Gift Guide: Games for Grown-Ups

Ouija boards, brass Tic Tac Toe, bauhaus chess and more

Holidays are made for your inner child—the songs, the stories and the excitement—but kids of all ages should be allowed to be playful at any time of the year. Whether you’re into speaking to spirits via a Ouija board, coloring in, building towers or getting outdoors and playing pétanque, we have the game for you—albeit a slightly more sophisticated version than you might have been used to as a tot. Check out all our picks for playful presents in the Games for Grown-Ups gift guide.

Gradient Puzzle

Artist and graphic designer Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzle is a feast for the eyes and a true challenge for the brain. Made using thick stock and high-quality paper, the pieces won’t fall apart—no matter how many times to try to make a piece fit. This stunning meditation on color is available in blue/green or red/yellow and is a treat for kids and adults alike.

Full Colour: A Coloring Book for Grown-Ups

One is never to old to sit down and color. It is easy, cathartic creativity and with Australian artist Georgia Perry’s new adult coloring book, “Full Colour,” ($12) it’s never been more fun. Within, there are 128 pages of new Perry illustrations for coloring in. There’s a nice psychedelic tinge to her patterns and landscapes, shapes and more—altogether delivering an experience that’s equal parts fun and freeing.

Ouija Board

Beach London and the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic recently commissioned seven artists to design their dream Ouija Boards (which were then etched and laser-cut by Clear Cut Creation) and the results are sweet but spooky. One of the standouts is London-based artist Crispin Finn’s board ($185), which balances old-world sensibilities and modern design. With plenty of classic Ouija symbols, slightly creepy prose and a lip-shaped planchette, it’s playful, spiritual and Oda Mae Brown would surely approve.

Bauhaus Chess Set

Instead of castles, horses and crowns, this wooden chess set ($340) uses geometric shapes to signpost each piece’s function. Originally designed by Joseph Hartwig in 1923, the minimalist, Bauhaus-style game has been brought back to life by Naef for contemporary play and comes perfectly packed in a wooden slide box. Chess board is sold separately.

Los Taburetes Game

Inspired by the way tree branches grow toward a light source, Spanish designer Pico Pau’s simple, stackable game called “Los Taburetes” ($75) challenges players to build and balance. Each game set comes with 12 miniature beech wood stools that users can arrange in various combinations, reaching farther up and out—just as tree branches do. Keep them handy during times of creative block or leave them stacked as a delicate shelf sculpture.

Brass Tic Tac Toe Set

Tic Tac Toe has never been as classy—or adult—as with this Jonathan Adler iteration. Sculpted by Adler and his team in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, this set ($195) is made from marble and brass; with the pieces hand-polished to achieve a flashy sheen. The brass will acquire a worn look with use, but the pieces can be buffed back to their original shine if desired.

Mini Shapemaker

Made from rubberwood—an environmentally friendly tropical hardwood—Miller Goodman’s Mini Shapemaker ($30) is a collection of building blocks for young and old. Whether making an abstract work of art or a gravity-defying sculpture, these hand-printed blocks come in a set of 25 and the patterns and creations are all but limitless.

Keith Haring Dominos

Made in France, this wooden domino set ($69) features bright and playful artwork by iconic NYC pop artist Keith Haring. With a non-toxic finish, the pieces are for all ages, but certainly more significant to those who understand the importance that Haring’s name bears. With angels, dogs and dancing chickens, these dominos will have you smiling even when they all fall down.

Superfight Classic Bundle

Superfight has taken the age old debate of “who would win in a fight?” and translated it into card-game form. Similar to Cards Against Humanity, players must build the most outrageous fighter from their hand (for example a pirate swinging a shark on a chain while riding a segway) and submit them to battle. It’s then up to everyone to hilariously argue over who would actually win the fight. The Superfight Classic Bundle ($110) comes with a core deck and five expansion packs for never-ending fun.

Akiko Pétanque Set

Made in Denmark by family-run design company Skagerak, the Akiko Pétanque Set ($225) is a playful (but ultimately sophisticated) addition to any outdoor hangout. The six steel balls (and two teak target balls) come in a wooden box complete with handles, so it’s extra easy to bring along a little healthy competition on your way out the door.

For more thoughtful, curious and design-forward gifts this season, check out all our 2015 Holiday Gift Guides.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image also courtesy of Georgia Perry