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Published on August 13th, 2014 | by Nicole Jekich


Board Game Gift Guide and Recommendations

If you’re looking to buy a game as a present for a family member, friend or acquaintance, we have five recommendations that cover a wide variety of game types and styles from different publishers and designers. If you need some more game buying assistance or have a question about a game purchase, we’d be happy to answer your questions in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

millenium falcon
starter pack

tie interceptor


X-Wing is a Star Wars franchise, miniatures strategy game with individual or team versus gameplay. The miniatures are painted up like iconic Star Wars space vehicles like TIE fighters, Z-95 Headhunter, Y-wings and X wings, where the game derives its name. Players enjoy collecting the minis as much as they do playing the actual game. It’s success is rooted in a very strong nostalgia for players because it is basically a grown-up version of playing with figurines in the elementary school sandbox.

Purchasing X-Wing figures is a welcomed gift for a person who 1) likes the Star Wars franchise 2) is interested in miniatures or miniatures games, the most obvious, 3) really, really likes playing this game! X-Wing is probably the only game that welcomes duplicates. If the recipient of your gift has more than one TIE Interceptor that won’t be a problem. Extra figurines only add to their massive army.

The starter set to bring someone into X-Wing: $30 Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Core Set

Various X-Wing Expansion packs to choose from: $10-$25 each X-Wing Expansions

Those Special Big Units: Millennium Falcon | Rebel Transport | Tantive IV | Slave I





Oh My God! There’s An Axe in My Head:

There are diplomacy-centric games that are great for debaters and those that enjoy persuading players with their reasoning, but I find that ones that are solely based around talking with few other rules often stagnate. Instead, I recommend the perfect combination of diplomacy and board game: Oh My God! There’s an Axe in My Head from Game Company No. 3. This is the only game on our list that comes from an indie developer. Players represent countries at the first Geneva convention who need to escape with their lives before the Swiss axe jugglers claim it. While fumbling to the doors, players are encouraged to set up treaties, strike bargains and potentially eliminate the competition along the way.

This is a tongue-in-cheek game that is slightly more complicated and just as competitive as the beginning-gamer favorite, Munchkin. There is plenty of bargaining and historical humor for players to enjoy in a game that lasts around an hour.

A full copy of Oh My God! There’s An Axe in my Head! is available on Amazon for around $40.

smash up cover board game

Smash Up!:

Smash Up! is the mash up genre of games quite literally. Players can select from eight factions two to include in their deck for the game: Aliens, Tricksters, Pirates, Ninjas, Wizards, Dinosaurs, Robots, and Zombies. These odd combinations give players a game with lots of replayability. Players fight over randomly revealed bases that earn them points for the end of the game.  The different factions have various minions that will help bust down the base but each faction works a bit differently. It’s a great party game perfect for kids and adults as both would be familiar with the various genres represented in the game. To read a full review of Smash Up! Gregg has one for you to read.

The base Smash Up! Games is available on Amazon for around $20.

Add even more characters and genres with their four different expansion packs! Mix and match with your favorites or just buy them all as each expansion is around $15: Awesome Level 9000 | The Obligatory Cthulhu Set | Science Fiction Double Feature | Monster Smash (coming in September 2014)

dungeon roll

Dungeon Roll:

For those friends and family that enjoy Dungeons & Dragons or love dungeon crawl type games like Descent, Dungeon Roll is the diet soda to those games. It’s just a refreshing and satisfies that need without needing hours and hours of play. Players choose a class and explore a dungeon with fellow adventurers in a simple press-your-luck of dice rolling, item collecting and of course, monsters!

Dungeon Roll is an easily recognizable game because of its packaging. It’s shaped as a mini treasure chest making it a unique addition to anyone’s game shelf. If that gamer enjoys Dungeon Roll, they should continue to check out games from the creators at Tasty Minstrel Games-who are known for making accessible and cheap games which make great gifts!

Dungeon Roll is available on Amazon for under $20!

olympus board game

olympus board game box cover

olympus board game


I couldn’t finish this list without including a Euro-style game. A Euro game is one that features complex market mechanics and a very light theme. They can range in difficulty and subject matter and for those that haven’t played one before, sometimes it’s a lot to learn. Olympus is a Euro-game that isn’t difficult as there are limited variables and it’s easy to master after multiple plays. It features a Greek mythology theme that most are familiar with and a market that is easy to understand.

For adult gamers looking to try something a bit heftier than Settlers of Catan, I recommend they play Olympus: a great gateway into the world of cube-pushing Euro games. Luke really enjoyed this game (which was his Christmas present after all) and wrote a full review that will answer your gameplay questions.

Since this is a big box game, it will be around $50 BUT at the time of this review Amazon lists Olympus for $25!

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About the Author

Nicole Jekich

came from humble beginnings as a Boise suburbanite with a love of Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. She attended an open board game day three years ago and is now an avid gamer and fantasy artist. Her interests are primarily in Dungeons & Dragons, dice placement and Roman-themed tabletop games. Nicole is also a fan of playing games that let her release her inner barbarian. Her favorite game currently is Far Space Foundry.

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