7 Best Tabletop Board Games To Give As Holiday Gifts 2021

Board games bring all sorts of groups together to work towards a common goal – or to take each other down in the name of victory, of course. Families? Definitely. Friend groups? Undoubtedly. Coworkers? For sure.

If you're stumped for a gift idea for someone in your life this Christmas, why not buy them a board game? We've rounded up some of the very best choices for you in this list, so shopping will be a breeze.

ESPN Trivia Night

  • Recommended Age: 10+
  • Number Of Players: 2-10
  • Approximate Game Length: 50 Minutes

ESPN Trivia Night is exactly what it sounds like! This trivia game covers questions about all our favorite sports: the main ones are hockey, baseball, football, and soccer, but there are also questions about golf, snowboarding, tennis, curling, bowling, and more. You can play with up to ten people and, in this case, more definitely equals better.

Get it on Amazon here!

Our Thoughts

For a trivia game, ESPN Trivia Night involves a lot of keeping track of pieces and points. We at TheGamer recommend you start drinking after it's all been set up. The questions themselves are fantastic, hitting all the major American sports and investigating diverse topics like winners of particular championships, merchandise like video games based on the sport, mascots over the years, and more!

There's a mechanic of snapping tokens into different kinds of goals in order to win back points on questions you didn't get right – this is where most of the setup and keeping track comes in. While it's definitely fun to figure out how to land your token in the goal, don't feel pressured to use this part of the game. Trivia is probably what you came for, so just enjoy that unless you're really hankering for the extra components.

What Next?

  • Recommended Age: 10+
  • Number Of Players: 1-4
  • Approximate Game Length: 40 Minutes

What Next? is an action-adventure board game that sees you progressing through the story in a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style of play. The card-based game comes with three different adventures, which vary in difficulty. Each adventure comes with a variety of challenges and puzzles that need to be overcome – one of the most enjoyable challenges coming in the form of the Jenga-like Tower of Peril, which can ultimately make or break your adventure.

While the game is best experienced as a co-op adventure with up to four players, the best part about What Next? is the fact that it can also be played as a solo tabletop adventure if you’re bored and looking for a way to entertain yourself.

Get it on Amazon here!

Fast & Furious: Highway Heist

  • Recommended Age: 12+
  • Number Of Players: 2-4
  • Approximate Game Length: 60 Minutes

In Fast & Furious: Highway Heist, you and your friends must work cooperatively to take down your opponents. There are three different core scenarios to play that become more difficult the more players are involved. You'll need to jump out of your car and ride atop your opponents', cause crashes, and pull off stunts to succeed.

Get it on Amazon here!

Our Thoughts

For a game with a small board and not too many pieces, Fast & Furious: Highway Heist sure has a lot of rules! If you can get past that, though, you're in for a good time. It's an incredibly unique game where you need to deal with your enemies as you're speeding down a road, so excellent teamwork will make your experience all the sweeter.

We get the feeling this game would go down best with fans of the movies – the characters and adventures all reference the film franchise! While names like Letty Ortiz and Tej Parker might mean nothing to the average joe, they'll be well-known to fans.

Splendor

  • Recommended Age: 10+
  • Number Of Players: 2-4
  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Minutes

Splendor is a board game in which players, taking on the role of merchants from the Renaissance, compete to gain status. They buy up gems to in the hopes of winning favour from one of the prominent nobles. It's incredibly easy to learn and its short games are undeniably addictive. In recent years, the board game Catan has gained such popularity among young people that its commonly known beyond just the board gaming community. There's no reason that Splendor, shouldn't be the next title to rocket to such heights.

Get it on Amazon here!

The Goonies: Never Say Die

  • Recommended Age: 12+
  • Number Of Players: 2-5
  • Approximate Game Length: 50 Minutes

In this board game, all but one player will control the titular Goonies, who are adventuring through the caves in search of One-Eyed Willie's treasure! One player is the Goondocks Master (or "GM") who controls the enemies that the Goonies face and tries to stop them from reaching the end of their adventure. You'll face familiar enemies and friends, including Sloth, the Fratellis, and even One-Eyed Willie himself!

The Goonies: Never Say Die can be purchased from Target.

Our Thoughts

While we played The Goonies: Never Say Die, one thing became obvious: it is trying really hard to take the combat mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons and simplify them into board-game form. It might seem like there are a lot of rules to review, but it's still fewer than the actual Dungeons and Dragons. If the fighting – not the roleplaying – is what you love about D&D, you'll probably enjoy this game! It's also great for die-hard Goonies fans, since the campaign loosely follows the plot and characters from the movie, with plenty of references built into the gameplay. Though the game can be played by only two people if you want, we suggest that the bigger the party, the better.

Funemployed

  • Recommended Age: 13+
  • Number Of Players: 3-20
  • Approximate Game Length: 30 Minutes

Funemployed is an improv game – but don't panic! While it's definitely nice to have a few theatre students in your group when playing this game, it's absolutey not necessary. In Funemployed, the players take turns as the boss of a company, which the other players must try to be hired at. Job cards determine what career you're applying for, while qualification cards – some of which are shared! – determine what kind of character you'll need to market.

Get it on Amazon here!

Horrified: American Monsters

  • Recommended Age: 10+
  • Number Of Players: 2-5
  • Approximate Game Length: 60 Minutes

Cryptids are haunting the town of Cross Creek, and it's the job of a handful of investigators to stop them! In Horrified: American Monsters, you'll take up the mantle of one of these investigators and hunt down and defeat the monsters tormenting the town. Helping out locals and looting the buildings will help you gather the items and abilities you need to succeed.

Horrified: American Monsters can be purchased from Target.

Our Thoughts

The first thing to strike you about this board game will undoubtedly be the gorgeous artwork. When we at TheGamer opened the game box for the first time, we were taken aback by all of the cards, monster sheets, character descriptions, and more – all with individualized artwork that helps develop the spooky atmosphere.

Horrified starts on that high note and doesn't disappoint afterward. Though it was a little overwhelming to unbox all the individual pieces, you quickly realize that you'll fight different monsters each time you play and some of the pieces are only used to fight certain monsters. This creates personalized games – each one can be harder or easier based on the number of monsters you choose to fight, and you're welcome to use any combination of monsters (in case one player has a particular love for Mothman, for example).

We hope you like the items we recommend! TheGamer has affiliate partnerships, so we receive a share of the revenue from your purchase. This won’t affect the price you pay and helps us offer the best product recommendations.

Samples of some of these board games were sent to TheGamer for review for this article.

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