Small Box Games To Give As Gifts This Holiday Season

Small Box Games To Give As Gifts This Holiday Season

November 23, 2020 0 By Ryan Sanders

Looking for a small box board game as a Christmas/Secret Santa or Hanukkah gift this year? We have chosen 10 games in this article that may be of interest to you then. 

Abandon All Artichokes – (2-4 players) A new 2020 title from Gamewright. Players start off with a deck of 10 artichokes each, and they draw five cards – the object is to be able to draw 5 cards on your turn without drawing any artichokes, you do this by getting other vegetables help to help you abandon those artichokes. Each vegetable has its own special ability.  Good introduction to deck building (even if this one is more like deck deconstruction). 

Air, Land, & Sea – (2-players) is a head-to-head game. First to 12 Victory Points wins – gain victory points by either causing your opponent to withdraw or winning 2 of the 3 theaters of war (air, land, and sea) that round. Card you play faceup, have special abilities that can help you or maybe hinder your opponent. Published by Arcane Wonders

Break the Code – (2-4) Break the Code by IELLO USA. This one has 2 different ways to play – one way for 2-players and one way for 3-4 players. The basic idea of the game is players have numbers behind their screens. 1-9 in black and 1-9 in white with both 5s being green. Numbers are put behind your screen in numerical order.  There are cards in the middle of the table that have questions on them, you pick a question and ask it to your opponents, you then use logic to figure out what they have. In the 2-player game, you are trying to figure out what numbers (and their color) your opponent has. In 3-4 player game, you are trying to figure out what the facedown leftover numbers are. I’ve only played 2-player, but it is a really good logic/deduction game. 

The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game – (1-5 players) is a roll and write game where players are trying to grow their estates. Each color/land type needs different requirements and players will be matching numbers and color dice together to fill in the blanks. When a colored region is filled in, you may even get a one-time use special ability to use later. More advance than say Qwixx and Rolling America, but one we really enjoy. Published by Ravensburger

Cat Sudoku: Roll for Kyoto – (1-6 players) A roll and write game that is a game-ified variant of the famous paper puzzle Sudoku. In the game, you are trying to best place the numbers of your roll on the dice into your grid. At the end of the game (all spaces filled), you score negative points for the same numbers in rows or columns or if the same number is diagonally adjacent. You can also lose points if you fill in too many spaces or not enough via an accident.  This is one of the very few games I will play solo. We reviewed this one a little while back, you can read the review here:  Published by Sunrise Tornado

Minuscule (2-6 players) is a bug racing game. Players are given two (three in 2p) secret bugs (goal cards) they want to win the race. Bugs are drafted to determine starting positions. On a player’s turn, they play cards that will move the bugs backward or forwards. There are even a couple of cards that let you get rid of on of your goal cards and pick a new one (or you can force an opponent to do it instead) – after all cards in a hand have been played, players reveal their secret bugs on their goal cards and score points depending on where they placed in the race. The player with the highest score wins. Published by Asmodee

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Patchwork Doodle –  (1-6 players) In, Patchwork Doodle, players are drawing quilt shapes (read: polyomino shapes) dictated by cards on a 9×9 grid. There are 3 scoring rounds and at the end of the game, you add the scores up and subtract points for any empty spaces. Highest scores win. This one is fun to have a good set of color pencils with as you design your own quilt, and while puzzly can also be relaxing with the coloring aspect.  We did an overview and comparison to Second Chance, which can be found here-

Rhino Hero –  (2-5 players) The very basic description of Rhino Hero is it’s a dexterity game where you are building a tall building out of cards and cardboard. Players are trying to get rid of all the cards in your hands (these are the roof/floor cards) before anyone else. Many of the cards have special powers that allow you to do things like place two cards or maybe skip someone’s turn. From HABA.

Stellar – (2-players) – Players are stargazers trying to spy out Planets, Moons, Asteroids, Interstellar Clouds, and Black Holes. On your turn, you play a card to your telescope and one to your research notebook (or vice versa). There are some cool mechanics about how you play your second card, in that you are forced to play the card that is in the market that is equal to the card you just played. So if I played a card to my telescope with the number 4 on it, I have to play the 4th card in the market to my research notebook. Cards do have some flavor text that will teach you facts about the different celestial objects in the game, and scores are found with multiplication – making this a good one for gameschooling. Published by Renegade Game Studios

Tiny Epic Galaxies: Blast Off  (2-4 players) – This is a streamlined version of Tiny Epic Galaxies for the mass market. If you already have Tiny Epic Galaxies you don’t need it, however, if you have never played a Tiny Epic game this would be a good place to start. From Gamelyn Games. 

If you like some more ideas for small box games – check out our Stocking Stuffer Article for even smaller games! You can find it at –

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Ryan Sanders is the founder, owner, and editor-at-large of Adventures in Gameschooling. He’s also the guy behind its social media accounts. God has blessed Ryan and his wife Mary, with five children, which he homeschools. As a Christian, he believes that he should not only look out for your own interests but other peoples too (Philippians 2:4) and this is one of his guiding principles for Adventures in Gameschooling. Ryan’s expertise is informed by almost two decades of experience as a stay-at-home father and from the running The Inquisitive Meeple where he performed over 300 written and podcast interviews within the board game industry.