Christmas Eve is approaching inexorably. The night only becomes quiet and holy if the right presents end up under the fir tree. One or the other gamer will also be happy about a Christmas present that corresponds to his favorite hobby. Instead of video games or gaming hardware, for a change it may be a board game that will spread joy this year. We don't want to build up any pressure: It's time to panic or use our tips for Christmas gifts for gamers.


Anyone who knows creative donors will be happy to receive great presents when giving presents, while the Christ Child will probably bring everyone else socks, scarves and winter hats. Die-hard gamers in particular are picky when it comes to Christmas presents: A hidden object game from the rummaging table? Little appreciative. The games highlight from 2014? Probably gambled through long ago. The newest Mario Kart for first-person shooter fans? Missing the topic. Gamers actually like to receive games and gaming hardware as gifts for Christmas. If you still think that you have to lure the thoroughbred digitalist away from the screen, you can also use board games that are at least based on video games.

Crucial questions: cooperative or confrontational? Solo or Multiplayer?

Games are plentiful, and a large number of them make great Christmas gifts for gamers. Before you pull out your wallet and buy it out, a few basic decisions will help you get your bearings. First of all, it has to be clarified whether the recipient prefers to play cooperatively or confrontationally - or a mixture of both. If you want to be sure, ask. Everyone else should at least make assumptions about which playful variant might be more popular. An analysis of the player type can help.

Gamers who like to spend their time alone with building, business and simulation games will probably do the same at the gaming table. Solo board games or at least cooperative parlor games are then probably the best choice. Anyone who wants to mow down their opponents on the screen can probably not resist the urge in the analog board game world - then it has to be competitive. Mixed forms are mostly offered by board games that work with a traitor mechanic. Then basically all players play together, but there are one or more hidden opponents with their own victory conditions who want to make life difficult for the round.

Conclusion SPIEL19 in Essen. Photo: André Volkmann

It is essential to observe the usual gaming habits in order to find suitable Christmas gifts for gamers - especially when it comes to the minimum number of games required for a board game. Some titles require at least two other players as a basic requirement for the start, other board games can be played one-on-one, but are only really good with four players.

Once the basic mechanics have been chosen, the next thing to do is to deal with the topic. There are board games for gamers of almost every genre, but not always with a video game license. Those who find their favorite games topic in board games will be more enthusiastic about analog entertainment than someone who is accused of a completely unfamiliar setting. Role players who like classic fantasy are better off with a board game in the “Lord of the Rings” universe than with a sci-fi board game in a neon comic look.

Conclusion SPIEL19 in Essen. Photo: André Volkmann

The frequency of game meetings can also play a role. Those who prefer story-heavy titles will probably have to meet up to play more often so that the details of the backstory - or, in the case of a legacy board game, the details of the progression - are not forgotten. Typical “one-timers”, whose games can be tackled repeatedly and independently of one another, can, on the other hand, also be put on the table at longer intervals. This is especially good as a Christmas present for gamers if the recipient will only use board games as a rare alternative anyway.

From town planning to war card games: There are many topics

Long gone are the days when Monopoly was the top notch title among board games for gamers. Don't get it wrong: We're not saying that you shouldn't play Monopoly as a board player, only the number of alternatives has grown in the meantime. Even today, collectors swear by special Monopoly editions, which are often based on strong licenses and can score with one or the other playful trick. Nevertheless, it can be worthwhile to think outside the box if you are already dealing with the topic.

A real new release from the last SPIEL'19 in Essen comes from Ravensburger. The video game license in question is perhaps one of the most powerful in the industry: Minecraft.
The Minecraft board game is aimed at 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, and starts with the legendary block building game, at least with regard to the settings. How much of the video game is left in the board game in the end is up to the players to decide for themselves - the license is strong in any case.

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The city building simulation is also being built, albeit cooperatively, for the board game adaptation Cities: Skylines of cosmos. Up to four players build a city together, but the board game can also be played in solo mode. The easy entry makes Cities: Skylines not only a successful family game, but also an offline alternative for online city planners. If you don't know both titles, the board game comes with a voucher code for the Cities: Skylines video game. In the Paradox shop there is then a 50 percent discount.

All those gamers who come to Christmas can embark on a new age with board games Civilization get given. Asmodee Deutschland has localized the original from Fantasy Flight Games for the German market and invites 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, to control the fate of an entire civilization. The new edition of the board game makes the PC classic a real alternative to the video game variant. Particularly good: A game of the board game “only” lasts up to two hours. Otherwise, Civ fans can only dream of that.

With swords against boredom

If you like it a bit more rustic on the screen as a gamer, you can get the board game adaptation of the Conan license. Conan - the board game picks up where Arnie left off: slicing the bad guys. 2 to 5 players, ages 14+, set out to experience adventures with the mighty barbarian - one of the players slips into the role of the villain. A highlight of this board game are the miniatures, which can be painted in a relaxed manner between the Christmas tree and the fireworks.

The card game for the Playstation series also comes from Asmodee God of War. Players take on the role of the norns and try to stop Ragnarök. Sounds simple, but it's not. The card game scores with a well implemented license, even if instead of miniatures there are only cardboard displays with plastic standees. The card game for God of War can be played with four players, but also completely alone. 

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Even in terms of price, the video game board game belongs to the gift category “best friend” Dark Souls. A maximum of four players set out to free mankind from an evil curse; board players can also choose to go alone. A strong license, great material and a variable line-up with every game make the “Dark Souls” board game a welcome alternative for the offline time. The board game is not as frustrating as the digital template, but the challenge is also less. Once you have understood the rules and played the first few rounds, you can look forward to a lot of fun and motivation through expansions.

The adventure game is difficult to get to The Witcher. The quality of the board game is often debated, but the atmosphere is great. As Geralt von Riva, Yarpen Zigrin, Triss Merigold, or Dandelion, players rage through the video game-inspired world - always looking for the next adventure. The board game can be fun even without knowledge of the template, but fans of The Witcher feel twice as at home. 

Trip into space

“Christmas in space” applies to all Christmas gifts for gamers who are at least rudimentary concerned with science fiction settings. Particularly successful representatives of board games with popular licenses are in this area Battlestar Galactica or Alien vs. Predator (affectionately abbreviated to AVP). The latter board game in particular brings the template impressively to the gaming table. A lot of tactics and a lot more material make Alien vs. Predator a successful title for those gamers who also want to play analogue.

Otherwise, the usual suspects among the board games are ideal for excursions into space: Star Wars - Rebellion (review here) invites you to tough tactical duels, Star Wars - Armada brings the mass battles to the home game table. With the still new Star Wars: Outer Rim (Click here for the Board game review) from Asmodee Germany, even solo players can experience entertaining adventures.

Seldom missing in a Star Wars game - not even in the Outer Rim: Boba Fett. Photo: André Volkmann

Seldom missing in a Star Wars game - not even in the Outer Rim: Boba Fett. Photo: André Volkmann

True, they are Star Wars board games no direct conversion to video games, but because Star Wars is a powerful license everywhere, it still works. Especially for gamers who play Star Wars video games - such as the one that was convincing in the game test Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order - like. There are also other strong licensed board games apart from Star Wars, such as the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, as they even have technological influences through an app. Hybrid games are probably especially exciting for die-hard gamers.

The selection of board boards that are actually based on video games is now gigantic - and it seems that new implementations will continue to be added in the future. From Resident Evil to Ghostbusters, new projects are published on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform released. That's not for this year, but you should plan your gift purchases well in advance of the festival to avoid stress.



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