Pixelkin 2019 Holiday Gift Guide: Board Games

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Despite (or perhaps because of) video gaming’s incredible popularity, board and card games continue to ride a golden wave of success. Like their digital counterparts, tabletop games come in all shapes, sizes, genres, and age groups.

Below you’ll find our list of some of the hottest new games of 2019 divided by Kids (~8-13) and Teens (14+). Note that “Kids” doesn’t mean Teens and Adults won’t love them too!


Invasion of the Cow Snatchers

invasion of the cow snatchers

Invasion of the Cow Snatchers is more a series of puzzles than a board game. Fences and disc-cows are assembled in a small grid, and players must carefully navigate their magnetic UFO to pick up cows and avoid getting stuck behind fences. The box includes 60 puzzles divided into five difficulty levels, making it a brain-teasing winner for kids and adults.

The Mind

The Mind is a simple card game with a hilariously devious premise. Players need to play their randomly dealt number cards (1-100) to the center of the table, in ascending order. Play the wrong card, and you lose a precious life. The catch is that no one can talk to each other, forcing lots of furtive looks and telling grunts. The Mind features 12 levels of increasing difficulty, as each player must calculate a larger hand size.

Funkoverse Strategy Games

Fans of the bobblehead-like Funko pop figures can throw down the gauntlet in this new series of tactical Funkoverse Strategy Games. At launch you can find DC, Harry Potter, and Rick and Morty packs in 2-character and 4-character sets, and each come with exclusive Funkopop figures.


In Wayfinders, players place their workers on hangars to gain resources, then use them to move their plan among a randomly generated set of islands, building airstrips and gaining victory points. It’s an easy-to-teach gateway game to the wonderful worker placement genre.



The Blockbuster Party Game

The Blockbuster Party Game is the ultimate movie trivia game, featuring multiple party game trivia modes, including head-to-head categories, quotes, and even silently acting out movie scenes, and it’s all wrapped up in a nostalgic VHS tape package.

Clank Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

We love the Clank games for combing dungeon crawling with deck building. Clank Legacy combines two more of our favorites: the overarching campaign RPG structure of a legacy game, and the hilariously fun machinations of the Penny Arcade D&D group, Acq Inq!

Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core and Evil Comes Prepared 

If you followed our advice and got the excellent asymmetrical game Disney Villainous last year, you’re more than due to check out the two new expansions, each adding three new villains that feature their own unique and thematically appropriate paths to victory.

Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker


Game of Thrones finally ended earlier this year, but you and your friends can carry on the backstabbing and subterfuge with Oathbreaker, which takes the hidden role system of many a party game and divides players into two teams of loyalists and conspirators, and a paranoid king who must determine which is which.

Jaws Board Game

Who would’ve guessed a board game based on the seminal 1975 film would be so darn good? The Jaws Board Game is two games in one, with the first act featuring the human players scrambling to find the shark before it eats too many swimmers. The second act takes place entirely on the boat, as the shark destroys it (and the humans) while the humans try to guess where it will surface and attack. For a game where one player plays a man-eating shark on a team of their own, it’s surprisingly well-balanced and wonderfully tense.


One of the best reviewed board games of the year is about bird-watching, and collecting birds for your personal wildlife preserve. Wingspan features over 150 bird species, gorgeous artwork, colorful egg tokens, large player mats, and an awesome bird-feeder dice tower.

the grand tournament

The Grand Tournament Hearthstone Expansion Launches With Some Issues

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The expansion for the card battling game Hearthstone was released today. As of 11 a.m., the game is already suffering from some connectivity issues. Blizzard says they’re aware of the issues and are working as quickly as possible to fix it. Personally, I was able to go in and buy some of the new card packs but then got the error message.

A little bit of a hiccup isn’t completely unexpected. The the Hearthstone expansion, called The Grand Tournament, has been widely publicized since its announcement last month. Blizzard has been building anticipation of the expansion through steady trickles of information over the last month. There’s so much excitement around the release that a good chunk of the game’s 20 million players may all be trying to access the game at once. With that amount of stress on the game, it’s understandable that there might be some problems.

The Grand Tournament adds 132 new cards to the game, as well as new gameplay elements and a new game board. Players got to see the new cards in action during last week’s Tavern Brawl event.

As with most content in the game, the new cards can be purchased with real money as well as with gold, which can be earned simply by playing the game. Hearthstone keeps the game fair by randomizing the cards in both the premium and “free” packs. The other premium content is purely ornamental. Those who wish to pre-order the cards will get an exclusive card pack as well as the opportunity to buy less-expensive card packs.

Hearthstone was released last year and currently has more than 2 million players. This isn’t the first expansion for Hearthstone. Other expansions added new cards and playing fields, while others were single-player adventures that resulted in some rare and legendary cards. The Grand Tournament seems to be the biggest expansion to date.

Blizzcon virtual ticket Hearthstone Grand Tournament new hearthstone cards

Blizzard Previews New Hearthstone Cards in Tavern Brawl

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Players are getting a sneak peek at the new Hearthstone cards in this week’s Tavern Brawl mode. The Tavern Brawl mode was released back in June. It’s a timed event with rules that change every week. Sometimes it can be fun way for new or more casual players to play on a level playing field with others and see what some of the more powerful cards can do.

The new Hearthstone cards featured in this week’s Tavern Brawl are from the forthcoming expansion, The Grand Tournament. The expansion will be released on August 24 and it’s is a big one. It’s bringing 132 new cards, a new playing field, and new features.

The two new features are jousting and inspire. This week’s Tavern Brawl shows off these features as well as the new playing field. One player has a mage hero who uses inspire, while the other hero, a hunter, uses jousting. Players get a hero at random and don’t have any control over their decks.

new hearthstone cards

Jousting involves each player drawing a card. The one that costs the most wins.

I played a couple of rounds to get a feel for the cards myself. I ended up with the hunter hero for the first couple of matches, so I had a lot of jousting cards. The way jousting works is pretty cool. Each player draws a card and the player with the one that costs the most will have something happen in their favor. Often a specific minion will get an upgrade like gaining taunt or charge. Other times the player will get an extra card or other benefit.

Once I got to play the mage, I had a better view of how inspire worked. Minions with inspire do a variety of things when players use their hero powers. Some of the more basic inspire effects involve gaining health or attack. Others will summon completely new minions.

I got to see a slew of the new cards after playing only a few matches and they all seem interesting to play in fun new ways. Now all we have to do is wait for August 24.


Blizzcon virtual ticket Hearthstone Grand Tournament new hearthstone cards

Players Can Now See All of the New Hearthstone Cards

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If you’re a fan of Hearthstone and are eagerly awaiting the release of the The Grand Tournament, you can take a look at all 132 of the new cards on the Facebook page for the game. A quick count of the new Hearthstone cards reveals nearly 20 of the cards are legendary minions. Blizzard has yet to set an official release date for the expansion. Players can pre-order the expansion for $49.99 and receive 50 packs with the new cards, as well as a special card back.

new hearthstone cardsAnother glance at the cards shows how the “Inspire” status will work. If a minion has the Inspire affect, something will happen every time a players uses his or her hero power. The inspire cards seem to focus on raising the health or attack of a minion. One gives the minion windfury for a turn. Windfury is the chance to attack twice within a turn. There are new spells and legendary minions for specific classes as well as those that can be used by any class.

Besides the new cards, there will also be a new playing field, which is the background the game is played on. All of these playing fields have little interactions that you can fiddle with while wating for your turn. The new one will no doubt have some of these as well.

The Grand Tournament was announced in July. Though there is no release date, it appears Blizzard is busy preparing for it; the game has had a few updates in the past month.

Hearthstone was released last year and currently has more than 2 million players. This isn’t the first expansion for Hearthstone. Other expansions added new cards and playing fields, while others were single-player adventures that resulted in some rare cards. The Grand Tournament seems to be the biggest expansion to date.