In recent winters I’ve spent many a night hunkered down at home, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and a good round of Bananagrams or a crossword. Call me grandmotherly, but I like the old-fashionedness of it. This year I plan to give a few well-made, beautiful games and puzzles, ideal for the homebody, the game-night host, or those resolving to spend less time with screens. Here are a few new takes on the classics, both high and low (and well-wrapped, too).
Above: Top on our list, for giving (and receiving—hint, hint): a puzzle from the new, women-founded Piecework Puzzles. (According to The Strategist, 2019 was the year the dusty old jigsaw puzzle got a re-brand.) We like Piecework’s display-worthy, vintage-looking packaging that needn’t be relegated to the game closet. Might we suggest the Champagne Problems 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle ($26) or, for more of a challenge, the Forbidden Fruit 100 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle ($36)? Above: Continuing on the theme of pretty packaging, we like these nicely wrapped Pickup Sticks by Stockholm-based creative studio Printworks; $24.70 from Goodhood London. Above: The cards in this William Morris Playing Card Deck set are fronted with the 19th-century textile designer’s Celandine and Seaweed designs; $15 for gift box of two decks, from Maisonette. Above: Another pick by Printworks (a new favorite): the charming green Chess Set, currently on sale for $32.90 from Anthropologie. Above: We’re fans of the Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann’s collections for Best Made Co. Mallmann’s Travel Backgammon Set, $398 from Best Made Co., is a bit of a splurge, but it’s made of vegetable-tanned leather and rolls neatly when not in use, perfect for game night.
Above: The smallest item on our list: the petite Jack Puzzle, made in Massachusetts, is $95 from Canoe. (This is best gifted to only the most dedicated of puzzlers: “Be forewarned—once you disassemble it, you may find it very challenging to put back together,” Canoe says.) Above: On the more affordable end, consider Wild & Wolf’s old-school trivia sets, like the Wild & Wolf Who Am I Quiz Game, on sale for $7.99 from Madewell. Above: Last but not least, and another gift for the lifelong appreciator of board games: Rose Uniacke’s Chinese Checkers Board is made of hand-carved oak with six sets of marbles; £594 from Rose Uniacke.
Check out the rest of this year’s gift guides: