I know Santa was a geek, because he brought me Star Wars figures...
Love it or hate it. They are here. It's the holidays. Time to figure out those cool stocking stuffers and full-blown presents to stick under your tree (or Festivus pole). Whether you are buying for a dyed-in-the-wool geek, or trying to encourage someone to the Dark Side, here are our picks for awesome and affordable stuff. A note... none of these links are monetized - its genuinely just stuff we love at Nomad Gamer - we aren't making any money on this!
Big games. Small packages.
"Board Games" have come a long way in the last 10 years. Tabletop gaming is seemingly "cool" again, but these are not your parents games - they are more strategic and far more refined. Of the newest crop of board games, two come to mind from the fine folks at Gamelyn Games - Tiny Epic Kingdoms and Tiny Epic Western. Both these title come in boxes small enough to fit in a coat pocket (which mean they will also fit in a stocking). Either are fantastic games, so pick the theme your giftee is more into and buy a copy... or just get both! They make really affordable gifts!
Old school choices.
No I'm not talking about Old School Magic. While that will fit in your pocket, most of those cards aren't very cost effective. No... I'm going way back when "gaming" was a bit simpler. Nothing says winter like a mug of hot cocoa, snow falling from the sky, a fire in the fireplace and a puzzle on the coffee table. Add a dash of geek to the formula and you get the 550 piece map of Skyrim from Elder Scrolls. At ten bucks, it is affordable and fun for the Skrym fan. Bring in the holidays with a little fus ro dah....
Puzzles not your thing? How about a flashback to the early Eighties then with a little bit of classic Role-playing. A happy medium between Original Dungeon & Dragons and modern systems, Paizo's Pathfinder finds itself in the "sweet spot". With the release of the digest editions of their Core Rules and Bestiary, this hobby has become affordable again.
Well... they won't fit in a stocking, but they will look nice sitting beside it.
Every time the holidays roll around there are a certain amount of stocking stuffers that are added to the pile under the category of "stuff they need and will use". Usually this means socks. Lots of socks. Without thinking about the "meta" of putting socks in a stocking, I'll just point out that there are certain items every gamer sees as a need that are a bit more exciting that foot coverings. Of course, no Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon player ever turned down a booster packs of cards. At the very least they can be considered a lottery ticket for a lucky card pull. To avoid the dilemma of buying the "wrong" set, why not buy them some card sleeves instead? Every "card-flopper" needs them to protect their investment and the affordable Dragon Shields come in 100 card packs with attractive packaging. You can even buy a box of red and a box of green to match the seasons festive color scheme! Whatever you pick, stick with the matte colors for a nicer shuffle feel.
Is your friend or family member more of a "dice-chucker"? Then roll the dice and take a chance on a new set of polyhedrials? See what I did there? Chessex makes affordable, quality dice in every color under the sun. Pick a pair and drop them in the stocking. Role-players seem to collect dice by the cubic ton and it is something of a measurement of their geekiness as to how many they own, so they won't hate you for giving them an additional set. If your buying dice for a magic player, then stick with the "D6" variety.
Looking toward the Millennials, they tend to see their gaming in a more video variety. While the best gift in this category for 2016 will be the Nintendo Classic, they are going to be tough - nigh impossible - to get your hands on. If you live with a couple of this generation then you know staring at their mobile screens is as common as breathing. Those touch controls can get a bit frustrating when playing some of the more challenging games on small devices, so the Steel Series Nimbus makes a great gift for the iOS gamer in your life. Paired with an iPad (or iPhone in a pinch) the Nimbus gives you an XBox/PS4 quality controller and takes mobile gaming up a notch. Great for vacations, it even charges with a lightning connector.
Looking for an actual... ya know... game? Blizzard's Overwatch is the hotness this year. Grab it for your platform of choice, and if they already own it just grab a gift card for their system. As a modern game, Overwatch has plenty of in-app purchases to enhance your experience, so that cash will fuel their fun.
Hopefully this has given your "inner Claus" some ideas. Sometimes the smaller gifts are the tougher ones to come up with. In any case, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will soon be over and Black Friday will be here soon. Get to buyin'!
A PROGRAMMING NOTE: It's a holiday week, and traditionally that means less eyeballs on my articles. That is how it should be - spend some time with friends and family - we will be here when you get back. As such, this will be our only article this week, as I expect to be in an all-out tryptophan coma by the time you read this (even if the science doesn't support it). Our regular positing schedule will fire back up as usual next Wednesday. To those in the United States... Happy Thanksgiving!