So, I had thought of splitting it into two parts, one for the players and for the DM/GM. But that felt a little bit silly, and I want to encourage more players to become DM/GM’s, so if you have a player in your life who…
Tag: Christmas Gifts
I’ve been told by some wise people sometime long ago, that there is more to this world than just board games and RPG’s. That might be the case, but I find those interesting, so I write about them. Another thing I love is Super Heroes, and there is no shortage of Super Hero stuff that can be given as gifts, including some board games.
Avengers: Infinity War
Now, this is going to be for both the trade paperback and the movie. For those who aren’t familiar with the term trade paperback (TPB), that is when comics from a given run, generally six or so issues, are put into a single book, so you can get the whole story arc without having to track down the separate comics themselves. If the person is a big super hero fan, I wouldn’t be shocked if they already had Infinity War, the movie, but they might not have the TPB. And my guess is they would like to read it.
A massive game if you consider all of it’s various expansions, but even in the base game, you have a lot of fun to play with. In it, you are building a deck of cards by spending points and then also having to attack villains. The game gives you a solid super hero feeling, and since my initial review of it, I’ve come around on it being a better game a bit more. I think it is possible with this game to get some bad combinations of characters when you have more expansions. However, if they already have the base game, consider getting them an expansions for the game as they do add in fun new characters.
A book series about super heroes, this is a great trilogy of books that looks at a group of insurgents who are trying to stop all the super heroes, because none of the super heroes are good. It’s a young adult book series written by Brandon Sanderson, and they are really fun and enjoyable as adults, not just for teen age kids.
The Reckoners Board Game
Maybe you know someone who already likes the series, the board game would be something to consider getting them. The game has some pretty simple mechanics, but is extremely hard to win. Also, the components in the game are amazing. It is also a lot of fun because you get to see the Epics as the super heroes are known from the books, and you get to play as various members of the Reckoners team. Both The Dice Tower and Watch It Played have good information on the game.
Cold Steel Wardens
Maybe you want to go in a different direction and the person is a super hero fan and an RPG fan, Cold Steel Wardens one of the possible super hero RPG’s. This game is grittier than your standard super hero fair leaning into the Iron Age of comics where things were tougher and grittier in the comics. You still get to have super powers, but the world isn’t going to be flying around and having flashy parades, it’s going to be doing the grunt work and worrying about being attacked. Kristen wrote a nice review on it a little while back, or at least the system, so you can go check out her article on that.
Action Figures/Funko Pops
Maybe they already have the books and the games, there are plenty of other things that are super hero related to consider. One of the biggest areas is the action figure realm. There are tons of amazing action figures out there. I personally am a big fan of the Marvel Diamond Select figures as they are bigger than your standard action figure and come with nice props and amazing details. DC also does some very nice figures as well. Or maybe you don’t want to spend that much money or a looking for a stocking stuffer, Funko makes figures with large heads and very cartoony looks that are very popular right now. Try and find their favorite hero in those and give them that.
Super Hero Legos
Maybe you want something for a younger kid who might not what something that people would consider collectible. Lego now has a ton of super hero sets that you can get. They often tie into the movies, so if they have a favorite movie, see if you can track down the characters in Lego form. This also works well for adults.
Blackest Night/Brightest Day
Finally a dip into the world of DC. If you have someone who is into the DC universe, consider the TBP for those two sagas. In particular Blackest Night tells a really good story. It also something that is very different from your standard super hero fair in Blackest Night, while you do get plenty of hero moments there is good depth in the story being told.
Finally, there are a ton of classic stories and TPB’s that you could look at getting. From Marvel, House of M and Secret Invasion are two that stand out as really strong options. DC has Infinite Crisis that is really good. Then there are non-Marvel and non-DC options that are strong. I personally am a huge fan of the Powers series by Brian Micheal Bendis. It’s super hero adjacent as it follows around a couple cops who are dealing with super powered criminals.
There are a ton of other options for super heroes as well. There are a lot of movies, obviously, in the Marvel world, so if someone who is a big Marvel movie fan, help them fill in their collection. Or go into a lot of other areas as well, movie posters, custom artwork, or clothing.
Have you gotten a super hero themed gift before? If so what did you get or what have you wanted to get?
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Maybe instead of gifting for a gamer, you are gifting to someone who is just getting into the board game industry. They’ve played a few of your games and are looking to start getting a few games of their own. What games should you look at for someone like that?
Ticket to Ride
This should be the first game on basically any intro to modern board gaming list. It’s a smart simple game where you are trying to collect sets of train cards of various colors and connect routes across the board. That’s what the game is, but there is some strategy to it as to when you complete a section of your route, when you take train cards, and when you might want to get more routes. Not all that complex, but enough so to keep more serious gamers engaged well enough and so that people can pick it up quickly. There are also a ton of different versions of the game. The United States map, just called Ticket to Ride, is the most straight forward, but anything that’s added in the other boxes can just be skipped and you can play it as the normal Ticket to Ride.
This tableau building game as you competing for the favor of nobles and building up your supply of jewels. The game is simple as you start out building out your tableau by taking one time use jewels but soon you’ll have built up a good jewel collection so you have permanent jewels. The game is another pretty straight forward game with a limited number of actions in the game. That makes it a lot easier to teach. Now, this game is pretty themeless actually, but the components and artwork are nice, so it gets to the table pretty easily that way.
Sushi Go! Party
Card drafting games aren’t always the easiest to teach, but with the very cute artwork of Sushi Go! Party, it’s definitely an exception. I will add in one caveat for this game, there are a few of the specials that I would avoid at the start because they are a bit more confusing, but the game itself is pretty simple. You take one card from your hand and pass the hand to the next person and repeat the process until you’ve done that with all the cards. The game plays fast and while the first couple of decisions might be a bit trickier or explaining the rules the first time might be a bit trickier, the game is easy to play multiple times in one sitting.
Or as it used to be known, Settlers of Catan. This game is one of the games that started the modern board gaming trend. While it still has some of the classic board gaming issues, mainly there isn’t a way to mitigate just rolling poorly, it’s going to be one that a lot of people are familiar with. The game is pretty straight forward but it’s still enjoyable and it’s something that people will recognize as compared to a game like Splendor that people might not have heard of.
This is probably the trickiest game on the list because there’s more strategy in this game than some of the others, but because of the presence on the table. In this game you are drafting dice to create a stained glass window, and you just have to follow certain die placement rules about colors and numbers being next to each other and while filling in certain colors or numbers based on the window that you are creating. The game play is fast and there is an expansion that allows it to play up to 6 which might make it easier to get to the table and keep everyone involved at a family holiday party.
I’ve managed to get Pandemic Legacy on to two other lists (too big for a stocking), but for this one, I suggest the base Pandemic. This is a really good cooperative game and a game that lays out what is done on turns and peoples actions really nicely. It’s also not that tough a cooperative game so for a new player, they aren’t going to feel like they’re being beat down over and over again. It’s also not that long a game for everything that is going on in the game. If you haven’t played it yourself, I’d recommend it for someone who is even a gamer or the Legacy version as it’s a really good game.
There are a ton of introductory games, and I might give out some suggestions next week for what to give people if they like a certain classic game already, but that will be later.
What are some other games that you’ve used to introduce people to modern board gaming?
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This idea came up with talking to some people from church. They were at Fantasy Flight Games when Kristen and I went there for their Black Friday sale. It’s a family that has a couple of younger boys and they were trying to figure out what games would make sense for their family. They were looking for something that wasn’t going to be too hard for the boys but also something that wasn’t going to be boring for the parents to play.
I think that is a really interesting line to walk, and I wanted to get it up on the website now, just for Christmas ideas, so I’m doing a double post today. The reason that it’s interesting is that there is kind of a gap and an idea that kids can’t really pick up on harder concepts, but allowing a kid to try more complicated games than Chutes and Ladders or Candyland will probably be helpful for them in learning as well as they have to tackle ideas and concepts in more fun ways than learning it through a text book. So, without much further ado, here are five board games that I think work great for families with younger (Elementary) kids and won’t bore the parent to death:
1. Ticket to Ride
This game has long been my go to game for family time. Ticket to Ride is a card collecting, color matching game where you try and connect routes across the country. It is a fast one to pick up, and the game can play differently every time that you play it. It’s good for kids because you are mainly trying to match the colors of cards in your hand so that you can play train routes. It’s also good, as it is a competitive game, but isn’t a cut throat game.
Catan is another good game to play with kids. The concepts are simple as you collect resources to build stuff. And while you can get competitive with it, the game generally works with everyone playing the board more so than competing against each other. Catan changes every time it is played as well, so while kids can pick it up pretty quickly. The one downside to Catan is that it is hard to predict exactly how long the game is going to take. If it starts taking too long, you can just play to a lower number of victory points. It varies a lot from game to game though.
3. Castle Panic
A tower defense game, this game has fun pieces, simple rules and strategy and is cooperative. It gives the family as a whole something that they can play together, and for a cooperative game, it isn’t nearly as tough as some. This means that while there is strategy, if you don’t play the ideal strategy because you are letting a kid take the lead, that is okay, you aren’t going to lose every time you let them take the lead. I like this game a lot as an option for kids because it really does help teach strategy, but in a fun way with fun pieces.
4. Forbidden Desert or Forbidden Island
These games are cooperative again. You are either looking for pieces of your crashed plane or trying to find missing treasure. The trick is, the pieces of the crashed plane as in the desert and keep on getting buried, and the treasure is on an island that is actively sinking. I’ve only played Forbidden Island, but Forbidden Desert seems more enjoyable. It adds in one piece of complexity that will make the game more interesting generally. They both come with other ways to up the difficulty as well which will make it feel like there is more pressure. These games are probably the fastest on the list as well, so that is to their advantage.
A cooperative game as well, this time you can play the iconic characters from the original Ghostbusters movies as they battle various ghosts completing different story arcs. The mechanics are simple, there are limited number of actions that you can do, and it comes with a ton of minis. Kids will enjoying playing a game where there are a bunch of little figures that they can move around on the board, and the main mechanic is just rolling dice. I’ve only played this one once, and I am sure that Kristen and I messed up some rules, but it plays fairly quickly, and there isn’t a ton of downtime between turns.
What are games that you think work well with kids? I have a few more that I could have added to the list, like Tsuro or Zombie Dice, but these are some bigger board games that use more strategy that would work well with younger kids.
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