10 Best Tabletop Games To Play During The Holidays

The vacation days that accompany the holiday season can be a double-edged sword. Despite offering a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, many people don’t know what to do with their suddenly gained free time and feel a strange sense of festive boredom.

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However, for tabletop players there is always something fun to do that they haven’t had time to do before. Whether it’s a session of tabletop roleplaying or just another tabletop game to get their unsuspecting relatives to play with them, the tabletop community isn’t short of potential activities for the Christmas time.

10/10 Hometown Holiday Riffs On Holiday Romance Movies

Art for Hometown Holiday

While some spend their winter vacation time lounging on the couch watching holiday movies, those who prefer to spend their free time at the gaming table needn’t be left out of the fun.

Hometown Holiday – A tabletop role-playing game with holiday romance on TV by Nick Tourville takes all the classic tropes and trappings of romantic vacation movies and turns them into a competitive field for players. Everyone has returned to the small town for the holidays and must fight to win the affections of their mutual love interests.

9/10 Monster Of The Week offers holiday horror for beginners

Art from the cover of Monster of the Week, a tentacled monster is controlled by a little girl ghost and captures a hero.

Setting horror stories to music during the Christmas season has become a familiar concept. An enterprising tabletop enthusiast could capitalize on this trend to involve their family and available friends in a fast-paced adventure monsters of the week.

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The Powered by the Apocalypse system, the monsters of the week Runs on makes it welcoming and accommodating for newcomers, especially those with no prior experience with tabletop RPGs or TTRPGs. All the information they need is included in their chosen character role so they can familiarize themselves with the system as they play.

8/10 Wrapping mapping turns waste into world building material

A pile of ruffled wrapping paper

wrapping mapping by tallywinkle on Itch.io turns the stacks of wrapping paper and other gift wrap scraps into a 3D world for a fantasy adventure. Aside from the rules themselves, which can be downloaded for a dollar, players will need discarded wrapping paper, scissors, and either tape or glue.

wrapping mapping then explains how to turn the trash of a vacation into a land of wild beauty and endless wonder for little adventurers to explore. The developer also recommends other tabletop RPG concepts compatible with the maps created by this game.

7/10 Dungeons & Dragons enjoys undeniable popularity

The Dungeons and Dragons

Although fun to play any time of the year, dungeons can be particularly pleasant during the holidays. The amount of culturally accepted time off from work not only makes the nightmare of scheduling a meeting much easier, but there is also plenty of vacation-themed content to enjoy.

There is a wide variety of homemade Christmas adventures in both Dungeon Masters Guild and DriveThru RPG. An enterprising dungeon master could also use these concepts to find the tools necessary to home-brew a unique Christmas intermezzo as a gift for their specific group.

6/10 Trouble in Santa’s workshop can introduce TTRPGs to children

A cropped image of one of the rulesheets for Santa's Workshop

Trouble in Santa’s workshop is a small, kid-friendly TTRPG by Fari RPGs on Itch.io. The Pay What You Can download includes the game rules and blank party character sheets to get you started. The rules sheet contains random tables for character creation and determining what problem the party is trying to solve.

One of the core mechanics is that through gameplay, players can earn wishes, which they can then spend to buy a Christmas miracle from the game master, or to reroll a bad roll of the dice when attempting an action.

5/10 The quiet year captures the tone between the holidays

Promotional art from The Quiet Year, a character walks towards an old windmill.

The time between the end of the most prominent winter holidays and the start of the new year is strangely empty and listless for most people. The Silent Yeara tabletop role-playing and card-making game about rebuilding a collapsed society in the limited time they have, perfectly captures the pensive, melancholic tone that this time limit takes on.

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Using a deck of 52 cards, either those that come with the physical version of the game or a standard playing deck, the table resolves cooperatively and survives the events The Silent Year has in store for you. They must work to build something good and stable before their time runs out.

4/10 Hanukkah Goblins turns harmful stereotypes on their head

The Art of Max Fefer's Hanukkah Leprechauns

Created by Max Fefer, Hanukkah Leprechauns plays on and subverts common pernicious tropes about Jewish people and traditions in the realm of fantasy. Players take on the role of the eponymous Hanukkah Goblins who were left homeless when the Goblin King destroyed their temple.

They are now trying to transmit the spirit of Hanukkah to other Hanukkah goblins in the surrounding villages by teaching them the values ​​of “community, survival and celebrating the little miracles in life”. Fefer also includes a list of recommendations for non-Jewish players who might want to try Hanukkah Leprechauns.

3/10 Classic card games involve the older crowd

A deck of playing cards in a hand, ace through 5.

During the winter holidays, people often meet up with relatives whom they rarely see. As a result, multiple generations often spend this time crammed together in a single room. The best table game to accommodate different age groups at the table is a classic deck of cards.

These well-established festivities, such as hearts, or poker, will be familiar to players of all ages. While some younger participants may need to be taught the nuances of the rules, they at least have a basic understanding of them, while older players may not have a reference point for newer games.

2/10 The hygge game helps groups catch up with each other

The Hygge Game Box and some maps

The hygge game is a conversational game centered on the Scandinavian concept of hygge, a Danish that describes life’s contented, leisurely joys. The hygge gameSubtitled “Cozy Conversations in Pleasant Company,” contains over 300 cards with conversation-starting questions designed to promote a pleasant atmosphere.

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As reunions with friends and family are a common aspect of the holiday season, conversation-starting table activities of this type can help bridge the gaps that time and distance have created between loved ones. The hygge game is the perfect choice to start conversations during the holidays.

1/10 Classic pen and paper games are good for killing time

A sharpened pencil and a blank sheet of paper

If you are fed up with not having any supplies apart from a pen and paper, you know at least one classic pen-and-paper game. These games may include, but are definitely not limited to tic-tace-toe, hangman, mash, and dots and boxes. This is another series of games that would be familiar and accessible to gamers of all ages due to their social longevity.

While these types of games don’t usually last long, they’re great for killing a few spare minutes here and there to keep everyone entertained during holiday activities.

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