Game Review: Gift Trap

Okay, this isn't 'officially' a Christmas Game. However, it was recommended to us as a good game to play at Christmas, and really, when else in the year do you expect to give and receive gifts to/from everyone you know?

You can think of Gift Trap a little bit like the old Newlywed Game, but with your friends. For each round, a selection of possible gifts are laid out on the board. Depending on which deck you play with for a specific round, these gifts have an average value. For example, if you play with the cheapest deck, the gifts might include a tool belt and a webcam. In the most expensive deck, they might include a luxury trip or a collection of vintage champagne. Some of the gifts are funny, some are impressive, and some raise questions, which your group can choose to discuss or let each person make their own assumptions.

All the player pieces come in these cute tulle bags.

Once the gifts are laid out, your first task is to decide which gift to give each of the other players. You designate your choice by passing them, face-down, a secret numbered card.

Then you select which gift on the board you most want, a second and third choice, and which gift you would hate to receive. This is also done with face-down tokens.

Unfortunately, we’ve only played a couple times, and you can see that the paint is already wearing off these pieces a bit from being slid across the table, so be aware.

Play then goes around the table and each player reveals which gifts they wanted and which gifts they received. When there's a match, both the player who gave and the player who got score points depending on how the receiving player rated the gift. If I selected the webcam as my favorite gift on the board and you selected that as your gift to me, we both earn three points. If someone picks for you the item you definitely didn't want, you both lose four points.

You have two score tracks, one for giving and one for getting. You have to reach the final space on both tracks to win. Of course, winning is secondary. Really, it's a fun way to find out weird things about your friends. Because sometimes the choice of a gift is obvious, and sometimes you say, "No way, I didn't know you wanted to learn to skate/travel the Himalayas/install a keypad on your door. Why?"

The gameplay is interesting with couples, as well. Playing with your significant other means you might know one other player very well, but if you have similar interests, other players might not be sure what to get you versus your partner. And knowing one person is not always enough to win.

We've had a lot of fun playing this a couple times so far. The balance seems good; no one has dominated or been ridiculously behind any time we've played. It plays three to eight, and there's very little downtime when you aren't either planning, placing tokens, or listening to find out who scored, so it's a great party game.

And in true Christmas spirit, sometimes you lose at the last minute because you gave someone a gift they hate.