The winter holidays are coming up and one of the joys of the season is giving gifts to the people we care about. I wanted to share a few gift ideas that are appropriate for geeks and gamers. I have tried to only include items that I have personal experience with, and to limit the list to items that cost no more that $25 (not including tax or possible shipping fees). As always, I encourage you to shop at your local game store whenever possible. If they don't have an item in stock ask if they can order it. Whether you need a gift for a GM, friend, yourself, holiday party host, or secret Santa recipient, this list will have some ideas for you. All prices given are MSRP.
Role Playing Games - Need a gift for a table top rpg player? Many rpg core books will usually run around $40-$60. However, there are some quality inexpensive products out there.
FATE Accelerated Edition - FATE Accelerated by Evil Hat Productions is a great way to experience the FATE rpg. The book sells for $5. At that price you can get one for everybody in your group. The rules are great for players who like action and narrative-style gaming, and they are flexible enough to handle multiple genres. You will need FATE dice to play, but normal six-siders will also work.
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer' s Edition - Savage Worlds by Pinnacle Entertainment Group is a generic system that focuses on action. I played in a game where Jem and the Holograms were undercover CIA operatives giving a concert in Cold War Russia. The paperback rule book is $9.95. The only other thing needed to run the game is polyhedral dice, a deck of cards, tokens. Rules for miniatures are included but optional.
Burning Wheel Gold - Buying for a connoisseur? Burning Wheel Gold is a narrative rpg that uses a d6 dice pool. This is the system that powers the Mouse Guard and Torchbearer rpg. Burning Wheel is designed for epic, dramatic fantasy. The physical hardcover book is gorgeous. Price: $25.
Palladium RPGs - I know Palladium has some critics out there. I agree that their rules are a bit dated, but their concepts are fun. I recommend Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles rpg. The softcover core book costs $16.95. Another good choice is After the Bomb, where you get to play mutant animals in a post-nuclear war world. Just to be clear, After the Bomb has rules for creating turtles who are mutants and are also ninja. Price for the core book, $24.95.
Dungeon World and Monster of the Week - Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions) and Monster of the Week (Evil Hat Productions) are published by different companies but are based on the same game engine. Both use the Apocalypse World rules system. Dungeon World is a fantasy game while Monster of the Week is for Buffy the Vampire Slayer/X-files style monster-hunting games. Both are narritive systems and both books cost $25. Note: Evil Hat Productions will give a PDF for their games when you buy it from a brick and mortar store,
RPG Accessories - What about the gamer who has a bunch of books already? How about some accessories?
GM Screen - I used to think that GM screens were unnecessary. Then I bought the Pathfiner GM Screen and I used it every time I ran a game, even when running online. GM screens are full of useful charts and are great gifts for GMs. The current D&D screen is $14.95 and most other screens run from $15-$20.
The Noteboard - The Noteboard is a fold-up dry-erase board. It is blank on one side and has a square grid and hexes and the other side. It fits into a black bag that can also fit a marker, dice, and a mini. It is perfect as a portable battlemat. You can order one direct from the maker for $13.50 (which includes shipping).
Meeple Miniatures - Smoking Salamander, makers of the rpg Tiny Dungeon ran a kickstarter for Fantasy Adventure Meeples. I backed it and I now have the cutest party of meeples ever, These character meeples are shaped like your average board game meeple, but they are painted to look like D&D characters. The nice thing about meeples is that they are sturdier than your average mini. A set of adventures will run you $14 from Meeplesource.com (shipping not included).
Gamescience Dice - Gamescience dice are unusual, great dice. I recommend watching Lou Zocchi's video for more information. These dice will stick out in any collection. They have precision edges and are made of quality plastic. They also make some unusual dice, such as d7s. Please note that some of the dice that they sell are not inked. A set of seven polyhedrals will cost $13, but I definitely recommend that you browse around the site as they have some cool stuff. Their dice can be ordered off of the Gamescience website.
These are a few ideas for gamers. Have any suggestions of your own? Happy holidays, and remember that friendship is one of the best gifts that you can give.