SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN

The Christmas season will soon be upon us and with it, the prospect of purchasing games for those on our gift-giving lists. I always encourage people to remember that the games they like are not always the ideal ones to give as presents. I really enjoy Power Grid but I don't think Aunt Agnes will be as enthralled. With this in mind I offer the following three ideas for "games for non-gamers". That is, people who enjoy playing games but are not as fanatical as the typical reader of The Games Journal.

Blokus - Although it was released in 2002, it has only become widely available in North America this past year. The colourful board and pieces are intriguing and whenever I played it in public places I always received plenty of interest. It's simple enough to teach in under a minute and its short playing time means that you'll often play several games in rapid succession.

Ticket to Ride - I'm starting to have concerns that a good ticket draw is necessary to win but it remains an excellent family game. Easy to teach and play and very engaging.

Attika - For me, this was the "gamer's game" of 2004, it has the right blend of complexity and decision-making that makes it hard to analyse but intriguing to play. Still, it's accessible enough for people who have enjoyed games such as Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan. An excellent choice for those willing to try meatier games.

-Greg Aleknevicus

If you're looking for an inexpensive game you may want to investigate the offerings from Adlung. They have many to choose from although they tend to be hit-or-miss; some of them are very good while others are... not. Two of the more popular ones are Verräter and Meuterer which share a number of similarities. Patrick Brennan and Greg Aleknevicus debate which is the superior of the two.

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