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December 2023 | Vol. XXII - No. 12


Board Games to Rule Your December 2023: A 5-Part Report

Forget the usual holiday fare, December 2023 is shaping up to be a board game bonanza! Whether you're a seasoned strategist or a family seeking laughter, there's a game waiting to rule your December.

Beyond the Hype:

  • Dive into epic adventures like Dragon Eclipse and MLEM: Space Agency.
  • Revisit classics with fresh eyes in Ra: 20th Anniversary Edition and Wingspan: Oceania Expansion.
  • Explore captivating expansions like Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion - Forgotten Circles.

Hidden Gems:

  • Discover the cooperative challenge of Under Falling Skies.
  • Build a modern zoo in the strategic Ark Nova (Kickstarter project).
  • Unravel the mysteries of Lost Ruins of Arnak.

Family Fun:

  • Create your own tropical paradise in My Island.
  • Build a vibrant city together in Sunrise Lane.
  • Embark on underwater adventures in The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.

Kickstarter Dreams:

  • Design your dream zoo in Ark Nova.
  • Expand your Everdell kingdom to the shores of a shimmering lake in Pearlbrook.
  • Explore the diverse landscapes of Cascadia.

This December, forget the screen and gather around the table for unforgettable moments with board games!

#BoardGames #December #Gaming #FamilyFun #HiddenGems #Kickstarter

1. Dragon Eclipse:


Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Dice Placement Players: 2-4 Playing Time: 60-90 minutes

Take on the role of a valiant hero in this epic fantasy adventure game. Featuring stunning miniatures, unique card drafting mechanics, and a branching narrative campaign, Dragon Eclipse promises an unforgettable tabletop adventure.

2. MLEM: Space Agency:


Genre: Worker Placement, Strategy, Sci-Fi Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Blast off to a future where humans and cats work together to explore the cosmos. MLEM: Space Agency is a worker placement game where you build and manage your own space agency, recruit feline astronauts, and complete missions to earn prestige and resources.

3. Ra: 20th Anniversary Edition:


Genre: Auction, Strategy, Set Collection Players: 2-5 Playing Time: 60-90 minutes

This classic auction game returns with a modern makeover. Ra, a strategic tile-laying game of set collection and resource management, returns with a streamlined rulebook, updated visuals, and a new expansion module.

4. Challengers 2:


Genre: War, Strategy, Card Drafting Players: 2 Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

The sequel to the acclaimed 2023 Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, Challengers 2 takes the "war on steroids" concept to the next level. New factions, abilities, and strategies offer even greater depth and replayability for seasoned players.

5. Apiary:


Genre: Worker Placement, Family, Resource Management Players: 2-4 Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Manage your own bee colony in this delightful worker placement game. Collect nectar, produce honey, and expand your hive to become the most successful beekeeper. Apiary offers simple yet engaging mechanics, making it perfect for families and players of all ages.


Part 2: Beyond the New Releases: Exciting Expansions and Family Favorites

December 2023 isn't just about brand new games. Existing titles are also getting some love with expansions that broaden their scope and offer fresh experiences. Let's explore some of the most exciting expansions and family-friendly games to grace the shelves this December:

1. Wingspan: Oceania Expansion:


Base Game Required: Wingspan Players: 1-5 Playing Time: 45-75 minutes

Take flight to the vibrant continent of Oceania in this stunning expansion for Wingspan. Discover new birds, explore unique habitats, and utilize innovative new abilities to continue building your engine and achieve avian dominance.

2. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion - Forgotten Circles:


Base Game Required: Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 20-60 minutes per scenario

Embark on a new campaign with a powerful new character class in this expansion for Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. The Forgotten Circles introduces the Aesther class, a versatile spellcaster with unique abilities and a compelling backstory.

3. Azul: Summer Pavilion:


Base Game Required: Azul Players: 2-4 Playing Time: 25-45 minutes

Return to the beautiful world of Azul with this charming expansion. Summer Pavilion introduces new tiles, scoring opportunities, and a double-layer player board, adding new layers of strategy and depth to the beloved tile-laying game.

Family Favorites:

1. My Island:


Genre: Tile-laying, Family, Strategy Players: 2-4 Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Create your own tropical paradise in this delightful tile-laying game. Build beaches, forests, and coral reefs, attract tourists, and develop your island into a thriving tourist destination. My Island's colorful visuals and relaxed gameplay provide a fun and engaging experience for the whole family.

2. Sunrise Lane:


Genre: City-building, Family, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

This charming city-building game is perfect for introducing young players to the joys of board games. Collect resources, build houses, and watch your city grow into a vibrant metropolis. Sunrise Lane's simple rules and quick gameplay make it a great choice for families with limited gaming experience.

3. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea:


Genre: Cooperative, Trick-taking, Family Players: 2-5 Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

Continue your underwater adventures in this cooperative sequel to the acclaimed trick-taking game, The Crew. Mission Deep Sea introduces new challenges, exciting mechanics, and even more teamwork to your next game night.

These are just a few of the exciting expansions and family-friendly options available this December.

Part 3: Delving into Genres - A Game for Every Mood

December 2023 offers a diverse range of board games catering to various gaming preferences. Whether you crave strategic challenges, thrilling adventures, or lighthearted fun, there's a game waiting to capture your imagination. Let's explore some enticing options within different genres:

For the Strategy Enthusiast:

1. A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians:


Genre: Worker Placement, Resource Management, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 60-120 minutes

Expand your Viking empire in this strategic worker placement game. Manage resources efficiently, explore new lands, and compete for victory through trade, shipbuilding, and exploration. A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians offers a deep and rewarding experience for seasoned strategists.

2. Dune: Imperium - Rise of Ix:


Genre: Deck-building, Worker Placement, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Control the spice trade in the unforgiving world of Dune in this thrilling deck-building game. Rise of Ix expands the base game with new factions, cards, and strategic options, offering even more depth and replayability for fans of the original.

3. Pipeline:


Genre: Engine Building, Resource Management, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 60-90 minutes

Construct your own oil pipeline network in this strategic engine-building game. Explore new territories, build pipelines, and manage resources to become the most efficient oil tycoon. Pipeline offers a complex and rewarding experience for players who enjoy planning and optimization.


Part 4: Hidden Gems and Kickstarter Projects: Discovering the Unexpected

December 2023 holds surprises beyond the hyped releases. Let's explore some hidden gems and exciting Kickstarter projects that deserve a place on your radar:

Hidden Gems:

1. Under Falling Skies:

Genre: Card Drafting, Cooperative, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Work together to survive in a world ravaged by meteor showers. This cooperative card drafting game requires communication, strategy, and a bit of luck to overcome challenges and secure your survival. Under Falling Skies offers a unique and engaging experience for cooperative game enthusiasts.

2. Lost Ruins of Arnak:

Genre: Deck-building, Worker Placement, Exploration Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 90-120 minutes

Unearth the secrets of a lost civilization in this immersive deck-building game. Explore ancient ruins, collect artifacts, and research powerful knowledge to unlock the mysteries of Arnak. Lost Ruins of Arnak offers a captivating blend of deck-building and worker placement mechanics for a satisfying adventure.

3. Mandala Stones:

Genre: Tile-laying, Abstract, Strategy Players: 2-4 Playing Time: 15-30 minutes

Create stunning mandalas in this elegant tile-laying game. Choose colored stones carefully and place them strategically to build intricate patterns and score points. Mandala Stones offers a beautiful and relaxing experience for players of all ages

Kickstarter Projects:

1. Ark Nova:

Genre: Worker Placement, Management, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 90-120 minutes

Design and manage your own modern zoo in this ambitious worker placement game. Ark Nova offers a complex and engaging experience with realistic animal management, research opportunities, and global conservation efforts.

2. Everdell: Pearlbrook:

Genre: Worker Placement, Tableau Building, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 45-60 minutes

Expand your woodland kingdom to the shores of a shimmering lake in this charming expansion for Everdell. Pearlbrook introduces new mechanics, creatures, and gameplay elements, adding even more depth and replayability to the beloved worker placement game.

3. Cascadia:

Genre: Tile-laying, Set Collection, Strategy Players: 1-4 Playing Time: 30-45 minutes

Explore the diverse landscapes of Cascadia in this beautiful tile-laying game. Collect wildlife tokens, fulfill habitat requirements, and score points by creating stunning natural landscapes. Cascadia offers a relaxing and strategic experience for both experienced gamers and newcomers.

These are just a few of the hidden gems and exciting Kickstarter projects waiting to be discovered.

Part 5: Wrapping Up and Resources for Further Exploration

December 2023 promises an exciting array of board games for every type of player. From epic adventures and strategic challenges to family-friendly fun and hidden gems, there's something for everyone to enjoy around the table.

Key Takeaways:

  • This December holds highly anticipated new releases like Dragon Eclipse, MLEM: Space Agency, and Ra: 20th Anniversary Edition.
  • Existing games expand their horizons with captivating expansions like Wingspan: Oceania Expansion and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion - Forgotten Circles.
  • Family-friendly options like My Island, Sunrise Lane, and The Crew: Mission Deep Sea offer engaging experiences for players of all ages.
  • Hidden gems like Under Falling Skies, Lost Ruins of Arnak, and Mandala Stones provide unique and satisfying gameplay experiences.
  • Kickstarter projects like Ark Nova, Everdell: Pearlbrook, and Cascadia offer exciting possibilities for the future of board gaming.


Writer's Bio: Since 2012, Laura has spent much of her time around children conducting research in development and growth of children. Her diverse experience around children has enabled her to see firsthand how playing with toys can be one of the richest sources of learning and communication for kids. Read more articles by this author


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