So, this title just sort of came to me. I'm gonna roll with it.
Someone asked earlier for Christmas gift ideas for their board gaming friends. So, here's a more comprehensive list featuring some of the most talked about games on Boardgamegeek.com, or as it's referred to on the site: The Hotness!
Fair warning, I have not played all of these, but I've heard many good things.
Codenames: Pictures - One of the biggest games from last year has a new trick to it. Instead of trying to get your team to guess code words, now they need to select the correct pictures that your clue directs them to.
Terraforming Mars - While I have not played this, I have heard many good things. Develop the right atmosphere, water, and living conditions to terraform Mars to just the right condition and earn the most points while doing so.
Mansions of Madness (2nd edition) - A wonderful mansion exploration game in the vein of Betrayal at House On The Hill, but with the Cthulhu mythos instead. Very fun and adeptly controlled by the app that you'll download when you get the game.
Love Letter Premium Edition - An expanded game of Love Letter (now up to 8 players) with nicer cards and heart tokens. I'm planning to pick this one up for the kiddos.
Scythe - A personal fave, if you can find it. Set in an alternate universe 1920's Europa, this area control game has a touch of combat and lots of strategy to keep you busy. Expansion Invaders From Afar is due out any day now.
Old Favorites - Games that are not new this year, but still really fun and highly recommended:
Castles of Burgundy - This is often called a "couples" game. Great for 2-4 players, and my personal all time favorite.
Viticulture Essential Edition - Great game about making wine in Italy. Essential Edition gives a little bit of the Tuscany expansion (the best parts). Pour a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy!
Lords of Waterdeep - Fun worker placement game set in D&D town of Waterdeep. Send warriors and mages on quests and develop your underground empire to take over the city! (and earn victory points)
Terra Mystica - Deep and immersive area control game. Take control of 1 of 14 races (6 more in the expansion) and expand across the land. Earn Victory Points!
Splendor - Quick and easy game about growing you gem empire and earning prestige from the nobles. Plays in about 30 minutes with 2-4 players
Forbidden Island / Forbidden Desert - These are pretty similar games. By the same designer as Pandemic. Find the treasures before the island sinks, or find the parts to you airship before the sandstorm takes over.
Pandemic - The ultimate classic co-op game. Race across the globe to fight diseases, build research stations and find the cures. If looking for a longer more immersive experience, check out Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (Season 2 out next year)
This is just the start. The wide world of table top games is ever growing. Check out your friendly local gaming store to see all the wonderful options they have in store!