Greetings, consumer! Welcome to CAPITALISM, where you show love for others in your life by BUYING GOODS. Beyond that, it’s the best buying season of the year: the holidays! If your loved one, friend, or acquaintance is a PC gamer, then we have the perfect guide to gifts for you.
It can be hard to swim through the absolute sea of video game merch out there looking for the coolest stuff. This is a season with limited time and limited budgets for each person in your life. Let us pick out some of the best so you can spend more time doing what matters: Playing games in the same room with other people and maybe sometimes talking.
Gifts under $20
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If you’re from the American south then you’re surely familiar with the little preserved alligator foot keychains that people love so much. Let me ask you: What if, instead, it was a Deathclaw hand? It’s a wonderfully subtle idea for showing your Fallout love and will only get you the same weird stares that other people with odd reptile parts on their keys get.
Everyone loves Pachimari, Overwatch’s unofficial in-world mascot turnip thing. Loving Pachimari in all its forms and incarnations is mandatory. Do not consider other emotions in relation to Pachimari. If you feel yourself disliking Pachimari, report to your local special Blizzard police office for RePacheducation. Thank you for being considerate in this matter.
This is hands down one of the funniest office prank objects there is, turning someone’s computer into a haunted and frustrating mess for a brief period of time is guaranteed laughter—especially when the game becomes sneaking it onto a computer when nobody’s looking.
If there is one thing in this world that all anime and non-anime fans can completely, totally agree on, it’s that Anime Was A Mistake. Let those around you know that you understand the truth of this world as fake-espoused by animation legend Hayao Miyazaki with a pin holding this most important catchphrase of the gaming generation.
Shovel Knight has some of the most memorable character designs of the last few years, ones you should absolutely commemorate through these cards. Whether you know a card game player, run a poker night, use cards in roleplaying games, or just have a friend who loves to shuffle, this is a lovely deck to dig up and put under the tree. (If you just like the art, you could buy and frame an uncut sheet of them as a gift, on sale at that same link for $30.)
Keyforge is this year’s hottest new card game, a design from the creator of Magic: The Gathering where every deck of cards is unique. That’s right, they’re literally unique, unable to be swapped or customized between decks, each deck procedurally generated by some weird, proprietary manufacturing process. The game itself is about balancing defense and offense to gather enough resources to win, a bit of a twist from the standard Magic or Hearthstone goal of reducing your opponent’s life in a head to head conflict.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is a gaming mainstay, a horror game about exploring a haunted house where one player is inevitably revealed as a cultist/monster/killer and tries to hunt down the others for sport and pleasure. Betrayal Legacy is the persistent, campaign game version of the old classic that has you hunting each other over and over, making permanent changes to the house, and revealing the story of why and how it got so very, very evil.
Last year’s newest, coolest hotness in board games is still pretty new and cool this year. Gloomhaven is pretty much the ultimate dungeon crawling board game, a massive persistent campaign that’s good from start to finish. You unlock new characters, open secret boxes, and wind your way through the story of the eponymous city and its seedy underbelly. It’s one of our Best Board Games and has stayed on the list for two years running.
Using the same unique-game tech from Keyforge, Fantasy Flight has this game about exploring an undiscovered country. Each copy is, again, unique, so your layout of tiles and locations is unlike anyone else’s. It’s a neat little adventure, not as punishingly difficult as other similar adventure board games, so a little more suitable for the less hardcore among your gaming crowd.
This year’s other coolest legacy game is Rise of Queensdale, where players take on each other to build a fantasy town. Its neat trick is that it’s all about rolling dice and customizing your strategy based on what dice you have and how they work. Queensdale is a fun, relatively deep economic strategy game. One of the better ones you can play, and a unique buy as a gift—a lot of board gamers skipped or overlooked this one in a year overrun with other good titles.