It’s that time of year which means you’ve probably waited until the last minute to buy gifts for the friendly gamers in your life. Oops. Don’t panic. We’ve got some suggestions that won’t break the bank and you’re gamer will appreciate having them!
This hobby is expensive and so shopping for fans of 40K and AoS – or really most tabletop miniatures games – can be intimidating and confusing. “What’s an Intercessor? Or was it Inceptor?” “Was it a Zombie or a Skeleton?” “What do you mean there are 4 different chaos gods?” These are common questions I’ve heard from confused loved ones as they are shopping for the gamer in their life. It gets even more confusing if your just shopping for something relatively cheap as stocking stuffers or for something that isn’t going to cause you to take out a second mortgage.
But don’t worry – we’ve got a few suggestions that you should be able to pick up at your FLGS and they are generically useful that it doesn’t matter what game(s) they are playing.
Dice, Dice, Dice
Look, gamers always love more dice. This will take some slight investigation on your part, but you’ll only need to learn two things before you buy dice:
- What game system are they playing
- What color is their faction
Now write down the game system and take it to your FLGS and ask for help picking out the right type of dice. Lots of games have custom dice these days, but most of the major systems still use D6s. In fact, GW has dice sets specific to pretty much any army/gang/warband/team you can think of. However, some of those dice and be a little hard to read. That’s okay, because most FLGS worth their salt will have a selection of regular dice blocks/sets.
Once you know what type of dice they need, then it comes down to color choice. If you know the colors of their faction/army/warband/etc. then you just have to find a color that is similar. You could opt for some really flashy Chessex Gemini colors. Or you could just go with the classic clear or solid colors. These sets are typically under or around $10, too. No gamer in their right mind is going to get upset about getting more dice.
For Games Workshop games, most of the factions also have a type of Datacard Deck. These decks aren’t 100% necessary for players to have but they are handy. That probably means if they didn’t buy the deck for their faction, they probably weren’t planning on it. So these make great stocking stuffer because they are both handy and unexpected. These decks run in the $15 range as well.
Conversely, if they are into RPGs like D&D, Gale Force Nine makes some pretty great cards for players. This one will also take some research on your part but asking what game and class they play will greatly improve your odds of getting the right decks. Write that down, take it to your FLGS and ask them for some guidance!
Not all hobby supplies are created (or priced) equally. However, I am a fan of the GW hobby handles. The Assembly Handle in particular is very useful.
As far as other more generically useful hobby tools, things like hobby knives and clippers are also very useful for the gamer in your life (especially if they partake in the hobby side of things.) In my experience, a quality part of hobby clippers is one of the best hobby investments I’ve ever made. I got my set from a hobby store and I’m sure you can find all the things I’ve mentioned at places like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or whatever your hobby stores are in your area.
Okay – this one is tricky. Citadel Paints are pretty good paints but the price will sneak-up on your budget. It can also be dangerous because, let’s be honest, there are a lot of colors and deciding between a “base color” or a “layer color” can be confusing – especially if you’re buy this as a gift for someone else. That said, there are a couple of different pots of paint that are pretty much always on demand by hobbyists: Washes.
Nuln Oil is basically cheating for paints. I don’t know a gamer/hobbyist out there that doesn’t go through this stuff like lemonade in the summer. It’s pricey at $7.50 per pot, but if you’re looking for a good stocking stuffer pick up two of these pots of paint and your gamer will thank you.
Alternatively, there are also some other brands of paints that are really good, too. Vallejo is always brought up whenever paint in mentioned. Privateer Press has a great line of paint. And Army Painter also has some great colors, too (including washes). There are probably another half-dozen other paint companies out there that make paints and washes. If your FLGS has multiple paint racks, just ask them for some recommendations on some basic paints or washes. Black/Brown/Blue/Yellow washes are all very versatile. You can’t go wrong with those.
Oh boy…another touchy subject. Look, Citadel brushes are pretty good if you take care of them but they aren’t the cheapest. I’d probably avoid buying brushes unless you know what you’re looking at/for. You can head to an art supply store and get similar (or better) brushes at lower prices. But you can also end up getting burned on some super cheap brushes. While brushes might sound like a tempting stocking stuffer or last minute gift, hold off unless you know exactly what your gamer prefers.
I hope this list helps you out. If you’ve got any last minute gift ideas that are under the $15 range drop them in the comments and help your fellow last minute shoppers out!
…Dice. Just go with the dice.