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Great Gifts for the More Advanced Board Game Connoisseur

Great Gifts for the More Advanced Board Game Connoisseur

Board games are awesome! There have been a ton of excellent ones out in just the last year or two. And that’s especially true for the more hobbyist games – the ones that use innovative mechanisms, blend novel ideas, and use intriguing themes to create wonderful stories and experiences.  If you have a gamer on your list with a couple of boxes on the shelf, here are some great games to add to the collection.

Blood Rage

blood-rageFrom the aggressive artwork to the Viking theme, you might at first suspect that this game is all about conquering and killing. And while it certainly doesn’t shy away from either, the game is so much more than merely moving your dudes into certain territories and keeping the other guys’ dudes out.

In Blood Rage, you play as one of several warring Viking tribes on the eve of Ragnarok. Each round, you pass out a hand of cards to each player. The cards might help with combat, give your warriors permanent upgrade, or even allow you to recruit specific monsters to your team. But you don’t just get your hand. Instead, you pick one and pass the rest and keep doing so until you have a final six.

This makes the game interactive from the get-go, but also allows the players to quickly diverge as they upgrade their clans differently. You’ll see aggressive players, others who seek to accomplish quests, and still others who might actually want to lose battles in order to get glory from the trickster god, Loki. The result is a fantastic experience that never plays out the same way twice. And, as Ragnarok approaches, the board shrinks and the powerful players come into brutal conflict.


lunaA somewhat less aggressive game, but no less wonderful, is Luna. In this title, the players move various novices around the temple of the moon priestess. They’ll move from island to island, build shrines, avoid the wicked apostate, and even gain access to the temple itself – or be expelled by more knowledgeable novices.

While Luna is more firmly in the “euro” school of design, it nevertheless features some fantastic conflict. You can move the apostate and have him preach to your opponents – and cost them influence with the moon priestess. You compete directly for spots in the temple and the ability to kick off your opponents’ novices.

Every island produces a particular resource that you is extremely helpful. But getting to all of them can be problematic, even impossible. Plus, you can’t just dally along all day. The players control the end of each round by flipping candle tokens. When the last one is flipped, the round ends. You want to stretch the round out to get more done. But if you do, another player can rush the end and make you waste those extra actions. The tension between timing and efficiency can produce some real challenges.

Specter Ops

specter-opsBut maybe the euro genre isn’t for you. Maybe you want something with guns, explosives, genetically altered hunters, and bionically inclined infiltrating agents. In that case, Specter Ops is absolutely the game to choose. In this hidden movement game, one player controls the Agent, secretly attempting to access security files in the evil corporation. The others take on the roles of Hunters trying to find and kill the Agent.

This cat and mouse game is absolutely fantastic. As the Agent, you’ll experience extreme tension as the Hunters slowly crawl their way towards you. Their special abilities will tell them if you are near or perhaps if you are about to hit one of your objectives. Hearing their discussion as they dissect your possible movements will be thrilling and terrifying.

But as the Hunter, it’s also incredibly tense. You have to figure out where that Agent went. If you lose her, she’ll get her next objective and be that much closer to success. Plus, as you close in, she might use a special weapon or grenade to disable you or escape. Staying on her tail can be hard, and losing the trail can be devastating.

And in Specter Ops, the games are usually extremely close. A game ends with the Agent running for the exit.  All she needs to do is get out with the information and win. But the Hunters have finally found her and are bringing out their weaponry in the hopes of dropping her before she makes it out. It’s a tense game on every level and well worth a purchase for any board game enthusiast.

What games are you planning on picking up for gifts?  Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credits: Cool Mini or Not, Tasty Minstrel Games, and Plaid Hat Games

Featured Image Credit: Featured Image Credit: Plaid Hat Games

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