19 Nov 2012, 12:32pm
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Supporting independent stores at Giftmastime

Don’t hate me because I’m putting a Giftmas post ahead of Turkey Day, I’m not doing this because it directly benefits me. I don’t get anything for posting this except to drive traffic to a worthwhile, independently-owned store that deserves your business. Do you want to throw your money at Target or Amazon? I sure don’t, especially when you can pick up gifts for your friends and loved ones at great low prices with free shipping.

The store is called Card Kingdom and they have added a bunch of board and card games to their online store.

Did I mention low prices and free shipping?

Okay, I’m going to list the games I’ve already bought and intend to buy for my own family, and if you think they seem interesting, you can watch the game being played on a recent episode of Wil Wheaton’s online show Tabletop. But I’m going to put it behind a cut.

First, a message for my wife: I love you, sweetheart, but stop reading this post right now. I know I don’t have to say that to my kid, since he couldn’t be bothered, but I know you visit occasionally. Also, for anyone who knows her or is related to her, please don’t spoil her gift.

A cut!

First, two small card games that will go into stockings. My son is going to get Star Fluxx, which is a crazy, nearly strategy free card game with an sf theme. See how it plays here:

For my wife’s stocking, I have Gloom, a card game where the winner makes the characters in his cards miserable and the other players’ happy. Gameplay with author and actress Amber Benson, et al:

For large games that will be gift-wrapped, my kid is getting a classic, Settlers of Catan. I’ve been pretty dubious about the appeal of this game, even after seeing how it’s played:

However, a neighborhood kid brought it over and played with us, and it was tremendous fun. The game mechanic that forces you to trade with other players to get what you need to win without giving them what they need to win works really well. Also, the price is fantastic. Unless you do what our neighborhood kid did, which is find an unopened box for $5 at a garage sale, you’re unlikely to find a better price. Also, let me reiterate: free shipping.

For my wife, I’m planning to buy a copy of Dixit, which looks to be a simple but compelling card game from France. Another benefit is that it’s physically beautiful. Seriously, take a look:

Gameplay might be more challenging with only three players, but it’s such a straight-forward game that everyone can play.

A game I’m on the bubble about is Ticket to Ride. I’d like to have one train board game at home, but is this the one? I’m planning to watch this to decide:

One last game, with an embedded video has to be Munchkin, a card game that spoofs D&D in a fun and funny way. You don’t have to have played rpgs to enjoy it, but you’ll probably get more of the jokes. The thing is, where some games are fairly genteel (and many games are cooperative, with the players all working together to win) this one is ruthlessly competitive. My kid loves it. You know the sort of yelling and cheering you see on those Tabletop games? We get that at home with this game.

You can look over more videos at the Tabletop site to see videos of games that look like fun but maybe wouldn’t suit my family, like Smallworld.

Other games that are completely awesome, would make great holiday gifts, but don’t have Tabletop videos include Hive, a two person strategy game, and a personal favorite of mine, the card game Dominion.

Plus they also sell Magic cards or whatever.

I put this post together for three reasons: I want this store to thrive, I want you to get great deals on terrific games, and I’d much rather see Giftmas money go to well-run independent small businesses rather than massive corporations that pour the money you put into their cash registers into lobbyists’ pockets. Free shipping, great prices, fantastic games you and your family will love; that makes winners all around.

 
  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Named to Publishers Weekly's "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. Get the audiobook here.

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