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 explains which games he’s recommending as stocking stuffers in his store.
Not only is this the time of year for big holiday game purchases, like Star Wars Armada
from Fantasy Flight Games, Fortune and Glory
from Flying Frog or Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calith
from Games Workshop, any of which will set you back $100 or more, but the season also calls for smaller presents as well, for stocking stuffers, secret Santas or gift exchange. For these, you want a game that provides a lot of fun without melting down your pocketbook. Here are some suggestions:
1. Love Letter
from AEG. This is Castle Perilous Games & Books' Selected Stocking Stuffer of the Season for several reasons. First, Love Letter
is a lot of fun, plays quickly and offers quite a bit of replay value, especially with the number of variants that AEG has released. In addition, it boasts a great price point at $9.99 for the basic game and only $10.99 for the Batman, Hobbit
and Adventure Time
variants. There's even a Letters to Santa
version if you want to get really thematic. Add in that the game is attractively packaged in both boxed and clamshell versions and you have a great stocking stuffer.
from Asmodee. Gnome Games picked this one as its Stocking Stuffer of 2015 for the same reasons Castle Perilous Games & Books chose Love Letter
(In fact, Gnome Games selected Love Letter
as its Stocking Stuffer for 2013). Timeline
comes packaged in an attractive tin that fits neatly into a stocking, has an equally attractive $14.99 price point and offers plenty of replayability. Add in the fact that it actually teaches a bit of history and you have an all-around great choice.
from Looney Labs. At $16 to $20, Fluxx
is a bit more expensive than the first two options but still comparatively cheap and comes in a wide variety of variations. You can buy Nature Fluxx, Stoner Fluxx, Star Fluxx, Cthulhu Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, Batman Fluxx
or even, should your tastes run that way, just plain Fluxx
. The number of Fluxx
games make it relatively easy to find a version that would appeal to anyone on your Secret Santa or gift exchange list. In addition, since the rules change with every game, or even with every hand, Fluxx
, whatever version you buy, offers immense replayability.
4. Happy Birthday
from North Star Games. Though Happy Birthday
doesn't have the name recognition of North Star Games' other games such as Evolution
and Wits and Wagers
(or even the other games on this list), it is an enjoyable game in its own right, which is one of the reasons it makes the list. Also, surprisingly given the size of North Star Games’ other products, Happy Birthday
comes in a compact 3" x 3" box with a nice heft to it, perfect for tucking into a stocking. Add in the extremely reasonable $12.99 price point and that fact that Happy Birthday
is a game that younger children especially like to play (the age range is 6 and up and the game can handle up to 8 players, making it good for family get-togethers and you have one more great stocking stuffer.
What games did I miss? Do you have a favorite Stocking Stuffer? Send it along to me via Comments@ICV2.com
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.