The 2010 Good Gift Games Guide

The 2010 Good Gift Games Guide is available at The Morning News today.

Unfortunately a few of the games appear to have gone on backorder between the time I started making the list and today. That said, most can still be found online:

Telestrations Amazon | Funagain
Piece o’ Cake Amazon | Funagain
Jaipur Amazon | Funagain
Forbidden Island Amazon | Funagain
Castle Panic Amazon | Funagain
D&D: Castle Ravenloft Amazon | Funagain
Catacombs Funagain
Last Call: The Bartender Game Funagain
Modern Art: The Card Game Amazon | Funagain
Master’s Gallery Amazon | Funagain
Fresco Amazon | Funagain
Cornerstone Amazon | Funagain

Honorable Mentions

Here are some games that just barely missed the main list.

Long Shot: There is no shortage of horse racing games on the market, but few allow the players as much control over the proceedings as Long Shot. The horses that move, and the distance they travel, is determined by the roll of the dice, but players can nudge luck in their direction by purchasing animals mid-race, and by playing any of a huge number of cards affect the position of the ponies and the state of the bets. Horse racing is one of those themes that seems to go over well with nearly any crowd, and Long Shot even allows you to play with as many as eight. [Funagain | Amazon]

Mr. Jack Pocket: Mr. Jack was listed in my 2007 GGG Guide as an excellent two-player deduction game. Mr. Jack Pocket is not simply a smaller and more portable version of same, but a completely different game–albeit it one with the same theme, atmosphere, and many of the same mechanisms of the original. One player is Jack the Ripper, and strives to keep his identity secret; the other is the detective, working to unmask the killer. It’s a great little game, and perfect for travel–be it to the Bahamas, or the local pub. [Funagain | Amazon]

The Adventurers: It’s not Indiana Jones: The Board Game, if only to avoid copyright infringement. Players send their archeologists into a booby-trapped temple, hoping to collect riches and not get crushed by rolling boulders. This game looks great–set it up, and family members will gravitate to the table out of curiosity alone. [Funagain | Amazon]

Onirim: As I mentioned in the main 2010 GGG guide, quality two-player games are hard to find. Rarer still are good one-player games, but Onirim fits the bill. The player is a dreamwalker, trying to escape a labyrinthine nightmare before he is trapped forever in his own mind. As solitaire games tend to lose much of their appeal once “solved”, the box contains no less that three expansions, to keep you puzzling for a long time to come. And if the thought of sleeping alone sound depressing, rules are included for a cooperative, two-player game as well. [ Funagain | Amazon]

The Resistance: The Resistance began as a free, Internet-distributed version of Werewolf (a.k.a. Mafia), but is now available with professional-quality cards. Playable by up to 10 people, The Resistance puts most in the role of rebel fighters, but some in their midst are covert agents for the empire. Unlike Werewolf, The Resistance does not require a moderator, and there is no elimination (so everyone is involved until the final victory). And continuing a trend we’ve seen with other games this year (Fresco, Onirim), The Resistance comes complete with an expansion, which as new cards to the mix for extended replayability. [Funagain]

Zombie Dice: Last month I declared myself sick of all things zombies. And it’s true, it’s true. But that doesn’t prevent Zombie Dice from being a pretty good little package, and cheap at ten bucks. As a push-your-luck game it’s really not that different from Bunco or Ten Thousand (both playable with a fistful of regular dice), but a few clever twists and the neato dice make this perfect for killing time between episodes of The Walking Dead. [Funagain | Amazon]

Second Opinions

Don’t trust the yeti? Here are the highlights of some other “2010 best game of the year” lists.

German Game of the Year:

Deutscher Spiele Preis (A.K.A., “The Other German Game of the Year Award”):

International Gamer Award:

GAMES Magazine Awards

Good Gift Game Archives

You can find my previous GGG lists, as well as my top 15, on the Good Gateway Games page.

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8 comments.

  1. Hooray! I’ve purchased a game on your recommendation for my nieces and nephews for the last three years, I think.

  2. Thank you, Matthew, for once again compiling perhaps the most important list for my holiday shopping. And this year I’d only heard of 2 of the G3s beforehand (I’ve been slacking), so it should prove extra useful. Thanks!

  3. […] My Good Gift Games post has been updated with lots of additional information. See it here. […]

  4. Whoa, what edition of Long Shot is that? My copy just has unpainted horses/jockeys and stickers (that keep coming off).

  5. As much as we all want to support our local game store, it’s hard with the convenience of Amazon in my face. Would a link like this work for most readers (depends on how good Google’s geo-targeting is)?

    http://maps.google.com/maps?&q=game+store

  6. I am getting Forbidden Island for Christmas. Darn you amazon iphone app for showing what has been purchased off my wishlist.

  7. Matt, your list of GAMES Magazine award winners needs to be updated (if only because GAMES insists on confusingly calling them the 2011 best games). Here’s a link to the list published in the Dec. 2010 issue: http://www.gamesmagazine-online.com/gameslinks/gameofyear.html

  8. […] also happens to run the wonderfully geeky website Defective Yeti which has an even more in-depth article on these games as well as more info on runners up and more. Even if you’re done with shopping […]

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