Your Turn: Gaming for the Holidays

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 21-Dec-13 | 23 comments

Your Turn - A Discussion

Hey there, I’m Andrew; game industry professional, reviewer, gamer, fellow member and the host of’s new discussion series called “Your Turn.”

This is your chance to let us know what YOU think about a variety of topics related to hobby gaming. I’ll start the conversation and then it’s “your turn” to chime in and add to the discussion. Each Your Turn discussion will have a new topic, and we may even have some special guests make a surprise visit down the road. In the meantime…

Gaming for the Holidays

It’s the Holiday season and it’s the chance to play some games with family and friends!

Or to be incredibly disappointed that no one wants to play Clash of Cultures.

Look, I’m an idealist. I feel like every game has a person who will want to play it. That may be true, but they may just not be in my family or even in my general vicinity. Every year I have to tamp down that feeling that there is an opportunity to introduce my family to some of the best games that came out in the past year. But every year, I don’t get to play most of the games I envision in my little sugar-plum head.

Don’t get me wrong I grew up playing games; board games, card games, dice games, video games. My family played those games as well. We loved them. It’s what helped foster a love of many different types of games. Every year Christmas was a time of hanging out and playing games. My favorites were Rack-O!, Dark Tower, Carrier Strike, The Great Dalmuti, (My Dad was the champion – he even has a custom made hat to mark his accomplishment!) and a cool game called Gambler which strangely made all of us gambling fiends for a few hours on some nights. My mother was the master of word games. She killed. One of my sisters was (and still is) the “rules lawyer,” making sure each game was played to its most potential and by the book. Me, I loved adventure (of course having recently returned from seeing Star Wars at the cinema for the 12th time). You name it we played it. Back then I guess I didn’t really have a game collection, or tracked the best games of the year. I just… played!

Now, life and gaming is a bit more complicated. There are games I have that I desperately want to play this year and I know that I won’t play half of them. What’s on my game play wish list this year? Betrayal at House on the Hill, Space Cadets, Tokaido, Steam Park, Hanabi, Mice and Mystics, Firefly, Mythic Battles, X-wing, and please.. please… someone play Pathfinder Adventure Card game with me?

Ok that’s my list for games I wish to play. And what usually happens with wish lists is that you get to a point – the spirit of the season takes you away – you actually believe that you will play all these games and EVEN that all the folks around you will love them! It won’t happen.

It’s ok.

As I grow older I have realized that’s not what the season is about. It’s not the games that I get to play, it’s the fact that I am lucky enough to have them, to have people around me who actually do show interest in what I love and want to try to join in. When I was a boy growing up, I joined in playing Boggle with my Mom, always lost, and well, didn’t seem to care. The experience is even a pleasant memory for me and an ongoing joke with my now 83 year old Mom. So then I remember that this year, I may play one or two, but the fact that I get to share them at all is a blessing. This year, I will just try to just hang back and no matter what games are played, look around and enjoy the time and the season where social interaction with friends and family has that special cinnamon, evergreen aroma. It’s the season to game with a child’s heart.

And oh yeah, Mom? Boggle…I’m coming for ya.

What’s on your wish list this holiday for games you want to play? What are your holiday plans that might give you a chance to play them? And what is one game from your childhood that you wish you could play again?

Your turn…
(and Happy Holidays!)

Comments (15)

Gamer Avatar
Miniature Painter
Stone of the Sun
I'm Completely Obsessed
Novice Advisor

Ah, the holidays! When I was growing up, it seemed that was the only time my family would play games. As though we waited all year and then we’d get all our gaming urges out of our system over the course of just a handful of visits. Those were some of my favorite memories though – sitting around the table as a kid playing Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Outburst, and the occasional game of Pictionary. These days, my holiday list is growing: Mice and Mystics tops the chart, but I’m also eagerly awaiting Rivet Wars and Sentinels of the Multiverse. I’ll be taking some extra time off of work, so I’ll be free to play the games, if only I get them on time! As to that one game from childhood I wish I could play again, it would have to be Scattergories – sitting around the dining room table with the whole family as we all cringe in dreaded anticipation waiting for this horrible buzzer to go off (noting the end of the round). Sounds awful, perhaps, but to me it still epitomizes the holidays!

Gamer Avatar
Z-Man Games fan

My Game to play wish list will include FORTUNE AND GLORY and trying out WITS AND WAGERS during Christmas Day festivities.

For myself Christmas was about the only time our family would get together. When I was a wee lad I used to watch my uncles play countless hours of Cribbage while chain smoking and drinking whiskey. Once we got a little older my brother and sister began to organize Charades to play an ever since that is all we have ever played at Christmas.

Now with my own three kids growing up in my home surrounded by board games Christmas gaming has shifted in a new direction and I am able to get my parents and relatives to try new games. My 8 year old is so full of wonder and excitement when seeing and playing a new game it is wonderful to experience and that excitement seems to drive a new feeling for games around this great holiday.

This year I am lucky to have 11 days off for Christmas and will try to have some great times with my family doing some sledding/Skating and of course gaming. This is a special time for us as a family as my kids are now old enough to get wrapped up into the wonder that is Christmas.

Games from my childhood will of course include a game of Cribbage (Where I learned how to bridge shuffle when I was 7.) and some Charades. Perhaps a game of Trivial Pursuit. :). Something my dad is still the mastermind of.

Cheers and Happy Holidays all :P.


Gamer Avatar
Gamer - Level 3

I’m just getting into the hobby and have have put some games at the top of my Christmas wish list so they will probably be opened at my family gathering at my moms. They are Pandemic and Flash Point: Fire Rescue. I’m anxious to see how my five year old will take to Flash Point. I also hope to wow some of my close relatives with Pandemic. I’m sure they have seen nothing like it.

Gamer Avatar
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5

My family was always playing various card games, (Euchre, Pinochle, etc.) so at some point in the holidays, the table is cleared and people vie for seats around the table.

Since I moved out on my own, that hasn’t changed, but now they have a few other games that I’ve given as gifts. They enjoy Wits & Wagers and Apples to Apples best.

But it never really stops the pinochle.

Gamer Avatar
I play purple
My First Game Tip

I want to play Monopoly again!! Did I mention yet that I want to play Monopoly again?? I will be traveling to visit some of my kids the weekend before Christmas and the weekend after Christmas. I will definitely introduce a game or two during these visits. That will depend on what they like or leave up to me to pick. On one visit there is an old friend in the area and he wants to play Overpower the ccg game. I cannot pass that opportunity up!! It is a fun way to spend time with the family and have fun together. No more Chutes & Ladders!! My kids are grown, time for grown up games!! I really want to play Monopoly again!

Gamer Avatar
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6

In some ways this links to the previous Your Turn topic about gaming barriers; they can be an obstacle for playing new games along the holidays as opposed to old games. Still, the opportunity to play games with the family is always enjoyable. My family isn’t really a board gaming crowd, for the most part; we have euchre tournaments or poker games or play games like Michigan Rummy or Left-Right-Center.

Still, there are a number of board games and dice games that I have that appeal to kids of the younger generation. Games like Seasons, Mice and Mystics, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Defenders of the Realm seem to go over very well with my cousins, and a few of the more mature ones also enjoy a game of Arkham Horror or two.

Of course, for my major gaming kick, I always have my gaming friends to rely on for that period between Christmas and New Years when everyone will be more available to do things and also detoxing from holiday shenanigans. Firefly and Dungeons and Dragons: Lords of Waterdeep seem to be quite popular of late, and I also wouldn’t mind a game of A Touch of Evil either.

If possible, I’d like to try Eldrich Horror over the holidays. So far, I’ve heard good things, and though I haven’t seen the game in action yet, I have perused the bio and info.

Gamer Avatar

We played The Resistance at a family gathering on Thanksgiving Day. Hope to be able to do that again. It went over well and everyone had a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, I plan to to use some of my upcoming time off playing Eldritch Horror and Hidden Intruder. The beauty is that I can play either one of these solo if my family doesn’t want to. 🙂

Gamer Avatar
Book Lover
I play blue

There will most likely be no gaming for me during holiday, unless I get hold of some local group at my parents` place. My family can`t really understand why I bother playing, why I find it so interesting, and all. Their loss, really, with so many great games suited for non-gamers, too, circling out there in the great, big world. I have given up, pretty much, trying to get them along on any gaming…..

Gamer Avatar
maverick:muse fan

Holiday gaming is pretty straight forward for me –

Mother-in-law down for one day so we’ll play Scrabble with her. The only time I play but I enjoy it.

Boxing day is always a family game of Mah-Jong. We crack open a big tub of peanuts and are only allowed to eat them with chopsticks. Love playing Mah-Jong and we always have a good time.

I grew up playing hobby games with two of my brothers and we always play something. From my childhood, we used to play a lot of Buccanneer – we ‘inherited’ the original 1950s? game with cut-glass beads set in metal for rubies and diamonds, small gold-painted pieces of metal for gold, small wooden barrels for rum, etc. It’s a great set and we break it out at Christmas sometimes. But this year it’ll be Blood Bowl Team Manager because I have it and have still yet to play it.

Gamer Avatar
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester

My wish list is to play the games my two sons want to play… so, whatever is on their lists is on mine. My 6 year old is a gaming genius. He’s crushed us at Kingdom Builder and Relic Runners with his no-nonsense approach to gaming… his focus is always on the win conditions. While us older folk try to eek out some long term strategy, he makes move after move to bury us and our unrealized dream (as time runs out). We’ll play more Relic Runners, Qin, Kingdom Builder, and maybe try out Suburbia… as I think he might like the mathematical nature of the game. Did I mention the kid is better at math than I am?

My older son is an adventurer. He loves cooperative games, and games with theme. He wants to play Castle Panic with the expansion. He’s yearning to play the Lord of the Rings LCC Hobbit expansions, and we both want to play the Pathfinder card game. We also have Dark, Darker, Darkest, and Kemet waiting to be played. He’s designing some games now… the kid is relentlessly productive. My guess is we’ll be trying out a prototype or two.

Personally, I’d like to play Clash of Cultures too, but I value my marriage, and the boys are not quite there yet. For me, getting to spend quality time with my family around a good board game is what the holidays are all about. I live a cliche, and embrace it. Merry Christmas!

Gamer Avatar
Novice Reviewer
I Own a Game!
Explorer - Level 3

I am looking forward to playing a number of games I have ordered or picked up “for the family”.

18 year old son: After the soloish play of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, I am looking forward to Pathfinder ACG. I am not a huge deck guy, but I like how Pathfinder’s character deck will be built up over time and persist game to game. Also I like that it works with more than just the two players. He also asked for Axis & Allies since he likes risk. I am kicking myself a little for not getting Risk: Legacy instead, but it is what he asked for.

15 year old son: He gets our first expansion for Dominion (Seaside). We have just had the base game for 9 months or so and he tends to dominate it. It is my brother’s game that he stores at our house. I also have Eminent Domain on its way for him.

11 year old daughter: She plays a lot of games with the rest of us, but I wanted to get her some games she could play with friends. I got two- Escape: The Curse of the Temple and Forbidden Island.

Lastly am thrilled that Euphoria will be here in a day or two. The family likes other worker placement games but I am interested also in showing this one off around town. I have game night on Sunday at my mother-in-law’s, Monday at a local game store with my two sons, Tuesday at another families house, and Wednesday at my family’s house (hoping to get mom to play Ticket to Ride and I got her Qwirkle. Not working Thursday or Friday should allow for the new games as well as some of the old ones get get played.

Merry Christmas!!!

Gamer Avatar

We’re bringing Sentinels of the Multiverse to my aunt’s house, but I don’t know if anyone will want to play it!

There was a game I loved as a kid called By Jove, which was kind-of Monopoly-based but with mythology. I hadn’t seen it in years and then I was at my husband’s aunt’s house last year and she had a copy of it in her basement! Amazing coincidence. She let me take it home 🙂

Gamer Avatar
Smash Up Fan

I have recently become a big board game fan because I feel like it gets our family off the electronics and actually conversing with each other. So naturally I have a few new games I would like to pick up:

Sentinels of the Multiverse
Not sure how this one is going to go over. I love the idea of it but worried it may be a bit technical for my wife and 2 daughters.

Smash Up
This one looks great. We love King of Tokyo and I am hoping this will fit right into that same type of game that everyone in the family enjoys.

King of Tokyo: Power Up!
Really looking forward to this one. Everyone in the family loves to be King of Tokyo.

For games we already have, I would not mind pulling out a game of Tally Ho!, Ticket to Ride and/or Catch Phrase (great game to play with the neighbors).

Gamer Avatar
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5

I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve been the most consistent at introducing games that our game group will enjoy. As far back as D&D and Magic: The Gathering, I always seemed to find out and buy the hottest new games before the rest of my friends.

But now that seems to be changing. Perhaps because we’re in a gaming boom, or perhaps because the others are seeking out new games more than they have in the past. It could be that the last two games I introduced were not the slam dunks that I’ve brought in the past. Probably a combination of all these things.

My point is that I’m chomping at the bit to introduce The Resistance and Euphoria to the team. I can tell you without a doubt that these two games are perfect for our group. Compare that to Sentinels of the Multiverse, which I knew half the guys would love, but it’d have to grow on the others.

My frustration right now is that other guys just got games they are dying to play also. So, even though we’re playing more often this holiday season than normal, my two games have to compete with Cyclades, Railways of the World, Android (NOT the card game), and The Walking Dead. I wouldn’t mind playing Railways, but I’m cringing at the idea of playing Walking Dead.

But since the topic is Wish List…I hope we play The Resistance, Euphoria, and Railways.

As for my childhood, I probably played 100 games of the old Parker Brothers game Pay Day. I’d love to play that and be able to maintain my nostalgia for it.

Gamer Avatar
Book Lover
I play blue

My family don`t really understand the interest in playing games day in and day out. I think, unfortunately, they got broken by Ludo, Chinese Checkers, Toss the pigs and all that. They know there are a lot of games out there, because they have seen my collection, but still they can`t be bothered. Good thing I have a chance to play some games at my local club right before New Years Eve.

Knowing there are games under my Christmas tree makes it all the easier to cope with Christmas without games. It helps even more that I can leave work next Monday to go play games with people sharing my interest!

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