You don’t need a massive budget or a massive table to enjoy these games. Here are twenty-five really fun games you can slip into a stocking without breaking the bank.
For the Kiddos: Kid-Friendly But Still Fun
There is an art to designing a game that is accessible to children but still enjoyable to play for adults. If you’ve ever been stuck playing a dusty old copy of Candyland with your nephew and crave a game that’s actually fun for everyone at the table, these are the picks for you.
Exploding Kittens is a ridculous card game for ridiculous people. It’s perfect for all ages but kids especially love the absurd humor and silly artwork.
This adorable game turns your table into a sushi prep station where players pick and pass the pieces they need to complete their orders. It’s kid-friendly and still plenty fun for adults.
It’s a silly looking game and a silly looking play experience. Trash Pandas is a push-your-luck game where you take on the role of racoons doing their best to get the most garbage.
You and your fellow players must play the deck of 100 cards in ascending order. Simple enough, right? Except you can’t communicate with the other players. Kids and adults alike love the challenge and the game has sold millions of copies around the world.
Throw Throw Burrito
Billed as the world’s first dodgeball card game, need we say more? It’s easy to learn, kids love it, and it’s exactly the kind of rowdy fun the holidays need. Though we do recommend playing in the room without the fine China.
Beautiful to Behold: Judge a Book by Its Cover
Not every board game is lovely to look at, but these ones are. If you’re looking for a game that’s both fun to play and has striking, lovely, or whimsical artwork this is your stop.
If you’re looking for a relaxing game to wind down the day, Herbaceous is tough to beat. Players pick and pot herbs to build a collection point by point. The cards are beautiful and the gameplay is soothing.
Players build a beautiful path through a garden using beautifully illustrated cards. At the end of the game the player with the most elegantly laid out forest wins.
Using coaster-like game pieces adorned with colorful skulls and flowers, players bluff and push their luck to avoid the skulls and collect the flowers. It’s a game that’s simple to learn but challenging.
Perfect for fans of the Addams Family, Gloom offers a quirky twist on amassing points. Each player has a gloomy family and their goal is to die the most miserable (while inflicting happiness on the other players to steer them towards the sunshiney side of life).
Love Letters is a fast-playing game of deduction and risk-taking set against the backdrop of an ancient court. Players do their best to leverage powerful allies within the court to ensure their letter gets to the princess.
Dungeon in a Box: Explore the Deep Dark
Who says you can’t fit a dungeon adventure into a tiny stocky-stuffer-sized box? While there are plenty of massive and expensive tabletop dungeon games around, these little gems fit a lot of adventure in a small package.
Tiny Epic Dungeons
Tiny Epic Dungeons delivers on exactly what the name of the game promises. Players use the contents of the box to build and play through the dungeon. It’s complete modular and highly replayable.
Dungeon Drop delivers on the name. Every round you set up the dungeon by dropping a big handful of colorful pieces onto the table. Each piece represents monsters, loot, and a path towards adventure.
Boss Monster: The Dungeon Building Game
Boss Monster puts a twist on the dungeon building game genre by turning the experience into a retro side-scrolling video game dungeon instead of a classic Dungeons and Dragons experience. Great for fans of retro games.
One Deck Dungeon
It’s one deck, a bunch of dice, and a lot of fun. One Deck Dungeon pits players against the deck of dungeon cards and all the monsters it churns out.
Find the Traitor: Accusing Your Friends Is Fun
All the game in this section are different but share a common mechanic: someone at the table is a traitor, interloper, or secret agent of chaos, and the rest of the players must ferret them out. This is it if you’re looking for animated table talk and good-natured accusations.
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
This fast-paced deduction game is a fantastic upgrade over the original Werewolf game. You can play a whole session in minutes and the free companion app moderates the game so everyone can jump in and play.
A game of political intrigue and bluffing, Coup pits players against each other as each person at the table maneuvers to achieve their personal goals.
Werewords take the theme of the popular game Werewolf and turns it into a word-deducation game. The theme is fun but the puzzle part of the game stands strongly on its own. It could easily be on a spaceship or in an ancient Greek city and play just as well.
Building on the popularity of the original Spyfall, Spyfall 2 continues the party game bluffing fest. Every round a person at the table is a spy who has no idea what environment they are in while every other player knows. To win, the spy has to figure out where they are without blowing their cover.
For the Sherlocks: Deduction Is an Art
Love a good mystery? All of the games in this section turn players into amateur detectives, getting to the bottom of mysteries, unpacking codewords, escaping locked rooms, or both.
There’s Been a Murder
This social deduction games throws players back into the Victorian age where they are tasked with solving a good old fashioned murder. It plays quick and encourages you to try different strategies.
Mr. Jack: Pocket Edition
A compact adaptation of the popular Mr. Jack boardgame, this petite two player game pits Jack the Ripper against Sherlock Holmes in a fast-paced game of deduction.
The box for this game is pushing the limit of stocking stuffer size, but it’s such a fantastic game we’ll make an exception. Players take the role of codemasters and agents in the field. Codemasters can only speak in simple one word clues to guide their agents, helping them avoid the assassins.
Exit: The Abandoned Cabin
Kosmos has an entire line of Exit: The Game stand-alone escape room puzzle games. Each game is a one-and-done puzzle you can solve with friends and family. Stuff a different Exit game in each stocking this year, and you can spend your holiday break solving mysteries.
All the Rest: Some Category-Defying Fun
Not everygame fits in a neat category, so allow us to share a few gems right at the end that didn’t quite fit neatly anywhere else. Deep sea dives, deep space adventures, there’s a lot of fun to be had with these compact games.
Unstable Unicorns is a strategic card game that encourages you to beat down your friends with crazy cards in pursuit of collecting a stable of colorful unicorns. It’s unbelievably popular and sure to be a hit.
This cooperative game is deep space romp that puts a fun twist on the tradition of trick-taking card games. It plays fast and with 50 different potential missions, there is high replay value.
Deep Sea Adventure
In Deep Sea Adventure players work to dive deeper and deeper into the ocean to seek fame and fortune. The whole thing is so compact it can easily fit in your pocket or backpack to take on the go.
Looking for more gift ideas? Take a look at our other gift guides for more inspiration: