It’s holiday gift guide season! This one in particular is my favorite guide to make every year – the best games to buy as gifts this Christmas! See all of our favorite games from the year right here in one place.
If you’ve been here for any length of time, you’ll know we love board games. We have a huge collection of games and a couple of times a year I like to share some of the games we’ve been playing. And, of course, the Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without a big ol’ list of all the games we’ve loved playing this year!
For our 2020 game gift guide, I’ve got 40 game ideas for you. They’re broken down into categories by the number of people they can play, with the exception of the games specifically for kids (and, I only included games that I promise you’ll enjoy playing too!).
If you missed any of the other gift guides this year, you can catch up below:
There’s still more to come, too, so stay tuned!
Now, let’s chat games, shall we? All of these are games we loved playing this year. If you want even more ideas, click here to see all of my posts from over the years with our favorite games.
A note: While I’d love it if you shop with my affiliate links below, I also have to highly encourage you to shop at your friendly local game store for these games, if at all possible! They need your business and would be so thrilled to see you stop by.
kid games you’ll like too
- Guess in 10: Animal Planet: You have 10 questions to guess the animal on the card – can you do it?!
- Betrayal at Mystery Mansion: A kid-friendly version of our favorite haunted house board game. It’s silly and requires a bit of strategy, and a lot of teamwork!
- Kids Against Maturity: It’s everyone’s favorite NSFW adult party game, reimagined for kids.
- Find & Seek Scavenger Hunt Game: Take it on road trips, take it outside, or play in the house. It’ll get everyone up and moving, and it can be played by kids of almost any age.
- Taco vs. Burrito: This silly 10-minute card game was created by a 7-year-old so you know the kids will love it!
- Hedbanz: A really simple, “what am I?” game, where you wear your identity on a headband. Jack has been playing this since he was about 4 and still loves it!
- Sequence for Kids: We love to play the adult version of Sequence with Jackson, but for younger kiddos, this is a great version too! Sequence is easy to learn, has plenty of strategy, and we often play it with and without kids.
- UNO: This classic is easy for kids to learn but always fun for the grown ups too! We can play multiple rounds with Jackson in one sitting before anyone gets bored.
- Exploding Kittens: Everyone raves about this award-winning game, and I think it might find its way into Jackson’s stocking this year!
- Catan Jr: One of our favorite board games of all time, redesigned for kids. It feels really similar to the classic adult version, so we never mind playing when Jackson pulls this out!
games for up to 4 players
- Azul: This one is was one of our most-played games this year. You collect tile pieces to built up on your board and try to score more points than your opponents. It’s quick to learn and so addicting!
- The Mind: This is very similar to one of our other favorites (The Game), but has a twist that makes it even tricker! We love the challenge of this game and often find ourselves shouting “ok just ONE more time!”.
- Pan Am: I wasn’t terribly excited about this game when we first brought it out, but it quickly became a favorite! You’re playing an airline trying to beat out the competitors, and it’s a fun, challenging, strategic game.
- Subdivision: Perfect for the home lovers – can you create the best suburban neighborhood around?
- Western Legends: Corey adores this game where you can play some of your favorite Wild Wild West heroes and villains and choose if you’ll be an outlaw or work for the good guys.
- Race for the Galaxy: This fun, space-themed game has you building the best, most advanced galactic civilization around.
- Biblios: We played this one a lot years and years ago, and we recently re-discovered it. It’s quick to learn and really accessible for people who don’t play a ton of games – but it also requires a fair amount of strategy, which makes it fun for even the most seasoned players!
- Tichu: I think this game has been on about 5 of my lists because I just can’t get enough. It’s one of my desert island games – I can’t live without it! People always feel a little overwhelmed when they first learn this Spades-style game (the rulebook even warns you of this), but once you figure it out, it’ll quickly become a favorite.
- Splendor: This is another game that has certainly showed up on several of my lists, but we just can’t quit it! It’s so quick to learn, and despite being really simple to play it also requires some serious strategy!
- Roll for It: It takes about 30 seconds to teach this game, and it’s easy to play during the holidays when everyone is a bit distracted! It’s so fun, and with some extra colored dice, you can play even more people.
games for up to 5 or 6 players
- The Crew (5 players): This is 100% our current favorite game. It’s cooperative and requires a ton of strategy, but it’s very easy to learn. Each round only takes 5-10 minutes, but you’ll find yourself playing for hours at a time.
- Wingspan (5 players): Build up a collection of birds in your aviary and get strategy about how you take care of them. The illustrations on this game are beautiful, too!
- Love Letter: It takes less than 5 minutes to learn, and about the same amount of time to play a round. This is another one you’ll find yourself playing on repeat, and it’s so portable you can bring it anywhere!
- Caverna: This is one of our favorite big games. Be prepared to sit and learn the rules for a while, be playing for a couple of hours, and challenge yourself. It’s definitely for more advanced players, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it!
- Charterstone: Corey got this one for his birthday and we haven’t played it much yet but it’s really promising! It’s a legacy style game, which means it shifts and grows the more you play it, and the illustrations are too cute, which is always a win.
- Euphoria: This dystopian-themed game is made by the designers of our very favorite game, and it’s really fun! Be prepared for a long-ish game if you want to play this one.
- Lords & Ladies: This silly game has the most beautiful illustrations, and it’s full of gossip, back-stabbing, and marriage proposals. It’s one of our faves!
- Scoville: Play as a pepper farmer at a big pepper festival – can you breed the hottest peppers around and win the chili contest?
- Power Grid: We’ve only played this one once or twice but we loved the strategy and unique game play. It’s a winner, for sure!
- Spy Alley: I had this game as a kid, and it stands up to playing it again as an adult! It’s a huge award-winner, and younger kids can play it but it takes a lot of gameplay to master the strategy needed to win!
- Telestrations: This is one of our favorite party games of all time. It’s basically a combination of Pictionary and Telephone, and we always end up in tears from laughing so hard.
- Secret Hitler: We played this with a group of 6 and every one of us agreed we liked it far better than we expected to! You’re working together to figure out who among you is secretly Hitler and trying to stop them before they can implement their fascist policies. It’s quick to learn and a ton of fun.
- Pantone: We thought this game would be impossible when we larned you had to get your teammates to guess a word or phrase by forming a picture with Pantone swatches…but then we found ourselves guessing right over and over! It’s such a fun game, and a good way to stretch your creative muscles.
- Wavelength: Try to read your teammates mind and guess where they’d place certain words on a spectrum of two extremes. It gets highly competitive, it’s simple, and so fun.
- Just One: Try to get the active player to guess the word on their card. The only trick? You can only give one-word clues and if you write down the same clue as a teammate, you both have to erase them!
- Concept: Get the group to guess a word or phrase on your card using only the concepts illustrated on the board. It takes about 5 minutes to learn, but it’ll take a few rounds to master the clue-giving! It’s fun and different, and always a good challenge!
- Mysterium: This is one of Corey’s favorite games of all time – one play plays as the ghost in a haunted mansion, and is trying to get the other players to guess who killed them.
- Welcome to Your Perfect Home: Up to 100 people can play this simple-to-learn home-building game. It’s quick, engaging, and fun!
- A Fake Artist Goes to New York: You’re all drawing the same thing…the only problem is, one of you doesn’t know what it is! Can you find the fake artist, or will they trick you?
- When I Dream: Can you correctly interpret your dreams? Every player has a role (are you the dreamer? The boogeyman?) and it’s played in quick rounds that make it fun and accessible for a wide range of ages.
What were your favorite games to play with the family this year?