It can be tough to find the right gift for loved ones, especially if they’re gamers. With such a wild variety of game styles and unique play experiences out there, choosing a game they don’t already have in their collection and they actually want is a bit of a feat. Maybe your gifting target is not a gamer, and you have a devilish plan to bring them to the light with a carefully selected gateway game. What fits the bill? If you’ve been gaming for a long time, you’ve probably heard that there’s a game out there for everyone, and that’s true. The trick is finding it. We’ve put together a guide for some of the trickier folks on your shopping list.
Finding a game that will be engaging for kids of various ages as well as adults isn’t always easy. Ideally, it’ll be something that has some interesting decisions to make but is still fun no matter how invested players are in the outcome. Potion Explosion hits that sweet spot. It’s beautiful and tactile, and there’s that little endorphin rush when they put together a big combination. In the game, players are student wizards on the last day of class, creating potions by drawing ingredients from the unique slide dispenser. They don’t necessarily need to be winning the game to have fun with the awesome components and whimsical art. Due to Potion Explosion’s mechanical similarity to a lot of the app games popular with kids these days, younger members of the family might actually have a tactical advantage. Win or lose, Potion Explosion is FUN! If you have a gaming family on your list, this is the perfect fit.
The Horror Fan
We all have that person in our life obsessed with scary movies and horror. Now that you’ve got them every Stephen King book on the market and they own Blu-ray copies of everything Wes Craven has ever done, what do you get for them? Fortunately, horror games are becoming quite popular, and not just video games. In The Others, the fabric between two dimensions has been torn and the Seven Deadly Sins are coming to Earth to spread corruption and bring on the apocalypse. Only a brave team of heroes stands in their way. The Others is chock full of dark imagery and grotesque, yet beautiful, miniature figures sure to delight any fan of the macabre. It’s a one-against-many game where players can either join the F.A.I.T.H. team trying to save the world, or embrace their nasty side and control the Sins trying to destroy all that is good. Either way, The Others will give the horror fan on your list a chance to experience terror in a totally new and interactive way.
The Busy Body
Let’s face it, we’re busy. Technology was supposed to give us more time. But, in reality, being connected 24-7 often means more ways to be distracted. Everyone has someone on their list that rarely has time to meet for lunch, let alone get their game on. This is where 20-30 minute games become the perfect gift. Looterz, for example, can be taught in about five minutes and plays in about twenty. Experienced players can bang out a bunch of games in no time at all. The best part is that you still feel like you’re making interesting decisions.
Dice games are other great, fast-playing options. Play Me is is quick to learn and play. It’s a fast, frantic dice rolling game with players representing characters from Alice in Wonderland. In Ta-Da!, players are competing in the annual contest to name the best wizard in these here parts. It’s another super-quick, dice-rolling game that is over the minute someone completes their sixth spell. Ta-Da! is easy to teach, fun to play, and will fit into almost any timeframe. A busy schedule should never be an excuse not to game.
The Party Animal
Some people don’t have ‘Game Nights,’ they have ‘Parties with Games,’ big get-togethers requiring games that will suit six or more players. Well, the good news is that there are tons of great party games out there. In Unusual Suspects, one player is the witness to a crime, and the rest of the players are detectives trying to identify the guilty party from a suspect lineup. The trick is that they can only ask ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ questions about the personality and habits of the criminal. Based on the responses of the witness, they’ll have to eliminate the potential criminals until (hopefully) only the culprit remains.
If the partier on your list is more traditionally drawn to video games, then you may want to give Bloodborne: The Card Game as a gift. Like the video game, players are going to enter a creepy dungeon and do battle with a slew of monstrous foes. They get to earn new weapons and trophies, and yes, they’ll die quite a bit. The best part is that if they’ve been careful and saved their progress, dying won’t affect them too badly. Bloodborne: The Card Game might be the perfect answer to lure your gift target away from the screen and to the table.
Do you have someone on your list that loves gaming, but hates that it turns everyone into competitive jerks? Cooperative games are the answer. They allow you to make strategic decisions, but your opponent is the game itself, not each other. The Grizzled is one of the toughest and most critically acclaimed cooperative games out there. You’ll be working together to survive the trials of WWI, facing challenges like incoming attacks, inclement weather, phobias, or trauma. War is not easy, but with the support of your friends and a little luck, you just might make it through. The Grizzled is a perfect gift for the non-competitive gamer. The recently released expansion, The Grizzled: At Your Orders, allows them to set the difficulty and even play solo.
So we probably haven’t covered everyone on your list, but we hope these few different ideas get you started. Board games are certainly not the only good gift you can give to someone (there’s also board gaming accessories), but they act as a great excuse to sit around a table and spend time together. Interacting with your friends and family is the real gift, and it’s what this season is all about!