A list of Christmas board games to try, either as additions to your own collection or as gift to your friends and family!

With Christmas just around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better time to make a list of the best Christmas board games out there! We have a special list of critically acclaimed titles from the across-the-board game world, so let’s get to it! And we’re not giving you ideas for presents, not at all!

List of Best Christmas Board Games (2024)

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride's original Days of Wonder game based in North America
Image: Days of Wonder
  • Designer: Alan R. Moon
  • Players: 2-5 players
  • Play Time: 30-60 minutes
  • Age: 8+
  • Complexity: 2/5

Ticket to Ride is an instant classic that sparks joy in every player that touches it. It’s easy to play, and full of colorful components and illustrations – it’s just perfect for the Holiday season! Players are put in the shoes of railway magnates aiming to take over the North American railway network. There’s limited space to build, so players are incentivized to take daring risks and challenges, while carefully measuring whether or not the risk is worth losing the game for. Players may also gain points by completing difficult routes, which may prove to be the edge on point scoring. There are multiple game versions to choose from, and just imagine a fun little train rail by the fire – the perfect Christmas board game!

Buy Ticket to Ride on Amazon US / Amazon UK


One of the most popular board games of all time, Pandemic's game box.
  • Designer: Matt Leacock
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 45 minutes
  • Age: 8+
  • Complexity: 2/5

Pandemic may take you back to darker recent times, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t bring joy to anyone who finds a copy of this critically acclaimed title below the Christmas tree or in the stocking. It’s instantly recognizable, and its popularity hasn’t dwindled over the years. On the contrary, it skyrocketed. And that’s understandable, because it gives its players the ability to fight off deadly viruses across the globe. They take on the roles of several specialists, all of which offer unique approaches to fight off the viruses before the time runs out. The highly entertaining, dynamic playthrough is sure to bring a lot of fun on the holidays.

Buy Pandemic on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Azul's Board Game
  • Designer: Michael Kiesling
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Age: 8+
  • Complexity: 2/5

In this fun, relaxing board game is perfect for a fun night with the family around the tabletop. All you have to do is to lay tiles down and enjoy the beautiful patterns that you make together. The only “advanced” mechanics the game offers is that you get extra points if you complete a specific pattern or set. It’s literally that simple. Even though the player with the most advanced pattern is declared the winner, nobody actually loses. The game is not designed to be complex, it’s designed to be easy and enjoyable. And it accomplishes this task with flying colors. It makes you feel like decorating your home for Christmas, making a strong game to be among the best Christmas board games.

Buy Azul on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Castles of Burgundy

The Castles of Burgundy game box, art, and components.
  • Designer: Stefan Feld
  • Players: 2-4 players
  • Play Time: 30-90 minutes
  • Age: 12+
  • Complexity: 3/5

If you have a family member that’s always dreamed of being a medieval aristocrat, cunning warlord, or to be a heroic castle defender? If so, feel free to put Castles of Burgundy on your Christmas board games list as a present. Set in medieval Burgundy, there will be no shortage of dice rolling, castle raiding, castle defense and strategy. The game can get pretty intense at times but in a good way. You and your family will have a blast while dueling with one another for supremacy. It’s also constantly receiving expansions, so you can always spice up your raiding experience.

Buy Castles of Burgundy on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Board game cover, Boop
  • Designer: Scott Brady
  • Players: 2
  • Play Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Age: 10+
  • Complexity: 1/5

Let’s be honest – Christmas is all about putting smiles on the faces of your family and loved ones, especially if you have children. If you happen to be a recent dad like myself, and you really want your little adorable monster to be a future board gamer, then look no further (or should I say purrther) than the adorable award-winning board game boop. It’s easily the most child-friendly board game on our best Christmas board games list, making it very suitable for a holiday gift. The game is all about cute little kitties jumping on the bed, and has the mechanical complexity of checkers. It’s very fun and interactive, with an adorable, child-friendly theme to accompany it. Come on, who doesn’t love kitties!

Buy Boop on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Wingspan, one of the most popular nature themed board games of all time!
  • Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 40-70 minutes
  • Age: 10+
  • Complexity: 2/5

Considered to be Elizabeth Hargrave’s masterpiece, Wingspan puts players in the roles of knowledge-hungry ornithologists. Your goal is to build the perfect habitat, then attract and document all the birds in your designated area. While this seems like a very complicated task for its rating, rest assured that the gameplay is intuitive, easy to learn, and extremely rewarding. There are more than 170 bird species in the game, featured in beautiful, scientifically accurate illustrations. Wingspan also has a lot of expansions, which not only improves gameplay, but adds more bird species to the already massive list. Not only that, but everything about the game is scientifically accurate, so if you ever feel like having an encyclopedia spliced into a board game – add Wingspan to the Christmas list!

Buy Wingspan on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Bang The Dice Game box and cover.
  • Designer: Emiliano Sciarra
  • Players: 4-7
  • Play Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Age: 8+
  • Complexity: 1/5

Ever wanted to be a cowboy? Let me introduce you to Bang! – a fun, spaghetti western-inspired card game that’s all about shooting down your opponents and ending it with a bang! And while that doesn’t quite fit the theme of Christmas, the fun the game provides most certainly is. Everything in Bang! is random – from the characters the players get to play at the beginning of each game, to the cards they draw. Kind of like the pistol accuracy in those times – you just spray and pray. This simplicity makes it perfect for players of all ages and a perfect Christmas present.

Buy Bang! on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Catan: Family Edition
  • Designer: Klaus Teuber
  • Players: 3-4
  • Play Time: 60-120 minutes
  • Age: 10+
  • Complexity: 2/5

For some, CATAN is as old as Christmas itself. And while that might as well be true, CATAN will definitely go down in history as one of the most recognizable board games ever made. There are so many CATAN expansions, there is probably a version for every single type of player in existence. Such a timeless classic was bound to make our best Christmas board games list, as it’s a perfect gift for any player that doesn’t have it on its shelf(es) yet. The game features an awesome world that is bound for the big screen soon, as visible the feature film’s IMDB page. There isn’t a better time to introduce yourself to CATAN in some capacity if you haven’t already.

Buy Catan on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Arkham Horror

The Arkham Horror: The Card Game board game box.
  • Designers: Richard Launius, Kevin Wilson
  • Players: 1-8 players
  • Play Time: 120-140 minutes
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 4/5

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! As you might have guessed by the previous sentence, Arkhan Horror is centered around the ever-popular Cthulhu mythos by H.P. Lovecraft. It’s a highly complex and intricate horror game that is the perfect Christmas gift for players that are looking for a lengthy adventure, as the games are known to last for well over two hours. That’s not necessarily bad, though, as it gives a truly immersive experience, where players get to pick from sixteen investigators and battle their way through a diverse menagerie of Lovecraftian monsters. Their end game is to close down the interdimensional portals opening all around Arkham. 

Buy Arkham Horror on Amazon US / Amazon UK

The Quacks of Quedlinburg

Quacks of Quedlinburg's board game.
  • Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 45 minutes
  • Age: 10+
  • Complexity: 2/5

In The Quacks of Quedlinburg, players get the chance to swindle and cheat their way to glory, by taking advantage of the gullible citizens of the fantasy town of Quedlinburg in the form of quackery. Well, that’s not in the Christmas spirit at all, but it’s a ton of fun regardless. Just don’t expect to make it to Santa’s nice list. Players take on the roles of quack doctors (charlatans) that compete for the attention of the citizens of Quedlinburg by crafting the perfect snake oil! They will have access to various ingredients in the form of ingredient chips, which they will have to mix and match carefully, lest they risk their pot exploding in their faces! Successful mixes will give them victory points and gold, explosions will cost them dearly. Whoever gets the most victory points at the end of 5th round is declared the master of quackery, thus winning the game!

Buy The Quacks of Quedlinburg on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens' board game box - one of the most popular party games of all times!
  • Designers: Matthew Inman, Elan Lee, Shane Small
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 15 minutes
  • Age: 7+
  • Complexity: 1/5

We previously covered a board game about adorable kittens jumping on a bed. Now, it’s time to cover a fan-favorite board game about adorable exploding kittens. I know what you’re thinking – this game is more suitable for New Year. But consider this! Christmas is also the time for delicious roasted chestnuts, which also happen to explode (if left unchecked)! See, a worthy addition to the best Christmas boardgames list! All jokes aside, this board game is highly recognizable, critically acclaimed, and a ton of fun. With its short play time of 15 minutes, it is perfectly set up for multiple action-packed sessions, and its many expansions expand the card roster significantly, which adds even more fun, explosions, implosions, and all sorts of randomness!

Buy Exploding Kittens on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Trekking the National Parks

Trekking the National Parks
  • Designer: Charlie Bink
  • Players: 2-6 players
  • Play Time: 30-60 minutes
  • Age: 8+
  • Complexity: 2/5

Marketed as a “spirited family board game”, Trekking the National Parks allows its players to experience the natural treasures that are the U.S. National Parks on the tabletop in a fun, educational, and innovative way. Prepare to explore the wilderness, set up camps, collect valuable trek tokens, and get to know interesting facts about the parks while doing it! Each card in the game includes photos of the various National Parks with interesting facts about them. This, along with its theme, are the main selling points of the game. If you’re looking for a solid excuse to buy another board game for Christmas, make sure to add the educational value of Trekking the National Parks to your loved ones!

Buy Trekking the National Parks on Amazon US / Amazon UK

7 Wonders

7 Wonders' board game cover in a foreign language.
Civilizations vie to triumph over their opponents in this abstract board game.
  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Players: 2-7 players
  • Play Time: 30 minutes
  • Age: 10+
  • Complexity: 2/5

7 Wonders takes you back to ancient times, when the world was full of innovation and wonder, where players take on the roles of the esteemed leaders of ancient civilizations who built the great pyramid of Gizah, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. All of them are represented on two-sided cards that have specific completion requirements on them. 7 Wonders is a card development game with a ton of interaction between players, making it perfect for a fun family night. Its strategic complexity, high replay value and gameplay diversity easily makes it a suitable candidate for being among the best Christmas board games.

Buy 7 Wonders on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Avalon Hill's game box by Avalon Hill.
Image: Avalon Hill
  • Designers: Bruce Glassco, Rob Daviau, Bill McQuillan, Mike Selinker, Teeuwynn Woodruff
  • Players: 3-6
  • Play Time:  60 minutes
  • Age: 12+
  • Complexity: 2/5

A favored among horror fans across the tabletop gaming world, Betrayal at the House on the Hill is set in a medieval mansion filled with spooky ghosts. Players get to be its unfortunate explorers, who try to escape their ominous fates that are constantly shouted at them by the nefarious spirits that inhabit the mansion. But that’s not the only thing they need to worry about, as there is a traitor in their ranks! That’s right, one of the characters will betray the rest of the party along the way, working towards their evil ends. The game offers a chilling atmosphere, detailed game pieces and a lot of fun for the whole family! If you want to surprise a horror-loving relative this holiday season, Betrayal at the House on the Hill might just be the best Christmas board game for them.

Buy Betrayal at the House on the Hill on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Codenames' board game box.
Image: CGE
  • Designer: Vlaada Chvátil
  • Players: 2-8
  • Play Time: 15 minutes
  • Age: 14+
  • Complexity: 1/5

Codenames has the potential to be among the best Christmas board games due to its family-oriented gameplay and its large player count – perfect for a family of any size! Players are put in the shoes of spymasters and special agents who are trying to contact all their agents on the field. To do that, they must identify them by their single-word code name label listed on the agent cards. Only the spymasters know the identities of the 25 agents. The spymasters give clues that point to multiple words on the game board. If their team guesses right, they get to continue until they reach an innocent bystander. The newly appointed special agents need to be careful, though, because if they happen to run into the assassin card – they lose the game instantly.

Buy Codenames on Amazon US / Amazon UK


Carcassonne Inns and Cathedrals Expansion
Image: Z-Man
  • Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Age: 7+
  • Complexity: 2/5

Carcassonne’s medieval aesthetic is unforgettable. Its colorful tiles, simplistic yet distinguishable meeples, and fun and engaging gameplay make it an instant classic in the board game world. In Carcassonne, players fiercely fight over all available sheep, farmlands, monasteries, castles and more. The game has 10 major expansions and 26 mini expansions to choose from, so if you ever get bored from the original, you can always get an addon for an extra bit of diversity. Each expansion brings something new to the table, so the game will have even more strategy and variety. You can even have your games include fairies, wizards, and dragons!

Buy Carcassonne on Amazon US / Amazon UK

Board Game Gifts That Are Not Games

In case you are not sure what board game to buy your friend, partner, or family member (on account of them already having several Kallax’s worth of games, there are other presents you can offer as gift this Christmas. Chances are the hardcore board gamer and casual one will appreciate your thoughtful gesture:

Board Game Dice Tray (Quality of Life)

Board game dice trays are an excellent way to add a bit of a quality-of-life feature to your rolls. The thudding of dice against wood or hard surface annoys the life of every gamer, but you will be surprised to find out how many hardcore gamers have not thought of buying themselves a dice tray. Here are several options we have owned and tested ourselves and guarantee are quality:

  • Critical Hit Collectibles Square: Dice Tray
  • Critical Hit Collectibles Hexagon Dice Tray
  • Chip Theory Games Control ‘Ur Roll Neoprene Dice Tray: Rust

Check with your local board game store to see if these are available, or what good substitutes would be.

Board Game Bags (Best Value)

Board game bags are definitely the best value you can get out of a gift. These bags aren’t that expensive, but they are priceless to the committed board game who will love you all the more this Christmas. You can check our list of board game bags and which we consider to be the best.

Card Sleeves (Always Good to Have)

No idea what to buy? You can spend your Christmas gift budget on card sleeves, picking any sizes. Just visit your local board game store and ask for good quality card sleeves. If your friend, partner, or family member are into board games as much as us, they ca never have enough board game sleeves.

Playmat (Excellent for Protecting Games)

This is something that is always great. You can choose a standard matte neoprene mat that does not have any features on it or pick something more thematic. We love space board games, such as Twilight Imperium, Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy, and Voidfall, and have found the Ultimate Guard Mystic Space Playmat to be just what we need. You can buy it on Amazon US, but you won’t find it on Amazon UK.

Christmas Board Games FAQs

What is the most popular board game this Christmas?

Monopoly. Monopoly is an all-time family classic that will bring board gamers together and reunite even non-gaming family members around the table.

What board games do people play for Christmas?

Azul, Carcassonne, Jenga, and Cards Against Humanity are some of the fun Christmas board games you may try this year.

Do people play board games for Christmas?

Yes, they absolutely do. Families and friends gather round to play fun board games such as Exploding Kittens, The Quacks of Quedlinburg, or even the more immersive and slightly frightening Arkham Horror!

Stoyan Todorov

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.


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