Mel’s Mini Holiday Gift Guide: Games, Games, Games! {+ Best Of Section}

Mel's Holiday Gift Guide: Games!

It’s time for one of my favorite posts of the year! You know I love food and all, but I really love games.

For the last couple of years, I’ve posted a mini game gift guide for the holidays, and believe it or not, with all the games already crowding our game closet, I have a few more recommendations for you this year, too!

Seriously, the suggestions below may be some of my favorite games ever! I’ve given notes in italics about our experience playing each game as a family (what works, what doesn’t, best ages to play, etc).

Also, be sure to check out the end of the post for my top favorites from the last five years (a Best Of section!) and links to past gift guides.

Just a reminder that nothing in this post (or any of my gift guides) is sponsored. These really, truly are the games we’ve bought (or been gifted) and loved…and played and played and played.

Disclaimer: the gift guide below contains some affiliate links to Amazon where I’ve bought the games from; as always, feel free to shop around!

Here we go! Favorite games of 2017.

Mel's Holiday Gift Guide: Games!
1. Tapple. Such a fun, fun group game! We took this game to my parent’s house this summer and played it over and over, and it’s played often at home, too. I love games the whole family can play, and I particularly love word games (like this top favorite Word on the Street game)! Everyone ages 5 and up plays this game – we give the two youngest kids more “strikes” before they are out.

2. Qbitz. I think this is Cam’s favorite game…she wants to play it every single night (which doesn’t happen, by the way, much to her dismay). She’s surprisingly good considering she’s five and this is for older kids/adults (Qbitz Jr seems too elementary, so I haven’t bought that version). I love how this game challenges all of our brains as we try to figure out and recreate the pattern (spoiler alert: I’m surprisingly bad, but I LOVE playing it). Everyone plays but we go deliberately slow when Cam is playing; it’s more competitive when everyone is ages 10 and up.

3. 6 Nimmt. My cousin, Camille, texted me and told me this was her new favorite game, and I needed to get it ASAP. She’s right! We love this game so much, and it would definitely be in my top favorite games for this year. I love that it can be played with anywhere from 2-10 players, it’s fast-paced, easy to learn, different EVERY round, and honestly, so much fun. Card games for the win. Cam (5-year old) is usually on someone’s team, otherwise everyone ages 8 and up can play on their own – again this goes faster and is more competitive with teens/adults, but it’s playable by a range of ages.

Mel's Holiday Gift Guide: Games!
4. Bold. Another card game we love so much! We take this one a lot of places to play while we wait for other kids to finish up activities. It requires a little space to play (a grid of 4X5 cards) but it’s easy to learn and addicting! Can’t…stop…playing. Another game that is great for ages 5 and up – sometimes we have to help Cam identify what makes a match, but other than that, she usually smokes us.

5. Flimsee. Undoubtedly, this is one of our favorite outdoor games of all time. My friend, Lindsay, told me about it this summer, and we literally played it every day, took it on all of our road trips, and introduced many, many friends to it (my brother and dad and several friends all bought a set AND my dad made me cool stands for it, as well). It can literally be played anywhere and by someone with zero athletic ability (ahem, me)! A game for all ages, it’s obviously more competitive when it’s teenagers and adults, but we play it as a family a lot, and we let the younger kids take a few steps forward.

6. Spontuneous. I was surprised how much we love this game! And, I have to be honest, I was quite shocked at how many songs Brian knows (super random ones that I make him look up on his phone before I believe him: like, I Hired a Wino to Decorate My Home). This is a hilarious game that’s great for all ages/players (you don’t have to be a singer, trust me!). We all play this as long as we split up into teams that are fair with a variety of ages.

Mel's Holiday Gift Guide: Games!
7. El Dorado. My brother highly recommended this game to us, and I can see why! I love almost every Ravensburger game I’ve ever played; this one is a cool strategy exploration game that reminds me of a mashup of Settlers, Carcassone, and  other similar tile/exploring games like that. This is definitely a game more suited to ages 10 and up – and it is really fun to play with all adults or older teens.

8. Kan Jam. Another seriously fun outdoor game, I bought this for my dad, and it is crazy how such a simple game can occupy obsessive, competitive children and adults for hours and hours and hours. Like Flimsee, all ages can play this – we give the smaller kids a step forward advantage.

9. Djubi. Jackson got this for his birthday (and actually so did Walker from his aunt and uncle); I don’t think my boys will ever get sick of games that have a variation on playing catch. They play this in our messy bonus room and outside. Great for all ages with modifications, but the most fun for kids and adults that can catch a ball easily (haha, not me).

Mel's Holiday Gift Guide: Games!*These are games I’ve recommended in the past that continue to be favorites year after year after year*

Enchanted Forest
(one of my favorite games to play with the kids ever)

Code Names
(we still play this at least weekly – Code Name pictures is super fun, too, and I have my eye on the newest Code Names Duet game)

Battle of the UFO’s
(this game has a cult following for good reason – and it sells out within HOURS after I post about it every year; hallelujah for the funnest non-battery game of the century made by the cutest mom/pop shop in Idaho)

Cover Your Assets
(still one of the most oft-played games on Sunday afternoons around here)

Animal Trivia Challenge
(another favorite – Brian plays this game with the kids almost every Sunday)

Sleeping Queens
(I’ve had more positive feedback about this game recommendation than any other – lots of you love it, too!)

More Game Gift Guides Here:

2016 Game Gift Guide
2015 Game Gift Guide
2014 Game Gift Guide (combined with other kid stuff, too)