My game of the year by a mile, Codenames is a fantastically elegant piece of design from Vlaada Chavatil, a designer who just keep the hits coming. Codenames is ostensibly a word association game but one with a bunch of clever little twists that keep it interesting. Two teams battle it out to interpret the clues given by their spymaster to figure out the names of agents in the field. A step wrong can see you running into an assassin or confusing an innocent bystander but maybe, just maybe, you can find all your agents before the other team.
King of Tokyo has been my go to filler game for a number of years, though I hear it’s sequel King of New York is a little more interesting. You take on the role of monsters destroying the famous City through rolling dice and it has a beautiful push your luck and king of the hill mechanic that keeps things interesting. The expansions are really worth it for this game, though the Power Up one does initially slow things down as people adapt to a slightly different mode of play.
Throw away the monopoly board and get yourself a copy of this awesome game of Casino bosses fighting it out in Vegas before it was Vegas. A fantastic game of pushing your luck, having your fortune turn on the roll of a dice and fighting over those last few precious lots to build your dream casino. Not for those that hate chance in their games but I am yet to have a bad game of this and it always provides some nail biting moments.
A brilliant two player game that recreates the feel of Street Fighter or any other 2d fighter you care to name. A carefully balanced game each of the many characters available for it feels different and the simple Rock, Paper, Scissors style combat system gives way to a lot of nuance and depth. Not the cheapest game around, especially if you buy it all at once, but totally worth it.
Whatever you are doing over Christmas I hope you find time to sit down with friends and family and play a game or two, whatever that game might be. However if you are tired of the more traditional games then there is wealth of fantastic, beautiful and surprising games out there at least one of which I am sure you will enjoy.