The Little Things - Board Game Stocking Stuffers!

How’s your gift shopping going?... Yeah, us too.

With only a little more than a fortnight left before Christmas, we thought we’d put together a list of potential stocking stuffers to round out the end of your holiday shopping list (you know, the end of the list which touches the floor when you unfurl it). In this curated list you will find a collection of titles specifically designed to leave you apoplectic with good vibes after each play. There is an art to infusing an evening’s worth of fun into a small, easy to carry and store package.

In order to aid in your seasonal shopping labour, we’ve added helpful notes for each of these games to help you pick the perfect titles for each board gamer on your list this Christmas.

The Fox in the Forest

For: The couple who games together.
Cost: C$20.95
Players: 2
Ages: 10+
Playtime: 30 Min

As we like to say here at Mission: Fun & Games: “The couple who plays together, stays together”. Luckily, the recent boom in board game production has produced a plethora of games designed specifically for delivering a fun and compelling two player experience. This Christmas, why not pick up one for the nerdy couple in your life (even if that nerdy couple is you!)? Here’s one of our favourites:

“Clever like a Fox” is the saying. And you’ll have to be if you want to win this game. The Fox in the Forest is a trick taking game wherein you and your opponent will compete to win the most tricks. Special cards such as “The Fox” and “The Witch” manipulate the cards you and your opponent can play, adding another dimension to consider. In addition, winning tricks is the point of the game, but win too many and you will be labeled “Greedy” receiving no points at the end of a round. This leads to interesting situations where you may actually be trying to lose a trick so that you don’t go over the threshold.

Coupled with a charming art style brimming with fairytale aesthetic, this game is as pleasant to look at as it is fun to play. The Fox in the Forest is an excellent way to introduce some friendly (or not so friendly) competition into your relationship. 

Dragonwood

For: The kids (and the kid in all of us).
Cost: C$22.95
Players: 2-4
Ages: 8+
Playtime:20 Min

Childhood is a magical time and, as parents, part of the fun of having kids is getting to share in some of that magic. One of the ways to do that is to play games with them. However, finding the balance between something both you and your kids can enjoy can be a challenge. Ideally a game should be simple enough that your child can grasp the basics after few games but, at the same time, not so simple that it bores you to play it. Dragonwood is a game that threads that needle, delivering a joyous experience to adults and children alike.

In Dragonwood, you must collect sets of adventurer cards. These cards then award dice that allow you to battle monsters and enemies. Different dice have different numbers on them, affecting your chances of success. Getting the right dice for the right challenge is necessary for success, and you will have to devise an appropriate strategy to lead you to victory. Along the way, you will also be able to get “enhancements”- improvements that make your goal of capturing monsters easier. 

All of these mechanics are simple enough for your child to grasp, and encourage them to think ahead. Should they go for a lot of small monsters that don’t require as high of rolls? Or do they really want to go after that big dragon, putting all their eggs in one basket?

Either way, you and your child will have a blast, all while practicing basic arithmetic skills, pattern recognition, and problem solving. Grab a copy, and embark on your own family adventure in the Dragonwood!

Blockbuster

For: The big get together.
Cost: C$26.95
Players: 4-10
Ages: 12+
Playtime: 30-60 Min

A blast from the past! For those old enough to remember the experience of walking into a real-life video rental store (and perhaps we’re showing our age here), the plastic case of this game elicits a host of fond memories. Navigating the aisles of Blockbuster, filled with rows upon rows of video tapes in those blue, yellow and white cassette cases was an exciting weekly event. Maybe you’d pick up a new release (“What do you mean all the copies have been taken out?”). Maybe you’d fall back on an old favourite (“Again? Honey, you’ve watched it eight times already!”). Or maybe you’d creep around the back racks, avoiding eye contact with the clerk while your friend who didn’t have outstanding late fees went up to pay (“It was only a day late. I don’t know why they’re such sticklers!”). Halcyon days, I tell you!

The Blockbuster party game is the perfect way to bring a little bit of that movie magic back into your loved one’s life. Packed to the gills with movie trivia (and yes, it does include references to movies that were released even after Blockbuster went under), the game is played over two rounds. In the first round, you and your team will have to be quick. The two teams are presented with a topic (ex. “Movies about dogs”) and you will have to shout out a Movie Title related to the topic before hitting the 15 sec timer. This resets the time, and now the other team has to shout out a movie. This keeps going until one of the teams drops the ball and time run out. In the second round, teams will have to guess a movie based on a quote, a word, or by acting it out. 

Fun and fast, Blockbuster is the ideal way to bring laughter and excitement to your Christmas or New Years party this Holiday Season!

On the Go: Deep Sea Adventure

For: The gamer on the go.
Cost: C$25.95
Players: 2-6
Ages: 8+
Playtime: 30 Min

Life is fast. Sometimes too fast. Trying to fit a board game or two into a busy schedule can be a challenge. The solution? Bring the game with you!

There are a lot of excellent travel games out there, but we’d like to shine a spotlight on one of our favourites: Deep Sea Adventure.

Deep Sea Adventure Figure 

Players take on the role of deep sea treasure hunters, searching the bottom of the sea floor for riches. However, you are apparently treasure hunters on a budget, since all the players share a submarine and air supply. Played over three rounds, each player will take turns moving into the deep. Rolling a dice to progress, players will pick up the treasure they find along the way, hoping to be the one that will return to the submarine with the most treasure. The catch? The more treasure you carry, the more air you use, and if you are outside of the submarine when your shared air supply runs out, all you get is a big fat 0 (referring both to the amount of points you gain and the reading on your air tank).

Deep Sea Adventure comes in a box that measures 11cm by 7 cm, making it the perfect size to slip into your back pack, glove compartment, or jacket pocket (or dare we say - a stocking?). Deep Sea Adventure is a lot of game packed into a small, easy to carry package. A simple game of complex decisions, you’ll have to push your luck if you want to come out on top. 

Hanabi


For: The whole family!

Cost: C$8.06
Players: 2-5
Ages: 8+
Playtime: 25 Min

Whizz! Bang! Who doesn’t love fireworks? With New Years coming up, we’re looking forward to watching the technicoloured bonanza of these bomb-bastic devices (get it?). It’s an outing the whole family can enjoy!

And you know what else is? Hanabi, the Spiel des Jahres award winning game of trying to put together a fireworks show.

Working in concert with each other, you and your fellow players will need to create a sequence of fireworks by laying down cards of a matching colour in sequence from one to five. Simple, no? No, the answer is no. This is because, during the game, you aren’t able to look at your own cards! Instead, your teammates will have to give you clues, but in doing so they can only tell you about one aspect of the cards, either: colour (“You have a red card here.”) or number (“You have a card with a value of 5 here”). You will have to use your logic to piece together these fragmentary clues in order to put down the proper card in the sequence.

With simple rules and a low literacy requirement, this game can be enjoyed by players of nearly any age. So gather around the table this New Year, and put on your own fireworks show!

IQ Buster Puzzles

For: Anyone with idle hands...
Cost: C$5.95 - 14.95
Ages: 8+

Looking for something a little bit different to put in your loved ones’ stockings? How about a puzzle? Testing both your dexterity and logic, these little puzzles will get both your fingers and your brain working.

These puzzles come in a variety of flavours, such as wire puzzles, rope puzzles, chroma puzzles, and wooden puzzles. Each has its own evocative name like “The Rattler” or “The Mystifier”, each presenting a different challenge to solve. With a low price, you could even grab several to try. Open them on Christmas eve, and solve your own before switching with someone else. 

Bring a little analog fun back into Christmas!

 

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