Gaming Gifts for the Non Gamers on Your List

by Lori Ann Curley

You're a gamer; when someone wants to give you a gift, you're as easy to shop for as finding your Friendly Local Games Store. However, what do you do to let those on your holiday shopping list know that your hobby isn't as scary as some in the media would lead them to believe?

My favorite company to shop from is Out of the Box Games (OTB), not just because a dear friend of mine is one of the founders and owners, but because OTB has a lot of wonderful award-winning games that are truly "fun for the whole family."

My favorite game ever is Blink. In this extremely busy world, I love a game that you can both teach and play in less than a minute. I won two free copies of this game at the first Dorkstock, then bought copies for four lucky nieces and nephews for the holidays. The box says the minimum age is seven, but I've taught this game to an intelligent four-year-old with good results. ($9.99)

Also by OTB is Apples to Apples. As an English major, I love a game that teaches you about nouns and adjectives and how one relates to the other. Again, this is an easy game to learn: pick the noun (green card) that is best described by the adjective (red card). One daring gamer even proposed to his lady utilizing a specially made card. ($29.99 for Party Box)

I gave Snorta (also OTB) to my godson for his ninth birthday, and he and his family reported back about how much fun the game is because the players make animal sounds to win the game. Definitely a great game for kids of all ages, although the box says for 8 and up. ($19.99)

Switching to Mayfair Games (MG) because I ran games for them at Gen Con for several years. I loved running Alibi because to me it's Clue without the timewasting board and a lot more options on the whodunnit side. ($15.00)

The first time I played Settlers of Catan (MG), I was delighted with the board that changes every time the game is played, as well as learning the importance of trade routes and resources. This is way better than Mayfair's train games because you don't need any crayons! ($38.00)

Because I am a fan of the Myth Adventures series of books, and Robert Aspirin is finally writing in this series again, I hope people will be interested in the Myth Fortunes (MG) game again. The board is dizzying lovely with artwork by Phil Foglio. I ran two boards at a time and allowed players to jump boards through the drop zones. ($25.00)

If you're sure that the non-gamer is ready for a big taste of gamer fun, teach them the Dork Tower Board Game (DTBG - Steve Jackson Games). Based on the characters from the John Kovalic comic book, the DTBG is a board game designed with some role-playing game mechanics such as character levels and experience points. Trying to quest enough to build a character tough enough to defeat the evil wizard should be an easy concept for even the novice gamer to grasp, except that everyone else at the table is trying to achieve the same thing and prevent you from succeeding! You can buy miniatures of the characters to enhance the board game. ($19.95)

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