Yesterday I gave you my advice on the best way to shop for the geek in your life. Following those should make your geek shopping experience a little easier, and result in happiness on Thanksmasween Day. “But Renaissance Dork”, you ask, “What if I don’t have time to absorb 500+ words of shopping theory? Can’t you just tell me what to buy?”
As it turns out, I can. My vast experience and hours logged scouring the internet have turned up a number of gifts that are sure to please the geek in your life. It is important when reading this list to keep in mind two things: 1) You must still follow the advice I laid out in my previous post; and 2) This is a wholly subjective list of what I think geeks will like, based entirely on whether I thought it is/was cool. So If you use it to shop for me, success approaching 100%; if you use it to shop for your geek, I give a 70% chance of success, +/- based solely on how well you know your geek.
It occurs to me that last sentence may seem like pandering for Christmas gifts. If so, you are very astute. Onto the list!
The Geek Dad Books – These are, quite frankly, a no-brainer gift for any geek with kids old enough to be interesting. Geek Dad, Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun and The Geek Dad’s Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists (pictured) should be in the library of any geek with kids. Each one is filled with activities to entertain and “accidentally” educate your child (and quite possible you). But what if you are not a geek with kids? Still worth having! For instance, I am both a geek with nephews, and a geek with geek friends with kids. These books will easily cement me as the Coolest Uncle Ever, even as the parents shoot worried glances my way…
Star Wars Craft Book – What’s better than buying Star Wars collectibles? How about making your own, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted Star Wars memorabilia? Author Bonnie Burton has compiled a bantha-load of fun Star Wars activities, perfect for the crafty fan. Another great book to have if you want to entertain children, but it will entertain the adults as well. I’ll be making some items from this to decorate for Christmas, my self. And seriously, how could you not love a book that shows you how to make a Jabba the Hutt body pillow? You can’t, you can’t not love it, that’s how!
Pathfinder Beginner Box – Well you knew there was going to be some Pathfinder on this list, right? But I really do think this is the perfect gift for that geek that has been on the fence about role-playing games, or that has been waiting for his/her kids to get old enough to game. The Beginner Box comes with a stripped down set of Pathfinder RPG rules that won’t overload the novice player, and had enough material to play characters up to fifth level. It also provides an easy transfer into the main Pathfinder RPG later on. Still not sure if this is for you? Paizo has generously provided a walk-through of the contents, so you can see how cool this is for yourself. I can’t recommend Pathfinder or the Beginner Box enough; if you get one and need a GM, let me know…
Star Wars: The Old Republic – Have a geek friend that hermits for weeks at a time after every new PC game release? This is the gift they will want (assuming they didn’t pre-order it already). BioWare’s latest foray into the Star Wars universe is by all early accounts a grand-slam, making this the go-to gift for your video-game fanatic. This MMORPG might just draw you into a whole new world of gaming yourself (yes, come to the dark side…), because let’s face it: who hasn’t wanted to be a jedi, even if its just online? So while you grab one for a friend, slide a copy for yourself into the cart; you and your friend can spend all sorts of quality online-time together, exploring the Force!
The Settlers of Catan – For a board game that has become a benchmark for board game design, it boggles my mind how many gamers (myself included) don’t own this game. When it broke onto the scene, lo those many years ago, the idea of a semi-cooperative resource management game with no inter-player conflict wasn’t even on the radar with a lot of North American game designers. Arguably, Settlers of Catan is the game that introduced us to euro-gaming, and the floodgates have been wide open ever since. And it is loads of fun, even if you don’t play with the many expansions (though for my money, getting the 5-6 player expansion right away is a good choice). If you haven’t seen this on your favourite board game geek’s shelf, it might be high time to grab them a copy. Conditional on you getting to play, of course.
Genshiken – If you have an anime fan in your circle of friends, then this anime about anime fans will make a welcome addition to their collection. Lovable characters, hilarious situations and a unique look at both otaku and Japanese culture, this is the anime series every anime nerd needs in their collection. Why? Because this is the one you bring out and watch with your friends when they want to know why you are into anime. It is an honest and sincere look at fans just like us. (And I can’t thank my friend Morgan enough for turning me onto it; thanks Morgan!) It is also a manga series, so if your friend is a manga reader, everything above still applies!
I’d be thrilled to find any of these under the tree, and if you have a geek with a gaming/crafty slant like mine, I think you are golden. Thursday I’ll expand the list somewhat, look at some neat little gizmos you can order online and maybe have in time for the New Year! Until then, you can ask me for specific gift suggestions in the comments, or make suggestions of your own.