Cheap ($24.99 and Under)
For starters, it's badass there's a Thing puzzle available. Secondly this one is supposed to be super challenging, but when you're done you have this sweet art. I know a lot of you puzzle people like to frame your shit when you finish it, so think of this like a Mondo print you get to put together!
The Vault Boy holds your controller (Xbox and PS) or if you'd rather he cradle your phone he can do that, too. I have one of these and it's awesome. Bigger than you'd imagine, so it acts a little bit like a statue that has a purpose beyond lookin' sharp.
This is a geeked up USB-C car charger. That’s right, now you can charge your Switch in style while on the go! It was very clever of Nintendo to let you power your Nintendo device with a Nintendo icon. Don’t ban the question block around looking for coins. You’ll just be out a portable charger.
Okay, so I included this mostly because they used the Atari box art for the board game version. The reviews are good on it, too, but I honestly didn't even look at what kind of board game adaptation this is.
It's a social deduction game as your SHIELD team tries to stop Hydra from taking over the world. Some of your team may not be as they seem, though. Requires at least 5 to play, but if you've played these kinds of games before you know the more you have the tougher it is to figure out who the mole is.
Codenames is a game where you give one word clues to your teammates and they have to pick an image among dozens. There are traps and other stuff that makes it more creative and fun and difficult than you'd imagine. It's a hugely popular tabletop/party game so of course there's now a bunch of different branding versions. This is the Disney one, which probably makes it more difficult to be super filthy. Not that'd stop me, mind you, but it'll probably be more of a challenge.
Codenames also has a Marvel version out as well. Here are a few pro-tips from someone who played Codenames exactly three times and has never seen the Marvel version in person: Drunk will be a good one for any Iron Man related cards. If you picked your friends correctly the grossest in-jokes will be the best hints. Getting creative with your word is risky, but can pay off with multiple correct choices. You're welcome.
This Disney-themed board game casts you as one of six villains (Prince John, Ursula, Captain Hook, Jafar, Queen of Hearts or Maleficent) as you try out evil the other villains playing. You gotta screw over your opponents using spells, curses, traps and even using the good guys to your advantage. Perfect for Disney and board game fans!
While doing research for this section Camp Grizzly jumped out to me. You get to roleplay in a slasher scenario, something that's not exactly unique to tabletop regulars, but the reviews on this one are glowing. The brief instruction rundown makes it sound like the tabletop version of the original Friday the 13thNES game (and the latest console game, to be honest). You're a camp counselor and you have to search cabins for key items while avoiding the slasher. Sounds right up my alley!
Risk Legacy changed everything. It's a system that takes a standard one-and-done board game and turns it into a campaign played over multiple games. Choices you make change the rules, open up new avenues to plays, etc. Now that's taking over the big tabletop staples, like this one, which is the Legacy version of Betrayal at House on the Hill, a popular game that has you and a group trying to survive a night in a haunted house. The Legacy version expands that with a prologue and 13 chapters where your moves, decisions and blind luck tell the sordid, bloody history of multiple haunted houses.
The Legacy version of Werewolf, the crazy party game where you take a group of people (up to 16 players) and try to figure out who the werewolves are using powers of deduction. The Legacy version means decisions made early on stay with the village in question and can haunt or help them in the games to come. Loving the long-form route these board games are taking, I gotta say.
Based on the first season of Batman: The Animated Series comes this board game designed by the guy behind Arkham Horror where the heroes have to protect Gotham and dispatch villains and their henchmen. Let too many buildings blow up or lose too many civilians and the bad guys win.
Didn't like the outcome of Infinity War? Well, now's your time to try to do better! Thanos Rising puts you against Thanos as you try to stop him from collecting all the Infinity Stones. It's a cooperative dice and card game as 2-4 players take on the impossible task of stopping Thanos and his children.
A good board game can break friendships. By that metric Catan is a great board game. Risk is the only other tabletop game I've played that has legitimately strained friendships at this level. Now you can play Catan with a Westeros makeover! 3-4 people to play the base, but Catan is way more fun with the expansion that allows 5-6 players, although that won't be available on this edition until January.
Speaking of expansions, the Fallout board game got a nifty one this year called the California Expansion, which brings in the New California area into the board game. Adds new companions, vaults, loot and quest lines.
I know the whole internet likes to shit on this game, but I honestly have no idea where the vitriol comes from. This is Fallout, like all the rest, just a little tougher and you get to play with your friends. Granted, I'm an easy sell for anything Bethesda Fallout. It's my favorite video game franchise. But I've had a ridiculous amount of fun exploring the West Virginia wastes with my friends. I'm just about at level 50 and the second the guide is finished and posted I'm going to marathon this game all throughout December.
This critic's darling is unquestionably a giant achievement in graphics. It's like being able to play a game version of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. I hit a bit of a speed bump with it once I established the camp and began doing missions where it, frankly, began boring the hell out of me. But I'm in the vast minority on this one. I'll be picking it up again soon, though, and give it another chance to win me over. It's too pretty to not want to give it another shot.
Word on Odyssey is off the charts. Between Fallout 76, Red Dead 2 and my regular Destiny raids I haven't had the game time to dedicate to another giant open world deal, so Odyssey is going to have to wait for early next year, I think, but I'll tell you what. I went from “Well, it's an Assassin's Creed game, so I guess I'll play it at some point” to being really psyched to give it a spin. Thanks, hype! You've done it again!
Everything you've heard about how great the new Spider-Man game is true. You know it's a winner when you have more fun swinging around New York City hunting down random backpacks for an hour than you do with most AAA video games.
$55.00 on PS4
Destiny 2 got off to a rough start. It's fine, but instead of being an epic second game it felt more like Destiny 1.5. Forsaken is finally the Destiny 2 leap we all wanted. Tons of stuff to do (sometimes too much) a truly badass raid and lots of clan activities you and your fireteam will never be at a lack of adventure. It's reinvigorated the game in a big way for me and all my Destiny friends. The next season begins very soon, so if you haven't taken the plunge, now's the time. If you have never played the game will allow you to instant level up to 300 and begin the big climb to max level from there. Do iiiiittttt.
To be perfectly honest, Call of Duty lost me a few games ago. This one is a fully multiplayer experience, with PVP and Zombies mode taking center stage. The lack of a campaign is a deal killer for me, personally, but that's because I suck at multiplayer. Gone are the days when I would wreck (looking at you OG Halo series and the early CoDs). I'm now old and my reflexes too slow to have any fun at most PvP. But that doesn't mean there isn't something there for you youngins.
Can't include Call of Duty and leave out Battlefield. The reviews on this one haven't been super glowing, but there are also a whole bunch of people mad that there's a lady on the cover so who knows how much weight to put into online reviews. What I've read from the more professional reviewers doesn't sound all that great either, but I'm not the biggest Battlefield fan. It does look sharp, so at least that value is there.
Yet another game on my “To Play” pile. Call of Cthulhu is an investigative RPG set in Lovecraft's world. That sentence by itself should give you a gamer boner. I get heavy Alan Wake vibe from what I've seen of this one and even it doesn't quite reach those highs I look forward to getting immersed in that world a bit.
It wouldn't be the Holidays without a new Lego game. These things are like comfort blankets at this point. This one takes the focus off the heroes and onto the baddies. You have the regular DC villains, like The Joker, Darkseid, Lex, Superman's CG lip probably, and Harley Quinn, but the twist of this one is it allows you to create your own new villain to add to the roster. Neat-o!
We're finally getting a new Kingdom Hearts game, but since it's not quite here yet you have some time to relive the whole story so far. This single release is 9 Kingdom Hearts experiences, all remastered in HD. No. Brainer. As the kids say.
$39.99 on PS4
So Starlink is a game where you explore planets with your spaceship... the catch is that your spaceship is a physical thing that has parts you can add on to it that give you different powers. You can swap them out on the fly and what you change on your physical ship shows up in the video game. The more parts and the more ships you have the more badass you can be while blowing away bad flying monster alien things. This is the starter kit that gives you the base ship and components. Seems like a rabbit hole you can easily fall down and end up hundreds of dollars poorer with all the ships, but if you have some self control all you should need is this beginner's kit.
This isn't a new Minecraft, but rather a big bundle of previously released stuff. AKA it's a starter kit. They call it the Minecraft Master Collection and it comes with the base game, the Starter Pack DLC, the Creators Pack add-on as well as a thousand Minecoins. So if you have a little one who has been begging you to let them play Minecraft like their friends, then this is a perfect time to pick it up. Available on the Xbox One.
$59.99 on Xbox
Dead Cells is like if you took Castlevania's side-scrolling style and gave it Dark Souls' crushing difficulty. Not really my idea of a great time, but if you're super into a challenge this is one of the best options out there, hands down.
It might be sacrilegious, but I think LA Noir might be my favorite Rockstar game. It's not as cool as Grand Theft Auto and not as incredibly executed as the Red Deads, but in terms of subject matter it's so up my alley. Golden Age of Hollywood detective setting is so, so, so choice. Now there's no excuse not to revisit it thanks to the new port to the Switch. Lose hours in old Hollywoodland as you sit on the subway or take your next multi-hour flight.
This collection, newly released for Xbox and Nintendo Switch, gathers together Lego Harry Potter Years 1-7. It includes the Spell Pack DLC as well. That's a whole hell of a lot of gold bricks to collect! So you better raise them wands and shout “Accio Lego Harry Potter Collection!” and get started!
PRE-ORDER, December 7th. I'd wager Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the single most anticipated release left in 2018. Still the best brawling game ever created, it's about time we get a new version on the Switch. I got dibs on Link!
$59.88 on Switch
Super Mario Party gives you a variety of Mario-world games you can play. All different kinds, from racing (not Kart, mind you) to dice games, player vs AI, PVP... 80 minigames in total. Holy crap! That's a lot of mushrooms.
$54.99 on Switch
Pokemon is back with this Switch title. You have your choice of two. I've got the second below, but the first option is to play with Pikachu by your side. Now that we know that option the other is coming right up!
$59.88 on Switch
Your second option is Evee. Same game, but you get Evee as your sidekick instead of Pikachu, who is overexposed anyway. Is there a Detective Evee movie coming? I think not.
One of the coolest aspects of Pokemon Lets Go is that you can get a little Poke ball that acts as a controller. You pretend to throw and you can feel whatever you catch vibrate inside. It even pairs with your smart phone to help you play Pokemon Go! Problem is the Poke balls seems to be on back order. Unless you buy the game with it bundled in. Both the Pikachu and Evee options are still available and even better every Poke Ball Plus comes with a Mew! It's also cheaper than buying the game and the Poke Ball Plus separately anyway.
This tabletop game jumped out to me while I was researching. Hugely positive reviews drew my eye and then I found out it was a post-apocalyptic long-form game that has factions, special abilities and special weapons. Built for 2-5 players, tons of cards can change gameplay as you try to establish a stronghold in the wastes.
For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 and Up)
I was hoping to put one of the special Switch bundles on here, but they're all sold out! Thankfully the basic Switch is now super available, not like in years past where it was impossible to find as Christmas was approaching. You could go for the boring gray controller version, but the red and blue is way more fun, dontcha think?
So this is an international PS4 slim that comes bundled with God of War, Gran Turismo and Uncharted 4. The description swears up and down that it works completely with all PS4 games here, though. 1TB hard drive and three bundled games make it the best non-4k option available.
I'm a big fan of my Xbox One X. In terms of hardware it's the best and most stable Xbox since perhaps the later 360s (when they figured out the Red Ring issues just before the One). I use the hell out of the built in 4k Blu-Ray player, too. And you already know how I feel about Fallout, so you get the best Xbox on the market, with a built in 4k Blu-Ray player and a game you can easily put a hundred hours into if you don't watch yourself.