I look forward to the Good Gift Games list every year. They’re not all my speed, but I really appreciate Baldwin’s selection criteria: short-play, easy to learn, and entertaining for all players. He does a really nice job of picking a diverse group of games that appeal to families, casual players, and experienced gamers alike.
This year, I’m most excited about Telestrations and the Ravenloft game – even though they’re both adaptations. I think these two games show very different ways in which adaptations have value!
As Baldwin notes, Telestrations is essentially Eat Poop You Cat and doesn’t require a boxed set to play. What you’re paying for is logistical convenience – and I think having a marketable version will also introduce many new players to this genuinely delightful game. The Ravenloft game, on the other hand, looks like the distillation of the best parts of a dungeon crawl experience; you’re probably only interested if you think dungeon crawling is fun, but I love the idea of getting my orc-smashing and loot-grabbing on in less than an hour. (Munchkin is, of course, the thousand-pound gorilla in this sector, but the Ravenloft game looks a bit less silly.)
Finally, I love the idea of using this list to pick games to bring to family celebrations. I just wish they’d publish it before Thanksgiving!
(But Jess, why don’t you put together your own list in a more timely fashion? Well, there’s this little thing I like to call a dissertation ….)