1. Mysterium (Asmodee) $$
Mysterium is a social deduction game that plays like Clue meets Dixit. In it, players are psychic detectives seeking to learn who committed a murder. Fortunately, they have help from the ghost of the victim who can only communicate with the players via their dreams.
The dream cards are illustrated with images that (according to the ghost player) point towards whodunit which the players guess their suspect. Mysterium is a great party game for those gamers who are ready to move on from Clue and Mystery in the Abby.
2. Ghostbusters (Cryptozoic) $$
Speaking of ghosts, who you gonna call?
The game is quick to play and easy to learn. It features a great levelling system and comes with some very cool miniatures including the Ecto-1!
3. Castle of Mad King Ludwig (Bezier Games) $$ Secrets expansion $$
The game recently came out with an expansion - Secrets - which adds 30 more rooms to the base set.
4. Dead of Winter (Plaid Hat Games) $$
The worst part of any zombie movie has never been the zombies, but the humans. Dead of Winter gets this part right. The players are survivors of the zombie apocalypse struggling to survive their first winter.
However, the game features an unique system that puts the players at odd with each other in order to complete their own agendas. When you aren't fighting off the undead, players are wondering which other players are going to stab them in the back. Good fun!
5. T.I.M.E. Stories (Asmodee) $$$ The Marcy Case expansion $$
T.I.M.E Stories is a story-telling game where players are time-travelling agents who attempt to unravel a mystery set in a specific time period. Along the way they'll meet strange characters and uncover clues and facts. However, the players won't solve the mystery the first time around, so they must travel back to the start of the story and follow the threads that will eventually led to the solution.
This unique game has been making a splash in the board gaming community. While the play experience is short and not repeatable, there are several other scenerios coming out soon - starting with the Marcy Case - a mystery set in the 1990's.
6. Spy Fall (Cryptozoic) $$
Spy Fall is an easy-to-learn social deduction card game in which one player is a spy and the other players are trying to deduce his location - which the spy doesn't know. It's a tense game of how to get information without tipping your hand that you are the spy. Great fun for parties!
7. The Bloody Inn (Asmodee) $$
In this card game set in 1800's France, time are tough. You are an inn owner struggling to make ends meet and you discover it's much more profitable to rob and murder your wealthy guests.
The Bloody Inn's black humor might not be for everyone, but the art is beautiful and you have to admit the theme is original.
8. Star Wars Imperial Assault (Fantasy Flight Games) $$$ Twin Shadows expansion $$ Ally and Villain packs $$
If you hadn't noticed, there happens to be a new Star Wars movie coming out this winter. While there aren't many games based on these new adventures (yet) there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself into the Star Wars galaxy through some great board games.
Imperial Assault uses Fantasy Flight's popular Descent game system to create adventures and campaigns. It's like playing a miniatures-based role playing game. The miniatures are top-notch and while a little complex to learn, is great fun once you get the hang of it.
9. Star Wars Armada (Fantasy Flight Games) $$$ Expansions $$
Remember the ending of Return of the Jedi? Now you can play the battle of Endor on your kitchen table! Star Wars Armada captures all of the excitement of ship-to-ship combat with ships as large as a Star Destroyer and as small as an A-wing. It's simple to play and looks amazing on your tabletop.
The core game has been out for awhile, but there are some very cool expansions that just came out that won't break your Christmas budget.
Imperial Fighter Squadron expansion comes with a whole mess of teeny-tiny TIE fighters, Bombers and Interceptors. Plus new cards with pilots and actions.
The Rebel Fighters Squadron expansion comes with two squads of A-Wings, B-Wings, X-Wings and Y-Wings. Perfect for assaulting a Death Star or Starkiller Base.
Rogues and Villains expansion pack adds several smuggler and bounty hunters to your space-combat including the Millennium Falcon, Slave I, Hound's Tooth (Bossk!) and the Outlander.
What's a Star Wars battle without a Imperial Class Star Destroyer (or two)? Now Darth Vader can join the battle in his Star Destroyer from the original Star Wars (Episode V to you kids)!
10. Star Wars Risk (Hasbro) $$ Star Wars Black Series Risk (Hasbro) $$
There is a second version of this game that is slightly more expensive called the Star Wars Black Series Risk.
It plays the same as the other version but has upgraded components like models for the Millennium Falcon, Super Star Destroyer and Death Star II. Also it comes with little tiny storm troopers. This version is a little harder to find and, as far as I can tell, only available on-line.
There you go! A list of ten great board games for your "nice" gamer. Happy Holidays everyone!