Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gifts for the Gamer Geek

It's that time again, time for last minute shopping. This can be especially grueling if you have a loved one who is a gamer geek. It doesn't matter if they are a Video Gamer or one of the table-top variety,if you yourself aren't a gamer it can be nigh impossible to find that perfect gift for the gamer in your household. So...I'm here to help. I'm going to provide three lists for the perspective shopper. The first is for the person who has a video gamer in the house, the second is for the roleplayer, and the last is for the board gamer. Note that I wrote "board" gamer and not "bored" gamer. If you have a bored gamer in your household, you either really need these lists or your really need to avoid them.

  • Christian's Current Video Game Wish/Favorite List:

  1. The Dream Authentics Katana Gaming Console: can't actually afford it, but anyone who plays video games would be happy to get one of these.
  2. Assassin's Creed: It is likely your loved one already owns this, but if they don't buy it for him/her immediately.
  3. Phoenix Wright -- Ace Attorney (Trials and Tribulations): This most recent installment of the Ace Attorney series is wonderful fun. You've never heard of the Phoenix Wright games? Hmm...The best way to explain them is as an interactive novel. You solve puzzles in order to advance the storyline. Loads of fun and the legal system is just as accurate as that shown on Shark.
  4. Guitar Hero III: Nuff Said.
  5. Mass Effect: If you didn't put your loved one in a stranglehold to prevent them from buying this last month, you should have. This is one of the best games to come out for any console...ever. It merges everything you loved about Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with everything you loved about Jade Empire. This is as near a perfect game as I have witnessed.

    The Table Top Roleplayer

  1. The Burning Wheel: While your loved one might never actually play this game, once he or she reads the rules to this game every gaming experience that follows will be shaped by the encounter. The Burning Wheel companion RPG, Burning Empires, is possibly the best Science Fiction RPG published to date.
  2. Savage Worlds: Like Burning Wheel, this system will have you rethinking what roleplaying is meant to be. Where other games become overly weighted down with a mass of rules which approach singularity, Savage Worlds keeps it Fast! Furious! and Fun! The Necessary Evil campaign setting is a must for any Superhero fan, or those who loved the old miniseries V.
  3. The Serenity Role-Playing Game: Roleplaying in Joss Whedon's "verse." What more could you ask for? A quick system inspired/influenced by Savage Worlds? Check. Veteran game designers? Check. And it's based on Firefly. this now.
  4. Pathfinder Subscription from Paizo: Paizo Publications used to be the publisher of Dungeon and Dragon, the official magazines of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. Now they have their own adventure magazine line, called Pathfinder, and it is a good one. The adventures are written by talented designers and the articles provide depth to the campaign world. It's win/win. The only critique I can offer is to say that the adventures are not for the easily disturbed. The third adventure in the series is based (loosely) on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and features a family of deformed Ogres.
  5. The Savage World of Solomon Kane: Robert E. Howard's influence extends to every fantasy roleplaying game ever invented, especially the Dungeons and Dragons game, why not check out one of Howard's most enduring characters in RPG form? This is a great game and a great setting.

I know, I know, I didn't include any D&D products in the list, but that's only because I figured you already knew about those. But in the interests of fairness, here are a couple of products from Wizards of the Coast that I think are of particular interest.
  1. Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress: Trying to get your loved one, of the female persuasion, to take time off from visits to Nordstrom and spend some time at your game table? This is the book for you. Shelly Mazzanoble's writing is witty and fun, and she gets to the heart of what makes rpgs enjoyable.
  2. The Eberron Campaign Setting: This is the setting of my current campaign, and it is quickly becoming my favorite campaign setting ever. There are those who cry out against this setting, but I believe they have never actually read the book. Eberron combines the best of epic fantasy with the best of urban fantasy for a great setting. The elves of Aerenal are truly "alien" from most traditional fantasy elves (sure the Khorvaire elves are the standard fare), skull face paint and all.
  3. The entire Dungeon Tiles series: These are tremendously useful game accessories.

    Christian's List of Board Games:

  1. Mr. Jack: Easy to play + great theme + two players = perfect gift.
  2. Zooloretto: The epitome of the "eurogame." Prosaic theme combined with entertaining and easy to learn rules makes this a game that can appeal to a wide audience. Give it a try, you might be surprised how much fun you have.
  3. Tide of Iron: Lots of pieces and a World War II setting make this the prototypical Ameritreasure boardgame. The mechanics are excellent and the game is versatile enough to simulate a number of different battles. Highly recommended.
  4. Descent -- Journeys into the Dark: Maybe the best "dungeon crawl" boardgame ever invented.
  5. Lord of the Rings: How often have you played a cooperative boardgame? That's what I thought. Buy this and add that to your list of experiences.

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