Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne offers some suggestions for gift items to stock for the holiday season.  For all our Gifts Week articles on 2019 holiday merchandising, see "ICv2 Gifts Week 2019!"

Ecos: First Continent, designed by John D. Clair (AEG, see "Alderac’s ‘Ecos’ Rebuilds the World"). The latest in a series of high-quality board and card games that AEG has released this year, Ecos is an engine building game with simultaneous play as the players work to build and populate the continent, but with competing visions as to how the world should develop.  I had a chance to play this at the Alliance Open House and found it quite enjoyable.  It is a little tricky to understand on first exposure but after a few turns, gameplay becomes pretty quick. A very good game for players who like to have to plan their moves several turns in advance.

Godzilla Card Game, designed by Ryan Miller (Bandai, see "Godzilla Stomps Tabletops in Bandai’s New Card Game").  There are a surprising number of Godzilla and kaiju fans out there and lots of action figures and books for them (even a Godzilla pizza cutter), but very few officially licensed games so Godzilla fans were quite happy to see this release.  The Chrono-Clash system is simple enough to understand and does not require a lot of reading, so this is a wonderful game for parents to play with their kids, almost all of which love Godzilla.  The cards feature original art and Bandai needs to clean up the typos in the next edition but this would make great gift for any Godzilla fan, especially those wanting to introduce Big G to their children.

WWE HeroClix (NECA-WizKids).  As with Godzilla, there is a lot of merchandise out there for the WWE fan but very little in the gaming field (The 1990s WWF and the more recent Know Your Role RPGs come to mind) but very little in the hobby game industry until the release of the WWE HeroClix set.  The first wave of figures includes 20 (by my count) wrestlers, from various eras of WWE history (primarily current but a few figures from its 1990’s heyday), most of which are available as single non-random figures, making them perfect as a stocking stuffer for any wrestling fan.  In addition, there is the Mixed Match Challenge WWE Ring 2-Player Starter Set featuring  AJ Styles, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair and Finn Balor along with a scale WWE Ring (see "’WWE HeroClix Superstars Assemble"), while the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection 2-Player Starter Set features The Rock, Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels.

The Isle of Dread (see "Goodman Games Reanimates ‘The Isle of Dread’") and Into the Borderlands (see "’’Into the Borderlands’ Trade Release Revealed") conversions by Chris Doyle and Tim Wadzinski (Goodman Games).  Each of these books takes the original late 1970s adventures, updates them to 5th Edition D&D and expands upon the original adventure. In addition, both include commentaries on the original adventures by gaming luminaries such as Luke Gygax, Mike Mearls, "Zeb" Cook and Lawrence Schick. Both 5th Edition players and fans of the original 1st Edition work would enjoy reading (and playing through) either adventure.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Advent Calendar (Konami, see "Kuriboh Graces ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Advent Calendar’").  A great gift to start off the Christmas season for a Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG player, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Advent Calendar is back for a second season.  Normally you have to venture into gift shops and Hallmark stores to find Advent calendars; this is one specifically targeted at Yu-Gi-Oh! Players.  The calendar contains 17 Super Rare and 7 Ultra Rare cards and is unlikely to be something a player would buy for themselves but would likely enjoy if purchased by someone else.

Fluxx, designed by Andrew Looney (Looney Labs).  Similar to Godzilla and WWE Clix, with its numerous themed expansions, Fluxx is a game that allows the giver to appeal to two different interests of the recipient.  Licensed versions of Fluxx currently include assorted series of Star Trek, Firefly,  Doctor Who, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the recently released Marvel and Jumanji (see "’Marvel’ and ‘Jumanji Fluxx’ in the Works").  Add in the non-licensed versions such as Zombie, Drinking, Math, Chemistry and Fairytale and you have a Fluxx that will appeal to almost anyone.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of