Troll’s Guide to Gifting Geeks for under $20

I get it.  Like nights in Arabia of old, there are 1001 shopping guides out there this holiday season that focus on squeezing the last dollar bill out of your pocket in the name of saving a buck to purchase that thing you never thought you needed until now.  This list is a little different.  There will be no iPods.  Or funky watches.  No netbooks or tablets.  No primo geek experiences or that ultra-gaming setup that’s $12 less than the other guy’s deal.

This list is old fashioned.  This list is about toys.  Toys for under $20.

20 or so deliciously fun and interesting toys for us geeks young and old.  Things that I’d personally love to be unwrapping from under the tree this year.  Here’s a guide to getting stuff with tentacles, or that snaps together, or that pushes us out into space or back in time.  This is my personal list for that fat old elf up north.

Yes, this list is based at and I do receive a small percentage of any sales that are made through it.  I use what money I make from sales to help fund all of the neat contests we feature on this site.  Mostly for the shipping.  So, if you like the contests, and are gonna buy something from Amazon anyway, do me a favor and click through one of my links first.  You’ll get the best of both worlds.

About 20 gifts for Under $20

Side Jobs – Stories from the Dresden Files.  If you or someone you know is a Harry Dresden fan, here’s the latest published work by Jim Butcher which features a bunch of stories from the Dresdenverse, including Harry himself.  “The tales range from the deadly serious to the absurdly hilarious. Also included is a new, never-before-published novella that takes place after the cliff-hanger ending of the new April 2010 hardcover, Changes.” $15

Zombie – the 1979 classic undead film.  This film features, among other things, a gnarly 1979 dude who looks like 1979, and a shark fighting a zombie.  Let me state that again.  A shark.  Fighting a zombie. “The plot is fairly straightforward, and more or less exists simply as a structure to hang scenes of extreme gore and terror on.”  It doesn’t get better than that. $15

Nerf N-Force Sword and Shield.  Finally a weapon and defensive piece that you can whack your SO with and avoid arrest.  Or, if your SO is more skilled, a thorough pummeling. “The most skilled warriors rely on speed and strategy, rather than brute force. The Stonewall Shield and Sword make it possible to protect yourself from the most powerful attacks even as you strike the weakest point in your enemy’s defense. Arm yourself for the ultimate battle experience and grab your foam N-FORCE Stonewall Shield and Sword.” $15

Call of Cthulhu – Domain Statue.  What better way to worship the old ones and the sleeping gods than this sickly green, all resin construction?  I mean, other than traveling far north and awakening something that Should Not Be of course.  About $18.

A freaking pound of RPG dice from Chessex.  Approximately 100 of these bad little geometric randomizers in every pull!  “These dice are mixed in a variety of styles & colors. Every bag does not necessarily have every style & color. Sizes may include 6, 8, 10, 12, 20 & 30-sided dice (and, possibly, other sizes) in colors that include (but are not limited to) speckled, marble, rainbow, opaque and translucent. This assortment features one complete 7-die polyhedral set of never-released speckled dice, available ONLY in the Pound O’ Dice assortment.”  The stuff in parenthesis really gets me.  $18.75

The Autobiography of Mark Twain (Vol 1).  He may have taken his name from some rope with knots in it, but this guy is the real thing.  The ultimate 19th century satirist lays gives us the skinny on what was really going on in his life time.  “Mark Twain is his own greatest character in this brilliant self-portrait, the first of three volumes collected by the Mark Twain Project on the centenary of the author’s death. It is published complete and unexpurgated for the first time.” Squeaking in at $19.22.

D&D Essential’s Monster Vault. Look, I run an RPG blog, so you can bet there will be some stuff like this here.  You get “collects the most iconic monsters of the Dungeons & Dragons world in one handy box and presents all-new variants, including new spins on such beloved monsters as dragons, orcs, and vampires.”  I’ve never spun an orc before, but it could be fun. $19.79.

Aww!  A cute little plushy, evil elder god!  The 12″ plush Cthulhu is a foot of the most huggable ancient intelligence you’ll ever find. “Finally, a Cthulhu that won’t keep you awake all night with fear, this is a very cuddly representation of the Cthulhu depicted by H.P. Lovecraft.”  The ultimate nightmare in an easy to carry, squishy package. $19.95.

Gamma World – Famine in Far-Go.  “The radioactive wastelands of Earth are home to many bizarre and barbaric creatures. The apocalypse hasn’t exactly made the world a better place. It’s survival of the fittest. Time to build a new food chain.”  All new Gamma World adventure chock full with mutanty goodness!  $19.79.  

The Dresden Files: Complete First (and only) Season.   While not quite experiencing the success of BSG or the Walking Dead, this was still a pretty fun watch. “Based on Jim Butcher’s best-selling novels, “The Dresden Files” chronicles the cases of no ordinary detective. Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne) is a wizard, the only one listed in the Chicago phone book. He’s got a handle on the crimes that can’t be solved by anyone else. Paranormal? No problem. Dresden deals in all matters of supernatural threats. If you need a little hocus pocus or some other worldly advice, Dresden’s your man.”  $For $10.99 he can be anyone’s man.

Cthulhu Dice.  Play a game and also battle gut wrenching insanity, all for under six bucks!  “Serving Cthulhu is fun, except for all those other cultists out to get you. So . . . get them first! Cthulhu Dice lets you drive your rivals mad . . . very, very quickly. Players take turns rolling the big, beautiful, custom 12-sided die, embossed with tentacles, Elder Signs, and more.”  $5.52.

Solid Gold S.E.P.  That gift for the person who just isn’t easy to holiday shop for.  The S.E.P. stands for Stop Eating Poop.  I kid you not.  “Stop Eating Poop contains Glutamic Acid to deter dogs from eating their own stool. Yucca helps control stool and urine odor. Peppermint and parsley help to eliminate bad breath.”  Look, we all could use a little more Glutamic Acid and parsley in our lives.  It’s a $14 joke, but think of the look as they dump out their stocking.

The Zombie Combat Manual: A guide to fighting the living dead.  We all know the zombie apocalypse is going to happen.  It’s just a question of when.  So prepare yourself with this combat manual which is sure to be better than those ninjitsu guides you could purchase from seedy martial arts magazines in the 80s.  “If you’re a reader who likes books about zombies that never “blink” and keep up the intensity for the entire read, then The Zombie Combat Manual is the book for you.” -Scott Kenemore, Scott Kenemore’s Zombie Blog”  Scott Goddamn Kenmore likes it, so should you.  $11.20.

Q-Workshop’s amazing 7 piece polyhedral die set.  It’s a lot more exciting than it sounds.  Really.  “This official Call of Cthulhu Dice Set is your gateway to untold horror. A dark, sinister force radiates from the vile Elder Sign, filling you with dread. Rumors say that if the Elder Sign comes up on all dice at once, the borders of reality break and with a triumphant howl the Great Old Ones enter our world, bringing forth destruction and madness. If you try to destroy these cursed dice, you will find out that they are almost indestructible and the horrific carvings are durable and won’t wear out…Set includes 1 d4, 1 d6, 1 d8, 1d10, 1d10%, 1 d12, and 1 d20 for all your gaming needs.”  See?  $14.45.

Dungeons & Dragons – the complete animated series.  I don’t know exactly what Venger was, but he scared the hell out of me as a kid.  “The complete Dungeons & Dragons series! In this extremely popular series an enchanted roller coaster delivers six youth into the magical realm of Dungeons and Dragons. There, each of them gains magical talents and abilities, all the better to survive their time in the Realm.”  For $7.50, you just can’t go wrong.

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks.  One of my all time favorite Culture novels – it’s easy to get in to and hard to put down.  “Iain M. Banks presents a distant future that could almost be called the end of history. Humanity has filled the galaxy, and thanks to ultra-high technology everyone has everything they want, no one gets sick, and no one dies. It’s a playground society of sports, stellar cruises, parties, and festivals. Jernau Gurgeh, a famed master game player, is looking for something more and finds it when he’s invited to a game tournament at a small alien empire. Abruptly Banks veers into different territory.”  $10.19.

1500 Live Ladybugs.  What the…? At first, it didn’t make sense.  But then I realized you could release them in your garden and they’re like nature’s little pesticide.  These little cuties will happily kill, dismember and devour a good number of garden pests.  Release them in the old tree the morning of and spend a harrowing and fun time trying to recapture them all before the mother in law shows up! $12.99.

Zombie Fluxx.  No, it’s not your bowels, it’s an ever changing card game! “Zombie Fluxx takes the award-winning card game Fluxx and cranks up the fun with a Zombie uprising. The Zombies arrive in the form of a new type of card, called the Creeper, which hangs around in front of you, preventing you” And there the Amazon quote ends.  What happened!?  Did the quote writer succumb to the undead plague?  I WANT TO KNOW!  $12.99

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer.  Life as a Necromancer ain’t easy. From deals with the devil to running an infernal, soul stealing carnival, Johannes does what it takes to preserve his life, and his research.  “Johannes may have the moral conscience of anthrax, but are his tricks sinful enough to beat the Devil at his own game? You’ll never guess, and that’s a promise!”  $10.20.

[tags]gifts, deals, role playing games, books, television, holidays[/tags]

Santa art by Bradley K McDevitt.

2 thoughts on “Troll’s Guide to Gifting Geeks for under $20

Add yours

  1. Great list! Definitely going to share this on our facebook fan page. It’s nice to see Dresden files in there (twice!).

    Also – your readers who are interested in indy game might be interested in a growing list over on that includes all the RPGs available from (which can be hard to find if you search Lulu’s site directly). Currently something like 31 items on that list.


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