The holidays are fast upon us — and nerds have needs. Nerdvana has a few ideas to aid in your selfless quest!
The author received copies of some of the game materials below for review. Many of these games are available at your LOCAL gaming retailers. Check around!
Gifts for Magic: The Gathering players
This venerable trading card fantasy game has many longtime, hardcore players, but others (like yours truly) have floated in and out of the hobby over the years. As such, we don’t always have all the basic lands on hand to build a deck of a given color. Fortunately, Wizards of the Coast as a Holiday Gift Box just for the occasion. This year’s incarnation includes four booster packs from the recent Theros expansion, 20 basic land cards and a premium Theros card, Karametra’s Acolyte, that features artwork unique to this set — all for just $19.99. And that includes an attractive box that can hold more than 2,000 cards and sports six illustrated plastic dividers that can be customized with an included sheet of stickers. I’d like to tap that.
If you need a lower cost alternative, just a few booster packs or intro decks dropped into a Christmas stocking can be all it takes to inspire a former player to hop back into the world of the planeswalkers, or give a current player an added boost in their duels.
Gifts for Dungeons & Dragons players
“This is not AD&D 3rd Edition!”
Truer words were never set in type. I love 3E, but the 2nd Edition of the classic D&D game holds a special place in my upbringing. And I was thrilled when Wizards of the Coast included the 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monstrous Manual in its recent line of premium reprints as it prepares the game’s next edition.
The books themselves are gorgeous: perfect page-by-page re-creations within, with what is obvious in hindsight as the early beginnings of 3rd Edition’s distinctive design philosopy, and loving tributes on the outside to the 1995 re-issue’s iconic black-rimmed covers. This is one area that could have benefited from some artistic license, because the previous 2nd Edition cover art was far superior. If there is going to be a premium reprint of the 2nd Edition, I would have preferred the original 1989 2nd Edition covers of the PHB and DMG to have represented the edition as a whole. But it’s a small complaint, and one very much driven by personal preference and no doubt shaded by memories and experiences that are uniquely my own.
Other can’t-miss reissues include Dungeons of Dread, a hardcover collection of the four “S1″ adventure modules — Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth ($39.95) — and the just-re-released 1974 “White Box” that started it all, at a whopping $149.99. Against the Slave Lords ($49.95) contains the classic A-series of modules as well as a new introductory adventure. The 3.5 revision’s Magic Item Compendium and Spell Compendium and 1st Edition AD&D’s legendary Unearthed Arcana ($49.95) also saw premium re-release this year.
Still need more gift ideas for the Dungeon Master that has everything? Check out our picks from last holiday season for even more inspiration.
Gifts for video game players
Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One may be grabbing the most headlines, but Nintendo’s capturing hearts with some recent releases in the Legend of Zelda franchise: A Link Between Worlds. I don’t own the 3DS XL yet, but the system bundle that includes the innovative new game and limited-edition golden hardware ($317.14) is enough to finally change that. It’s worth the hunt, and the loot — if you can find one. Wii U owners may want to revisit, or newly discover, the wonders of the GameCube classic The Wind Waker in the new HD re-release ($49.99)
If you need a strategy guide for your adventure, Prima’s got you covered, as always — and now there’s a special collection of Zelda game guides in a treasure chest-shaped box! If the object of your affection no longer plays regularly but likes to revisit the nostalgia of the Zelda series, an older release profiled last year, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia ($34.99), still makes a popular gift item on many wish lists. It’s rich with artwork dating back to the original NES game’s instruction manual.