What do you get the geek who has tabletop games stacked from floor to ceiling on shelves covering every available wall? More games. Obviously.

However, in deference to those that erroneously believe their loved one has enough already, the following alternatives will still put a smile on a gamer’s face, without anyone giving the spare room over to more games storage.

N.B. Tabletop Tribe may earn commission for sales generated through some of the links in this article via affiliate programs. Details here.

Dice Bag

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Dice Pouch

I’ve always found a bum bag/fanny pack is an embarrassing but ideal container for transporting dice, pencils and other random gaming accoutrements (French for “unnecessary junk”.)

However, many gamers prefer some sort of mystical Bag of Holding, that looks like it might previously have held runes, precious gems or a dragon’s testicles.

Critical Hit D20

Add a  little pizzazz to your dice rolling with a D20 that glows red when you score that maximum critical hit.

True, you’ll have to part with a relatively hefty wedge for a single die, but it’ll be worth it for the envious looks on your friends faces. Green goes so well with red after all!

Dice Tray

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Dice Tray

Scrabbling around under the table for lost dice is undignified, and no-one else around the table relishes the prospect of builder’s cleavage on display.

Solve the problem with a dice tray, or else custom-build a characterful one of your own out of an antique wooden tray and a roll of baize.

Card Protectors

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Card Sleeves

Shuffling cards screws them up. It just happens. The edges wear against each other, and a geek’s sweaty, grubby mitts don’t help either. Yeah YOU, Cheetos-eater, I’m looking at you.

Think of them as HAZMAT for cards.

Some players compulsively sleeve every card they own, but even the sane protect cards that require constant shuffling. It’s either that or start laminating everything.

Laminator

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Laminator

Talking of which, laminators are surprisingly useful to a gaming geek, and can cost as little as £15.

After the average RPG session, player handouts, pre-generated character sheets, maps and the like can look like they’ve been used to snort coke. Reference sheets for boxed games can also take the brunt of the more cack-handed gamers. As Dexter Morgan would (probably) say: Encase everything in plastic and watch your problems float away.

Plastic Coin Capsules

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Coin Capsules

Keeping in the component protection vein, this is an idea I saw recently for protecting the Chaos tokens in Arkham Horror: The Card Game, but there’s a number of games that you could upgrade your tokens to give them some protection or a little added weight (such as cardboard coins for that clinking-clanking feel!)

These come in a variety of diameters and are amazingly cheap. It’d be rude not to.

Card Holders

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Card Caddies

There’s so many playing cards in games these days that it doesn’t take much to knock a pile flying with some errant dice… especially given the amount of dice in games these days.

Card holders/caddies keep decks tidy, protected and vertical, especially when they’ve been sleeved, which almost doubles the height of the deck.

Everyone will wonder how they faced Mansions of Madness without them.

Business Card Holders

Image: Sam Jackson

This is a good alternative to the bespoke card caddies. These tiered stands are used by businesses to display their business cards to prospective clients, but they’re also fantastic to organise cards in games where multiple decks take up too much table space laid flat (yes, we’re looking at you Massive Darkness).

Game Organiser

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Game Organiser

Board games often have a plethora of counters, chits, meeples and markers that sit precariously on a player sheet, waiting for a gentle sneeze to send them flying.

Be a saviour and procure custom-made plastic organisers that come with recessed areas and card slots to keep everything on the table, not the floor.

Custom Box Inserts

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Foam Insert

Feldherr foam insert for Blood Rage

Some publishers supply some vacuum-formed love with your new game in the shape of a custom insert to keep all the components in place. Some publishers don’t (not mentioning any names as it would be unfair on Fantasy Flight Games).

However, if you need to stop your beloved components rattling around in their boxes, or implement a storage method that will get you up and playing quicker straight out of the box, then a number of companies can provide you with foam and wooden inserts for your favourite games and save you having to buy sheets of foam core to do it yourself.

Gaming Table

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Games Table

Yes, I know a £2000+ custom gaming table isn’t exactly a stocking-stuffer, but it needn’t be that dream Geeknson table, although you’re obviously a unloving sadist if you don’t procure one for your beloved.

As an alternative, you can pick up vintage card tables on ebay for a song. You might even consider retasking a 5x3ft or 6x4ft rotating pool table? Come on! All you need is a big, flat area of baize. You can even keep your beer in the pockets. It’s got Air Hockey and Table Tennis too!

If your loved one is a dab hand at carpentry, you can also always just buy them some plans.

Custom Play Mat

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Neoprene Custom Play Mats

Arkham Horror play mat design by Paul Nojima

Even if you have a bespoke gaming table, you can’t take it with you like you can with your games, and there are few things more frustrating in a card game than trying to pick your cards up from a smooth tabletop (especially if you bite your nails!). It also damages the card edges.

You can solve this issue by using a play mat. There are various examples available for different games, but what makes a great gift is to have one custom made for your geek’s favourite game. Boardgamegeek.com is a great place to find fan-made templates, such as these superb designs for Arkham Horror: The Card Game by Paul Nojima.

Play Mat Holder (a.k.a. Retasked Wine Rack)

Wine never lasts that long in our house anyway…

It’s all very well getting your loved one a custom neoprene play mat, but most of their storage is geared around square(ish) game boxes. Just where do you put these things?

Play mats are becoming more and more popular, so storing the things is becoming more of an issue. This wine rack is the perfect solution.

Held in place by a couple of screws (there are holes for more should you want to use them – they’re not really that necessary), it can even lift off the wall/door/shelving unit easily for convenience.

 

Component Upgrades

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Component Upgrades

Metal coins for Scythe and component upgrades for Robinson Crusoe

If you have a favourite game, then after protecting it with some card sleeves and finding some custom storage or inserts for the components, sometimes the best way to give it some love is by upgrading the cardboard or plastic components to something a little more… bling?

Whether it’s some metal coins to replace cardboards ones, some tiny magnifying glasses to add something to your games in Arkham country, or some brains so that you don’t have to get the pencil out for games of Zombie Dice, it’s a great way to show your games and your geek some love!

Airbrush

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Airbrush

Nothing says a healthy hobby like dipping bits of dead squirrel into a pot containing the squeezings of other dead animals, eh?

In the 21st century we apply paint with air, not squirrels. It’ll save money on undercoat spray, and save your geek trying to seamlessly create gradients of colour with a brush. Boring!

Game Transport Box

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Game Transport Box

“’Ere mister, are you a DJ?” Nope, just a geek, mate. Just a geek.

If you want to see a grown geek cry, sit heavily on a stack of games boxes. If you love one, make sure it never ever happens to them by providing a way to carry their Preciouses to games night encased in plastic and metal.

There’s plenty of bespoke game transport ideas out there, but few offer the protection afforded by a good LP box, which has the advantage of a removable lid for easy access and instant DJ street cred.

Cajon Bag

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Cajon Bag

Go for the right hand one if you don’t want shoulder straps and want to select from your games without emptying the bag.

If the heavy duty case is a bit much for you, then how about this? A cajon is a box-shaped drum from Peru that you sit on and is handily about 30cmx30cm length/breadth – exactly the right size for the majority of big box games. At 50cm tall it should take five or six of your favourite titles.

With padding all over to keep your games safe from the odd knock, and handy shoulder straps, it really does look as though these bags were made for games rather than percussion instruments!

Dice Tower

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Dice Towers

Because vertical is the new horizontal. Apparently.

If space is at a premium, with your geek crouched behind a DM’s screen sharing space with rule books, maps, notes and the like, then a Dice Tower could be just the answer.

Get a boring, plain mdf one, or be utterly absurd and buy a replica motte and bailey castle. Or something acceptably in between. Better yet, check out our review of the Crytsal Twister for perhaps the best value, funky looking example on the market (with caveats, but you’ll have to read the review for that!).

Ziploc baggies

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Ziploc Baggies

Thankfully some games manufacturers have the decency to supply baggies to hold the thousands of counters that come with their products. Sadly many others think the bottom of a games box should be awash with punched cardboard (not mentioning names as it would be unfair on Fantasy Flight).

Yes, you may be eyed dubiously at the checkout as a suspected drugs peddler, but the blessed organisation you bring will be worth it.

Magazine Subscription

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Magazine Subscription

Whether it’s Tabletop Gaming, Spielbox, White Dwarf or Wargames Illustrated your geek will appreciate some reading material in between gaming sessions or simply when sitting on the loo.

By all means get a digital subscription, but nothing beats actually reading from printed paper, Olde Skoole style.

Adjustable Compartment Storage Boxes

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Adjustable Compartment Box

Okay so perhaps about as glamorous a gift as ziploc baggies, these containers will still put a smile on any geek’s face. Not only can you use the smaller types to store counters and tokens inside a game box, but the larger variety provide a great way to transport games for for holidays or games nights — the container in the image above contains a total of 9 complete games, and you could probably shoehorn a few more in too!

Novelty Dice

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Novelty Dice

When I was a lad, the most pimped out dice you could own were a set of Gem Dice, aka “transparent plastic”.

Nowadays you can get a set of dice to suit every mood or theme. Some hardly even look like dice anymore and others barely work as intended. But boy, do they look cool.

Miniatures Storage

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Miniatures Storage

Whether your geek is a veteran tabletop wargamer or has just bought a couple of games on Kickstarter, chances are they have several hundred miniatures stored in boxes that mostly contain air.

A miniatures case exchanges the air for protective foam, keeps a disparate collection organised, makes it all easily transportable and if they ever get around to being painted, will keep them free from damage and the envious, covetous eyes of fellow geeks.

Paints, Brushes, Glue etc

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Painting Supplies

Having loads of miniatures is all very well, but they look about a thousand times better on the table with a lick of paint. Find out what dried-out rubbish needs replacing (like any Games Workshop paints produced in the late 90s/early 00s) and pop a few pots in your geek’s stocking at Christmas.

Or just treat them to a huge box of every paint in a manufacturer’s range, because surely their happiness, and not your cash flow, is paramount?

 

Mechanical Pencils

Gifts For The Tabletop Gamer - Propelling Pencil

Back in the day they were called propelling pencils, for reasons not entirely clear to my youthful mind. Same difference anyway.

All RPG geeks use pencils for quick changes to character sheets, drawing maps and writing their hobbit’s journal. A propelling (yeah, deal with it) pencil is always sharp, has a consistent line width and a built in rubber. Bargain.

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2 Responses

  1. Chakat Firepaw

    You lead off with dice bags, but miss one of the best dice bags out there: The Crown Royal bag, which even comes with a bottle of whiskey.

    No, I’m not kidding: There are many gamers, especially Canadian ones, who have bought a bottle of whiskey to get the bag.

    Reply

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