Ultimate Board Game Gift Guide

This article is here to help you buy an awesome board game-related gift for your friend, colleague or loved one.  If you are new to the hobby of tabletop gaming, or just looking to buy a gift for someone that is, we here at Polyhedron Collider, are going to help you out.

We’ll have suggestions for various budgets and we’ll try to cover all corners of tabletop gaming.  However, we won’t be making suggestions to go and buy the latest and hottest game as buying games themselves for someone else can be quite delicate and can be highly subjective.  Instead, the aim here is to suggest tabletop game adjacent products that will enhance and complement a current collection.

Important to mention that we are not affiliated with any of the companies listed here.  Polyhedron Collider has not and will not receive anything should you choose to follow any of these suggestions or links.  Everything listed here is based on our own experience and personal wish lists. 

Board Game Blinging:

Let’s start with making a favourite game even better.  Boardgames have lots of bits, whether that’s plastic, card, wood or metal.  Some games do come with fantastic production, especially in the era of Kickstarter games, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be improved.  Boardgames are produced to look great and the tactility of tabletop gaming is a cornerstone of what makes the hobby so enjoyable for so many.  That being said, anything that can be done to upscale how a game looks and feels is going to reinvigorate that game.   

Bling my Game

Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Bling

For this boardgame gift idea to really work you’ll need to do a little ground work.  First off, you are going to want to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and pimping a game they enjoy.  After that, it’s a little bit of browsing the internet, but here are some shortcuts:

Check out the publisher’s website, some publishers have their upgrades for a game and these are usually very high quality.

Various Upgrade Stores - it's worth checking them all out for quality and price, simply go to the site and search for the game

Check out the publisher’s website, some publishers have their own upgrades for a game and these are usually very high quality.
Various Upgrade Stores - its worth checking them all out for quality and price, simply go to the site and search for the game
Etsy (try not to get distracted).  There are loads of folks out there now with laser cutters and 3D printers who have turned their board game hobby into a side business and here you can take advantage of their hard work.  For the best results ensure you add BOARD GAME to your search. 

Generic Upgrade Kits

Another option in this vein are more generic upgrade kits/components that can be used for a variety of games (again, you may have to have some knowledge of the games for this gift to pay off)

Metal Coins
Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Metal Coins

Most games make use of coins, and in the vast majority of cases, these are printed on cardboard and upgrading these is an easy win.

You can use any of the previously mentioned Board Game Blingers (technical term) and search for metal coins but another to put on your gift shopping radar are:

A slightly different take on this is the Iron Clays from Roxley games, these are fancy  poker chips essentially designed for use with board games

Box Organisers
Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Board Game Organiser

Box organisers/box inserts are probably the safest bet on this list, I don’t think there is a gamer out there who would not want their game easier and faster to set up or put away, to be stored more neatly.  Let’s face it, you’ve seen their board game shelf, and how neatly arranged it is, now let’s put that same type of organisation inside one of their favourite games.

As with the pimping you’ll need to do a little bit of leg work here, as not all insert manufacturers make inserts for the same games, conversely, they may all do a box insert (more likely for the very popular games) so you’ll have to judge which you think is best.
  • Broken Token these inserts/replacement boxes are all laser-cut wood, so putting these together will also require wood glue and a rubber mallet (which also make for very confusing gifts), but the downside is that these are a lot heavier.
  • Folded Space is probably the cheapest option, made from foam core all you need is a bit of PVA glue to assemble these (or you can order them ready-built for a little extra) but these are incredibly robust and don’t have the downside of the added weight.
  • Laserox is similar to Broken Toke, these are laser-cut ply, the difference here though is that these all have little decorative flourishes on them - you’ll understand when you take a look.
  • e-Raptor The USP for e-Raptor: graphical inserts, so even when the insert is out on the table it looks good, not just plain wood or foam core.
  • Destroyers made with HDF (High Density Fiberboard) so it has high strength but is a little lighter than plywood.  Also, Dicetroyers are making huge steps to be greener and more environmentally friendly by only sourcing wood from European woodlands with controlled reforestation management. 
  • Etsy again, those folks with 3D Printers are putting them to good  use making all manner of inserts.  Just type the name of the game with “box insert” at the end and see what you get.  This is great for smaller, less well-known games too if you can’t find the game you are looking for in the list above.

Playmats
Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Table Mats

Play/Game Mats are great for a number of reasons, chiefly among those reasons is that playing at a table with a game mat makes you feel like a boss.  Second, it’s just nice, cards and components are just that little easier to pick up and it looks cool.

You can buy game mats for specific games, or you can buy generic mats, or even have a custom design put on them.  The below list should get you started:
   
Patriot Games (As pictured above over Sid's dinning room table)

Again Etsy/eBay are your friends here too for smaller, independent businesses, a few that stood out to me are:
Rollin Mats - great if you want a specific mat for a game

If you are on a bit more of a budget the oversized TITANWOLF Mouse Mat (from Amazon) is a fantastic option and comes in at about 25 rips.

Miniature Painting

You can’t paint a miniature without paints, but it’s a bit of a minefield and there are a lot of choices out there. Several companies cater for miniature painting and they all have their pros and cons. Games Workshop (Citadel) are probably the most well-known, but they’re not the only one. The Army Painter and Vallejo are also big names in the painting game and each company offers a starter set for those new to the hobby.

As a starting point, you’ll need some decent base colours, a wash or two and perhaps a metallic for weapons. Thankfully most of the main paint makers have got you covered and all for less than 30 rips.

Paints
Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Paints

Just copy and paste the below into your search engine of choice to find a reasonable local retailer:
Army Painter Starter Set (10 paints + brush)
Vallejo Basic Colors Paint set (16 paints)
Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments Adventurers Paint Set (10 paints + brush)
Warhammer 40,000: Paints + Tools Set (13 paints, brush and tools)

So which one to get? Honestly, they’re all similar but if I had to choose one I’d recommend the Vallejo set. Not only do you get more paints for your money, but Vallejo is also regarded by many professionals as the best overall. The big downside to the Vallejo set is that there’s no wash (ink/shade) included so you’ll need to get one or two so you can shade those all-important recesses.

Brushes

The other thing you need to paint minis is a brush or two. You can get all kinds of brushes and as a starting point, you’ll want a brush that will be your workhorse. I find a size 2 suits my needs there. You’ll also want a brush with a good tip to it since that’s more important for detail than the actual brush size. A size 1 would also suffice to begin with. You’ll also want a brush for finer detail, so a size 0 or 00 is ideal for such things. Leave the ten-0 for later when you’re brave enough to tackle eyeballs.

You may see miniature brushes in some places with fatter handles – they’re good for control as they’re easy to hold. Something like this set: The Army Painter Wargamer Most Wanted Brush Set (3 brushes) is a great starting set and it’ll cover all the bases.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then you might want to add some drybrushes to your arsenal, although a cheap flat brush would do just as well (and I can’t recommend these highly enough): The Army Painter | Masterclass Drybrush Set (3 brushes)

If you want to go all-in, then consider Kolinsky Sable brushes which are widely regarded as “the best” for acrylic painting – the bristles hold the paint well and it flows easily too, but be warned, they aren’t cheap. A few examples are:

Rosemary and Co (Series 33, Series 56 and Series 8)
Windsor & Newton

Our personal recommendation for brushes is Rosemary & Co brushes as they’re good quality and not too pricey. Plus with sensible brush care (see below), they can last a long time.   

Accessories
Polyhedron Collider Ultimate Board Gamer Gift Guide - Painting Accessories

So you’ve got your paints and brushes, so you’re good to go right? Well…mostly. Whilst none of the following is essential, you may find them useful, especially if you’ve already started painting and find you need something else to make painting more convenient. 

With the below, again copy these into a search engine and have a look at the option that best fits you:

Paint and Brush Racks 

There is going to be a lot of paint around, if not now, then very soon and a paint rack is not only a great way to keep them organised but also to keep them out of the way neatly when they are not in use.
Brush Racks or holders are great too, yes, you can use an old jam jar, but having your expensive fancy brushes on display like they are samurai swords is better.

Paint Rack recommendation:  - TTCombat Paint Rack
Brush Rack recommendation just search for “Miniature Sword Rack Paintbrush Holder” (Note, most paint racks do come with a brush holder, this is for extra bling)

Paint Mixer/Shaker for Miniature Paints

Some paints need a vigorous mix before use, especially if they’ve been sat dormant for a while in your paint rack (👆🏻) and yes, you can do it by hand but wouldn’t it be cool if you had a machine to do it for you (plus you can pretend to be in CSI now too).  Our recommendation: Mini Vortex Mixer

Brush Cleaner

If you’ve spent some money on paint brushes, it’s worth spending a little more to make sure they remain in the best possible condition and clean water will only get you so far.  Our recommendation: General Pencil The Master's Brush Cleaner & Preserver-1oz.

Painting Handle

This little device just makes painting miniatures easier and is well worth the investment.  Our recommendation: Games Workshop - Citadel Colour Painting Handle (Mk2)

Self-Healing Table Mat

Painting and working with any miniatures can be messy, so a mat is a great way to keep everything tidy, plus, the kids can use it for arts and crafts when no one is painting miniatures.  There’s no specific recommendation here because a table mat is just that, find one that best fits your space.

Wet Palette

If you want to go full “profesh” a wet palette is key.  Although these are very easy to DIY, if you are buying a gift you might as well buy a wet palette  Our recommendation: The Army Painter Wet Palette.


And that about wraps it up (pun intended), we hope this has helped inspire you to get a great gift, but please do let us know in the comments if we've missed something or if you've received or bought what you think is an excellent game gift, that we can update this article, help more people (not to mention pass off your ideas as our own 😉)

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