Merry almost Christmas! It’s been a wild year to say the least. But it’s time for my eighth run at a post-holiday gift guide! These guides, which I’ve been doing since 2013, are intended to help you with gift ideas for those in your life you may have forgotten about in the run-up to Christmas. EVERYONE does a holiday gift guide, but I’m fairly confident this is the ONLY place you get the post-holiday treatment. I’ve done something different every year:
- 2013 was all about using your leftover gift card money.
- 2014 was all about replacing those mass market games given to you by well meaning relatives.
- 2015 focused on helping you meet your New Year’s Resolutions.
- 2016 gave suggestions for last minute PNP ideas.
- 2017 gave some games for the 12 Days of Christmas for Board Gamers.
- 2018 had ideas for building a gamer’s tool box.
- 2019 focused on a game for each of the next 12 Chinese New Years.
This year, we’re going to go in a little bit of a different direction, and find some games you can actually make in your very own kitchen!
Azul (Michael Kiesling, 2017) is the abstract strategy game where you’re building a wall mosaic using ceramic tiles. It seems like a logical step to make the tiles into cookies. The best part is that you can play the game with these cookies, and if anything “falls to the floor” (i.e. won’t fit on your grid), you can just eat them. Almost worth losing the points.
Carcassonne (Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, 2000) is one of those games that is just so iconic that of course it should be commemorated with baked goods. Many people have tried their hand at making an edible Carcassonne game, but this image above is one of the most complete games I’ve seen with cookies. The frosting work looks like it would take a while, and you might want to get some mint meeples for the actual playing, but overall, this is a fun idea.
Catan (Klaus Teuber, 1995) has earned its place as a classic in the board game world. I haven’t played in years – I’ve kind of moved past it. I’ll freely admit, it’s mostly bitterness on my part because the dice never seem to roll in my favor. Also, I dislike how the trading aspect leads to a gang up on the leader situation. However, it’s still incredibly popular. I think I would play if I could play on a pizza. I might change some of the toppings you see above so I could actually eat it when the game is over, but this looks like a fun project.
Codenames (Vlaada Chvátil, 2015) really reinvented the party game when it came out. Here was a game that required thought and concentration, and that had actual stakes, unlike most party games. Codenames cupcakes seems a very logical step. Just make the cupcakes, lay out 25 of them, and put random words on each. The image above does have a solution if you want to play along.
Karuba (Rüdiger Dorn, 2015) is an exploration game where you build a path and try to get your explorers to treasure. One of the interesting things about the game is that each player has the same set of tiles that come out in the same order, but it’s up to you to decide where they go. Making four batches of cookies that are exactly identical seems like a daunting task, but could make for an amazing edible game.
Puerto Rico (Andreas Seyfarth, 2002) is one of the best designed games of all time, theme issues notwithstanding. It might be a bit of a challenge to actually play a game on this cake board, but it does look delicious. The level of detail put into this one is astounding.
Santorini (Gordon Hamilton, 2016) is an abstract game of building up a city. It’s played on an elevated platform, and uses little plastic bits to put up the buildings. Except in this case, it’s all cake. I can just imagine pulling this out, having a good game of Santorini, then chowing down on your creation.
Small World (Philippe Keyaerts, 2009) is a game of area domination on a relatively small map. This cake shows a map that is even condensed from the original two-player board, and you’d probably need to make some race and power cookies to go with it. But still, looks like fun.
Sushi Go! (Phil Walker-Harding, 2013) is a sushi-based drafting game, so it just makes sense to play with actual sushi. Each player builds their tableau with cards to score points, and in the end, you get the sushi you played in the course of the game. So don’t play anything gross. For me, I’d probably play nothing for the whole game because I don’t like sushi, but there you go.
Ticket to Ride (Alan R. Moon, 2004) is an all time classic board game, and it just makes sense to make it the topper for a cake. If you don’t know TTR, you’re basically building routes across the board to complete different tickets and ultimately score the most points. I like the idea of making the board the topper for your sheet cake, but the one in this picture is too small. I want to actually able to play TTR on a cake, with sugar trains. You don’t have to go so far as making cookie cards, but I think this would be a lot of fun.
Edible Games (Jenn Sandercock, 2019) is a cookbook full of 12 different games created and intended to be played with food. All games were designed by the author, and include strategy, tasting, escape room, codebreaking, and so on. Recipes have different levels of cooking skill required, and the foods range from vegetables to baked goods. I haven’t gotten a chance to read this book yet, but it’s a very interesting concept, and really, how could I make a list like this without including it?
So that’s it for this year’s post-holiday gift guide. I hope you got some good ideas. Enjoy your holiday, and I’ll be back in 2021 for the awarding of the annual Spiel des Jesse award. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!