A Holiday Shopping Guide for Everyone on Your (Geek)List!
Brent Kinney

Indianapolis
Indiana
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I originally posted this shopping guide on my blog on December 10th, you can find it here (http://www.ign.com/blogs/brkinney/2012/12/10/holiday-shoppin...), or just enjoy the Geeklist format. Choose your own adventure. Be your own person.

I know I am a little late getting this post up considering there are only about 14 shopping days left before Christmas, but I would imagine my readership would be last minute shoppers anyway (I literally have to imagine my readership, because I am not sure one exists, but I digress...) In this post you will find my picks for certain people that may pop up on your holiday shopping list. As always, the recommendations will lean toward board and card games, but the shopping profiles will be based off of videogamer styles. Hopefully this guide will help you find a great gift for your loved ones and jump start them in the board gaming hobby.

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1. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:703]
Brent Kinney

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For Your Little Cousin Who Is Always Playing Angry Birds - The obvious choice here would be the Angry Birds Board Game, but from what I see, that game looks like it is a hassle to set up, and the app does it much better. So what do you get the little dude who loves crashing things into other things? LOOPIN' LOUIE!

Hey..it still has to do with birds and crashing into things. In Loopin' Louie you are trying to prevent Louie from knocking over your chickens by using a paddle to bounce Louie and his bi-plane back into the air and toward your opponents fowl. It is fast and silly fun for people of all ages (seriously, I have seen adults get HYPE about this game, successful, well-adjusted adults, mind you). You can find this one at Toys R Us for around $20. Best of all, he takes his sticky little fingers off of your iPhone.
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2. Board Game: Trophy Buck [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:8816]
Brent Kinney

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For The Outdoorsman(woman) - I have two picks for those that are more inclined toward nature, one violent, and one not so violent. First off, the violent one - Trophy Buck

Trophy Buck is a is a push-your-luck dice game that comes in a thematic camouflaged pouch. It is portable and easy to take on the go (to deer camp perhaps?). Even if the most hunting you have done is throwing a few quarters in the Big Buck Hunter machine, you can find fun with Trophy Buck. Trophy Buck can be had for $10 at Walgreens, Wal Mart, and stores like that.
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3. Board Game: Morels [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:593]
Brent Kinney

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For the more earthy, pacifist type, my pick would be Morels by Two Lanterns Games.

Morels is a two-player set collection game, that has a unique game mechanism that makes the game feel like a walk through the woods. Players try to collect different sets of mushrooms to either sell to market to travel deeper in the woods or cook them up to score points. Rarer mushrooms are worth more points, but there are less of them in the deck, so it is quite the risk/reward proposition. The art style in this game is GORGEOUS, and the gameplay has you saying "just one more" after you finish your walk in the forest. You can order your copy of Morels directly from the publisher (it is not in wide release just yet) at www.twolanternsgames.com .
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4. Board Game: 1st & Goal [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1738]
Brent Kinney

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For your Madden-crazed Brother-in-Law - He's a good dude, but his Madden dynasty is already half way through their season in the year 2021. The man loves football, and it is evident from the Fatheads on his wall, and his four fantasy squads (only 1 made the playoffs this year, bummer). So what do you give the pigskin fan who has everything? 1st & Goal!

1st & Goal is a tactical dice-rolling game that puts players in the position of head coaches of a football team. Players use cards in their hands to call plays on offense and defense and then roll dice to resolve their results. If your bro-in-law is sick of the n00bs on XBOX Live, this head's up battle could be just what the doctor ordered. The base game contains enough to keep him entertained for hours on end, but if that isn't enough (I mean the guy has 4 fantasy teams for goodness sake), there are expansions available with new teams that have unique dice and cards that form the team's identity (run-heavy, defensive-minded, etc.) . The expansions could make this the gift that keeps on giving all year long. You can find 1st & Goal at your local game store or on Amazon for between $20-$30.
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5. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:640] [Average Rating:6.84 Unranked]
Brent Kinney

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For Your Uber-Geek Brother - This guy loves everything geeky. He has autographed litographs from his favorite anime series. Lightsabers are hung proudly above his bed. The number of hours he has logged playing Halo and Call of Duty are obscene. If you ask him who would win in a fight between ninjas and aliens, he has a 6 page dissertation breaking down the nimbleness of the ninjas vs. the advanced technology of the extra terrestrials. Well... if you get him my game pick for Christmas, you can actually answer that question definitively, no term papers necessary. The geeky one in your life will love Smash Up.

The 'gist of it is that you choose 2 fantastical factions and use them to fight other geeky teams for control of different bases on the table. So Dinosaur Zombies are going toe-to-toe with Wizard Ninjas, and dodging attacks from Robotic Pirates. It is pure, unadulterated geek material, and it's a blast. You can pick this one up at your local game store or online for around twenty bucks.
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6. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:197] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Brent Kinney

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For Your Artsy Sister - She believes she is Banksy. TV and video games aren't her thing because she wants to "create" and just "be". She's also damn hard to shop for. No worries, I have a game that will scratch her artsy itch and actually helps her up her social skills. Oh and it's French too, so how's that for art cred. The game I am talking about is Dixit.

Look there are little bunnies (meeples in board game lexicon) that represent you on the scoring track, what's not to love!? Dixit is like Apples to Apples in a acid-laced museum. One player gives the other players a hint that could be a word, phrase, song, noise, anything they want, and chooses a beautifully illustrated card from their hand. Each other player also picks a card that they think represents that hint and they all get shuffled up, then all of the players besides the lead player vote on which card they think the lead player chose. The card is revealed and points are doled out based on if people chose the right card, or if their card was chosen by other players. It is a simple, empathetically-inclined game, that really is fun to play and beautiful to look at. Dixit comes from Asmodee games and can be found in stores and on the internets. Sis would love it (and probably the whole family too).
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7. Board Game: Monopoly Deal Card Game [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:1820]
Brent Kinney

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Stocking Stuffers - The great thing about card games, is that they are compact, and can fit in your Christmas socks, so to cap off this list I am going to suggest two stocking stuffer card games that could make spirits bright this holiday season. First, something that is familiar, yet different, and a huge improvement on this predecessor - Monopoly Deal Card Game.

Anyone who has played Monopoly will be instantly familiar with the presentation and overall objective of Monopoly Deal. Unlike it's board game big brother, this one doesn't take 5 hours to play and suck all the fun out of the game in the process. In Monopoly Deal, you simply play three cards, and then draw 2 cards. You play cards to try to build up your cash reserves and collects sets of properties like in the original game. The first person to collect 3 sets of properties wins. The game's take-that elements make this one confrontational, but light enough that you can play many games in a row and have a blast. It retails for around $7 and really should be on every gamer's (and non-gamer's shelf). My top stocking stuffer pick and you can find it EVERYWHERE.
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8. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:392]
Brent Kinney

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My second stocking stuffer pick is No Thanks!

It's just a small deck of cards with a few red tiddlywink chips, but it packs a ton of fun in a small package (insert your own joke here). The scoring in No Thanks is like golf in that you want to have the lowest score. You can achieve this by collecting cards with smaller numbers, and red chips that count as negative points. Play takes the form of an auction where each player chooses whether they want the card on the table, or says "No Thanks" and places a chip on it and passes the decision to the next player. Consecutive cards only count for the lowest number in the run (ex. 10,11,12, would only count as 10 points against you). You can teach the game in minutes, and play it for hours. In my opinion, a great game for holiday get-togethers, and a great gift to stuff a stocking with.

Well, that's it. Get shopping. Time is running out. Oh yeah...Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

BK
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