Board games and tabletop games continue to rise to new heights of popularity, so there’s no better time to get that special someone on your holiday gift list a new game for their collection! Below you’ll find the world’s greatest role-playing game, small indie TTRPGs, easy-to-learn board games inspired by beloved franchises, and much more. And best of all, any gift on this list will make your next game night with friends even better.
A Persian cat warlock? A Labrador fighter? What else do we have to say? Animal Adventures from Steamforged Games is a 5e supplement that’s ideal for kids or casual players new to Dungeons & Dragons. The box set comes complete with a full adventure and filled-out character sheets, and affordable miniature box sets can even get your recipient on the road to painting their first minis.
MCDM Productions knocks it out of the park every month with the digital magazine Arcadia. MCDM invites some of the TTRPG community’s best and brightest talent to contribute. The cover art alone is worth every penny. Inside you’ll find D&D 5e adventures, subclasses, NPCs, and more incredible campaign content that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your Dungeon Master, send them a digital gift card and they can pick up the issues that will fit right into your campaign.
Another great gift to get you on your Dungeon Master’s good side is the Campaign Case: Terrain from Wizards of the Coast. If your DM isn’t the crafty type, or they can’t carry around large pieces of map terrain, these official terrain tokens will do the job on the go. (The Campaign Case: Creatures is just as handy.) It includes a double-sided adventure grid, 30 interlocking terrain tiles, and reusable stickers for the tiles to make dungeons, campsites, tombs, and more.
Swords and magic? Sure. But if your friend’s favorite movies include Blade Runner and John Wick, the indie TTRPG Crescendo of Violence from Osprey Games can make a seriously cool stocking stuffer. The setting is neon-noir, which is different from cyberpunk but set in the same futuristic neon-lit cities. (Think gun fu, femme fatales, and rainy nights.) The system uses 10-sided dice, so throw some of those in the stocking as well to complete the experience.
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle
The newest Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set has everything the lucky recipient needs to get the adventuring party started. The one-stop box contains all the rules, character sheets, and even dice they’ll need to begin their very first campaign. All they need to find is more players. If you have a friend who is intrigued by the game but isn’t ready to pick up the rulebooks quite yet, this is the perfect gift.
Dungeons & Dragons: How to Be More D&D
Perform an insight check on yourself? It’s possible with How to Be More D&D by Kat Kruger! Whether you’re buying this handy tome for yourself, your friend, or your Secret Santa, every kind of reader can benefit from adding more adventure to their lives. Personality quizzes based on character classes, advice for navigating the difficult terrain of real life, gorgeous art, and more make this book one to pick up again and again.
Whether that friend on your gift list is a D&D aficionado or a Stranger Things fan—or better yet, both—they’ll be delighted when they unwrap this eye-catching collectible from WizKids. The Eye and Hand of Vecna are famous artifacts that go all the way back to the early days of Dungeons & Dragons. The ghoulish hand and eye are encased in glass and rest upon a wooden platform. Will the lucky recipient laugh or shriek when they open this present? Part of the fun is finding out.
Superhero fans will love to take on the mantle of their favorite Marvel characters in one of this year’s biggest tabletop games. Marvel Dice Throne pits hero against hero. Players use their hero’s special abilities and dice to whittle down their opponent’s hit points. Components are colorful and chock full of useful info; the game even provides a helpful FAQ for those times when a question about the rules arises. Marvel fans and board game enthusiasts will both find a lot to love in this ultimate “who would win in a fight.”
Phantom Ink is a party game perfect for that one friend who always keeps a Ouija board in the closet. (You know the one.) The beautifully thematic deduction game is for four to eight players divided into two teams. One player is the spirit, and the others are mediums; the spirit shares clues about a secret object to the mediums in the hopes that one will guess it. Use as few letters as possible to discover the secret object, and your team wins!
Ready to splurge on the D&D player in your life? RockLove Jewelry’s D&D collaboration is guaranteed to elicit a gasp when the recipient opens the box. The intricately detailed silver rings and pendants range from monstrous beholders to delicate daggers. There’s even a bejeweled spellbook necklace that opens to reveal mystical text inside. You’ll be tempted to get a piece for yourself when browsing this one-of-a-kind jewelry collection.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – A Pandemic System Game
Veteran board gamers on your gift list have likely played Pandemic, so they’ll be thrilled to see the iconic co-op strategy game combined with Star Wars. The sprawling tabletop game takes Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and more to key locations in the Clone Wars conflict. They’ll face your favorite prequel villains in battles to reclaim the planet from their control. Missions are named after iconic episodes of The Clone Wars, a delightful detail for longtime fans of the animated series.
Indie horror role-playing game Zweihänder may not scream “joyful holiday season” to you, but this new kit makes it easier than ever to get a new player started in the medieval fantasy world. That sword-and-sorcery buff you know will be delighted to open this one. The RPG is darker and more ruthless than most high fantasy TTRPGs, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to play. Rulebooks, dice, a game master screen, pre-gen characters, and a detailed map are all included to get a new player going on their first supernatural adventure.
Kelly Knox is a pop culture and entertainment writer in the Seattle area. She’s the author of Star Wars: Be More Obi-Wan and co-author of Star Wars Everyday. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, pop culture, and bad dad jokes.