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Michelle's Picks Board Game Gift Guide

Today I am going to share some of my favorite games that would be perfect gifts this holiday. I have a variety of game types and difficulties, so let's get to my five picks...

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Build a better future underground in Fallout Shelter: The Board Game, a post-nuclear worker-placement board game for two to four players. Based on the hit mobile game from Bethesda Softworks, Fallout Shelter sees you take on the role of a vault officer fostering happiness among the citizens of your vault. With the election of a new Overseer looming, the officer who can gain the most happiness among the dwellers is sure to lock up the election and attain victory.

Look, there are so many video games turned board game and they do tend to come out a bit stale. I love the app and when I saw the super cool metal tin that looks like a lunchbox, I could hardly say no. The box gave me absolutely no idea what type of game this was, but I took the chance. I am so glad I did. The game designers did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the app. It really does feel similar. They did not try to do everything and I think that was key in making such a great game. It is a worker placement game that is pretty accessible. If you want to know what on earth a worker placement game is, check out this post. The quality of the production is also fantastic, from the clear cards with monsters to the perfect custom designed organizer.

In Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale, players compete to earn the most reputation stars by the time four seasons have passed. Each season, players draw on their map sheets and earn reputation by carrying out the queen's edicts before the season is over. The player with the most reputation stars at the end of winter wins!

We played so many roll/flip and write games in 2020. I feel like I never want to play one again, except Cartographers. I still love the game! What has made it last over the others? Maybe it's the changing goals, doodling with sparkly gel pens, or even just the theme. I really don't know. I love playing it though and it is my recommendation for the genre.

Survive is a cutthroat game where players seek to evacuate their pieces from an island that is breaking up, while remembering where their highest-valued pieces are located to maximize their score.

We first saw this game on After School Dice Club, a cute anime that teaches you how to play actual games. The Kiddo is actually the one that asked for it, but guess who loves it the most...ME! I like the balance between strategy and luck. You have to remember which of your meeples have which number if you want the best points at the end of the game. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the number one meeple to same that six pointer. There is also the balance between helping others and hurting them and maybe getting them to save that number six for you. Oooo, so much fun!

We Care — based on The Grizzled and inspired by current world events — puts players deep in the trenches as healthcare professionals battling a terrible disease. Working together, players must use their limited resources wisely. The stress of the job is a constant worry, as is possibly contracting the illness themselves.

This is a cooperative game. You win or lose as a team. The game is tense. Living through the actual pandemic does add to its intensity. If you are not keen on the theme, pick up The Grizzled as it has a similar feel but is about WWI. While there are many similarities in the two games, We Care has some new elements that simulate the contagious nature of a pandemic.

Players begin each new round of CuBirds with eight bird cards in hand. Some birds also sit on four distinct fences on the table. On your turn, you lay a series of identical birds from your hand on one fence's extremity. These birds instantly gather with any identical bird already present on this fence, making all birds placed in-between them fly into your hand. With enough identical birds in your hand, you can perform a flock, allowing you to add some of these birds in your scoring area.

We first learned CuBirds on Board Game Arena. Learn more about BGA in this post. It is a quick and easy game of set collection. The art is unique and the box is small, both added perks. A word of warning with this one... People who have a hard time learning games will not understand it. It IS super easy if you are a gamer, however, it has proved hard to understand for non-gamers. If you know you are playing with a group that are regular gamers this game is going to be a great starter or filler game, just know your players!

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