Ask Santa For These 5 Board Games

Ask Santa For These 5 Board Games
Image: iStock
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If your family needs some help with Christmas presents, here are some new(ish) games you should put on your wishlist.

Image: Blue Orange Games


Designer: Bruno Cathala
Players: 2 – 4
Play Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Recommended Ages: 8+

Kingdomino is a strange beast. It’s a modern take on dominoes, with a dose of area control in it. Enough people were impressed by Kingdomino that it took out this year’s Spiel des Jahres, the most prestigious prize on board gaming. There’s a fair degree of strategy so your hardcore gamer friends won’t be disappointed to play it as a filler game while you can still play it with your muggle family and your kids.

Best of all, you can get it for less than $30. A great game in a small, family-friendly package.


Image: Czech Games Edition

Codenames Duet

Designers: Vlaada Chvátil, Scot Eaton
Players: 2 – 4
Play Time: 15 – 30 minutes

If you’ve listened to Kotaku Editor Alex Walker, then you already own Codenames and pull it out at every party. That’s important. But Codenames Duet also fits nicely on your shelf and in your life.

It’s for those times when it’s just you, your favourite person in the world, and your favourite game. It keeps the same basic word-game one-word-clue mechanic but turns the competition into cooperation. Entertainment and relationship-building in one tidy box!

Note: This is compatible with the original Codenames and will give you another 200 new cards with 400 new words that can be used with either game.


Image: Lookout Games


Designer: Phil Walker-Harding
Players: 2 – 4
Play time: 30 – 45 minutes

Buy Australian! Don’t by fooled by the umlaut: Bärenpark is designed by Phil Walker-Harding – Australia’s most decorated board game designer – and is most likely Australia’s best board game of 2017.

Bärenpark sees you running a park (zoo?) for bears. With elements of Tetris, Zooleretto and Patchwork, there are a number of things going on and many interesting decisions to be made. There’s a great sense of satisfaction that comes from assembling your park, combined neatly into a cuddly, bear-shaped package.

The only problem with this game: Can you bear to build a park for koalas, even if they’re not bears (technically, literally, or zoologically)?


Image: Z-Man Games

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2

Designers: Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock
Players: 2 – 4
Play time: 60 minutes

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 blew away the board gaming world. Rob Daviau’s novel ‘legacy’ twist on the co-op classic Pandemic set the board gaming charts on fire. It wasn’t just the highest rated game of last year, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is currently the highest ranking game of all time on BoardGameGeek. Season 2 has been recently released, and you’d do well to get your hands on it for some more gripping, card-ripping, epidemic-stopping action.

Like many sequels, it may not be exactly as good as it’s predecessor, but it will still one of the best games you can get your hands on in 2017.




Designer: Isaac Childres
Players: 1 – 4
Play time: 90 – 150 minutes

Gloomhaven is a big heavy board game, to play with your heavy-gamer friends. Crawl dungeons, level up your characters, and experience novel and ingenious mechanics.

If you have generous parents, this is what to ask of them. Gloomhaven is about $200 of game, it’s value for money. You’ll experience 75 plus sessions of solid gaming that will last you a good year or two. It might be a long shot, but if Santa really really loves you, he might be nice to you!

If you need more suggestions, there are always these seven recently released games:

7 New Board Games You Should Play Right Now

Last month Essen, Germany played host to one of the world's largest annual board game conventions. Internationale Spieltage SPIEL. We just call it 'Essen'. The event showcases the latest and greatest of the board gaming world, with publishers often releasing their newest games at the convention. Copies of those games are now finding their way to Australian shelves, so here's a few of the hottest games from the show.

Read more


  • “It’s for those times when it’s just you, your favourite person in the world, and your favourite game.”

    Oh so Codenames Duet is a single player board game? 😛

  • I was asked what I’d like for Christmas, so I’ve scored Kingdomino and Sheriff of Nottingham!
    It’s going to be a fun day 😀

  • What happens with Pandemic Legacy once you finish? The guy in Game World said you can play it as Pandemic after it’s finished but I’m a lithe dubious….

    • Yeah you can, but it will have new rules etc.

      Ofc you can simply ignore all the stickers and as long as you havent torn anything up, can play classic (theoretically)

    • I mean your can, but I think the answer you need to ask yourself is, how many times do you actually play a game more than 12 times?

      Even if the answer is, all the time, it is still value for money.

        • I’ve finished a campaign of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 and am five games into Season 2. Best guess is that games are taking 45-60 minutes.

          Each game is a month but if you lose you play a second game for that month before moving on to the next month. So it’s possible to have 24 games but 15 seems to be about average.

          You can use season 1 as a normal Pandemic board after you’re done. It’s unlikely you can do that for season 2 (not far enough in to say anything substantial). A lot of people either burn or frame the board when they’re done. Mine’s sitting in a box.

        • Sorry, should have been more specific. If you’re playing two player and you get about 15 hours of play, you’ll be getting a combined 30ish. But Pandemic really comes alive with four players. So if you play a four player game, you’re splitting the cost over as much as 60 hours. So i kind of rounded off at 40ish.

  • My copy of Gloomhaven turned up today and let me tell you, it’s very heavy. It’s by far the bulkiest game I have ever seen – it rivals Cthulhu Wars in size, except the box for that is mostly air because of the big minis, and Gloomhaven is all cardboard.

    I have no idea how it plays.

  • I had KD:M arrive a month before Gloomhaven, which made the size not so noticeable! It’s also why Gloomhaven remains yet to be played 🙁

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