Christmas gaming gift guide 2017: 10 of the best presents for tabletop fans
Whether you’re stuck with a Secret Santa or looking for something to plump out the stocking of a tabletop diehard, we’ve got you sorted with our pick of perfect presents
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Dungeon Crawlers Social Club Hoodie
The dank corridors of fantasy dungeons can get a bit chilly, so this zip-up hoodie will keep you warm during adventures if you’re lacking a wizard with the ability to conjure fire. Not to mention it’s also pretty stylish, with a snake, daggers and d20 design on the back and the pithy catchphrase ‘It’s the pits!’ on the front. Why not buy one each for every member of your roleplaying group and get their names emblazoned on the front like a real club?
Secret Santa budget: £30
Best for: Dedicated followers of fashion, tabletop adventurers
BoardGameGeek Artist Series Art Prints
Given the abundance of incredible artwork across the tabletop, it’s a wonder why it’s so tough to find high-quality prints based on board games. This run of illustrations is proof that good game artwork belongs up on the wall, showcasing takes on Blood Rage, Agricola, Mysterium and Galaxy Trucker by acclaimed artists Vincent Dutrait, Jacqui Davis, Ian O’Toole and Kwanchai Moriya.
Secret Santa budget: About £22
Best for: Students wanting to replace that Scarface poster, budding gallerists
Scythe Jigsaw Puzzles
Okay, so they’re not official Scythe jigsaws, but they are based on the same World of 1920+ setting devised by artist Jakub Różalski that served as the inspiration for the hit board game. Five different designs are available, and each 1,500-piece puzzle includes a collector’s poster – presumably so you can see what you’re meant to be making – as well as a book introducing the alternate-history universe.
Secret Santa budget: About £15
Best for: Patient puzzlers, Scythe obsessives
The Investigators of Arkham Horror
If you’ve learnt nothing from countless games of Eldritch Horror, Arkham Horror: The Card Game or Mansions of Madness and still want to delve into the forbidden knowledge of the games’ Lovecraftian horrors, this 264-page hardback tome is the definitive guide to the connected Arkham Horror Files universe. Filled with gorgeous artwork and details on the games’ ill-fated investigators, as well as the alternate 1920s world they explore, the book features 52 short stories to expand your understanding of the series’ atmospheric setting. A nightmare before Christmas, indeed.
Secret Santa budget: £35
Best for: Horror fans who didn’t plan to sleep before Christmas anyway, Eldritch experts
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without Monopoly, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer the all-too-familiar run of Old Kent Road to Mayfair again. This Mario-themed version is much more than another reskin, too – as well as buying up property in the Mushroom Kingdom, you’ll need to beat bosses and collect coins to rack up your high score before taking on Bowser. A power-up die brings the special abilities of the video games to the tabletop, with Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong replacing the classic player pieces. An added bonus is that it plays much quicker than the long hours of the gruelling classic, so you can move on to enjoying better games even faster.
Secret Santa budget: Under £30
Best for: Parents trying to tear their kids away from screens, those who can’t completely kick the Monopoly habit
Meeple Tree Ornaments
What are you doing? Get down from there! Oh, wait, they’re just meeple stuck in the Christmas tree. These charming blown-up versions of the iconic person token seen in games such as Carcassonne add a touch of the tabletop to your seasonal decorations. The plain colour of the rubber ornaments can be customised to match your other decorations or can even be bought in the guise of Father Christmas and two elves if you want to go all-in on the winter theme.
Secret Santa budget: Between £7 and £12
Best for: Carcassonne devotees, tinsel haters, tree huggers
Socks of Catan
As Christmassy as mince pies, family squabbles and getting drunk on booze you wouldn’t drink during the rest of the year, socks are often a welcome – if dull – present from loved ones. This Catan-themed hosiery is guaranteed to raise more of a smile from a Settlers fan, as well as giving them a way to celebrate their love of a modern tabletop classic on the sly. Just try not to roll a 7.
Secret Santa budget: About £11
Best for: Cold toes, stinky feet
Convertible Fast Travel Bag of Holding
ThinkGeek’s original Bag of Holding became somewhat legendary among gamers for being both a handy way to carry stuff and a subtle but stylish way of acknowledging your devotion to the tabletop. The outlet has since spun out with a whole range of Bags of Holding, including a handbag, compact show survival pouch and this design sized for stashing under airplane seats as you fly to your next convention or tournament (or whatever). It’s big enough to fit a Euro board game, but also has a laptop and tablet section if you also want to take your library of digital games on the go with you. What’s more, it transforms from messenger bag to backpack and is lined with a fetching d20 pattern, so you can rock the geek chic look wherever you end up.
Secret Santa budget: Under £40
Best for: GMs on the go, convention visitors
d20 Stud Earrings
We wouldn’t recommend rolling these particular d20s, but you can stick them in (through?) your ears to show off your love of roleplaying – and maybe give you a boost if you need to attempt any skill checks in the real world, given that they both show the critical roll of 20 at their centre. There’s a variety of colour options available, including a luminous glow-in-the-dark green so you can light up like a Christmas tree throughout the season.
Secret Santa budget: £10 and under
Best for: Lucky high-rollers, real-life roleplayers
Hero Forge Custom 3D-printed Miniature
Sometimes, a generic elf, dwarf or orc just won’t cut it. If you want to fully immerse yourself in a tabletop adventure, why not put yourself in the game – literally? Hero Forge’s online tool lets you create a custom-made miniature by picking from a selection of genres, appearances, apparel, equipment, mounts and poses that will then be 3D printed and sent to you in the post. (If you have a 3D printer already, you can just buy the digital file and do it yourself.) The options range from a standard 30mm plastic figure up to an enormous 1:15 scale statue or a steel or bronze figurine if your budget stretches far enough.
Secret Santa budget: £11 and over
Best for: Wannabe dungeon explorers, narcissists
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.