Let’s face it: board gamers are a group of people who look easy to buy for but can be a special kind of challenge. Sometimes the board gamer you’re shopping for is a consummate collector who immediately buys or backs any and every game, meaning it’s super hard to find them a gift that they don’t already have. Worst still is the board game curator, whose tastes are so discerning that finding a game they’d like is extremely challenging. It’s great if they not so subtlety tell you want they want (*cough* Viktorias Box from Wyrd *cough*) but even then, buying the exact thing that a person asks for can feel impersonal.
So here’s the solution: half-handmade gifts! Buying something and putting a little extra effort into it to make it personal is an excellent way to give a unique, thoughtful, and special gift. Like a batch of scratch-made cookies, gifts like this are sure to please but take more effort than simply buying them ready-made from the store.
An Expansion For A Beloved Game With Handmade & Personalized Accessories
If you know someone has a fondness for a particular game, picking up the expansion or a deluxe version of the game for them is a lovely and thoughtful gift. To go with that kind of purchase, consider crafting some fantastic accessories to upgrade the standard cardboard tokens in the box. One easy craft version: replace cardboard potion tokens and coins.
You can make more substantial coins using Fimo, a circle cutter and some metallic paint. Just roll out the Fimo, cut your circles, press the value on the coin using a stamp or other implement of your choosing (or not, if you so choose), bake according to the directions and drybrush the coin (a technique I’ve written about previously) with some paint to get a metallic effect. If you want to get real fancy, you can carve an imprint of your giftee’s silhouette and stamp the coins with it (before or after baking).
If you want to snazz up some cardboard potions, grab a pack of tiny glass bottles (available in the scrapbooking section of most hobby stores), fill them with some clear Elmer’s glue or super glue, add some dye, ink, paint, or even food colouring, stir it up with a toothpick and let the glue set inside the bottle before gluing in the cork. You can see this done similarly in a tutorial for a necklace charm from geeky crafter and Geek & Sundry vlogger Paul Mason, whose tutorial is completely applicable–just leave out the jewellery-specific parts.
An Organizer For a Beloved Game, Pre-Built and Ready To Go
If you know someone who loves a game and has all its expansions (and has crammed those expansions into a box so the inside looks like a hot crazy mess), a box organizer that has room for the core game and its expansions is the perfect gift. Many box organizers, like the awesome ones from Broken Token, come flat and laser cut. Not a lot of people open up their organizer with excitement, joyous about how they get to build their organizer instead of playing the game that it’s made for.
The handmade part? Spending the time to actually build their organizer for them. Put together the organizer, pack it in a box, and you’re good to go. Or, if you’re looking to have even more fun, you can “borrow” their game, organize it by putting it into the inserts for them, wrap it up, and gift it back to them, with the box organizer inside and all nifty looking.
The Gift Of Painting
You know me: I’m compelled to talk about painting games whenever I get the chance. Whether it’s “borrowing” a game to paint some specific components (and gifting them with a paint set so they can finish the job) or buying an expansion for a game and personalizing it for them, getting a painted figure, character, or set for a beloved game is a lovely gift indeed.
Don’t be intimidated by the process: we’ve written 5 tips to miniature painting that will get you painting those minis perfect for gift giving in no time at all.
What do you think of half-handmade gifts? Have you gotten one yourself? Let us know in the comments!
Teri Litorco loves giving tabletop gamers tips, so much so that she wrote a tabletop gamer’s survival guide, The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming, full of tips and tricks for all gamers. She also is a social media oversharer, so you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube (where she loves posting tutorial videos for painting miniatures.)