This column’s space will be dedicated to a gamer gift guide. As you read this, you are no doubt thinking “but there are a great many gift guides, and not as many columns explaining in great detail how to lose board games”. And you would be correct. For instance, there is a fantastic gift guide here on Troll in the Corner.
So why are you writing another one?
That would be a good question, if I was prone to answer such questions. But I’m not.
Category 1: Cheap Gifts for Gamers
The list that already exists on Troll in the Corner already exhausts this category, but I want to list a few entries of my own.
First of all, this game captured the Spiel des Jahres this year. Secondly, it costs $11. Third, it is a lot of fun for 2-5 players, and is co-operative. This means that its not only a good way to pass the time, but that the non-competive gamers in your midst will still enjoy the experience.
I’m not really going to talk much about Love Letter. 16 cards. Quick game. Easy to learn. Buy this edition for coolness points instead of the original edition. It costs $10.
CCG or LCG packs
So you know the gamer in your life that is obsessed with Magic: The Gathering? Or the one that is obsessed with a Living Card Game of some sort? (Lord of the Rings, Android, Game of Thrones, etc.) This is the time of year to suck it up, and buy them some packs of cards for their hobby game.
They know you don’t get it. They know you think they spent way too much time building decks. But this is the time to indulge the hobby. Want to spend a little bit? Buy them a small pack of cards (cost depends on game, but is typically around $15). Want to spend a bit more? Your gamer will have all sorts of suggestions around deluxe expansions, etc.
Category 2: Reiner Knizia
Maybe life circumstances have caused you to primarily game with one other person. And so you’re surveying forums, looking for the best two-player games. I’ve been there. The Political Mastermind and I have an intense collection of two-player games.
For your consideration: Battle Line
I’m not saying this is the best two player game, but it is a great one, and it only costs $20. Oh, and the designer? Some guy named Reiner Knizia.
Speaking of Reiner Knizia, I know you have a family gathering coming up where at least one 8 or 10 year old is in attendance. And you want to convince them that designer games are awesome, right? Also, you want them to be pre-occupied with a new game so they aren’t running around throwing each other into breakable furniture, right? I have the game for you.
Botswana has been written about in this very column. It is an animal collection game featuring high quality cards and toy animals. Can your guest count to 6? They are ready to try this game. Since it is by Reiner Knizia, it is also fun for adults.
You can acquire this game for $25.
Category 3: Snowed In
Let me spin you a tale of snow falling on trees outside, and gentle times spent inside sipping hot cocoa and letting marshmallows tickle your nose.
How long does that festive winter memory last? Probably 30 minutes. And now you’re inside, snowed in with your family or friends.
They want to play Risk or Monopoly. And you’re really tired of playing both. May I suggest instead…
Play this instead of: Risk. It is a territory control strategy game which contains almost no luck, and features toy dinosaurs eating each other and establishing dominance.
Play this instead of: Chess. It is an abstract strategy classic, and plays well with 2-4 players. Oh, and it is by Reiner Knizia. Your chess loving family member can stare at the board for long periods of time, debating on the best move. They’ll love it.
Play this instead of: Ticket to Ride. Gin Rummy. Pit.
This is a fantastic game that works perfectly as a gateway game. It is easy to learn, fun to play, and features an awesome Steampunk space-race theme.
Play this instead of: Monopoly, Life, or any number of casual card games.
I have nothing to say about this game other than: Buy it. Right now. Don’t even finish reading this column.
It is immense fun.
The column’s done anyway. Go buy games!