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Unwrapping That Gift Game: A Review

Quick Look: That Gift Game

Designer: Brooke Wall & Amanda Wright
Artist: N/A
Publisher: That Gift Game
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 4-14
Ages: 7+
Playing Time: 20-30 min.

From the publisher:

Play your cards to trade, open, steal, and pass gifts as you try to finish the game with the perfect present in front of you. The gift in front of you at the end of the game is all yours!


I received a copy of That Gift Game for the purposes of this review. The opinions here are mine and those of my friends and family.

Review: That Gift Game

Overview and Theme:
That Gift Game is a card-based version of a popular way to exchange holiday gifts: the Yankee Swap (also known as the White Elephant or Dirty Santa). In this type of exchange, each person attending brings one wrapped gift and the gifts are traded, opened, and passed around multiple times until finally each person has one unwrapped gift to take home.

Components and Setup:
Each party participant (from 4-14 players) will need to bring one wrapped gift. That Gift Game adds three decks of cards to turn your gift swap into a game!

Setup uses the red-backed Gift Cards to give each player a starting gift. Draw a card randomly and take the gift indicated, from "Take the heaviest gift available," to "Take a gift with something red on it," to "Take a gift with a ribbon or bow."

Each player uses their red card to choose from the remaining gifts until each player has a wrapped gift in front of them!

Deal each player a certain number of white-backed That Gift Game cards according to the number of people playing (there's a chart in the rules), shuffle the gray-backed Surprise Card deck and put it in the center of the table, and you're ready to begin.

Game Play and Mechanics:
Play begins with the owner of That Gift Game and continues clockwise. On your turn, choose one of the white cards from your hand and play it.

White cards say things like:
  • Trade gifts with anyone.
  • Trade gifts with the person who was the last to arrive to the party.
  • Trade gifts with any player wearing a necklace.
  • Switch the gifts on your left and right.
  • Switch the largest and the smallest gifts.
  • Everyone pass to the right.

If you have your eye on a particular gift, you can strategize when to play each of your white cards... more or less! Some of your white cards may say "SURPRISE" and instruct you to draw a card from the gray Surprise deck, which can shake things up since you have no control over what you draw.

Gray Surprise cards say things like:
  • Peek inside any gift bag, and trade them if you want to.
  • If there is a gift bag in front of you, close your eyes and let everyone else see inside.
  • Switch the gift you brought to the party to the person you think should have it.
  • Choose any player to unwrap their gift, then trade with them if you want to.
  • Block: Save this card to block your gift from being traded or passed one time.
  • Final Trade: Save this card until the end of the game. You get to make the final trade!
Once all players have played all their white cards, the game is over and each person gets to unwrap and take home the present that ended up in front of them.

The Good:
That Gift Game adds a splash of strategy and a fresh twist to a typical gift swap. It makes the swapping choices both a little more calculated (you can choose when to play your cards to get the gift you are hoping for) and a little less personal (everyone has the same number of cards and it's less possible for the one most-coveted gift to continue to be "stolen" turn after turn).

The Bad:
Obviously, That Gift Game is really just an overlay of a game onto an already planned party or gift exchange--it will need to stay tucked away on the back of your shelf until an event comes up where you can use it!

Players Who Like:
Players who enjoy giving and receiving gifts or games about gifts like GiftTrap or Happy Birthday may like That Gift Game. It's also good for meta-gamers who enjoy a game within a game like Gameception!

Final Thoughts:
For families or groups who love a good gift swap but want a little something new, That Gift Game fits the bill! I'll be tucking our copy away with my holiday games and pulling it out each December, because we really enjoyed the extra game-ness that it added to our swap!

Check out That Gift Game on:


Alexa Chaplin- Reviewer

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!

See Alexa's reviews HERE.
Unwrapping That Gift Game: A Review Unwrapping That Gift Game: A Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on March 16, 2020 Rating: 5

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