Tis the season of giving, and that means giving games! Here are the recommendations from each member of the CUDO Plays committee for highly portable games. Perfect for putting in a stocking, or giving to a family member, loved one, tolerable coworker, or distant acquaintance in nearly any context. All of these games are recommended for play with passionate gamers and non-gamers alike, and they’re so small, you can bring them to any gathering! Many of these games are available at your local Target or other major department store or bookstore. And of course, all of them are available online! Click the info link to see more pictures, reviews, and where to buy.



Andrew – Sushi Go

It’s cute, it’s simple, it’s lots of fun, but your decisions are still very meaningful. Teaches the idea of card drafting – a great mechanic that shows up in a lot of games but usually comes with a ton of complicated bells and whistles. This is the simple version that I’ve played in restaurants before eating. There is also the more-advanced Sushi Go Party, which is great, but slightly too large to be on this list. More info


BJ – Mr. Jack Pocket

Mr. Jack Pocket is a fantastic spatial cat-and-mouse game for two. One player is Mr. Jack, whose identity is hidden among 9 possible characters in a 3 x 3 grid representing the backstreets of London. The other player controls Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and their trusty dog, moving around the perimeter of the city. Players alternate selecting from four randomized actions (player 1 picks one, player 2 picks two, then player 1 gets the last action) that either move the detectives or rearrange the streets themselves. If, at the end of the round, one of the detectives has direct line of sight to Mr. Jack and no one else, he is caught! But stay undiscovered for six rounds and Mr. Jack escapes. More info



Chris – Gloom

For the people in your life who are a little bit contrarian. In Gloom you are trying to kill off all the members in one of four different families by layering bad life events on to them. And I literally mean “layering” as the clear cards allow you to still see the characters as you stack on compounding tragedies and situations. The game is easy to learn, the art looks like it came from early Adams Family comics, and the humor is dark like winter nights. More info


Jess – Windup War

Super cute game that’s toy-themed. The tiny cards are good for small hands and even if they don’t “get” it, kids will make up their own rules and just play and have a great time. Program the actions of your wind-up toy army and try to defeat all your opponents and be the last one standing! And did I mention it was designed by CUDO Plays veterans? More info


Kaity – Five Crowns

If you’re looking to level up your younger game-players (8+) I’d advise picking up a copy of the rummy-style card game: Five Crowns. I found it to be the perfect middle ground for newer game-players and those folks in the family who enjoy card-game classics like Rummy or Euchre. Full disclosure – I credit this game with tricking me into learning higher level card game concepts as a child when it was gifted to my family. The funny thing is, I didn’t even realize it because I was just mesmerized by the gorgeous art on the cards which continues to delight me today. More info


Katie – iota

This very small game has a lot of style. iota is like SET, but more thoughtful and way less stressful. Play cards with matching attributes to get points. Take it anywhere and teach to anyone! More info


Rebecca – Flexi Puzzle

In my family, the stockings were to keep us in bed & quiet until the parents woke up so I’m recommending a brain-teaser/solitaire game.
I like the Flexi Puzzle because it’s highly tactile and comes with specific challenges. If you had two, you and a friend could race to see who solves first! More info


Tim – Zogen

The pattern-recognition speed game with bluffing. Throw down your cards as fast as you can, but they can only have one shape different from the last card. You have to call out the difference as you play. In order to win, you may need to lie, and hope that you don’t get caught before other players pile on top. A simple, but frantic game. Great for kids and competitive people of all ages. More info


Tom – Mint Works

First off, this game comes in a little mints tin, and the playing pieces look like mints! That’s obviously awesome, but the actual gameplay is great too. Mint Works is a good way to introduce new people to worker-placement games, but it’s also a fun and highly portable example of that genre in its own right. More info