News for November 2009
After the Feast 10
A spotlight of games perfect for your family gathering
News | Published 16 November 2009

The holidays are fast approaching, and if you plan on spending them with your extended family, board and card games can be a great way to pass the time. Sure, after you’ve helped clear the dishes away, you could just pass out on the sofa... or you could escape a dragon’s perilous dungeon, save a gnomish submarine from certain destruction, or dodge the wrath of an angry sorcerer!

Most serious hobby gamers know the pitfalls of trying to introduce too much complexity to the non-gamer crowd too soon. Can you imagine teaching Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition to Grandma? But where to start? Which games are best suited, based on complexity and number of players, to holiday gaming with the family? We’ve put together a few ideas...

In Drakon, up to six players race to be the first to collect 10 gold coins, all while avoiding a powerful dragon. The rules take less than a minute to explain; on each turn, you either put down a tile (expanding the dungeon), or you move your character miniature one space. Each tile you land on does something a little different, such as let you claim one gold token or steal one from the player to your left... and one tile lets you move the dragon herself, using her to hunt down your opponents! From this basic premise springs a surprisingly strategic board game with a satisfying “gotcha!” element.

For the more dramatic and outgoing crowd, Aye, Dark Overlord! actually presents light roleplaying elements, and can quickly become a terrific storytelling experience. The Overlord’s evil plot has failed (as it usually does), and he’s looking to blame an underling. Aye, Dark Overlord! is a fast-paced game of blame, lies, and pitting player against player in an attempt to avoid the Overlord's wrath. Each turn, players will be called upon to make up excuses, using one of the three hint cards they have in their hand. When the excuses start flying, hilarity will follow!

Red November, a nail-biting board game in which players struggle desperately to keep their submarine from sinking, has three things going for it to make it ideal for your holiday get-together. First, it accommodates a whopping eight players, meaning even big families can share in the action. Second, it’s fully cooperative. Many new players are put off by competition, but a cooperative game like Red November keeps the expectations nice and light, since everyone can strategize together. Third, it’s amazing fun! Red November puts players in the roles of gnomes on a sinking submarine. They must put out fires, pump leaking water, and even fight off an attacking kraken, all while waiting for help to arrive. If you’re planning on playing with children, just be aware that these endangered gnomes like to the take the edge off with a bit of grog (an in-game item that bolsters their bravery). But let’s be honest... wouldn’t you?

Any one of these games would be great for your holiday gathering, but keep watching our site! Letter of Marque, a simple bluffing game for 3-6 pirates, will be hitting retailers soon. Check out our detailed preview, then pick it up just in time for Thanksgiving!

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Comments (10)

Knuckles Eki
Published: 11/17/2009 9:43:20 PM

@ khatre


Arkham Horror is a good co-op game, but it's too complicated to be a family game.  Also, children don't like playing with scary monsters.

Published: 11/17/2009 5:07:47 AM

 I'd add Mag Blast to this list and Tribune?

Published: 11/16/2009 5:11:49 PM

FFG already tried to venture into videogame adaptations of their titles with Descent and Battlepawn. It didn't end too well iirc.

Published: 11/16/2009 4:16:15 PM

Will FFG ever offer A Game of Thrones or Call of Cthulhu for xbox the way Magic has done for Xbox? It would probably cost a pretty penny but i would play the heck out of it. ESPECIALLY if i can get a few competitive on line games in. :D

David Spangler
Published: 11/16/2009 3:55:47 PM

I want to echo what paradiddlebob said:  FFG needs to start a line of computer games. 

Published: 11/16/2009 3:41:13 PM

My family's been playing Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Carcasonne on the Xbox and we're having a blast! Waaaaaay cheaper than buying the board and we get in far more games due to the ease of starting, Also, the graphics, automatic scoring, and excellent sound effects make it a very enjoyable family experience. FFG should get some of thier games on Xbox 360; we'd be all over that!

Published: 11/16/2009 3:40:21 PM

hmmmmm ....

no love for Arkham Horror?

leaving him out makes chibi-thullu cry ;(

Published: 11/16/2009 1:42:15 PM

Except lets face facts... many people would be tempted to just let the gnomes drown....... :-D

Published: 11/16/2009 1:41:12 PM

Yep, they all look like great games to play with the family. Red November is definitely on my Christmas list. I would have also said citadels as well, as my family has greatly enjoyed that game!

Published: 11/16/2009 1:39:58 PM

Agreed with Drakon : it's cool ! (especially for Grandmas)

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