It’s that time of year again, if you’re anything like me every year, you’re probably scrambling last minute to buy Christmas Gifts for your loved ones.
Trying to find games for the gamer in your life isn’t always an easy task, especially if you’re shopping on a budget, or want something small but packed with tons of game.
I know that each and every one of these games on my list have provided me with countless hours of joy and I’d have be stoked to get any of them in my Christmas Stocking.
Without further ado, here’s my Top 10 Stocking Stuffers! Plus one, just in case!
1- Love Letter: A tried and true deduction game that plays 2-4 and takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes to play. If you’re feeling festive, you can pick up the Christmas edition called Letters to Santa. There is also a Batman, Adventure Time, The Hobbit, Lovecraft, Archer, Star Wars and Deluxe editions. Each has its own little twist on the rules, but personally, I like the ruleset in the original japanese version shown here, or the Batman edition the best. I do own Batman, Japanese and Letters to Santa, so there’s room for more than one in your collection.
Age: Good for kids 8 and over. (they can probably understand the mechanics sooner, but would struggle with the strategy and card counting)
2- Hey That’s My Fish!: This is a delightful 2-4 player game where each player controls a set number of penguin trying to collect the most fish tiles all while cutting others off on ice floats. It’s very chess-y in it’s movement, making it simple to learn, but super fun to play.
Age: Good for kids 6 and over.
3- Cardline Dinosaurs: Carline is a 2-8 player knowledge card game, this one in particular is about Dinosaurs. I love the Cardline set of games; and Dinosaurs are particularly big in our family, so this one easily gets played most often. They also have Animals, Marvel, and Globetrotter in the Cardline series. The Timeline series has Inventions, Events, Discoveries, Diversity, Music & Cinema, American History, Americana, Star Wars, Canada, etc. You’ll be hard pressed to run out of these games.
I find the Cardline series of games are better for younger kids in general vs the Timeline series. Without a whole lot of worldly experiences and education, Timeline is more challenging for kids, but could be more educational if you kid is open to having discussions and learning.
However, playing with my niece, she would often become frustrated because there was a lot of stuff she had never heard of. I will say though, after awhile, regardless of which one you play, the children in your family will memorize the information on the back of the card with terrifying accuracy. It’s why we have about 10 of these guys.
Age: Cardline: Good for kids 6 and over. Timeline: Good for kids 8 and over.
4- Felicity the Cat in the Sack (Formerly “Felix”): This fun bidding/press your luck game that plays 3-5 and involves playing cards face down and attempting to score the best cats without being stuck with the trash. There are some funny moments when you pay a lot for a pile of negative value kitty cats. Definitely not a brain burner, but a really fun game for the casual family member, particularly if that family member likes cats!
Age: Good for kids 8 and over.
5- Schotten Totten (Formerly “Battleline”: Is a 2 player Gin Rummy style battle game where each player takes turns playing a card in front of a blockade trying to generate the highest valued set of 3 cards and thus bursting through the blockade. If you break 3 blockades adjacent to one another or 5 total, you win! This is one of my favourite two player games. It’s simple yet rewarding! The iello reprint is stupid cute as well!
Age: Good for kids 8 and over.
6- Kittens in a Blender: Is a 2-4 player card game in which you are trying to save the most amount of your coloured kittens from the blender. Each player will play cards on their turn that will alter the position of their or other players kittens, or play the dredded blender card, pureeing those poor little kitties. Sometimes, you may even sacrifice a few of your own to save the majority.
This game is extremely light and great for playing with non-gamers. I introduced this to my brother and his family of 4 boys and they all loved it. With the addition of the expansion, you can play up to 8 players!
Age: Good for kids 6 and over. (subject matter age appropriateness is up to you)
7- Sushi Go!: Is a 2-5 player card game and is easily one of our family’s favourite small box games to play. It’s a card drafting/set collecting game in which players take turns playing a sushi card. At the end of the round, you add up points based on how well you collected certain kinds of sushi. But don’t get caught with the least amount of pudding at the end of the game.
Age: Good for kids 6 and over.
8- Tiny Epic Galaxies: Is a 1-5 player game in which you roll dice to expand your galactic empire. Much like all the Tiny Epic games, this one packs a TONNE of game into a TINY box. Unlike some of the other games on this list, this game is most definitely good for experienced gamers.
And if Galaxies aren’t your thing, it is but one of seven different themes and game play experiences. It was a toss up between this one and Tiny Epic Zombies for myself, but Galaxies made the final list. If you’re a fan of Roll for the Galaxy at all, this is the game for you!
Age: Good for Kids over the age of 10, 12 if they aren’t experienced gamers.
9- Deep Sea Adventure: Is a quick 2-6 player press your luck game in which players roll dice to dive deeper in the ocean collecting tiles, or turn back to the submarine. The safer choice, but not the most lucrative. But don’t run out of oxygen or you’ll lose all your treasures to the depth of the ocean like Rose in Titanic. Only, it won’t be on purpose, and you suffocate to death.
Age: Best for kids over the age of 8.
10- Star Realms: Star Realms is a 2 player deck builder versus game; and easily one of my most played and favourite games, either in person, or digital. I’ve played close to 1000 games of Star Realms and it’s still never boring. With Dozens of expansions you’ll never run into the same combos twice!
If you don’t like the space theme, you can always give Hero Realms a try. In addition to it’s fantasy reskin, Hero Realms plays up to 4 players. There are a few differences, but over all plays the same. Hero Realms also has a coop mode with different bosses you can fight with a group of players.
Hero Realms is o Kickstarter right now with 2 days remaining! Check it out! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1172937197/hero-realms-journeys
Bonus- Mint Delivery: Last, but certainly not least is Mint Delivery. Mint Delivery is a 1-5 player pick up and deliver game all packed into the size of a mint tin. It’s light, and cute, and fun to play, and did I mention, it fits into a mint tin? Like really… a mint tin. These micro games are adorable and such a great stocking stuffer. I know personally, I carry around a couple different games in my bag at all time incase the occasion arises. How many games can you do that with?
Alternatively, if you’d rather gift a worker placement game, the same company released Mint Works, which plays 1-4 players. Both are solid choices, however, only one could make the list!
Age: Good for kids over the age of 12.
That’s it folks! Hopefully you enjoyed reading about some of these great small games. If anything we’ve learned that bigger is not always better. You can get a great gaming experience in a small inexpensive package. So think about some of the wonderful gems for the gamer in your life, or even if you’re trying to create new ones. I know I’d be stoked to get any of these in my stocking!