Looking for unique gifts for board gamer lovers this holiday season? We have you covered with this Board Game Gifts Guide — and they’re all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! (And be sure to check out all the latest Board Game Deals we’ve posted!)
This Holiday Board Game Gifts Guide was thoughtfully put together by Meg on the MoneySavingMom team — who is a lifelong strategy board game player and is always on the hunt for the latest and greatest board games.
Are you looking for gifts for board game lovers this Christmas? Check out this list of unique board game gifts for all types of gamers that are sure to be a hit! And the best part about giving a board game is that it’s a gift that provides years of entertainment!
Note: Most of these games are usually less than $30, but prices do fluctuate quite a bit on board games. If one is slightly over $30, be sure to check the price history on CamelCamelCamel.com and wait for a better price — especially with Black Friday and holiday sales right around the corner! If it’s on this list, then it’s usually under $30!
Strategy Board Game Gifts
1. Castles of Burgundy — This game is like Catan on steroids, and it’s one of my all-time favorite strategy games. It has multiple levels and layers of strategy, and every single game plays completely differently. This is a great gift idea for an experienced strategy board gamer.
2. Pandemic — This cooperative game is so unique and one of my favorite games to play with friends! I often find that it appeals to people who are typically “non-gamers” for some reason! It’s really unique because of the co-op factor.
3. Carcassonne — This is a fun little tile placing game that has quick game play. You can usually play an entire game in about 30 minutes. This is one of my favorite games to play as a two-player game, and it travels well since the game pieces are simple.
4. Seven Wonders — This is another game that’s way up at the top of my list. Again, it has multiple layers of strategy and every game plays completely differently. There are two things I love about this game that differ from most complex strategy games: It has really quick play time (30-45 minutes max) and it can be played with up to 7 players. (Most complex strategy games only support up to 4 players.)
5. Splendor — This is another really fun and quick strategy game that plays in under 30 minutes. This is my go-to game on a night when I’m really craving a good strategy board game but don’t have time to invest in an hour or two of game play before bed. I now have the expansions and absolutely love it. I’ve played it over and over again, and it never gets old.
6. Shards of Infinity — This is a deck-building strategy game that I’ve become quite obsessed with over the past few months! It’s really unique and a quick game-play with two people. You can also play with more people, but the game play is a lot longer. Either way, it’s really fun and really different than your typical strategy game!
7. Othello — “A minute to learn…a lifetime to master!” The tagline describes it perfectly. It takes just a second to teach someone the basic premise of this game, but there’s a lot more to this game than meets the eye. If you know someone who loves strategy games like Chess where you need to be thinking rounds ahead of time, this is perfect for them. I love this quick two-player strategy game! And you could probably get kids to love this one, too!
8. Azul — This is a game I picked up last year on a whim during a Black Friday sale after reading some of the reviews, and it’s turned out to be loads of fun! This is another one that “non-gaming people” still tend to really love. The tiles are beautiful and it’s a unique game — unlike anything else I have in my game closet. It’s also one that older kids could pick up on pretty easily.
9. Spy Alley — Oh my goodness, the fun memories I have of this unique game! I used to play this game with a group of gaming friends each week, and it was SO much fun!! It’s sort of like Clue but with an international espionage twist.
10. Labyrinth — This is a great strategy game to play with kids or as a family. It’s super simple to learn and involves pretty basic strategy. It’s a fun one, though! I like it when I’m more in the mood for a lighthearted strategy game.
11. Tsuro — This is another great strategy game to play with kids or as a family! It’s SO much fun, really easy to learn, and a quick game play! You can also play with up to 8 players, which is SUPER fun! The more players, the more challenging this game becomes. And if you end up liking it, there’s also a Tsuro of the Seas that adds some fun twists!
12. Photosynthesis — This one has been on my list to buy for a really long time and I finally bought it this past year and started playing it. As a science lover, this game is so much fun. It’s all about planting trees and making sure they get enough sunlight to grow! You “shade” other players out if your trees get bigger. It’s a really cool concept, pretty easy for kids to learn to play, and such a unique game concept!
13. Santorini — This game, based on Greek mythology, plays sort of like 3-dimensional checkers. It’s a really fun and quick strategy game to play with two players! Great for kids, too!
Party Board Games
14. Balderdash — This is one of my favorite party games! It requires so much creativity and I love seeing the unique ideas people come up with! If you’re looking for a unique party game that requires quite a bit of original thought and creativity, this is a great option!! This game plays best with about 5-6 players.
15. Code Names — This is a unique game, because it’s definitely a really social game but also requires a lot of thought and word creativity. This game has become one of my favorite games to play over the past year! It’s great to play with just 4 people, but you can play with up to 8-10 people! (You can technically play with more than that, but it gets kind of crazy.)
16. Ultimate Werewolf — This is a super fun game to play in a crowd, and you can play with up to 10 people! The more, the merrier! Everyone is given a specific role with eyes closed, and everyone has to bluff and figure out who is who. It’s SO fun. This is one of my go-to games when a lot of people are gathered together to hang out.
17. Dixit — If I had to pick the most beautiful board game on the market, this would be it. The artwork in this game is just stunning, and the game play requires a lot of imagination. I always love playing this with people, because it’s so interesting to get a peek into different people’s personalities and how they view the world. It’s super easy game play, can be played with up to 6 players, and is another one that’s great for “non-gaming people.” And if you find you’re playing pretty often, you might consider getting one of the many expansion packs of cards!
18. Farkle — This is another fun one that can pretty much be player with as many people as you have. If you have more than 10 people, you can play in teams! It’s kind of like Yahtzee with a twist (but WAY more fun).
Stocking Stuffers for Game Lovers
19. Catan Card Game — This card game is perfect for Catan lovers, because unlike regular Catan, it can be played as a two-player game!
20. Dutch Blitz — This is SUCH a fun card game! It’s fast-paced, competitive, and sure to get just about anyone who loves games hooked immediately. Our family has been playing this for over a decade, and we play it any time we meet up!
21. Collapsible Board Game Bowls — I would LOVE to receive this unique gift for board game lovers! I can’t tell you how often I pull little bowls out of the kitchen cabinet to use for game pieces when playing complex strategy games! These would be so convenient to have, and they’re easy to store since they’re collapsible!
Bonus Ideas (Over $30)
Have a little extra wiggle room in your Christmas budget and willing to spend a bit more? Try one of these gifts for board game lovers:
23. Charterstone — This is the ultimate legacy board game — perfect for a longtime strategy game player who wants something different and unique. Once you enter the world of legacy games, you can’t ever go back. Legacy games are played with the same group of people over several rounds, and the game board and rules change as you play. This game is amazingly creative, innovative, and fun. I can’t sing the praises of it enough. It’s probably my favorite board game I have ever played. Ever.
24. Pandemic Legacy — After playing Charterstone, I went on the search for more legacy games. And this one is another GREAT legacy game. If you love classic Pandemic, you’ll love this even more. It adds so many twists of fun and strategy!
25. Catan — No board game list could ever be complete without the classic Catan. If you know someone who is just getting intro strategy games, this is a go-to gift! If you know someone who already plays Catan frequently, I highly recommend the Cities & Knights expansion — which completely changes the game play and adds multiple additional levels of strategy. It’s my favorite way to play Catan these days!
26. Small World — This game comes from the brilliant Days of Wonder game creators and plays sort of like Risk, but involves less chance/luck and more strategy. It’s also confined to 10 rounds so that it doesn’t take a lifetime to play. 😉 Pretty much every game player I’ve ever introduced this game to fell in love with it after one round. And the artwork is super fun with all the different fantasy races (elves, orcs, dwarves, halflings, etc.).
27. Wingspan — I’m a big bird watcher in real life, so this game for bird enthusiasts is SO cool and unique. It also features beautiful artwork and facts for each bird! This is a Stonemaier game — which are typically pretty complicated and take a while to learn to play — but like all Stonemaier games, it’s well worth it once you start playing regularly. Stonemaier makes some of the BEST board games on the market!
28. Scythe — This game is extremely complex, but the absolute perfect gift idea for a really experienced strategy board game player. I got this game earlier this year and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite board games. For a while there, we played this game almost every single night. The game play is about 2-3 hours and takes a while to really get good at, but once you do, you’ll LOVE it!! Every game play is so different because of the multiple levels of strategy involved. And the steampunk design elements and theme are really cool.
29. Ticket to Ride — While I do like this Days of Wonder game, I much prefer the Europe version for added layers of strategy. But for someone just getting started with strategy games, this is a wonderful board game to start with! I’ve gotten many people hooked on strategy games by starting them out with this one. This is also a really great game to play as a family!
More Holiday Gift Guides
Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss these:
- Baby Gift Guide
- Beauty Gift Guide
- Tweens Gift Guide
- LEGO Gift Guide
- Outdoor Gift Guide
- Gluten-Free Gift Guide
- Little Boys Gift Guide
- Expectant Mothers Gift Guide
- Eco-Friendly Gift Guide
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