Picture this. Your workplace is running a holiday secret gift exchange and you randomly draw your coworker Alex’s name. You don’t know them very well, but do know that they like to play board games. What do you get them? Where do you even start? Have no fear, we are here to help!
Board gamers can be difficult to shop for. Just like other hobbyists, a gift that helps support their hobby is always appreciated. So what should you buy for that friend, family member, significant other, or coworker with a very specific hobby? The last thing you want to do is get them a gift they won’t use (think about those gifts that you still have in shrink-wrap for your hobby), or something they already have. How do you get them something they will love?
First, you should find out if they are just getting started, or if they have a full board game shelf. Ask them about what games they have, what they are looking for, or even what they are playing right now. These are great questions to find out more about their hobby, and a technique we use at Mox to find the perfect board game for someone. Once you have a better idea of what they are looking for, you can use their answers to buy the best gift for them. Alternatively, if getting more information just isn’t an option, we also have some suggestions that make great gifts for any gamer, regardless of what they already own.
What gift do I get my friend to get them started with board games?
Let’s start with the newbies. Your friend just played Monopoly with the family for the first time last week and loved it. Now, they want to get more board games to play with their loved ones. Or, what about the coworker who plays Warhammer 40K, and is looking for something a little bit different. What gift do you get the new board gamer?
Here are some of our favorite gifts that we all played when we first got into board games.
If the gamer in your life is just getting into board games for the first time, Catan and Ticket to Ride make great gifts. These modern classics are board games that every board gamer should play at least once. These are the games that got us into deeper strategy games, and helped us realize that there are more board games out there than Candyland and Risk.
The other thing that makes Catan and Ticket to Ride great is all the expansions and standalone games for them. Make sure to check out the 25th Anniversary edition of Catan that is coming out soon. It includes the base game and the 5-6 player expansion all in one!
If you have a budget of around $50 and are looking for a game with solid strategy, plays for 2-4 people, and lasts less than an hour, consider Splendor. Splendor takes you back to the Renaissance era, where you play as a merchant buying gems to impress the nobles. It makes a great gift for beginners because you only make one decision on your turn. Your friend doesn’t have to worry about analysis paralysis, but your choices carry weight throughout the game. Splendor also has simple rules and great components, making it a great board game to gift to anyone just getting started.
Is your best friend super competitive? Do their game nights end in flipped tables? Try giving them a cooperative board game this holiday season. In cooperative board games, you work together as a team to win. Explore the Forbidden Island to find treasures and escape before the island sinks into the ocean to never be seen again! Forbidden Island makes a great gift for a new board gamer, because it has simple rules, plays under an hour, and can be played over and over again.
What gift do I get for my board gamer friend who has everything?
Do your friends take #shelfies, or go to board game conventions? Are they constantly talking your ear off about the latest Kickstarter game they backed or showing off their board game collection? Then, let’s be honest, your friend may already have the board game you were looking to gift them this year. These are the most challenging people to buy for because they are probably looking for a specific board game to purchase next. So, what gift do you get them instead of a board game?
Upgrade their Favorite Game
One thing that makes your board games feel unique is upgraded pieces. For board games that we love and play often, sometimes their pieces wear out. There are also bigger board games that include a handful of unpainted miniatures. While you can still play the board game without these upgrades, something feels different and more fun when you bring nice components to the table. Why settle for cardboard cutouts, when you can have wooden tokens, metal coins, and beautifully painted minis?
To upgrade your friends board game, figure out which one is their favorite (bonus points if it’s a game you all play together). Then, visit your local game store to see what they have in stock. For example, if you are upgrading Wingspan, you can grab a kit that has all wooden pieces that can be swapped out for the original cardboard cutouts. If you’re looking to upgrade a board game with a lot of minis, like Scythe, consider buying some painting supplies. There are basic painting kits that include basic colors and even brushes. Upgrading their favorite game is a great gift for the board gamer who has everything.
Broken Token Accessories
Another way to enhance the experience of your friends board game night is with Broken Token! Keep your games organized, and ready to play quickly with these wooden inserts. They fit right in the box of the board game and make it easy to set up and put away. Board gamers love these inserts because they give you more time to play the game rather than searching for pieces. Broken Token makes inserts for all kinds of board games like Gloomhaven, King of Tokyo, Zombiecide, Terraforming Mars, and 7 Wonders.
If you are still looking to get them a board game for the holidays, check out Illimat. The game comes from a small publishing company, Twogether Studios, and is beautifully illustrated with a witchy minimalistic art style. It was actually designed by the indie rock band The Decemberists and Keith Baker. Illimat features tarot-style cards, and game play that feels like a traditional card game that’s easy to pick up. This board game is unique enough that your friends may not already have it on their shelf and makes a great gift.
Support their Favorite Local Game Store
Still not sure what to purchase? You can always pick up a gift card, or t-shirt from their favorite board game store. Board game stores, like Mox Boarding House, have helpful staff that love their hobbies, and can help answer any questions you have. Now is a great time to support local businesses, and show your friends that you listen.
What other gifts are good for all board gamers?
What about your friends that are just looking to pad out their collection? What gift should you get someone that you don’t know much about their collection? Or, maybe you just want to bring a board game home to play over the holidays. Check out these great gifts for all board gamers.
Here to Slay
In Here to Slay, you play as your favorite adorable and powerful leader to gather a group of heroes and take on the monsters that cross your path. Put together a group of brave heroes, vanquish monsters, and pick up some magical items along the way! This simple card game makes a perfect gift for board gamers and role-players alike with quick game play and simple rules. Here to Slay is brand new to 2020, so they may not have it in their collection just yet.
Another party game to add to your friends collection is Anomia. Anomia is defined as “trouble finding or recalling an everyday word”, and this card game will make you feel it in spades! Each round, you turn over a new card from the deck, and if anyone has a matching symbol of the new card, you have to try and say a word associated with the word on their card. Will you be able to spot your symbol, and quickly name a “Sitcom” before your opponent can shout out a “Blues Musician”? This quick draw, card game makes a great gift for board gamers of any level. You can play with 3-6 players and is a fun game to relax with at the end of a long day.
Geeky Gaming Accessories
Last but not least is gaming accessories. There is nothing better than receiving a cute plush or enamel pin that matches your favorite tabletop game or fandom. If your best friend loves Pandemic, why not grab an adorable plague doctor plush? You can find a ton of gaming accessories at your local game store, and maybe even find something for yourself.
I still need help picking out a gift
Every board gamer is unique and it can be challenging to pick out the perfect gift. Stop by Mox to get a personalized game recommendation for your friends, family, or significant other. We have a little something for every style of gamer.
-See you at Mox