Let's face it: 2020's been a hell of a year. And as we close out the calendar and make the leap into the holiday season, it's time to start thinking about gifts for your tabletop-obsessed friends and loved ones. So whether you want to get a family member into the hobby, have a pal who already has everything a board game fiend could want, or you just need to gift yourself something for making it through the year, we've got you covered.
Marvel Champions LCG Core Set
The Marvel Champions LCG Core Set is an incredible purchase for the return it gives. It's a Living Card Game, or LCG, which means that there's no randomness in the purchases. The Core Set is enough for 4 players and is also a great solo game. It's light-hearted enough to be easy to learn for non-tabletop or card players but has great depth and deck building elements. It's then also very easy to expand on with the Hero and Villian card packs if they love the game and want more.
An "Easy Game" Bundle For Beginners
This suggestion's for those people in your life that you really want to get into gaming, but they haven't quite taken the bait yet. Instead of just tossing Ticket To Ride at them and saying "you've got 3 months to meet me in Gloomhaven," give them a little bundle of games perfect for new gamers. I recommend a bundle of 3 games of varying lengths and mechanics, that give newcomers an accessible but diverse peek into the hobby. We think a perfect trio would look something like: Hues And Cues, a color-guessing party game we loved, Sagrada, an easy to understand, endlessly entertaining dice-drafting game from Floodgate Games, and Jaipur, a light two-player card game we recommended back when folks first started to quarantine. Wrap these 3 together and it won't be long before you have a very happy new member of the board gaming community.
Gloomhaven: Jaws Of The Lion
When the above-mentioned Gloomhaven first buckled shelves in 2017, it was lauded as a massive success. But for some the price-point, size, and depth of the game were serious barriers to entry. This year, Cephalofair Games released a new entry in the Gloomhaven world, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, which is sort of a prequel to Gloomhaven and its own standalone adventure. With battle maps printed right into the scenario book (a brilliant space-saver), Jaws of the Lion cuts down on size, gets players into the game quickly, and offers up unique content to tide you over until Frosthaven.
Forgotten Waters is quite simply an incredible narrative experience. It's an app-driven game for 1 to 7 players, who take on the role of a pirate ship's crew. The rules are light and flow incredibly well, leaving the players to enjoy the experience. It's wacky and fun, and suitable for kids with a PG-13 rating as there are some suggestive humor and cartoon violence. There's also a great remote play option. There are 5 unique scenarios to play through, and each one takes a few hours, so it gives a great return.
Everything Alien RPG
This has been the year of the Alien RPG for us. If you've got a gamer in your life that loves roleplaying games, but wants to try something a little bit different, we can't recommend Alien: The Roleplaying Game by Free League highly enough. With rules meant to emphasize the danger, terror, and hopelessness of the Alien film franchise, the Alien RPG is a tense and bloody game where one wrong move could send your protagonists hurtling out of an airlock. It's a completely different way to think about RPG's (especially for people who are used to hack-and-slashing their way through a dungeon-like a goblin-lawn-mower. This is a game that invites you to take your time and settle into the horror as it unfolds around you, and it's one of our favorite RPG's we're playing right now. But it's not our only favorite.
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
With the upcoming release of the videogame Cyberpunk 2077 and the very soon full release of the Cyberpunk Red RPG, which fills the gap between the original Cyberpunk 2020 RPG and CDPRs new video game, the best way to get into Cyberpunk on the tabletop is through the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit. All you need to do is add players. It contains everything from a world update/background book, a quick-start rulebook with an adventure to get straight into, several pre-generated characters, a tiled map and card standees for the pre-gen characters, and some awesome thematic Cyberpunk dice. We recommended the Jumpstart Kit back in November 2019 and it's still the best way into the RPG, especially if you want to get ahead prior to the full RPG's release. If you really want to go all out on gifting this, you can also upgrade the card standees to full miniatures with Monster Fight Club's official Cyberpunk miniature line.
So there you have it, 6 awesome gift ideas for just about any gaming taste. Are you grabbing any of these? Or do you plan to go another route for your holiday gifting? Let us know in the comments below! From all of us here on the TechRaptor Tabletop Team, we hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season.