What do you get the geek who has tabletop games stacked from floor to ceiling on shelves covering every available wall? More games. Obviously.
However, in deference to those that erroneously believe their loved one has enough already, the following alternatives will still put a smile on a gamer’s face, without anyone giving the spare room over to more games storage.
I’ve always found a bum bag/fanny pack is an embarrassing but ideal container for transporting dice, pencils and other random gaming accoutrements (French for “unnecessary junk”.)
However, many gamers prefer some sort of mystical Bag of Holding, that looks like it might previously have held runes, precious gems or a dragon’s testicles.
Scrabbling around under the table for lost dice is undignified, and no-one else around the table relishes the prospect of builder’s cleavage on display.
Solve the problem with a dice tray, or else custom-build a characterful one of your own out of an antique wooden tray and a roll of baize.
Shuffling cards screws them up. It just happens. The edges wear against each other, and a geek’s sweaty, grubby mitts don’t help either. Yeah YOU, Cheetos-eater, I’m looking at you.
Think of them as HAZMAT for cards.
Some players compulsively sleeve every card they own, but even the sane protect cards that require constant shuffling. It’s either that or start laminating everything.
- Star Wars Imperial Assault: Card Sleeve Bundle
- Elder Sign: Card Sleeve Bundle
- Star Wars Armada: Card Sleeve Bundle
Talking of which, laminators are surprisingly useful to a gaming geek, and can cost as little as £15.
After the average RPG session, player handouts, pre-generated character sheets, maps and the like can look like they’ve been used to snort coke. Reference sheets for boxed games can also take the brunt of the more cack-handed gamers. As Dexter Morgan would (probably) say: Encase everything in plastic and watch your problems float away.
Plastic Coin Capsules
Keeping in the component protection vein, this is an idea I saw recently for protecting the Chaos tokens in Arkham Horror: The Card Game, but there’s a number of games that you could upgrade your tokens to give them some protection or a little added weight (such as cardboard coins for that clinking-clanking feel!)
These come in a variety of diameters and are amazingly cheap. It’d be rude not to.
There’s so many playing cards in games these days that it doesn’t take much to knock a pile flying with some errant dice… especially given the amount of dice in games these days.
A card holder will keep decks tidy, protected and vertical. Everyone will wonder how they faced Mansions of Madness without one.
Board games often have a plethora of counters, chits, meeples and markers that sit precariously on a player sheet, waiting for a gentle sneeze to send them flying.
Be a saviour and procure custom-made plastic organisers that come with recessed areas and card slots to keep everything on the table, not the floor.
- e-Raptor “Board Game Organizer Arkham Horror”
- e-Raptor “Organizer Talisman”
- e-Raptor “Organizer Zombicide”
Custom Box Inserts
Some publishers supply some vacuum-formed love with your new game in the shape of a custom insert to keep all the components in place. Some publishers don’t (not mentioning any names as it would be unfair on Fantasy Flight Games).
However, if you need to stop your beloved components rattling around in their boxes, or implement a storage method that will get you up and playing quicker straight out of the box, then a number of companies can provide you with foam and wooden inserts for your favourite games and save you having to buy sheets of foam core to do it yourself.
Yes, I know a £2000+ custom gaming table isn’t exactly a stocking-stuffer, but it needn’t be that dream Geek Chic table, although you’re obviously a unloving sadist if you don’t procure one for your beloved.
As an alternative, you can pick up vintage card tables on ebay for a song. You might even consider retasking a 5x3ft or 6x4ft rotating pool table? Come on! All you need is a big, flat area of baize. You can even keep your beer in the pockets. It’s got Air Hockey and Table Tennis too!
Custom Play Mat
Even if you have a bespoke gaming table, you can’t take it with you like you can with your games, and there are few things more frustrating in a card game than trying to pick your cards up from a smooth tabletop (especially if you bite your nails!). It also damages the card edges.
You can solve this issue by using a play mat. There are various examples available for different games, but what makes a great gift is to have one custom made for your geek’s favourite game. Boardgamegeek.com is a great place to find fan-made templates, such as these superb designs for Arkham Horror: The Card Game by Paul Nojima.
If you have a favourite game, then after protecting it with some card sleeves and finding some custom storage or inserts for the components, sometimes the best way to give it some love is by upgrading the cardboard or plastic components to something a little more… bling?
Whether it’s some metal coins to replace cardboards ones, some tiny magnifying glasses to add something to your games in Arkham country, or some brains so that you don’t have to get the pencil out for games of Zombie Dice, it’s a great way to show your games and your geek some love!
Deck Boxes and Card Storage
Whether it’s a method to organise and store and out-fo-control trading card collection, or just to stop cards sloshing about in the bottom of game box, deck storage solutions are a great gift for any tabletop gamer.
You can obtain everything from simple cardboard boxes, through plastic deck cases to swish wooden carry boxes that can carry your cards in style, whether sleeved or not. Do your geek and their cards a favour and let them kiss goodbye to bent corners and frayed edges, and get them out of the box and played with in short order.
There’s few things more frustrating for a group of gamers than one (or more) of their number who have a chronic case of analysis paralysis.
Well this little gadget might just be the answer, as well as replacing those egg-timers in games: after all, we may want to use some timing devices consistent with the century in which we’re living.
Nothing says a healthy hobby like dipping bits of dead squirrel into a pot containing the squeezings of other dead animals, eh?
In the 21st century we apply paint with air, not squirrels. It’ll save money on undercoat spray, and save your geek trying to seamlessly create gradients of colour with a brush. Boring!
- GaGa MILANO 0.2mm/0.3mm/0.5mm Professional Double-action Trigger Air-paint Control Airbrush
- FoxHunter KMS Airbrush Kit With Compressor and 2 x Double Action Airbrushes and Hose
Game Transport Box
“’Ere mister, are you a DJ?” Nope, just a geek, mate. Just a geek.
If you want to see a grown geek cry, sit heavily on a stack of games boxes. If you love one, make sure it never ever happens to them by providing a way to carry their Preciouses to games night encased in plastic and metal.
There’s plenty of bespoke game transport ideas out there, but few offer the protection afforded by a good LP box, which has the advantage of a removable lid for easy access and instant DJ street cred.
Because vertical is the new horizontal. Apparently.
If space is at a premium, with your geek crouched behind a DM’s screen sharing space with rule books, maps, notes and the like, then a Dice Tower could be just the answer.
Get a boring, plain mdf one, or be utterly absurd and buy a replica motte and bailey castle. Or something acceptably in between.
Thankfully some games manufacturers have the decency to supply baggies to hold the thousands of counters that come with their products. Sadly many others think the bottom of a games box should be awash with punched cardboard (not mentioning names as it would be unfair on Fantasy Flight).
Yes, you may be eyed dubiously at the checkout as a suspected drugs peddler, but the blessed organisation you bring will be worth it.
Whether it’s Tabletop Gaming, Spielbox, White Dwarf or Wargames Illustrated your geek will appreciate some reading material in between gaming sessions or simply when sitting on the loo.
By all means get a digital subscription, but nothing beats actually reading from printed paper, Olde Skoole style.
Adjustable Compartment Storage Boxes
Okay so perhaps about as glamorous a gift as ziploc baggies, these containers will put a smile on any geek’s face. Not only can you use the smaller types to store counters and tokens inside a game box, but the larger variety provide a great way to transport games for for holidays or games nights — the container in the image above contains a total of 9 complete games, and you could probably shoehorn a few more in too!
- 36 Adjustable Compartment Storage Box
- 24 Adjustable Compartment Storage Box
- 3 x 10 Adjustable Compartment Storage Box
When I was a lad, the most pimped out dice you could own were a set of Gem Dice, aka “transparent plastic”.
Nowadays you can get a set of dice to suit every mood or theme. Some hardly even look like dice anymore and others barely work as intended. But boy, do they look cool.
- Paladin Roleplaying Solid Metal Dice Set, In Presentation Case
- Q-Workshop “Metal Steampunk Dice”(Set of 7)
Whether your geek is a veteran tabletop wargamer or has just bought a couple of games on Kickstarter, chances are they have several hundred miniatures stored in boxes that mostly contain air.
A miniatures case exchanges the air for protective foam, keeps a disparate collection organised, makes it all easily transportable and if they ever get around to being painted, will keep them free from damage and the envious, covetous eyes of fellow geeks.
- KR Multicase Standard size Aluminium case to carry 200 figures
- The Kingmaker Figure Case can carry 144 28mm models
Paints, Brushes, Glue etc
Having loads of miniatures is all very well, but they look about a thousand times better on the table with a lick of paint. Find out what dried-out rubbish needs replacing (like any Games Workshop paints produced in the late 90s/early 00s) and pop a few pots in your geek’s stocking at Christmas.
Or just treat them to a huge box of every paint in a manufacturer’s range, because surely their happiness, and not your cash flow, is paramount?
Extra Large Dice
You haven’t come of age as a D&D player until you’ve rolled a d20 the size of your fist across the table.
From a practical point of view it means the lazier breed of roleplayer (myself included) can just recline in an armchair, drop a hand over the side, roll such an absurdity along the floor knocking aside drinks and small children, and still read the result from 6ft away.
Back in the day they were called propelling pencils, for reasons not entirely clear to my youthful mind. Same difference anyway.
All RPG geeks use pencils for quick changes to character sheets, drawing maps and writing their hobbit’s journal. A propelling (yeah, deal with it) pencil is always sharp, has a consistent line width and a built in rubber. Bargain.
- Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil, Black Barrel — Set of 3
- Mechanical Pencils 0.7mm Refillable Eraser Caps — Pack 10
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