Play and Gift These Games This Season of Giving

Let’s roll the dice and see where it takes us.

This year has been playing games with all of us, there’s no doubt about it. But, since we’re all enjoying the holidays and spending more time than ever with family, what’s a better way to do it than with game night?

A great way to bring together/divide people, you can’t really go wrong with a great board or card game as a gift this season. From those moments of sheer joy when you realize you’re on the verge of victory, to those where you can’t help but utter “I regret every choice I’ve made,” here are some of VMAN’s picks for games to gift to evoke all those images.

Just One ($20)

Image credits: Repos Production

“Just One” is one of those games when you have to come together for the good of the group. As a group, you band together to get the person in the hot seat guess a word while each providing one word clues, ala a group version of “Codenames” or “Password.”

Clue: Harry Potter ($55)

Image credits: Hasbro

“Clue” is a fantastic classic of a game already, when you add Harry Potter to the mix, it just goes up by five notches. Solve the mysterious disappearance of a student with the help of your favorite HP characters and a game that includes spots from the HP Universe AND secret passageways.

Jonathan Adler Bowtie Backgammon Set ($395)

Image credits: Jonathan Adler

This backgammon set from Jonathan Adler adds a touch of luxury to the age old classic board game, a definite cut above just playing an app version on your phone. And when you’re done, the board closes up into a 60s inspired bowtie patterned-box that brings new meaning to the term “parlor game.”

Conspiracy Theory Board Game ($35)

Image credits: Neddy Games

If the X-Files theme song is your ringtone, this might be a good pick for you. Use the cards to test your knowledge of popular conspiracy theories and try not to get fooled by cover-ups. Each card also comes with a QR code to read more about the theory.

Back To the Future: Back in Time ($25)

Image credits: Funko

Jesus Christ, Doc, this game is a blast to the past…or is it the future? Either way, the game based on the beloved 35 year-old (!!) movie has you play as one of the movie’s central characters to unravel the time-travelling plot and face off against Biff and his motley crew.

Marble Chess Game ($100)

Image credits: CB2

Hand-carved and hand-polished by artisans in India, where the game originated in the first place, this marble version (that’s soaring in popularity thanks to Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit”) is a beautiful and detailed take on a game that continues to be played by millions around the world.

Acrylic Tic Tac Toe ($60)

Image credits: West Elm

This game is exactly what it says it is: acrylic tic tac toe. This life-sized version of the classic mini-game allows you to make a board game out of what’s usually a great way to pass a few minutes. Plus, it’s so sleek that it looks just as great on the mantelpiece. 

Do You Know Me? ($20)

Image credits: What Do You Meme LLC

This game may not be the best for a middle school slumber party, but for a middle aged one it’s perfect! Test your knowledge of your fellow players by putting yourself in the hot seat and having people answer weirdly personal questions about whether they think you did something or not.

What Do You Meme? ($30)

Image credits: What Do You Meme LLC

The original “What Do You Meme,” this is basically the Zoomer version of “Cards Against Humanity” that has you create memes to appease the judge using photos and caption cards. Again, maybe not the most kid friendly game in the world.

Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros ($78)

Image credits: Nintendo

Technically not a board or card game, but one that should throw you back to a simpler time regardless. This updated take on the original “Game & Watch” features some of the most well-known Mario games and allows you to come face to face with a piece of gaming history.

Luxury Monopoly Game ($230)

Image credits: Vermont Country Store/Hasbro A luxurious take on the Hasbro classic, bask in the faux leather rolling area for the dice. Or store your pawns and cards in the cherrywood cabinet with metal finishes. Everything about this version is timeless and is the kind of heirloom that gets passed down from one generation to the other.

Pandemic ($35)

Image credits: Z-Man Games

Okay, a bit on the nose, a bit traumatic, but potentially cathartic. Playing a game about trying to eradicate a global pandemic with a team of specialists isn’t any different from wanting to watch Contagion at the start of lockdown. Also, considering your goal is to get rid of the in-game epidemic, it has some nice parallels with where we’re currently at in the real world.

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