01 November 2023
What to get for the gaming fan in your life this season
With the end of the witching season of Halloween, we're dusting off our Mariah Carey album ready to add it the music rotation for another fun festive season.
Some of you out there are no doubt already stocking up on seasonal essentials and might even be present planning for those special people in your life. But what can you get for the one who’s already got so many games to play? Fear not, for we have a comprehensive guide to the best gaming gifts to grab in 2023.
Board Game Travel Bag
It can be difficult to physically get your games, books and miniatures from A to B, particularly for those who can’t declare on person’s house as the permanent host for games night and rely on local game stores to meet up and play.
Board Game Travel bags can cuddle your collection and keep it significantly safer than your most extravagant supermarket “bag for life,” with many designed with board game measurements in mind to ensure you can confidently stack four-five games ready for your next trip out. There are many brilliant bags available, including the wide range of RPG/Miniature Battle Foam bags (ranging in sizes from single RPG figure kits to full army battle bags) and the well-received Game Haul: 3rd Edition, which has been designed specifically to hold the standard 12”x12”x3” box for games like Ticket to Ride, Terraforming Mars and many more classic titles.
Gaming Advent Calendar
For some, the fact that Christmas only comes once a year is a disappointment, only because they want to have more excuses to open presents other than Christmas and their Birthday. Fear not, for there is now a thriving market of tabletop-gaming related Advent Calendars for you to treat someone to presents from the first of the month to the big day itself!
Naturally we’re a little biased here and think that you should go for our very own Tabletop Gaming Advent Calendar, but that’s only because we know just how stuffed full of phenomenal games, gifts and other delights we’ve been able to squeeze into it!
RPG Dice Scroll
Sometimes a great gift is something you would never buy yourself, but find yourself constantly using in your life. Many of us who play RPGs will keep our dice in the container they were sold in, haphazardly rolling them onto the table, inevitably causing damage to the carefully arrayed battle-map or watching as that guaranteed critical rolls off the table, into the zone of ‘you need to reroll that when you find it.’
Dice trays have been steadily seeing a rise in popularity in recent years and you can often tell how long someone has been playing RPGs by the bulk of their polyhedral collection, often contained within a lovingly fraying and overfilled cloth bag. Why not combine the svelteness of a specific set for all of your character needs with an ergonomic answer to giving your dice somewhere safe to roll with a Dice Scroll?
These nifty accessories let you lean into the fantasy nature of these systems but with a compact design that will keep your collection safe whilst still being easy to transport. Companies like Dice Goblin stock neutral dice scrolls for ease of use whilst others like Dice Dungeon have ‘The Scroll of Many Things,’ which comes in three faux-leather variants for that authentic look that’s animal free.
Custom RPG miniature
But why stop at luxurious dice tray and storage? RPGs may predominately be a theatre of the mind, but that’s no reason to stop you from ordering a custom miniature of your beloved’s character for them to visualise themselves upon the square grid battle mats and jelly baby enemies used to represent zombies (the benefit being that you get to eat them if you land the killing blow.)
There’s a growing market of innovative design studios online, letting you cobble together the heroic figure of your dreams with vast arrays of weapons, clothing, body parts and many more features. Probably the biggest in the business for custom miniatures is Hero Forge, with an online database of literally hundreds of different components, as well as options to get the models custom printed or have the digital files to use a 3D printer yourself.
Glammed Up Edition of a Beloved Game
Buying board games is a dangerous game when that person is deep into the hobby. You can sneak a glance at their collection, recognise a title or two and still have no idea if a new game might be the right fit for them.
But whilst you’re performing present reconnaissance, you may notice a beloved title on their shelf looking a little worse for wear. Maybe the box is a little frayed, the components water damaged by too many spilt drinks, it could even be a game that you’ve all played to death but still find time to get it off the shelf for another go.
These titles are prime candidates for ‘buying the fancier version.’ When you’re looking to splash the cash and really treat someone, you can buy them the complete or special edition of their favourite title, safe in the knowledge that they’ll find a place for it, even if it’s simply replacing its predecessor.
A Lovely Book on Gaming
Outside of several remarkably well edited and varied magazines that cover Tabletop Gaming, there is also a rising increase in both fiction and non-fiction works centred around our hobby, spearheaded by the Asmodee subsidiary Aconyte Books.
From thrilling fantasy adventures set in the lands of Descent and Arkham Horror to Sci-Fi stories set in the Terraforming Mars and Twilight Imperium universes, this publisher continues to print particularly compelling page turners that make for great light winter reading, the ideal Jolabokaflod gift (an Icelandic tradition of gifting a book with some cosy treats on Christmas Eve, to read yourself to relaxation before the dawn of the holiday, don’t say we never teach you anything here at TTG.)
The publishers have also branched out into non-fiction texts, such as TTG’s long-standing contributor James Wallis and his superb series covering the various Spiel Des Jahres winners, Everybody Wins and an anthology called What Board Games Mean To Me, collected by Donna Gregory with various industry professionals talking about how board games changed their lives for the better.
If you’ve got a bookworm who loves to game, it’s worth a look for the perfect bridge between the two hobbies.
It’s hard to keep track of which army they’re collecting or even which rules system someone might be playing. There is however one universal truth that applies to anyone who plays miniature games: you can never have enough terrain. From massive fortifications to simple barricades, having something for figures to duck and cover under is always a welcome addition to any collection.
The most popular miniatures games going (such as Warhammer, Marvel: Crisis Protocol and Star Wars Legion) all use 28mm scale for their minis, which works perfectly with terrain bundle kits like Mantic’s Terrain Crate and the multitude of hard card kits by Battle Systems. Both manufacturers categorise their terrain by Fantasy, Modern/Post-Apocalyptic and Sci-Fi, so as long as you know the rough genre their game is set in you can pick up a pile of perfect pillars, posts and other pieces for them to place onto their battlefields.
Whilst not everyone wants to give their Christmas presents in a small envelope, for some people opening tickets to go to a gaming convention can give them months of excited anticipation, not to mention the long weekend spent surrounded by top notch tabletop gaming delights, from the latest releases to prototype previews, with literally hundreds of games to enjoy.
Tickets for both Airecon and UK Games Expo will be on sale by December, so if you’re unsure what to get for the one who seems to have it all, why not plan a fun weekend away where they can pick up all the new things they desire and you can both have a fantastic time together?
And that’s our list of must have presents for this year! Think of anything we’ve missed? Got a gift idea you want to share? Let us know on social media so we can help our fellow desperate gift givers with some great inspiration for the festive season