Sunday, December 20, 2015

Obligatory Holiday Shopping Guide 2015 Edition

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!  ‘Tis the season folks, time for all of us to go out and buy gifts for our loved ones, lovingly wrap them in thin (and sorely overpriced), colorful paper, and then, on Christmas day, watch them rip it off in glee and expectation!  It is a season of thoughtful gifts for our family, friends, and even co-workers.  For those of us in the boardgaming hobby, it is extra interesting because we are often looked to by our friends/family who don’t game and asked for gift ideas. 

What I have compiled here is a comprehensive gift guide that you should in no way use to choose for your friends or family.  As a matter of fact, this is a slightly ridiculous list of games that I would mostly never get for these people.  What I’ve done is taken some of my friends and family and taken something about each of them and turned that idea into a game purchase.  Most of these are not games I would ever buy them but I thought it would be a fun list to put out before Christmas.  I hope you enjoy the list and let me know what you hope to get for Christmas!

Em – Paperback (Designer: Tim Fowers, Publisher: Self-Published) 

My wife is a writer.  She has one book published and is hoping to have another done sometime next year.  When she finishes that I’m sure she’ll start working on another project.  For her I will buy (again, not really) the game Paperback.  It is a deck-builder about a character who is writing novels for a certain amount of money per word.  It is one of the best deck-builders I’ve ever played and fits her personality wonderfully!

Fiona – Operation: Kindergarten (Designer: Harry-Pekka Kuusela, Publisher: LudiCreations)

My 3-year-old is a beautiful and terrifying hurricane of improbabilities!  Thus, my game for her is Operation: Kindergarten.  In this game the guardians (teachers) of the playground must protect and bring the children back to their classrooms.  All the while chaos ensues!  In this situation, Fiona is the chaos and I’m just trying to bring her home safely!

Adam – Thrash ‘n Roll (Designer: Aleksander Biela/Krzysztof Matusik, Publisher: Game Fabrica)

My brother Adam!  He is one of the most talented dudes I know.  One of his talents is music.  He is literally able to pick up any instrument and learn it if he wants.  Because of this I needed to find a good music game.  Enter Thrash ‘n Roll!  This is a game where you control a metal band in their efforts to become the best.  I may have also went with this because I want to create a metal band with Adam!

Christina – Nyet! (Designer: Stefan Dorra, Publisher: IELLO)

Christina is one of my fabulous sisters-in-law and fantastic wife to my brother Adam.  She is also a lover of card games and maybe the most competitive player in our entire family!  She is a fearsome (and very good!) card player who’d give anyone a run for their money.  For her I’ve chosen the trick-taking card game, Nyet!  This is a beautifully done card game re-released by the company IELLO and they did a great job.  I think this game would be scary in Christina’s hands!

Amanda – VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game (Designer: T.C. Petty, III, Publisher: Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games)

Ah my beautiful sister, Amanda.  She is maybe the only person I know who rivals my absolute love of the “sweet nectar of the gods” better known as coffee.  Thus, my game choice for her was easy.  VivaJava: The Coffee Game: TheDice Game.  This is a game about rolling dice and making coffee.  I mean, could there have been a better game choice for her?  I think not!

Jonathan – NHL Power Play Team-Building Card Game (Designer: Matt Hyra, Publisher: Cryptozoic Entertainment)

Amanda’s husband Jonathan was another easy game choice for me.  He is a big fan of hockey and is even able to play in league where they live.  Thus, for Jonathan I’ve chosen the deck-building game, NHL Power PlayTeam-Building Card Game.  This is built on their Cerberus engine that many of their other card games are based on.  This isn’t a game I’ve played but I think it fits Jonathan just great!

Molly – Brew Crafters (Designer: Ben Rosset, Publisher: Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games)

Molly is my very cool sister-in-law and my wife’s youngest sister.  She is a super-talented bartender and beer brewer.  She and her husband, Dustin, are very into brewing and the craft beer scene.  Because of this I chose the game BrewCrafters for her.  This is an awesome Euro-style game that puts players into the part of a craft brewery building up their brand.  Molly and Dustin are working on setting up a brewpub in the future so I think this game works perfectly!

Dustin – Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn (Designer: Isaac Vega, Publisher: Plaid Hat Games)

Dustin is Molly’s husband.  Very cool dude!  He and Molly quite enjoy playing the famous Collectible Card Game, Magic: The Gathering.  Because of his enjoyment of this game I decided to go with a similar (but better in my humble opinion!) game called Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn.  This is an Expandable Card Game which uses beautiful, custom dice as the mana used for spells and allies.  It is an awesome game that Dustin would love!

Sean – Beardsmith (Designer: Benjamin Hale, Publisher: HaleFire Games)

My buddy Sean is one of our primary gaming buddies.  He is able to make it over often to eat, hang, and play games.  He also has a beautiful beard!  Because of this I’ve gone with a game that technically hasn’t been made yet but will go back up on Kickstarter in the near future.  That game is Beardsmith.  It finds the players taking the part of dwarven beard stylists.  Can you guess why I chose this for him?

Matty – The Bloody Inn (Designer: Nicolas Robert, Publisher: Pearl Games/Asmodee)

My buddy Matty is an artist and he has a somewhat whimsical and at the same time, macabre, style to his work.  I have always been a fan.  This makes me think of my choice of game for him, The Bloody Inn.  This is a macabre game (in both theme and art) where you are an innkeeper who is trying to kill his/her customers and take their money.  This reminds me of Matt every time I hear more about it.

Aimee – The Gallerist (Designer: Vital Lacerda, Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games)

Matt’s wife Aimee is also an artist.  Just like her husband, Aimee is insanely talented.  So for her I’ve chosen the beautiful game all about running an art gallery, The Gallerist.  This is a heavy Euro-style game about buying and selling works of art, some of which I like to think were created by our talented friend!

Tara – Prêt-à-Porter (Designer: Ignacy Trzewiczek, Publisher: Portal Games)

One of my best buddies, Tara, was a groomsmaid in my wedding.  I have always considered her one of the best dressed and most fashion-forward people I’ve ever known!  She is always put together and looks great!  Thus, the game I’ve chosen for her is Prêt-à-Porter.  This is a game about the fashion industry and is actually designed my Ignacy Trzewiczek, one of my very favorite game designers.  I think it fits her perfectly!

Joe – 1st & Goal (Designer: Stephen Glenn, Publisher: R&R Games)

Joe is a friend that I met through Tara.  He and Tara are now married and are some of the best parents I know!  On top of this he and Tara are the biggest Notre Dame Football fans that I’ve ever known!  Because of this I’ve chosen 1st& Goal for Joe.  This is a dice-rolling game where you take a football team and face off against another person with your personal dice.  Go Irish?

Dave – Zombicide (Designer: Raphaël Guiton/Jean-Baptiste Lullien/Nicolas Raoult, Publisher: Cool Mini Or Not)

Ah my buddy Dave.  He may be crazy.  He’s definitely ADD!  And he is obsessed with old-school, Italian zombie movies.  Because of this my game choice for him was obvious.  I went with Zombicide of course!  This is a fun, variable, dice-chucking, zombie-killing game that is just a fun time.  All of that is basically Dave in a nutshell!

Lainey – The Big Book of Madness (Designer: Maxime Rambourg, Publisher: IELLO)

Lainey is another friend (Dave being the other on this list) that I get the honor of working with on a regular basis.  Lainey is quite possibly the biggest Harry Potter fan I’ve ever known!  Because of this I’ve chosen The Big Book of Madness for Lainey.  This game is basically Harry Potter: The Game.  It follows a group of young magicians who open a book which is a prison for a bunch of monsters and they then need to get them back into the book!  See?  Harry Potter: The Game!

Luke – Star Wars: Imperial Assault (Designer: Justin Kemppainen/Corey Konieczka/Jonathan Ying, Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games)

Luke is one of my oldest and best buddies.  He is also one of the biggest Star Wars fans out there.  He has lovingly taught his family the adoration of the Star Wars universe.  Thus, his game choice was obvious.  I went with the fantastic “dungeon” crawl, Star Wars: Imperial Assault.  This fits Luke’s obsession perfectly!

Becks – Letter Tycoon (Designer: Brad Brooks, Publisher: Breaking Games)

I met Becks through my wife, Em.  She is a book reviewer and thus reads around 200+ books a year.  Thus, words are her business and she loves them!  Because of this I chose the game Letter Tycoon for her.  It is a game where you actually buy “shares” in letters and thus get money when others use them.  This seemed to fit her wonderfully!

Chris – Flock (Designer: David J. Mortimer, Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group)

I also met Chris through Em.  He and Becks are married and live in England.  He is a biologist who is also a hobby bird-watcher.  Because of this hobby I went with the game Flock for Chris.  This is a game where you control a flock of birds and their habits.  Makes sense right?

Ruthie – Patchwork (Designer: Uwe Rosenberg, Publisher: Mayfair Games/Lookout Games)

Ruthie is a good friend of Em.  I met her through my wife.  Ruthie is a very cool chica who likes to sew and knit and is very good at it.  Because of this I went with one of our favorite games, Patchwork.  In this game you are creating a quilt with some great mechanics.  Does it seem to fit with my friend Ruthie?  I think so!

Josh – Deck Building: The Deck Building Game (Designer: Christopher Badell, Publisher: Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games)

My buddy Josh is Ruthie’s husband.  I met both of them through Em.  They are fantastic peeps!  Josh is a very talented guitarist and long-time gamer and in his free time does some incredible wood-working.  I actually really hope to have him do a game table for us one day!  Because of this hobby I chose the slightly ridiculous game, Deck Building: The Deck Building Game.  In this game you build a deck.  I’m pretty sure Josh would rock this as much as he would rock building an actual deck!

Well, there you go, my slightly different way of doing a holiday shopping guide.  Again, please don’t take this list too seriously (although some of these are great) as I was just doing it for fun.  So what games do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?  Just let me know in the comments.  Also, post in those comments if you have any questions for me.  Until next time, game on!

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