If you have an avid gamer on your holiday gift list, here are some great game gift recommendations for 2018. You can also find plenty of other candidates in the "What's new in tabletop gaming" pieces I posted this year. Also, check out the Boing Boing Toys and Games gift guide for a few additional suggestions.Wildlands ($57)
Game design doyen Martin Wallace is probably best known for railroad and civilization-building games (Age of Steam, Railways of the World, Brass, London, Struggle of Empires). His latest, Wildlands, is a grand and glorious departure. The game, published by Osprey, is gorgeous, easy-to-learn, fun to play, and very replayable, with lots of play choices and tactical depth (and already emerging expansions). Designed for up to 4 players, Wildlands is a card-driven fantasy skirmish board game with 20 beautifully-detailed, primed, and pre-washed miniatures. Four different factions, with different strengths and abilities, attempt to collect “arcane crystals” scattered over one of a two-sided game board. A hand of action cards, with multiple choices on each card, determine what each faction can do on each turn in their quest to vanquish foes and acquire crystals. The mechanics are elegant, the action, relentless and tense. Like last year’s Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, Wildlands is a great way to introduce timid newbies to the world of fantasy miniature gaming and light dungeon delving.
Axis & Allies & Zombies ($33)
If you like Axis & Allies and want to try throwing a wrench (or in this case, hordes of brain-eating undead) into the typical mechanics of the game, then you'll likely find Axis & Allies & Zombies a fun new twist. Read the rest
It was another exciting year for tabletop games and the nerds who love them. This was a year (plus) for re-releases of classic titles (Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Escape from Colditz, Axis & Allies) and one that saw a growing trend in pirate, tropical, jungle games and settings. Crowdfunding, 3D printing, and CNC small-scale manufacturing all continued to have a significant and growing impact on the gaming industry, as did the expanding number of YouTube game- and dungeon crafting-related shows. Game component and miniature quality continued to rise and astound, and game design and play mechanics seem slicker and better than ever.
With all of that in mind, here is my 2017 guide to tabletop wargames, RPGs, card games, board games, and more. This is not necessarily a tops list or an exhaustive one. These are mainly games that I played or acquired this year and that I personally recommend. If you have others, add them in Comments. (Where available, Amazon Affiliate links are used to help support Boing Boing.)Board Games Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate
D&D's Forgotten Realms setting, Baldur's Gate (immortalized in the late 90s video game of the same name), gets a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter mash-up with the hugely successful horror game, Betrayal at House on the Hill, in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. In this cooperative tile-building game, you and your party try to remain alive while making your way through the dark passageways of this iconic D&D city. Collect too many bad Omens along the way and a Haunt happens, turning one party member against the others. Read the rest
♬ Darkness falls across the land ♩ ♪ The midnight hour is close at hand.♫ ♩Creatures crawl in search of blood ♬ 🎶 To terrorize y’all’s neighborhood 🎶 ♫ And whosoever shall be found ♬ ♬ With the cash for getting down ♩ ♬Will enjoy our Halloween Gift Guide... 🎵 🎶 ...And stay alive where others died 🎶
Silver heart pill container pendant / $100
Compartment will fit 6 small antipsychotic pills comfortably.
Jasmine Absolute Essential Oil / $55
An uplifting, hopeful, and romantic scent. Beautiful as a pick me up, or an aphrodisiac. — Xeni
Personalized End Grain Chopping Block / $190
This personally engraved chopping block is to die for! As you shall, in the brutal civil war portended by the election of Donald Trump. — Rob
Square, lightweight plastic flask from Stanley / $15
Sturdy, multicolored flasks that go around the world with you, perfect for a sneaky V-day cocktail with your sweetie (Previously) — Cory
The Womanizer: comes with a "100% orgasm guarantee"
It's not a vibrator. It's a gadget that suckles the clitoris. Vanessa Marin, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy, said it "induces powerful orgasms in a shockingly short amount of time." — Mark
Barry White: All-Time Greatest Hits / $4
Want to set the mood? Here's the soundtrack your evening needs. — Jason
Defenders Mushroom Extract Blend / $35
Say it with shrooms! This is a high-quality Asian medicinal mushroom extract tonic, an exotic blend with purported adaptogenic properties. It may brighten up your brain and help you cope with stress. Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake and Turkey Tail. — Xeni
Key Knife / $12
A blade cleverly hidden in a key-shaped handle, which many report having successfully taken through TSA checkpoints — Cory
Solder up a special something for your loved one or, better yet, have a romantic maker date and do it yourselves. Read the rest
The term "cabinet of curiosities" means different things to different people. For the author of this wonderful book for kids, it was a cigar box full of treasures that he started accumulating at the age of six, beginning with the found skull of a skunk. For my brother, it was the annual gift I sent him from The Evolution Store in Manhattan: a shark, bat, crab, scorpion, and a black widow. (Yes, I forced a curiosity cabinet onto him.) For me, it’s a combination of anything small, old, and interesting, human-made or nature-made, and preferably a bit on the bizarre side. This book, however, focuses on the natural wonders only, and, specifically, those waiting out there to be found by the young scientists, collectors, and curators of tomorrow.
Nature writer Gordon Grice starts with a bit of history about cabinets of curiosities and the Age of Exploration, during the 1400s-1600s, when seekers of fortune brought home fascinating items from their travels. Many of these items that made up small private collections ended up being the biggest cabinets of curiosities of all: museums. He tells us what we can use to make our own mini cabinets and shows how we can even build one from scratch. From there he introduces us to the classifications of life, with a brief description of the taxonomy – still in use today – created by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish biologist in the 1700s.
The rest of the book is divided into three main sections: Animalia, Plantae, and Mineralium. Read the rest
My friend William Gurstelle told me: "Remember when you assigned me the Make magazine story about the Chaotic Double Pendulum? Well, I always thought that was one of my very best projects. About two years ago, I invented a toy based on that project and called it the Chaos Machine. I've been working with Fat Brain Toys on the project for quite a while and lo and behold, as of today, we're ready to go.