RPG Gift Guide 2013
|Welcome to RPG Geek, a worldwide community of folks who love RPGs (Role-Playing Games)! The community here is quite knowledgeable about our hobby and we have combined our brainpower to produce a list of great gift ideas for you this holiday shopping season. The Table of Contents on the right will take you to the different sections of this page (classics, popular, etc.). Prices in the guide are based on RRP and may be found more cheaply by sharp-eyed shoppers. Feel free to visit the general forum on this site and ask for more specific recommendations. If you have no idea what role-playing games are, please have a look at the section at the bottom.
These are the games that frequently come up when the community here discusses how we got into Role-playing, and that remain popular today. They are the archetypes on which the rest of our hobby is built, and while each is a fine game for a beginner, they still hold our interest years later. They are not necessarily old - in fact, all of these are in production and selling quite well.
Pathfinder role-playing Game - Beginner's Box
The Pathfinder role-playing Game is a spinoff of Dungeons & Dragons that uses the older (but still widely enjoyed) 3.5 edition ruleset. Since 2011, Pathfinder actually outsells its D&D parent and this beginner's box is the perfect into your first adventure. It comes with everything you need to play - a guide for players, another for the Game Master, cardboard minis (called pogs) for heroes and creatures plus an adventure. Top that off with dice and iconic character sheets pre-filled (along with blank sheets so you can create your own characters), this set might become the spiritual successor to the venerable Red Box of 1983.
Dungeons and Dragons
The Iconic RPG that brought the hobby to the attention of the mainstream. Dungeons and Dragons has, in its many forms, been around since the 1970s and continues to be a popular system today.
While we heartily recommend D&D, we want to point out that a new version of the game rules (called "D&D Next") is being prepared. The current 4th edition is still supported, but might go out of print in the near future. Anything you purchase now may feel obsolete when the new version appears. That isn't to say you couldn't keep playing whatever you find, just that it might not be the best system to get started with right now. That said, previous editions of the game are still popular with players today, used copies can be found with a bit of luck, and the publisher even has digitized and reprinted some of the older publications.
Set in a hard science fiction universe, Traveller allows players to take part in epic journeys through uncharted galaxies. Like the other games in this section, Traveller has been around for decades and has been refined into an amazing game.
Call of Cthulhu
Based on the stories of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft and set around the turn of the 19th century, The Call of Cthulhu pits the 'investigators' against beings of pure evil from outside our dimension and their gibbous minions. This is the top rated horror game on RPGG.
The Most Popular Games
The games in this category are the cream of the crop and a gamer's dream. They have consistently remained in or near the vaunted top ten positions on RPGG since they were listed and are a worthy addition to any collection.
A game about criminals with character, Fiasco is about events spinning out of control, a spiral of chaos caused by seemingly innocuous events. Using a dynamic, GM-less system and drawing inspiration from various heist films, particularly those of the Coen brothers, this is not a game for the faint-hearted or innocent.
The dark future of the Warhammer world is here and its name is Rogue Trader! In the Grim world of the 41st Millennium, players adopt the roles of explorers, seeking lost wealth and untold power in uncharted regions of the galaxy. A huge hit with fans of both Warhammer and Science Fiction, Rogue Trader is definitely going to make some people happy this Christmas.
Dungeon World is a world of fantastic adventure. A world of magic, gods, demons, Good and Evil. Brave heroes venture into the most dangerous corners of the land in search of gold and glory. You are those heroes. You go where others can't or won't. You conquer the unbeatable and laugh in the face of Death. There are monstrous things lurking in the world. Are you ready to face them?
Dungeon World is based on the Powered by the Apocalypse.
The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild
The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild is the new role-playing game based on The Lord of the Rings —- the most influential property in fantasy. It's set after the events of The Hobbit; the initial game is set the region of northern Mirkwood and environs, with future releases expanding the scope of the setting to encompass more of Middle-earth as the era moves closer to the looming War of the Ring.
Chock full of incredible artwork by leading Tolkien artists, including John Howe, along with rich and detailed background information, The One Ring's game engine focuses on the themes and character types that give Middle-earth its unique place in the annals of fantasy. There has never been a Lord of the Rings game that's more evocative of Tolkien's unique vision.
Legend of the Five Rings
Set in Rokugan, an alternate world similar to medieval Japan and China, Legend of the Five Rings allows players to take on the role of heroic Samurai, conniving Courtiers or wise Shugenja while they attempt to save the clans of the Empire from the evil Shadowlands. This is the top rated Samurai game on RPGG
RPGs For Kids
Gaming stereotypes of the past are based on the period when role-playing games were invented and the marketing campaigns of the 1980s that targeted teenagers. In fact, the origins of role-playing can be traced back to childhood games like 'Cowboys and Indians' and 'Peek a Boo' and many role-players are now in their 30s and have children. Playing these games with children is a joy and they will please any role-playing Dad or Mum.
Happy Birthday, Robot!
In Happy Birthday, Robot, players take turns writing the story of Robot's birthday.How many words you'll get to write is determined randomly - how much can you say in four words? How much can your friends add in just three? What will Robot's birthday be like? Will Robot meet new friends? Go to outer space? You decide, one roll at a time!
- Ages: 10+
- Availability: Local Games Stores and Online
- Price: $15 - 25
- by Joshua Rensch
In Mermaid Adventures the characters portray members of one of several undersea races who have adventures together. The game uses a very simple dice mechanic and has been developed for children. Despite the title, the game has male and female characters.
- Ages: 9+
- Availability: Online
- Price: $15 - $25. The book can be purchased in black & white or color and there's also a companion coloring book.
- Review by Steve Donohue
In Faery's Tale, the players are sprites, brownies or other forest spirits from the fairy tale realm of Brightwood. They encounter other creatures from such stories and progress to become princesses or knights in this enchanting storytelling game. It can be played 'freestyle' or with dice mechanics.
Mysterious things down by the lake? Strange stuff going on at school? Only one person can solve this mystery... YOU! Meddling Kids is designed as an introductory role-playing game based on traditional Saturday Morning cartoons like Scooby-Doo and Josie and the Pussy Cats. It has appeal for children of all ages.
Mouse Guard is an Ennie and Origins Award-winning game in which players take on the roles of heroic young mice defending their medieval citadel from insidious predators and villainous rats. Based on the comic of the same name, this game is hours of anthropomorphic awesomeness and is designed for all ages to enjoy. There is a boxed set available with deluxe components and some additional rules. This box set is drop dead gorgeous and won the 2011 RPG GoldenGeek for best production values.
The Best Games of 2013
In a community like RPGG, a lot of buzz is generated by upcoming products and evaluations of the latest and greatest in our hobby. The truth is that there are dozens of RPGs released each year and only a few survive long enough to become memorable. The release of the following games has caused a lot of anticipation and excitement and, being the latest and greatest, they are good ideas for the gamer who has almost everything.
Grab your plasma rifles, spell components, and jetpacks! Name your game; Fate Core is the foundation that can make it happen. Fate Core is a flexible system that can support whatever worlds you dream up. Have you always wanted to play a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western with tentacle monsters? Swords and sorcery in space? Wish there was a game based on your favorite series of books, film, or television, but it never happened? Fate Core is your answer.
Fate Core is a tabletop role-playing game about proactive, capable people who lead dramatic lives. The type of drama they experience is up to you. But wherever they go, you can expect a fun storytelling experience full of twists…of fate.
Fate Accelerated Edition, or FAE, is a condensed version of the popular Fate Core role-playing game that brings all the flexibility and power of Fate in a shorter format. Inside, you’ll find a method for making fast, fun characters and simple systems to support whatever story you can dream up on the fly. With FAE, you can be playing in minutes.
Both Fate Core and Fate Accelerated are also available as PDF for a price you set yourself (including $0). Have a free look and if you feel the game is worth some money, come back and pay what you like.
Numenera is a science fantasy role-playing game set in the far distant future. Humanity lives amid the remnants of eight great civilizations that have risen and fallen on Earth. These are the people of the Ninth World. This new world is filled with remnants of all the former worlds: bits of nanotechnology, the dataweb threaded among still-orbiting satellites, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange and wondrous devices. These remnants have become known as the numenera.
Player characters explore this world of mystery and danger to find these leftover artifacts of the past, not to dwell upon the old ways, but to help forge their new destinies, utilizing the so-called magic of the past to create a promising future.
Shadowrun (5th Edition)
Everything Has A Price
There are cracks in the world. They’re slender, dark, and often cold, but they are the only things that keep you hidden. Keep you alive. They are the shadows of the world, and they are where you live.
You are a shadowrunner, thriving in the margins, doing the jobs no one else can. You have no office, no permanent home, no background to check. You are whatever you make yourself. Will you seek justice? Sow seeds of chaos? Sell out to the highest bidder? It’s up to you, but this much is certain—if you do nothing, the streets will eat you alive.
You can survive — even flourish — as long as you do what it takes. Sacrifice part of your soul for bleeding-edge gear. Push the limits of your will learning new and dangerous magic. Wire yourself into the Matrix, making your mind one with screaming streams of data. It’ll cost you something — everything does — but you can make it worth the price.
Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is the newest version of one of the most popular and successful role-playing worlds of all time — a fusion of man, magic and machine in a dystopian near-future. With rules for character creation, magic, combat, Matrix hacking, rigging, and more, you have everything you need to face the challenges of the Sixth World.
- Ages: 14+
- Availability: Online and in local game stores
- Price: $59.99
- Review by Ed Kabara
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
Gather your friends and prepare for adventure in the Star Wars galaxy! Whether you’re new to role-playing games or just new to Edge of the Empire™, the Beginner Game is the perfect starting point.
The Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game features a complete, learn-as-you-go adventure. Pre-generated character folios keep rules right at the your fingertips, while custom dice and an exciting narrative gameplay system make every roll into a story. Detailed rules provide for hours of entertainment as you create your own adventures and tell your own tales of a galaxy far, far away!
The Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Beginner Game is a complete standalone experience for 3-5 novice role-players.
Low Budget Suggestions and Stocking Stuffers
When asked what do you think would be a good stocking stuffer for an rpg player?, almost all gamers answer that dice would make a perfect gift. Many people just can't get enough of them, and there are many beautiful and intriguing polyhedrons (many-sided dice, that is) as well as some specialized custom dice available. You might even go the extra mile and have personalized dice crafted for someone you love. Dice bags also come in many varieties. The fascination with dice has also spawned many dice-related products available - browse the thread linked above or simply search the world wide web. Gaming tokens (glass beads, gem stones, counters...) are useful in many RPGs, too. Some gamers (especially game masters) might also be interested in inspirational card decks (tarot etc.) or other "generic" GM-ing tools that are not tied to a specific system. Also, there are interesting free maps that can be used with almost any system. One page dungeons are similar, too. Picking a few of them and printing them out can lead to a very nice stocking stuffer.
Another low-budget option are print-outs of free RPGs. There are many good games out there that can be shared freely (sometimes even under a creative commons licence). Often they are short and intended for one-shots or small campaigns, but you also get highly detailed rules - see this list of Free RPGs for a start. If you'd like specific recommendations, check out these excellent games: Lady Blackbird (steampunk adventure), Old School Hack (fantasy), and Lasers & Feelings (space opera).
It's not about spending money - it's about spending some time and thought, showing appreciation for the person and their interests. And that's easier than it may sound.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
About Role-Playing Games
Role-playing is a hobby that can inspire quiet nights with family and friends;
or it can be vibrant and exciting, almost like amateur theatre;
The stereotypes about it lie; it can be done outdoors in the sunshine:
and by dads, mums AND children of (nearly *wink*) all ages:
|A role-playing game is one of the best presents you can give, especially to young people, as it encourages us to step beyond the confines of our daily lives and enter into the world of collective imagination. It is a worthwhile activity that can educate and enlighten, helping people to break out of themselves and be all they could ever - or never - have been. If the person you're buying for has ever dreamed of being someone, something or somewhere else, you can make it happen for them this Christmas!