and shorter playtime, Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa offers a perfect introduction to the Twilight Struggle system while maintaining the tension, decision-making, and thematic elements of the original classic, with cards from both games interchangeable.

2 players, ages 12+, 35-75 minutes

Read our review of Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa.


Lacuna is a delightful and meditative game for 2 players about collecting flowers on a pond at night. Draw an imaginary line between two flowers, place your pawn, and collect both flowers. Win by collecting the most flowers in the most colors! Don’t let the fact that it comes in a tube fool you, Lacuna is great!

2 players, ages 8+, 10-15 minutes

Read our review of Lacuna.

Sky Team

Sky Team is a cooperative game, designed exclusively for 2 players, which simulates the roles of pilot and co-pilot working together to successfully land an airliner at various airports worldwide. Players must silently assign dice to specific cockpit spaces, managing factors like balance, speed, flaps, landing gear, communication with the control tower, and even a coffee break to alter dice values. With the risk of stalling, overshooting, or colliding, players navigate challenges from Montreal to Tokyo, aiming to avoid disasters and successfully land the plane in a smooth and controlled manner.

2 players, ages 12+, 15 minutes

Read our review of Sky Team.

Eila and Something Shiny

Eila and Something Shiny is a story-rich board game designed for 1 or more players, offering a mystical adventure set in a deep forest. Players assume the role of Eila, an innocent rabbit embarking on a life-changing journey, navigating underground mazes and snowy highlands. The game unfolds across 5 chapters with branching story paths, allowing players to solve puzzles, manage resources, and make choices that impact the narrative, exploring mature themes such as loss within a captivating and emotional story.

1 player, ages 8+, 30-45 minutes

Read our review of Eila and Something Shiny.


Onitama is a chess-inspired, two-player abstract game with perfect information and a random starting set-up played on a 5×5 board. Each player has two open cards displaying possible moves for their pieces, and there is a fifth shared card. Players choose a card, move a piece accordingly, and exchange the used card with the shared one. Victory is achieved by capturing the opponent’s main pawn or moving one’s main pawn into the opponent’s main pawn’s starting space. Zen has nothing on Onitama.

2 players, ages 10+, 15-20 minutes

Read our review of Onitama.

Air, Land & Sea: Critters at War

In Air, Land & Sea: Critters at War, two players vie for control over each theater of war by playing cards and strategically utilizing their special abilities to win battles. Whoever gains the most victory points over several battles wins the war! Critters at War is a re-release of Air, Land & Sea, but with 100% critters and more vibrant colors. Fans of the classic video game Worms will love this version! Add on the stand-alone expansion Flies, Lies & Supplies for even more critter combat.

2 players, ages 14+, 15-30 minutes

Read our reviews of Air, Land & Sea.
Read our review of Spies, Lies & Supplies.

Apparel & Accessories

Passionate gamers know that cardboard just isn’t enough. Fly your board gamer flag high with these great t-shirts and accessories; an excellent way to let friends, family, and perfect strangers know just how much you love board games.

Meeple Mountain Gaming Icons T-Shirt

Show your love for Meeple Mountain and for your favorite hobby all in one great tshirt. The Meeple Mountain Gaming Icons shirt is printed on ultra-soft Bella Canvas tees and is available in sizes S through XXXL.

 Buy now

Looking for something we've recommended before? Check out the ghosts of Holiday Gift Guides past!

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Promoted listings are sponsored by advertisers, but approved and vetted by Meeple Mountain.

About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.


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  • A lot of good stuff to choose from here! Thanks for the rundown.

    One question — do you see the T-Shirts being available in XXXL again anytime soon?

    Thanks again. You guys rock.

    • Thanks! We print a batch of shirts in advance in order to reduce costs. The downside is that once we sell out of a size it takes us a while before we have another one ready. I’m considering moving to a print on demand approach though. It means we earn a bit less per shirt, but sizes will always be available. It also means we can release more designs without needing to front $1000 or more for printing. 😀

    • You chose to remain anonymous, so you won’t get a notification about this reply, but perhaps you’ll see it if you revisit, and others will see this reply as well.

      We include an Amazon affiliate disclaimer in the footer of every page. We also include a disclaimer at the bottom of this particular article.

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