Sunday, December 13, 2020

Gift-Giving Around the Gaming Table


Gift-Giving Around the Gaming Table
Now that Chrismahanukwanzika is just a couple weeks away....and yes, I actually use this term, more ironically than anything (I like to offend everyone equally this time of year).....you might be wondering what to get for your gaming group this time of year.

I can try to make suggestions, but I don't know your group and your fellow players, so a) take these suggestions with a grain of salt and b) maybe take more go heart suggestions of not what to get.

1st off, the best thing I can recommend is something picked out special for your players. I know, this is a huge "Duh" things, but let me step it back a bit and specify that this special pick is NOT directly gaming related. This is an important distinction because grabbing some gaming gear can actually backfire a bit. If you've got a dice junkie in your group it makes sense to buy them some dice, right? Yeah....no. You buy some Chessex dice and then find out they prefer Gamescience dice. You get the Gamescience dice and no, they only want to use translucent purple ones. What about a cool mini of their PC? Yeah.....thanks, but no thanks...."that's not how I envision my PC" or "Great, another mini I need to paint." What I suggest as far as gaming-gear is more generic-type stuff. If you know they like to use a certain kind of pencil (I like to use .9mm metal engineer pencils, for example) or a certain type of notebook, that's the kind of thing that can make a good gift.

That's maybe a bit on the easy side. Stepping up your gift-giving a bit might be making or having made some custom gaming gear, like a dice-rolling-zone (DRZ) or a storage box. If you have access to quality leather/wood, and the appropriate tools/skills, go nuts. One year I was able to go to my local hobby store and purchase some inexpensive wooden boxes. Some sanding, staining, and sealing....then lining with stiff cut leather and I had some nice little storage boxes that could double as a DRZ. It wasn't a Christmas gift, but I was able to get a nice wooden storage box for a Scotch bottle (thanks to working in a Liquor Store) and make one of these for Mrs. Tenkar. I've seen great (and easy) dice bags made of leather and/or felt, custom coasters, and even some custom dice towers. Now if you don't have the resources, motivation, or inspiration to do this work yourself there is always the option of farming it out. Etsy is a good choice and I've seen one enterprising GM hire the services of a mini-painter to have PC minis (of the player's choice) painted up as a gift. If you want something customized though.....for the likes of Etsy it might be too late.

A 3rd idea, is one of those things I'm normally not a fan of giving in general: gift cards. Not just any gift cards, although if you've got a Starbucks snob in your group that could be an easy choice. No, I suggest you try to get a gift card/certificate to your Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS). This way you get to support a valuable resource for the gaming community and your recipient can get something they actually want/need....maybe a bit more on that later.

If, like me, you don't have a local group, but an online group.....getting a FLGS gift card/certificate might require some extra legwork, or you can get a virtual one from the likes of DriveThruRPG. You could also give a gift certificate to the likes of HeroForge (let them make their own mini).

In general, as I might have alluded to earlier, I would avoid gifts of special "stuff" that people tend to get picky/choosy about. The best I can do is suggest you think if you'd like a gift that was a little bit off from your preferred thing. I mentioned my specific pencil preference, but would I get worked up if I didn't get a 0.9 Pentel GraphicGear 500? No, but if I got a mini of my PC that I was expected to use at the table....probably. OK, I'm overblowing things by stating "worked up". This might be just me, but I'd avoid gifting food items/snacks as well, unless the recipient is known for liking something specific. If they're big Pocky fans and you can get some unusual flavors not normally available.....go for it. A generic plate of brownies like everyone else is getting....between holidays and COVID I don't need more food to shove in my face.

In the end though, this time of year is...or at least should be...more about the people in our lives and less about the stuff. A gift given is far less important than the shared experiences and time spent together at the table. People tend to undervalue what I truly think is the most valuable resource we have....the one thing we can never get back: the gift of time.

I hope you get more opportunities to share the gift of time around the gaming table not just this season, but for all of next year. Hopefully 2021 will be a much better year for gaming.

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