It's that time of year again when friends, parents, readers, and kids ask us for advice on what they should buy this year. This year's guide heavily features Nintendo because of the awesome year they had, but several other games will be highlighted in their own sections.
When determining if a game is right for you or your kids, we recommend you follow the ESRB guidelines, but will happily answer any questions you have regarding the content of a game.
Our Holiday Buyer's Guide uses affiliate links, mostly linking off to Amazon. This means if you click one of our links and make a purchase, we will receive a commission for referring the sale. This money goes directly back into our blog so that we can continue to provide gaming commentary and coverage year-round. Thank you for supporting our blog and the developers who work hard to bring these great games to life. Please note adblockers may render images invisible in this guide.
Nintendo had so many great games release this year that we just had to create a special featured section devoted exclusively to the Nintendo brand
Due to how many great titles were released, we had to limit ourselves to just a few of the best titles and hardware accessories worth sharing.
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Mario Odyssey is probably game of the year for 2017, and it alone justifies the purchase of a Nintendo Switch.
Reviving the Mario 64 platforming Style, you'll explore tons of worlds, solve puzzles as you find moons and coins hidden throughout, upgrade your Odyssey, and of course save the Princess from Bowser's clutches.
Mario Odyssey is a masterpiece, and a reminder that great games can call back to the past while still innovating and moving the industry forward.
Must-Buy Nintendo Games This Year
Antank Switch Battery Case
HORI Compact Playstand for Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Consoles to Buy This Year
The Nintendo Switch console has had an amazing year with so many great games to play for kids and adults of all ages. We HIGHLY recommend owning a Switch to play all of the games released already, and to get ready for the big wave of games coming next year.
New 3DS XL & New 2DS XL
The New 3DS XL and New 2DS XL handheld systems continue to provide tremendous value and entertainment. There are numerous games released this year that we highly recommend.
End of the Nintendo Section!
Star Wars Battlefront 2
Despite its highly-protested business model (which has been put on pause as of this guide), Star Wars Battlefront 2 remains one of the best games released for PC, PS4, and Xbox One this year.
We recommend Battlefront 2 because of its tremendously fun multiplayer battles, fan-servicing single-player story, and overall fun Star Wars experience.
Assassin's Creed: Origins
Assume of role of Bayak, an Egyptian Medjay, as he unlocks the secrets of the precursors involvement with the ancient Egyptians.
Discover the origin of the Assassin organization, and the beginning of the Templar Order.
We recommend the PS4 Deluxe Edition because it comes with the Season Pass content!
Horizon Zero Dawn
Explore a vibrant world rich with the beauty of nature – but inhabited by awe-inspiring, highly advanced machines. As a young machine hunter named Aloy, you must unravel the mysteries of this world and discover your own destiny.
The Complete Collection includes both the original Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Frozen Wilds expansion. Additionally, those who purchase the Complete Edition will receive all of the bonuses included in the Digital Deluxe edition.
We're super excited to include a board games section this year's Holiday Buyer's Guide! Special thanks go out to Yotor, our Board Games Contributor, for his hard work compiling and writing this year's Board Game Buyer's Guide.
While you can click on any of the games in this guide to easily purchase them on Amazon, we highly recommend you visit your local board game shop. Supporting these local businesses is very important to us, and local stores can always help you find more great games to add to your collection!
A must own for everyone! Basic premise is that you are a team of scientist trying to cure several pandemics around the world. A great way to get kids and family together working together toward a common goal. This co-op game is one that I’ve never had a problem bringing to the table. Rules are quick and easy to learn and since it is co-op people can freely ask questions around what they should do.
A classic! Catan has been around for a while now and if you own monopoly and clue, you should treat yourself to a “Euro” game. In this game you build roads and cities while rolling dice collecting sheep, wood, and other resource cards building and trading while working toward a victory point condition. Again this is another game that my family loves and will play weekly.
Ticket to ride is a easy to teach train game of collecting sets of trains while trying to link railways across the board. This game takes the basics of rummy and expands on them with a simple train design and a couple extra rules to have become one of the most popular games of all time.
Want to get your kids into board games and away from screens? Tell them they will get to play a game where they are giant monsters that get to fight mommy and daddy's monsters! This is a great game where you play a dice rolling (think Yahtzee) style game where you have to attack your opponents or work to a victory point win. Overall another great game for families of all ages, but easy for kids with basic math skills.
This was hard to not put on the must buy list. I love this game, at its heart is a very simple bluffing game, but simply shines as you embrace the roleplaying aspect. Very simply the game revolves around one player being the sheriff and the others playing merchants trying to get goods into the town of Nottingham. Players have to bluff their way in trying to sneak extra goods or by making deals. It is a quick game with about 5 minutes worth of rules explanation. I play this at thanksgiving with my family and we have a blast!
Dungeons and Dragons may not be for everyone but this game takes a worker placement mechanic and smoothes out all the rough edges. Again another game that I would have put on my must haves but the theme might be to nerdy for some people. To be honest the theme is not something that impacts the game much at all and that shouldn’t be something that turns you off this great game. This worker placement game is quick, easy to teach, art is fantastic, wizards of the coast customer service is second to none, and the insert is to die for. Overall I would highly recommend this game.
Now we are getting into the meat and potatoes, Cosmic encounter is a bluffing, negotiation game at its heart that can easily be taught to anyone. In the game you are trying to invade other players home systems with your alien which has special powers some altering the game in dramatic ways. This is a great game, but always remember it is just a board game and don’t let that bout of interplanetary diplomacy sour your personal relationships. Overall a great game I would highly recommend this to those that are looking for a game that they can play many times over, and this game has a TON of expansions.
This is a great sci-fi empire building game that lets you roll so many dice! Roll for the Galaxy has a great pace and can easily be played in 45 minutes. This was also a game that I was heavily tempted to put into my 2 player game section but, it plays great with any number of players and is exciting every time.
Terraforming Mars is an Engine builder where your goal is transform mars from a red hunk of rock to a lush planet capable of supporting life. The wonderful thing about this game is it fills that itch of seeing not only your company build and grow, but you also see your engine come to life. From the start you are a small corporation working on what seems like a massive task and then it just starts clicking and you are building cities and forests and smashing commits into the planet. The game is almost cooperative, but has just enough “take that” mechanics to make it a compelling game. It also can be played solo and is a great game to play solo. You might want to splurge and get yourself a box organizer, and acrylic play area because it is worth every penny on this game.
Twilight Imperium, the board game’s board game. This epic space opera has literally everything and requires a massive amount of table space/time. This is a game that honestly I wouldn’t buy for someone else but for your entire gaming group and you will need to have a gaming group to get this to the table. This game is a monster! Your first gameplay might take a whooping 8+ hours but man oh man is it worth it if you get this bad boy to the table. Imagine all of the intrigue and diplomacy of cosmic encounter, with the empire building of Civilization, with simple fun war mechanics of risk. This game is a masterpiece and there is a reason it has been around and has 4 iterations. If the price is to crazy for the 4th edition, you might consider snapping up the 3rd edition, the ships are a lower quality and there were some slight rules changes from 3rd to 4th, but the core of the game remains unchanged.
Ever wanted to be a viking clan fighting in Ragnarok over Yggdrasil. If any of that sounded cool, blood rage is for you. This area control game is amazing. Part drafting, part card fighting, part sweet miniatures game. This game you will play and want to immediately play another game. I’ve never had a game where losing combat can feel as fulfilling as winning, because you’ll get points for winning and some actual quests to get so many units to Valhalla. Overall this solid game is great addition to any most board game collections.
Ever wanted to build a creature and have it compete for food? With Evolution: Climate it takes a simple card game of creature traits and adds a little depth having you manage temperature change while making sure you are not going to get eaten by other players. While quick to teach this game has quite a bit of depth.
Want to build a quilt? This quick 2 player game is a Tetris like game of building a quilt and scoring points with buttons. It plays in about twenty to thirty minutes and is a simply superb little game. If this game speaks to you and you need to play with more people, consider grabbing Cottage Garden, Bärenpark or Indian Summer.
Take on the Voldemort and his dark army in this fantastic deck-building game where you assume the role of Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Neville. You'll start with Year 1 at Hogwarts and progressively expand your game with each new year, introducing more rules, abilities, dice, and enemies to defeat.
Queue the Yu-Gi-Oh reference, it's time to settle this by building a city. This wonderful quick 2 player game lets you fight it out three different ways via science, military, or points. Watch as your little empire grows before your eyes over three ages. Build massive monuments like the pyramids of Giza or the great library of Alexandria.If you find yourself loving this game and just can’t get enough try 7 Wonders, a classic drafting game with up to 7 players, but plays great even with 3.
Want something with a little less foot print? Try Jaipur. This set collection game plays super quick and takes up very little table space. This one is hard to pass up considering the price is typically around 20 bucks. Want more tiny board games you can pull out of your pocket that play up to 4? Try Love Letter or Skull.
My wife would probably divorce me if I didn’t put Splendor on this list. This game actually plays wonderfully with two to four. This scratches an engine building itch that is so simple that it is hard to compete. This game can be taught in five or ten minutes and plays in around thirty. If you love Splendor but want more meat, try Manhattan Project: Energy Empire if you already have Splendor but want something new try Century Spice Road or Azul.
The island is sinking and you have to find the treasures before its too late. Each turn the waters rise more and more as you move around the board utilizing abilities unique to your character to gather up treasures. Play times are really quick, so you'll easily be able to get in 2-3 games before it's time to stop playing.
Steelseries Rival 310
Antlion Uber-Wide Mousepad
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