Looking for a great board game to stuff a Christmas stocking? Look no further than our list of the best small-form-factor board games.
The holiday season is just around the corner, with many people shopping and getting their Christmas gifts arranged now. When it comes to Christmas, you might be looking for something a bit smaller, something for stocking stuffers or as small gifts to give to your visiting friends and family. Board games come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from massive boxes to tiny decks of cards that can be used to play. Many, many board games can actually make a good small gift and fit well as something to bulk out your stocking, but there is always a matter of finding the best board game stocking stuffers for Christmas. We have compiled this list to help you do exactly that, so you can find the perfect small gift to give to any budding board game collector or to any person who is in need of a screen-free gift.
“Honestly, for me, Hanabi is pretty much an essential addition to almost any board game collection. The cooperative gameplay is inoffensive, fiendishly difficult and massively engaging, with every player focussed on both their own cards (and turn) and the actions of others at all times. With that said, its is a really nice, inexpensive deluxe edition that includes some worthwhile upgrades — notably the card stands. If you’re in the market for a copy of this classic game, then you can’t go wrong with Hanabi Deluxe: What a Show!”
This game packs a lot into it’s quite small box, perfect to put into any stocking.
“Mixups is a very simple game, with the goal of simply not running out of cards, as if you find a match and are the first to point it out, you get all of the cards on the table added into your pile, and can continue playing. The names of these creatures and the pictures that go along with it, are a real highlight to any gathering. So often I found myself and the kids laughing at the creatures they were looking at. Exclaiming that they want to meet a Sqowl or a Catear. Mixups is one of those games where everyone is having a good time, they are all laughing, and they all understand exactly how to play even if they have never played before.”
Mixups is a great game for younger children, something more ideal for sticking in their stocking. They could even play the game before Christmas dinner!
“All said, this makes The Crew a superb, relatively lightweight and very novel card game. Anyone who has played a standard trick taking game will feel at home right away, with the only element they need to learn being the communication system, and perhaps to a lesser extent to unlearn the competitive nature of normal trick taking games. For the cost, The Crew is basically a must have in my opinion, such is the unique nature of its gameplay and the fun it provides.”
The Crew has a small sized box, filled with cards and figures you can put together out of cardboard, which is quite clever.
“The Mind is a quiet game to play but it is intense. You will find yourself waiting, staring at your team, hoping you are not making a big mistake. Getting through rounds feels so amazing, especially if you aren’t talking much at all, which makes for a really engaging game. And you do need to keep your eyes peeled, especially if someone ends up placing a card that you have a card really close too in number, and you need to quickly jump in and place it!”
The Mind is another deck of cards type board game, which makes it really small and great for popping into your bag and bringing everywhere with you.
“Dino Dump is a very cute, fun yet quick little game that anyone can enjoy. You may want to opt to not use the poop stickers (seriously, they really stink) but even without them (they stink so much) the game is still super fun! (God, the smell.) Everything is well designed, from the cute art on the cards to the little plastic poop built into the box, reminding you that you’re playing this silly game.”
Dino Dump is a perfect game for children and families that want to get kids involved in board games!
“The simple components and straightforward rules make Goodcritters very easy to learn and teach, but if your group enjoys bartering and negotiation, then the game can rapidly become very intricate. Robbing (or at least threatening to) and bluffing are key elements, as is knowing when to skim. Human psychology makes some leaders more generous than others and everyone has their own way of getting what they want. These factors make Goodcritters a superb party game that I think will appeal to anyone who is comfortable in an environment where they will need to lie and cheat. As such, Goodcritters is my current favourite party game, period.”
Goodcritters packs a lot into their small packaging, providing a really good game for tweens and older.
“Having the two different blenders gives a bit of strategy, as you might need to pick blenders that have fewer dice toward the final turn, instead of blenders with dice you may really need. The number of bonuses and power-ups in Smoothies is really interesting too, as it can really change what is going on. Both of us ended up ending the game at about the same time, which makes sense as the blenders were pretty evenly full during the game. Adding everything up looked intimidating at first, but the scorecard is really sleek, so anyone could follow how to get to their score.”
Smoothies doesn’t have any cards at all, and is entirely played inside of it’s little box, using dice.
“With such lovely looks and such an unassuming little package, Orc-Lympics could easily be passed over by more seasoned gamers, but that would be a mistake. It’s a surprisingly deep game with different mechanics that work exceptionally well together. Its constituent parts are varied and interesting, but the basic gameplay loops are such that it is possible to learn how to excel at it, and there is basically zero luck involved. In summary, a very solid small-box game.”
Orc-Lympics works across a wide age range, with a lot of strategy and depth to the game itself.
Cat Chaos or Dog Chaos
“As this is a real time game, with everyone looking at and trying to use the middle to change out their cards, Canine Chaos is indeed high chaos. Quickly, everyone scans their cards, throwing them in the middle and grabbing up things they need, or sometimes things they don’t. People are sighing as they can’t see the card they have or as the cards they need are taken. Our group started standing up around the table, getting fully immersed into the game.”
If you are looking to get a board game for someone who isn’t that into games yet or an animal person, these easy to play card games are people pleasers!
Big Bang 13.7
“Whether you are an established gamer looking for a decent pre- or post-session distraction or a family player who wants to benefit from the versatility and educational potential that Big Bang brings, there’s a lot to be excited about in this small box. Harking back to the core experience (which is the Cosmic Mode) and not judging anything else that Big Bang brings, what you have here is a quick-to-learn, fast-to-play, tile-matching game that really delivers on its theme and feels surprisingly deep.”
Big Bang 13.7 has a small box, but packs a really big, fun game!
Frenemy Pastry Party
“Frenemy Pastry Party has you trying to collect ingredients to make one of the cakes shown in the middle of the table. On your turn, you can pick an ingredient from the inventory in the middle of the table or try baking one of the cakes. A lot of what you do will be dependent on your special card; each adorned with a cute animal who wants a specific thing — mangos, a variety of ingredients or some other fruit. It is a light and fast game that’s super easy to understand. The art work on the cards is the best I have ever seen in baked games, showcasing some beautiful bakes that I would really love to eat in the real world.”
Both cute and fun to play, Frenemy Pastry Party is a game played often in our home. You can also purchase an additional matt for gameplay.
“OK, so it’s not really a party game, but Oriflamme is played with between three and five players, and it is similar in weight and style to games like Coup and High Society but with a little more weight. The basic premise is simple — the players will play six rounds of placing (and sometimes revealing) cards, and then count up their influence at the end. Highest influence wins.”
Oriflamme is somewhere between a party game and a strategy game, that does require your group to possibly betray each other.
“Ramen Fury is a really lovely, fast card game that can be picked up and played with almost anyone. Everything about the game is pretty spot on, and apart from that one house rule, we found the gameplay to make sense and be perfect for every group I’ve played it with — from adults to eleven year olds. Even my teenage cousins really enjoyed playing it.”
Ramen Fury is a really fun game with some adorable packaging!
“For dedicated players (like me) who have traditionally sought deep, intelligent two player games that can travel easily, Bellum Sacrum is a near perfect answer. This is a game you can take literally anywhere, and as I keep saying, between two players who face off often, there are few better card games at this level of decision weight that I could name. As such, Bellum Sacrum is a game that I think would suit any couple or group who frequently need a “Chess alternative” and in particular, those who travel.”
Bellum Sacrum is a really good option for two players!
The Blessed Dark
“The Blessed Dark is a two to four player game based on the concept of Yahtzee. Rather than Yahtzee’s normal playstyle you’ll be gathering blood, casting spells and summoning demons. Each mint tin comes with twenty blood tokens (red blocks), three dice and a tiny deck of thirty-two cards. Your goal as a cultist is to have the most favor of The Ancient Ones when the last spell card is drawn from the deck.”
The Blessed Dark is the smallest game on this list, with tiny, little cards and pieces, it can actually fit into your pocket!