Get your gifts ready! It's the Vault Games 2018 Gift Guide - Part 1: Board Games

Christmas is just eight weeks away, and if you haven't started your Christmas shopping, now's your chance. Over the next few weeks, we'll be here to help you find a gift for your tabletop friends with our 2018 Gift Guide. Today, we're starting with the largest range of presents, Board Games.

For the Casual Gamers

Let's start with what could possibly be the hardest crowd to buy for, the casual gamer. These would be friends and family that are not everyday gamers, but like pulling out a game to have some fun here and there. So here's a few suggestions:

The Mind - This game is not just a casual card game, but also a team-thought experiment. The aim of the game is to build a deck of ascending numbers out of the cards in every player's hands. Anyone, at at any time, can play a card from their hand but, if they play a card that is higher than someone else's, they lose a life. The catch? You can't communicate what cards you have in any way to the other players. You have to use… your mind. This game will be great to pull out on Christmas day with friends and family to see just how far you can go.

Bears vs Babies - Babies are taking over the world, and it's up to you and your fellow players to defend it, with your monstrous amalgamations of bear parts.When the evil army of babies are provoked, anyone with less body parts than babies loses their monster, and everyone with more scores points. When the onslaught of infantile invaders is over, the winner is the player with the most points. With artwork from legendary webcomic The Oatmeal, Bears vs Babies is a game that is sure to pull a few laughs.

Codenames: Harry Potter - The brand new Harry Potter version of the legendary Codenames game just hit the shelves and it is a sure-fire hit for this Christmas. In Codenames, a spymaster tries to communicate which words in front of them correspond with their team… without saying the actual word. This is a fantastic game to test how your family communicates with each other… or not. There's also an XXL Version of the original Codenames in case you have a big family, or members with some aged eyesight.

Secret Hitler - Made by the same pranksters responsible for the irreverent Cards Against Humanity, Secret Hitler is a hidden traitor game with a different twist. While each faction (Liberals and Facists) try to enact their policies in parliament, the fascists also win if the Hitler player is elected Chancellor. While enacting liberal policies won't change the game, enacting Facist policies give the president extra powers, such as being able to assassinate other players or investigate another player's affiliation. This game is perfect for any party, with it usually devolving into a shouting match between players trying to figure who is the bad guy.

For the Story Gamer

If you have a friend or relative that really loves a story to their game, there's some great options for them this year.

Betrayal: Legacy - The hit horror game Betrayal at House on the Hill has been translated to Rob Daviau's Legacy format, allowing you to forge a story of the haunted house over the course of a campaign. Betrayal: Legacy's campaign sees you and your fellow players taking on the role of a family, constantly moving into the house over different time periods, discovering something new and twisted with each family. It arrives on November 9 so get your preorder in today.

Arkham Horror: Third Edition - Another recent addition to the shelves, Arkham Horror: Third Edition updates the classic Arkham Horror board game with a new modular board, a few gameplay tweaks, and some thrilling new scenarios. You take control of an investigator, trying to uncover the mystery of Arkham, Massachusetts, as the old ones and their agents attempt to bring about the end of the world.

Discover: Lands Unknown - Discover: Lands Unknown is a new type of game. It's not like other games, in fact, it's not like any game, including other copies of Discover: Lands Unknown. You see, Discover: Lands Unknown is a unique game, meaning your copy will be unlike any other copy, with a mixture of components and cards that can only be found in your box. Together, you and your fellow players survive in the strange world you have just woken up to.

For the Regular Gamer

If your friend or family member constantly pulls out their games every week, then this is the section for you. Let them know that there is more than Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan with a few of these suggestions.

The Brigade - An Australian game that recently arrived from Kickstarter, The Brigade sees you and your fellow players each controlling a different firefighting outfit, defending the town of Tinderbox from it's infernos, while competing against each other for the population's loyalty. This is a fun game with stunning art that should be sitting on your shelf. Grab it while you can because at the moment, The Brigade comes with the both the 5-6 Player Expansion, and the University Kickstarter Stretch Goal.

Architects of the West Kingdom - Another Kickstarter darling, this time from Shen Phillips, the designer of the ever-popular Raiders of the North Sea, has hit the shelves in the last few weeks and is a requirement for any fans of Garphil Games' previous entries. Architects of the West Kingdom keeps some of the healthy worker-placement flavour of Raiders of the North Sea, with players placing their meeples on the board to resolve spaces, gathering resources, hiring apprentices, and constructing buildings and the final cathedral. You can also engage is less savoury activities, like taking Tax and using the Black Market, which will reduce your virtue and have a negative effect at the end of the game. If you're a fan of the Raiders of the North Sea games, or even Lords of Waterdeep, Architects of the West Kingdom is a must-have.

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig - If your friend or family member is a fan of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, or anything from Stonemaier Games (Scythe, Between Two Cities, Viticulture, Charterstone), then the new entry into the series, Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, is a solid-gold choice for Christmas. Combining a drafting mechanic with the original tile-building format of Castles of Mad King Ludwig makes for an extremely interesting and strategic take on the game, particularly with you working with the player on your left and right instead of just building your own, meaning you draft, and the other players help you choose where they go. This games turns the competitive format of tabletop gaming on its head, with you cooperating with other players just enough to get ahead.

For the Hardcore Strategy Gamer

Does your friend or family member want to be the best commander? To take control of the world and crush their opponents with their pure strategic might? Then have we got some suggestions for you.

Rising Sun - A release earlier this year from the folks at Cool Mini or Not, Rising Sun sees each player taking control of a house in a game of strategy and war loosely set in feudal Japan. Each round, players make alliances with the other clans, and scheme their way through political mandates to expand their forces, their faith to the mythical gods, and even break their freshly formed alliances for an advantage. At the end of each round, the clans go to war, claiming victory in a territory marked for battle. Rising Sun does a fantastic job of tracking a few key resources that can decide the game and sometimes, the clan that influences the game the least, can walk away with a huge win at the end.

Game of Thrones: The Board Game - Mother of Dragons - Game of Thrones: The Board Game was released in 2011 and, eight years later, it's finally getting the expansion it deserves, Mother of Dragons. With this expansion, the Targaryen house is added to the game, along with a new game board depicting Essos, the new Iron Bank track, and a Dragon Strength track, which is used by the Targaryen player to track the brutality their dragons can meter out across the land. Long has Game of Thrones: The Board Game sat on my must-play list, but now, with this new expansion, it's a game I'll force onto the table at every engagement, at least, until l I've lost all my friends from sheer exhaustion or back-stabbing diplomacy.