Gifts for the Casual Board Gamer

New York Zoo – $40 MSRP

Take one look at this game and just try to resist its charm. Good luck! New York Zoo features 126 wooden animal tokens, 45 tetris-style tiles, and the design chops of Uwe Rosenberg, one of the greatest board game designers of all time. The premise is simple: construct your own animal park by building enclosures and breeding animals. With New York Zoo, you’ve got yourself a sure-fire hit for a casual, puzzly game night with friends or family. You can preorder from retailers (which should be receiving the game within the next few weeks), or support the publisher and order directly from them–best of all, they are already shipping to customers!

Calico – $40 MSRP

You thought we were finished with cute, puzzly games? Think again! Calico made a solid first impression at our table, and it’s one that we continue to enjoy as a relaxing, simple brain burner. You’ll be selecting patch tiles to “sew” into your own quilt while attracting cats and earning buttons for maximum points. If your casual gamer likes cats, quilts, thinky puzzles, or all of the above, then you can’t go wrong with Calico.

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine – $15 MSRP

Games like Rook, Hearts, Euchre, and Spades are a dime-a-dozen these days in the trick-taking card game genre. If your casual gamer enjoys these types of games, then you simply must introduce them to The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine. Check out my review to learn why this hot new title is one of the greatest card games of all time.


If you’re looking to get your casual gamer hooked on a series of light, fun combat games with recognizable fighters, then Unmatched has plenty of options to explore. A set comes with 1-4 unique decks of 30 cards each that are used for their awesome characters. If you acquire multiple sets, you’ll soon find yourself pitting characters like Sasquatch against Sherlock Holmes in this fast, addictive game for 2-4 players. You can check out my impressions of the latest sets (pictured above) here.

Renature – $50 MSRP

We’ve come full circle back to another charming animal game that packs a punch! Renature is brought to us by a designer dream-team, Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer, whose famous works include Azul and El Grande, respectively. The thing about Renature, with its cute wooden foliage tokens and cuddly animal dominoes, is that this is far from a kind game. While the rules to play are very simple, the strategy and interaction can be deliciously aggressive, dynamic, and cutthroat.

If your casual gamer is the type who delights in ruthlessly cutting people off in Ticket to Ride, then Renature should be high on your choices of gifts. I, for one, delight in the evil strategic opportunities that certain games present to me, and thus Renature was an instant preorder for me. You can either preorder from retailers or straight from Capstone Games who estimates a direct delivery from their store in late November.

Continue on to Page 4: Gifts for your Significant Other

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