From Classic to Contemporary: The Best Board Games to Gift This Year

The holiday season is the perfect time to introduce people to board games. These titles will delight first-timers and experienced players alike. For the artsy queer in your life who watches HGTV, consider Azul, a game where players compete to create complex tile mosaics. This Spiel des Jahres winner is a must-have, easy to teach, and satisfying to play.


You can go right with a classic when buying board games as gifts. There’s a reason Monopoly and Settlers of Catanareptopmostt gift lists. They’re timeless games that anyone can pick up and enjoy without needing a lengthy introduction or a lot of space on their shelves. But plenty of other fun modern releases make great gifts, too.

These games, for example, reimagine classic battleships with a sleek design and high-tech components. They may seem more like toys than a strategic game, but these battleships still require careful planning and precise tactics to score wins. They’re a fun, modern take on a time-honored classic and a perfect choice for gifting to any ship-shapes enthusiast in your life.

Another excellent option for casual game nights is Patchwork, a relaxing puzzle game with a cute and whimsical aesthetic. This is an excellent choice for someone who lives with another person and can appreciate a quieter experience requiring less space. And for the queer folk who miss the straight-up gayness of Candy Land, a new version that folds into a book makes a perfect gift. It’s also easy for them to declare their love of board games in a style they can wear with pride. When curating the best gifts for board game lovers, consider selecting the best family board games that promise entertainment and the invaluable benefits of fostering connection and enhancing social skills.

Votes for Women

If you’re shopping for a board game that will impress the history buff in your life, Votes for Women is a must. This medium-complexity game recreates the struggle for American women’s rights from Seneca Falls to the passage of the 19th Amendment. One player takes on the role of Winifred Banks and her suffragist cause, working to get Congress to pass the amendment, while the other plays the Opposition, trying to keep it from happening. Both players use their decks of cards, campaigner meeples, and support cubes to win states over with their cause while influencing public opinion with the headline events on each round’s card.

This award-winning family game is a bit more complicated than some of the other recommendations, but it will surely be a hit with any group of friends or family members. The award-winning game features tiles that players can place to create patterns and earn points. Players compete with one another to be the first to fill their display boards with tiles, and there is a cooperative mode to help players of all ages learn how to work together.

This game is an excellent choice for anyone who loves learning new words and is also a great way to build skills with your children.

City-Building Game

Scythe will surely be a hit for those who love modern city-building games. While it can be a little daunting initially, the rewarding feeling of slowly building your empire is incredibly satisfying. Whether it’s building roads to alleviate traffic or zoning houses and industrial areas appropriately, there is always something to work on. City-building games give players a sense of agency and allow them to feel a part of their creation, which is truly an incredible feeling.

Another great option is the upcoming nature creator game Terra Nil, which has an intriguing take on the genre, with each grid space having its own needs to be met to continue building. This requires thoughtful planning and execution to ensure everything is done correctly, not just haphazardly.

Of course, some classics, such as Jenga (my favorite), Yahtzee, and Betrayal at House on the Hill, a thrilling and highly replayable dice game, always stay in style. There’s also the new upcoming Kickstarter project Fog of Love, a two-player game that simulates the length and struggles of a relationship. A wonderful gift for that special someone in your life!


Azul is a tile-drafting game that tasks players with embellishing the walls of King Manuel I of Portugal after the monarch became enamored with the ornate azulejos that adorn the Alhambra in Spain. It’s a beautiful and engaging game with an interesting scoring mechanism and a lot of tactility.

Tactility is a big part of the fun of board games, and Azul does not disappoint. It doesn’t glitz and shines with piles of sexy miniatures or cards dripping in pretty pictures as many modern board games do. Azul is classy, with a crisp, clean look that feels great in your hand and fits on your table.

The game is a tense, strategic, and enjoyable abstract that will appeal to most gamers. It’s a classic slice of easy-to-learn, hard-to-master strategy.

There are some issues with the game, though. The factory tiles that make up the main playing pieces feel like a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy – one of those all-cardboard ones that are ripped and broken when you get home. And they’re a crucial component of the whole game.

But if you can get past these minor issues, Azul is an easy recommendation for any gamer. It’s a solid entry into the category of new modern board games that want to topple the old guard of Monopoly, Cluedo, and Trouble.

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