Finding the perfect geeky gift...
Welcome to a very brief look into the dos and don'ts of gift buying for geeks. I could go on for hours on the nuances of geekdom, but nobody wants that! You've left it late, you're in a hurry, and you want to make someone smile. Got it.
Then check out our top five ideas for gifts for your Dungeons and Dragons playing friend, relative or spouse... (by the way, there is one gift that beats our #1 gift... play the game with them. They will love it!).
Rule #1: Don't Buy Generic!
You know that feeling. You've left it late, and you've no idea what to buy someone. You end up settling for something with a faint glimmer of hope that they'll like it. Spoiler alert... they probably won't.
It's like when your mum continues to buy you the Lynx Africa shower gel and deodorant spray boxed set each Christmas and you're in your mid thirties. Nobody has the heart to say, but you might as well have saved your cash.
Rule #2: Know your recipient
The key is easy. You've just got to listen! If you're close enough to need to buy someone a gift, the chances are you're close enough to have had a few conversations with them about things. What are their hobbies? What do they talk about or getting excited about?
Background reading: What the heck is a Tabletop RPG?
If your friend/relative is a Tabletop RPG player, we've got you covered. If you don't know what a Tabletop RPG player is, you really are going to need some help! RPG stands for Role Play Game, the tabletop means, it's simply played live with friends across a table. The most popular RPG is Dungeons and Dragons (of it's different formats), that's right you've probably heard of it...
And... no it's not all about satan worship and brainwashing. It's actually very social, it's even used to help children with social anxiety, Asperger Syndrome and people who struggle communicating. Why? It allows players a safe space to make decisions and interact, without the consequences of real life (although it can be pretty sucky for your character if you trigger a trap or something in the game).
Dungeons and Dragons or DnD/D&D is a fantasy roleplay game. You take on the role of a hero and join up with friends playing their own characters to perform tasks or "quests" laid out by the dungeon master.
Now you know a bit, you'll probably understand why players like these kind of gifts!
Without further ado... Here's our
Top Five Birthday Gift Ideas for RPG players
These birthday present ideas are guaranteed to hit the mark, and you'll see the difference between their usual "ah, thanks" and "Whoah...! Thanks!".
1. Polyhedral Dice Set
A Polyhedra-what?! You heard... A Polyhedral Dice Set. It's what RPG players use to define the outcome of their adventures! Whether they become hero or villain, death or glory!!
Alright you got me, it's a set of dice. But every good hero needs their own set, and often players like to have a different set for one of the several characters they might be playing on different roleplay game nights at any one time. Heck, I remember having a stack of rolled up Dungeons and Dragons character sheets with the dice colours for each scribbled in the corner.
The great thing about polyhedral dice sets for roleplay gamers is that they feel personal and they're an inexpensive gift!
You can find loads of dice stores online, but we sell a range of marbled dice here at Geekings Cards for around £7 ($9.50) per set.
2. Fantasy Novels
If you can't play a game, you can immerse yourself in a great fantasy novel. Get whisked away to lands unknown and lose yourself for an hour or two. Fantasy novels are also a great source of inspiration for aspiring Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters. (The girl or guy who runs the game and tells the story to the players to react to).
I recommend checking out Aconyte Books. This is Asmodee's (leading hobby game distributor) book arm of their huge business. Loads of the books are based on recognisable titles that players will have seen. They do everything from fantasy, to Marvel, to Sci Fi and Lovecraft.
Their site links directly to the online stores in your region of the world that will sell their books. So wherever you are you can find great fantasy literature.
You can pick up a paperback for around £7-9 ($9.50-12.50).
3. Dungeons and Dragons Accessories
Some folks like to take things a little further on game night. They like to really build the immersion to escape the humdrum of the daily grind and make the most of their few hours in fantasy land.
That's why there's an incredible market for knick-knacks and accessories to make any adventurer feel at home.
At Geekings Cards we provide journals to document their quest, coins to act out transactions and even jewellery that's synonymous with fantasy tropes.
Our journals are around £12 ($16.50) and our coins are around £17 ($23)
4. Commissioned artwork
What better way to immortalise your character but have a professional character commission made. There are artists that specifically work with fantasy illustration, and can provide art work files for your to print at a local printer and frame as an incredibly thoughtful gift for your favourite geek.
This is one for folks who most likely already play the game with the recipient, otherwise you're going to have to be incredibly subtle coaxing out a description of the character for the artist to go off!
Character commissions like this can range from £150-300 ($200-400) at places like The Noble Artist. Just fill out the contact form, and they will come back to you for details. It's super simple, and it's a one on one service.
We recommend grabbing a cheap frame from IKEA, and printing though a service like InstantPrint, VistaPrint or other to make a really memorable gift!
Gaming miniatures are often referred to by the gaming community as 'plastic crack'. They're an addictive hobby, and finding the perfect hero miniature for your character can be a 'grail quest' (one you'll forever be trying to fulfill).
Gamers also love having these plastic models to represent the enemies they battle, or characters they interact with on their fantasy quests. It adds to the drama and immersion of the game, and gives players a real top down understanding of the role they're playing.
Strategies and fun can be had on a simple playmat divided by squares and populated by scratchy pen illustrations and great plastic figures.
You can even find people to paint them for you at DoodleMeeple.
While Games Workshop (or Warhammer as it's now been branded) are a great source of miniatures, these can be incredibly expensive.
You can grab great fantasy miniatures (including GW at a discount) from Wayland Games
6... Bonus points for a Geeky Birthday Card!
Don't let all your hard work go without the cherry on top! Right here at Geekings Cards, our forte is Geeky Greetings Cards.
You can find birthday cards for board gamers, and greetings cards for geeks who specifically love Dungeons and Dragons. We cater for everyone who love the hobby games thing!
Dungeons and Dragons meme cards
Our DnD meme and joke greetings cards will keep your geek laughing right through their big day. The series, called Hero Master, is growing, adding cards all the time. It's become so popular it even got a successful board game of its own made!
Check out our Dungeons and Dragons parody cards here.
We even have one that you can write on, and make them up a funny character about themselves. What's their legendary power? Breaking wind? You got it!
Board Game Greetings Cards
If you're here because you're looking a birthday card that is more board gamey... we've also got you covered.
We have a range of meeple birthday cards for all sorts of occasions to suit.
Fantasy Art Birthday Cards
And if you want to just grab something that looks kick ass... check out our fantasy art birthday cards, from our artist Jamie Noble Frier.