Guide to buying a board game as a gift

guide to buying a board game as a gift

Have you ever found yourself trying to find a good gift but don’t know where to start? Well I always say that there is a board game for everyone and its my goal to help you find the perfect one. Whether it be for a child, sibling, friend, parent or other, I believe that you can find a great board game by asking yourself a few simple questions.

Who would they be playing with?

How many board games do they own (if any)?

Do they want a board game that’s easy to learn or want a more complicated game?

Would they prefer a cooperative experience or a competitive one?

Can they get good replay value from the game?

These questions are good starting points to go off from because they narrow down the type of game you are looking for.

If you are buying a board game for a kid, check out the best board games for kid’s page we have for a list of some popular games. Remember when buying a board game for someone who is young, you want it to be easy enough to play, but not so easy that they lose interest. Most games have a varying age bracket, and you can use them as a rough guide for what game will be good.

board game buying guide

If you a buying it for someone who is fairly new to board games, you can check out our best classic board game list. That list covers most of the basic board games that most people will at least have heard of, so the familiarity might make them more invested in the game when playing. You can also check out our best party games page which has a good list for both new and casual gamers.

If you are buying for a more seasoned player, check out my list of hardcore board games which are game that I personally love as an avid board game player.

Regardless of skill level and age, there is a board game for everyone and that is what this whole website is about, trying to help you find the perfect board game!

How to choose the right board game?

Board Game Buying Guide

When buying a board game for yourself, it’s good to ask a few small questions.

Who will I be playing this with?

Do I want a more involved board game or one that’s easier to learn?

Do I want a cooperative board game or a competitive one?

What is my budget?

What replay value does this game have for me?

Board Game Buying Guide

These are good starting questions to narrow down what sort of game you would like to get. For instance, if you were playing with you kids, you would want a game that is easier to learn and play. If you were playing with adults, you might opt for a game with more complex rules and mechanics. There are some board and card games that can be played by yourself, but for the most part its assumed you will be playing with someone else so it’s good to keep them in mind when purchasing a new game.

There are also different game types. One being whether it is co-operative, the players versus the game, or competitive with everyone against everyone. Pandemic is a good example of a popular cooperative game, where the players fight against disease outbreaks all over the world. On the flip side, you have games like clue (cludeo) or Monopoly where only one player can win and they play against their friends for the victory. There are of course some games that tip-toe this line of cooperative and competitive play like Betrayal at house of the Hill (a personal favorite of mine).

Pandemic Review

Especially when it comes to the more expensive board games, you want to make sure you are getting value for money through replaying the game a lot. Some games will only have a limited number of replays due to certain mechanics within the game and others will have infinite replay value. It all depends on the style of game, and of course who you are playing with that will determine these factors. For people who are starting out with board games, I would recommend going with the more classic style board games which are generally a little cheaper due to their popularity.

In the end through, it all comes down to personal preference and you will like some games more than others and that’s okay! As long as you are giving it a go, you will defiantly find a few board games that are perfect for you and your situation.

If you are looking for a game to buy someone else, check out my guide to buying board games as gifts article for some ideas how to find the perfect gift.

World of Wonder Ticket to Ride Review

ticket to ride review

Basic Information

ticket to ride review

Players: 2-5

Time: 30-60 min

Age: 8+

Price: High

Introduction to Ticket to Ride

Ticket to ride is a wonderful board game experience where players try to complete destination cards. The original Ticket to ride (America) is hailed as one of the classic European style board games that started the board game craze back in the mid 2000s. Since then it has been adapted into many different variations with plenty of fun expansions. On top of its great game play, I have also found ticket to ride a great teaching tool in helping me with geography (especially with the Europe version). I highly recommend this game for any parent looking to find a game for older kids and couples who like to play board games together.

How to Play Ticket to Ride

The main objective of Ticket to ride is to complete as many ticket cards as you can by purchasing routes with train cards. On your turn you can either pick up more ticket cards, pick up train cards, or pay train cards to place your trains on the board. When someone runs out of their trains, the last round is triggered. Everyone then reveals what ticket cards they competed and count up their points. The game play is fairly straight forward and most of the strategy is planning which routes will connect you to the most about of cities you have on your cards. The best way to win is to have your destination cards link up/have some smaller destination cards auto complete with the larger ones. This is one of those games where it can be hard to say who wins until right at the end so always keep trying to complete destinations!

Notes on Ticket to ride

Ticket to ride is a personal favorite of mine and one that I find myself going back to time and time again. Its beautiful art and great game play make it a must have in any board game collection. I myself own the Germany edition, the Europe Edition (my favorite) and the United Kingdom/Pennsylvania expansion. Each comes with its own unique game mechanics but overall play pretty much the same. This is a classic that you cannot miss and I highly recommend any edition to become a feature in your own board game collection.

Back to Classic Board Games

Back to Hardcore Board Games

Monopoly Classic Review

monopoly review

Basic Information

monopoly review

Players: 2-6

Time: 120 min

Age: 8+

Price: Medium-High

Introduction to Monopoly

Perhaps one of the best know board games, monopoly has a reputation for long game time and ruining friendships. It is a game that has been around for generations and as such is one of the most common games to be played between family members. Even though the game itself has been around for so long, the core of the gameplay remains the same and will continue to ignite a fiery spark in players for many years to come.

How to play Monopoly

Monopoly is surprisingly complicated for a game that everyone seems to know how to play. Not only are you relying on luck to land on real estate in the early stages, but you also need money to upgrade and purchase houses once you have a monopoly of one color. There are also some other less known elements of the game when it comes to auctions as when any player lands on a property ans doesn’t (or cant) purchase it, the property goes to auction and the banker facilitated this auction. The property goes to the highest bidder and play continues. Once all the properties are taken, players can try to negotiate and swap real estate to try and get color monopolies to build up. The aim of doing this is to try and bankrupt the other players without you yourself going bankrupt. Games can goes surprisingly quick when players start to invest heavily in their property. I definitely recommended looking up some YouTube videos regarding these lesser known rules as they can really change the game.

Notes on Monopoly

A word of warning, many friendships have been tested and too many to count sibling fights have broken out over this game.  It’s a game that tests your relationships and your ability to calculate risks versus rewards. A great game for a competitive family or friends, but understandably, not for everyone. Still, the nostalgia hits hard with this game, and I’ll dust it of every so often to play with my siblings to see how we have improved over the years as players.

Back to Classic Board Games

Carcassonne Review

carcassonne review

Basic Information

carcassonne review

Number of Players: 2-5 (up to 8 with expansions)

Age: 7+

Time: 35 min

Price: Medium – High

Introduction to Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a modern classic with easy game play, beautiful art, and good replay value. In essence it is a tile placing game where players create the landscape and score points by placing meeples. This style of game is a great for both casual and hardcore board gamers since it is easy to pick up and does offer a healthy dose of strategy into the mix. Great for all ages, Carcassonne is a must have, and with the bonus of adding more players with expansions.

How to Play Carcassonne

Caracassonne is an easy game to understand and fun to play. Each player places a tile then places a meeple to try and score points. Meeples have four roles in the base game; knights, monks, farmers, and robbers, and they each score points differently.

Knights are placed on castles and are only removed once a castle is completed. Each completed castle is worth 2 points per castle tile, just be careful because other players can try to take over larger castles and steal your points!

 Monks are placed on monasteries. To complete a monastery a player must place 8 tiles around the monastery to get 9 points and return the meeple to your pool.

Farmers are best placed early in the game and are the only type that you do not get back. They are placed on farms which are the green patches of land and the farms boundaries is determined by the roads and rivers. They are a commitment and at the end the end of the game you score up points based off how many castles are within your farm. Like castles, other players can try to steal points off you by placing meeples on other land and connecting them up.

Lastly, Robbers are placed on roads and are only returned once a road is complete (with a castle, monastery, or village).

When placing the tiles, the edges must match up with the tiles they are being placed against in order for them to be valid. This is where the main strategy element comes in as you are trying to maximize your points with your tile and meeple placements.

Notes on Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a great game to relax and converse over. I play it mostly at family-get-togethers as we have a beer, chat about life, and try to get as many knights as we can into castles. I love the simplicity of it as it made teaching new players a breeze. Highly recommend for any board game collection.

Back to Classic Board Games

Yahtzee Review

Yahtzee Review

Basic Information

Yahtzee Review

Players: 1+

Time: 30 min

Age: 7+

Price: Low

Introduction to Yahtzee

Yahtzee us a classic dice game where you try to accumulate points over a number of points to win. Yahtzee has a long history and has gone through may style changes, but the core concept of the game has remained more or less the same. This is a classic that you can pull out at any casual gathering or to play with family.

How to Play Yahtzee

In a game each player get three roll attempts at 5 dice to try to get as many points as they can. After the first roll a player can keep the preferred dice rolls and re roll the rest. This cn be done again with the next roll, and if they roll unfavorably they can choose to re roll any up re-rolled dice from before.  Players are trying to get sets of numbers (that you can find the full list of in the rules for the game or online) and at the end of the game the player with the most amount of points wins.

Notes in Yahtzee

Before writing this review I had actually never played a game of Yahtzee. I had to ask my mum how to play. She sat me down and after a 1 hour lecture on her strategies and reminiscing about the good old day we finally played my first game. All in all, it was a solid game and I can see the appeal. The temptation to re-roll dice to get a better result can be difficult to overcome, and I often found myself at the mercy of fate. Despite that, I had a lot of fun and look forward to playing with my parents again in the near future.

Back to Classic Board Games

Settlers of Catan Review

settlers of catan review

Basic Information

No of Players: 3-4 (can add more with expansions)

Age: 10+

Time: 60 min

Price High

Introduction to Catan

Catan is one of the most well-known ‘hardcore’ board games. It is one of the original four European style board games that started the board game movement back in the early 2000s. It’s fairly simple rules and resource management mechanics make it an easy game to teach, and a fun challenge to play. Catan is a classic and a much have in any board game collection.

How to Play Catan

Catan is a resource management game where you win once you obtain 10 victory points. You first set up the board by randomly placing tiles in a hexagon shape and then boarder that with the ocean pieces. Each tile, and ship icon, is then assigned a random value. The next stage is the most important part of the entire game, where you place your initial settlements. You will place two of each, starting with the person who rolled the highest placing the first road and village, then moving to the next player and the nest in the order of 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1. This initial placement determines your starting resources but also where you can build to later in the game. Each player then rolls the dice and then every player gains resources of the corresponding tiles if they have a settlement there. If you roll a 7, you move the robber to any tile on the board, and that tile cannot produce resources until the robber is moved again. Naturally some people will have more of one type of resource than others, so players can then barter and trade resources with each other. After this, the player can build as much as their resources will allow and also purchase development cards. Once someone has reached 10 victory points (by upgrading settlements to cities or with development cards), they win the game.

Notes on Catan

Catan was one of the first serious board games I played (after only cluedo and monopoly) and I instantly fell in love. I highly recommend this game for both casual and hardcore players for its ease to learn the rules, and its highly fun gameplay. While there is some level of chance when it comes to playing this game, with the right strategy and bartering techniques you can pull the odds to your favor. This is the perfect game for any family get together and is a great gift for any board game enthusiast.

Back to Best Classic Board Games

Back to Best Hardcore Board Games

Jenga Review

jenga review

Basic  Information

jenga review

No of Players: 2+

Age: 6+

Time: 10-15 min

Price Low-Medium


Jenga is a classic party game that is easy to learn and fun to play. It’s great for all ages and now comes in many different shapes and sizes with their own rule variants and additions.

How to Play Jenga

Jenga is a fairly simple game to learn, but actual game play can become quite tricky the longer the game goes and the taller and more unstable the tower becomes. Players will need to be strategic with which piece they choose take and place, if the tower falls at all during their turn they lose the game. Jenga sets usually come in a box that the pieces can be placed back in for a quick reset of the game. Like other games of this type there are some house rules that people use, such as when you touch a piece, you must move it. Others add dice and color rules, but even with all these different rules, the way to lose remains the same. 

Notes on Jenga

Jenga is one of those games that everyone seems to know how to play and is an easy was to bring some fun into any party. As stated in the ‘how to play’, there are heaps of house rules that you can add and use to make the game different. You cannot go wrong with this game made from wood!

Back to Classic Board Games

Back to Best Party Games

Clue (Cluedo) Review

clue review

Basic Info

clue review

No of Players: 3-6 (better with 4-5)

Age: 8+

Time: 45min-1hour

Pricing: $25-30 USD


Clue (Cluedo outside America) is a classic board game about solving the murder of Mr. Black in his mansion. You play as one of 6 characters who collect clues by visiting rooms and making accusations. There has been many editions and additions to the base game but the core concept and rules remain the same. Would highly recommend for the more casual player.

How to Play

Each player choses a character and places their marker in their corresponding color square. Take one suspect, murder weapon, and room card from each pile and place them in a hidden envelope then shuffle and deal the remaining card to the players. The players then take turns rolling the dice, moving between rooms, and making accusations. The other players must try prove the accuser wrong with their own cards and that ends the accusers turn. When no one can prove an accusation to be false, the accuser makes a final accusation and wins the game… if they are correct.

Notes on the Game

Sometimes the game requires players to move to a certain room before making a final accusation, it will depend on the version you are playing so just have a quick read over the rules. Due to Clue’s long history, most people that are familiar with board games have played the game before, as such it’s a great go-to-game with friends and family who just want to play a fun casual game.

Back to Best Board Games for Kids

Back to Best Classic Board Games

Sequence Review

sequence board game

Basic Information on Sequence

sequence board game review

No of Players: 2-12

Age: 7+

Time: 30 minutes

Pricing: $15-20 USD


Sequence is a strategy based board game where you want to place your marker 5 in a row, similar to connect 4 but more complex. When you play with more than two players you form 2 or 3 teams with the end goal being to create sequences before the others.

How to Play Sequence

With 2-3 Players, you sit around the table with the board in the middle. When played in a team, you sit alternating people so that no team-mates are sitting together. Each player is dealt a number of cards which they use to place down their team tokens on the board. Jacks are considered wild card in the game, and the joker cards are no to be included at all. You go around the table, and the player choses a card from their hand and places a marker on the corresponding tile. You cannot verbally communicate with your team mates about which direction you are aiming your sequence, they must simply try to play off the clues you have given with your decisions. The played card goes into the discard pile and then play goes to the next player. You win the game if you/your team make a certain number of sequences, the number varies based on the amount of teams playing.

Notes on Sequence

This is a less visually appealing game to younger players, however has fairly basic mechanics and is fairly easy to pick up. Its equal parts strategy and luck when it comes to the cards you pick up and how you place them that determines who wins that game. In theory, even a younger less experienced player could defeat and older more experienced one (which happened to me when I played it).

Back to Best Board Games for Kids