What are the Gnomes Playing this Christmas? (Gnome Games Staff Picks – Part 1)

What are the Gnomes playing this Christmas? Here are some of the Gnome Games staff holiday game selections.

It’s that time of the year again for games with family and friends around the tree.

Not sure what to play? Look at some of the Gnome Games staff favorites from this year!

Codenames – Bri

Codenames is a great team based social deduction game that really tests your vocabulary.

Codenames is a 2 to 8+ player game where your goal is to find all your team’s spies hidden by their coded names before the other team uncovers all of theirs. Each team has one team member that knows where all the spies are and is giving the team clues. Be warned though, you can’t use any of the words that are on the board! You only get one word and a number per round as a hint to your team. For example, “animal three” means I want you to guess three words that are related in some way to the word animals. Your team can guess as many words as they would like before passing their turn to the other team. If at any point while you are uncovering your spies you come across the other team’s spy, it automatically becomes their turn. If you accidentally uncover the assassin, your team automatically loses! Test your descriptive words and uncover all your spies to become victorious!

  • Number of Players: 2- 8+
  • For Ages: 8+
  • Playing Time: 25 – 40 Minutes

Dice Forge – Robin

The game where you get to change what’s on the face of your dice as part of the game!

Can you best the trials of the divine to prove your worth and become a demigod? Roll dice to collect resources and take on challenges to earn more glory than your opponents! Purchase new faces for your dice to upgrade them and customize your strategy. Resources can be spent to defeat monsters and gain bonuses that will help you come out on top! With quick and easy setup and tons of different strategies to try Dice Forge has great replayability!

  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • For Ages: 10+
  • Playing Time: 40 Minutes

Bang! – Josiah

Bang! Is an old-west shootout played with cards, bluffing, and some degree of outright luck. One player is chosen as the “Sheriff” while each other player is assigned a secret role from outlaw to deputy to renegade. Each player has a mission to accomplish and must eliminate some, or all, of the other players, sometimes in a specific order. Nobody knows for sure who they can trust, and everyone has a gun…you can imagine how this is going to end (Bonus points if you are playing at high noon).

Bang! combines the best elements of several types of games, which allows it to appeal to many different ages and interests. The unique and sometimes comical characters allow both personal strategies, due to their individual abilities and specialties, and the potential for interesting storytelling if you so desire. The cards are all useful in their own way, so you don’t need to worry about your game being ruined by a bad hand of cards, but there is still enough of an element of random chance for those who enjoy a more chaotic gameplay experience.

It’s impossible to talk about Bang! Without mentioning the expansions. There are seven (or eight if you count “the duel”) to choose from and the ones you will enjoy will vary depending on what you are looking for. Personally, I would recommend picking up “The Bullet” expansion bundle (it looks like a giant bullet, you can’t miss it) which includes the first three expansions (High Noon, Dodge City, Fistful of Cards) as well as a sheriff’s badge and a few exclusive characters. “The Bullet” also allows you to expand your game to the full eight players, and includes the variant decks to make your game that much more complex (once you have grasped the basics).

  • Number of Players: 4 – 7
  • For Ages: 8+
  • Playing Time: 20 -40 Minutes

Dragonfire – Sarah O

The dungeon is old and crumbling. The dust of the ages lies undisturbed on the threshold, and the light from your torches now flickers against the damp walls. You and your companions have found your way towards it to prove your worth as adventurers. However, as the growls and screeches of the monsters within reach your ears, you wonder if it was actually worth the trip. It will take your collective wits to make it out of this one alive…

Dragonfire is an incredibly well designed cooperative deck-building game, set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Players get to choose their favorite classes as a starting “character”, which they will build and develop over the course of however many games you choose to play. Each class will have access to different numbers and types of resources (for instance, Wizards will have more access to Arcane resources) which can be used to purchase specialty attacks or spells to improve individual decks. These attacks and spells can be used as you face off against a stack of monsters, which flip in and attack your heroes as they traverse through the dungeon.

In Dragonfire – If your adventurers make it through the entire dungeon by defeating all the monsters in the monster deck, you win the game! But if these monsters overwhelm your heroes, it may claim their lives, and the game will be lost…

This game, beyond proving to be a fantastic cooperative game, also encourages constantly evolving strategy. For each dungeon you and your party defeat, you gain a certain number of experience points (XP) which can be exchanged for permanent upgrades to your character. Other expansion packs offer new class options and new loot to be found in the dungeons. Overall, Dragonfire is a highly entertaining and highly replayable game for 2-6 players, so if you like cooperative games with a fantasy twist, this will be right up your alley!

  • Number of Players: 2 – 6
  • For Ages: 13+
  • Playing Time: 60 – 90 Minutes


Legendary – Colby

Loki is up to his tricks again! He is trying to unleash the power of the cosmic cube on earth! This time he has brought friends straight from Asgard! Ymir the Frost Giant, Enchantress, the Destroyer and so many more. The heroes take to the streets attempting to tame the madness. It is up to you, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. to bring those heroes together and stop Loki!!!

In Legendary you play as the man behind the screen at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Before each game you select one big bad villain and build a deck of minor villains to help them out. Then you select a single scheme/plot for that villain to attempt to accomplish. Once you have built the enemy, you will then select a group of 5 heroes to help you stop them. Each hero has a deck of 14 cards that corresponds to them. Shuffle all 5 hero decks together to build your hero deck. You will be recruiting cards from this deck to use against the villains. The objective is to recruit the hero cards to your deck that fit a style you enjoy. Want to be super powerful and throw extra hard punches each turn? Make sure to pick up all the Hulk cards. Or perhaps you want to build a balanced team, recruit Captain America and pair him with spiderman, wolverine and The Thing.

Anything can happen in Marvel Legendary. BUT WAIT!?!?!

Perhaps Marvel is not your thing. Well lucky for you there are many other versions of this “Legendary” system with a theme for you. Perhaps you want to play your way through the Alien Movies? Maybe play as Arnold Schwarzenegger and take out the predators. Firefly, Buffy, Big Trouble in Little China; the list goes on and on! Pick up your Legendary today at Gnome Games.

  • Number of Players: 1-5 (Works well as a solo game!)
  • For Ages: 12+
  • Playing Time: 45 Minutes

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