Gift Ideas

Great Games for Gifts this Holiday Season!

With the Holidays approaching it is a great time to bring the family together and play a fun board game. Now if you are like me you are very competitive and don’t like to lose. So playing games with your family can be hard because everyone tries to gang up on you and play the “I don’t care who wins as long as it’s not Josh” game. That all changed though once I started working here and discovered the magic of cooperative board games. So this year I thought I might go ahead and recommend some of my favorite cooperative board games to all of you in order to save you some frustration and just have some good holiday fun. 

 

Escape (The Curse of The Temple)

This game is for the people who need just a fast and fun game to play with your family this holiday season. It is a real time 10 minute dice rolling board game. You are all basically treasure hunters trying escape before you are locked away in this temple forever. This game is great for beginners or more advanced players because it comes with three different difficulty settings. As I said before it’s a dice rolling game and you move and discover rooms and try and unlock the door to get out by rolling the correct type of dice needed to complete the goal. In this game if you go off by yourself there is a good chance you will lock up your dice and be stuck so you have to work together and if all of you don’t make it out then you all lose.  It’s quick, crazy and fun a great game for everyone. 


Pandemic

This game takes a little more skill to master than the first one on my list. You all play different roles in a global outbreak of multiple diseases. Everyone has to work together to try and cure all of them before things get too bad and the world is taken over by disease. To do this you must move around to different cities and uses your allotted actions per turn to try and do what is best each round to control the outbreaks. This game also has different difficulties but like I said before it’s pretty hard. You should be prepared to lose but the better you guys get as a team the more likely you will be able to come up with a strategy to be the best disease busters you can be. It also has two expansions available that add new roles and new diseases and even a solo mode to the game.

 

Elder Sign

Elder Sign is set in the world of H.P. Lovecraft where each of you plays as a different investigator with a special power to help you lock away an old one (evil bad guy like Cthulhu) by finding the elusive elder signs within a museum. This is another type of dice rolling game where you move your character to one of the rooms in the museum and try and complete all the tasks shown on the particular card. By completing these tasks you can get special items or clues to help you do things easier. It’s a really fun game that really makes you think as a group on which rooms to tackle first and who should do what in order to stop the old one from rising. 


 Betrayal at the House on the Hill

This last game is kind of cooperative and kind of competitive but it’s my favorite game so we are going to talk about it. This game is kind of like Scooby-Doo meets Cabin in the Woods. You are all a bunch of explorers who kind of know each other and you heard about this haunted house and decide to go look at it. It’s a tile flipping game so you build the house as you explore each room. So you all start off looking in rooms and weird stuff happens some good some bad and then sometime during the game you find out one of you is a traitor (it’s totally random based on the room someone is in and what card was drawn).  Then the traitor sometimes will get monsters to help them or sometime is super boosted in their power.  So the survivors must work together to stop the traitor and the traitor is trying to get the survivors.  There are 50 different scenarios in this game so its replay ability is very good. I love this game and have gotten all of my friends hooked.

With all of these games if you have any questions about them feel free to ask anyone at The Fantasy Shops around town. Or better yet come visit me at the South County Store on a slow day and bring some friends and I can show y’all how to play. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great Holiday. 

Holiday Shopping Season Upon Us: Part 2

Man ... This image is creeping me out more and more the more I look at it ...Here we are again with some more gift ideas for this Holiday season that are going to be great for all the geeks in your life and great to introduce your "normal" friends to the world of geekdom!

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials

The most popular role playing game in the world just got even easier to get in to. The game, long available through larger, pricier hard covers, has been re-tuned to simpler, smaller, soft covers. 

For new gamers who have never had the experience of rolling up a character there is the new Red Box that guides you through the process of creating a character with ease and envelops the mechanics into a much easier to parse story-telling component. Also the rules have been re-organized into a much easier to navigate fashion. The character books made a bit more intuitive and while some may look at them as having too much material that repeats between books others will see that the inclusion of material in both character creation books makes it so that you need only really buy one of them instead of both in order to make a finely tuned character. 

The newly designed Rules Compendium makes for the perfect kind of rules document for every table as it is easy to navigate and small enough to not encumber the table as play proceeds. 

The Dungeon Master box sets and Monster Vaults make gaming no fuss as you get tokens for a vast sundry of monsters and tiles on which to conduct your combat sessions. 

Sandman

Back in 1989 one of the greatest comics of all time hit the shelves and Neil Gaiman became one of the big names of the "British Invasion" into the world of comics. Since then it has become one of the most well thought of long form comic series ever published. With the release of the Absolute editions starting in 2006 the book also achieved a far better look than it had ever seen prior thanks to digital re-coloring and careful retouching of artwork. Though at $100 a pop it might have been a little much for most collectors except for the truly hardcore Gaiman fans.

Then this year they began issuing a new printing of all 10 trade paperback collections that featured the re-colored, retouched artwork. So those of us who have long pined for our friend's copies of the Absolute editions could sate our desire for at least the spectacular new look for the books. And for fans of all kinds the new covers by series contributor and frequent Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean are truly gorgeous and hearken back to the original collections with their dynamic and exciting covers.

Definitely the kind of book that every lover of intellectual and thought provoking comics is going to want as a part of their collection and the perfect kind of gift for the holidays.

Holiday Shopping Season Upon Us: Part 1

First we want to thank everyone who came out to our Second Annual Black Friday Moonlight Sale and made it a great success. The enthusiasm at the sale was incredible and we all hope that you who attended had as good a time as we who were working. 

But I haven't come here to bask in the afterglow of glorious moonlight sales, no good sirs and madams, I have come here to give you ideas for your future Holiday shopping needs! And beyond that to give you ideas of things to procure with your gifted Holiday moneys and gift certificates and gift cards! Just think of me as "Geek Santa" ... Yeah, like  that guy over there on the right ... only way less creepy ... 

The Holiday season is a difficult time for nerds and their loved ones. Being a nerd means that often you are someone who demands instant gratification and so throughout the year when you see something you just buy it for yourself or resign that you will never get it so you try to forget about it. Also, being a nerd means that you often want to try to get a gift for a loved one that will help communicate your love for your hobby to the uninitiated in the hopes that a gifted story or game will get a friend or family member to enjoy, and thereby understand, the things you love. Being the loved one or friend of a nerd means that you have to try to navigate the world of single issues, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, board games, card games, t-shirts, supplies, and more without much in the way of a GPS. These are both difficult situations to be in.

I hope to provide some ideas that would make for great gifts for the uninitiated from comic fans and some great gifts for comic fans from those who are looking for ideas for that lovable geek in their lives:

American Vampire

This is a seriously good book for both the geek in your life, it's also a great book for those who are hoping to get someone into comics. The series follows a new breed of vampire as it takes hold in the American West during the era of the birth of Hollywood. With incredible art by Rafael Albuquerque and great storytelling by relative newcomer to the comics world Scott Snyder the book has the right kind of bite to get everyone excited. With the popularity of Vampires in current pop culture it's certainly bound to grasp hold of plenty of people who might never check out comics. Also since it features the origin story of one of the main characters "Skinner Sweet" penned by horror/thriller legendary author Stephen King it's bound to have appeal to those who are fans of his novels as well. Don't expect the expected as Snyder unveils a whole new kind of threat that evokes a whole different kind of horror at the birth of a new America. 

Dominion

This is the kind of game that gamers have been waiting around for years to appear. It's got the perfect melding of beginner rules set and advanced tactics and game-play that will get new gamers into games and will keep seasoned gamers from getting bored with stale mechanics. The game has been around for a while and has been popular since it's release. The key to this game is that the base box would be, for most games, the starter game and several expansions. But it was certainly to no one's surprise when further expansions were released for the game and the expansions have done more than just add cards. They have given new flavor to the game with each additional release. I think that if you know someone who doesn't have this game that you'd be in your best interest to get this game for them. And I think they'll like you if you do.

So that's it for today's gift ideas. There'll be more soon though. Look back here every other day for more ideas for what to get your loved ones this Holiday season, because nothing says "I love you and I appreciate all that you bring into my life every year." than giving them something that they won't have to return.