Admit it, board games and pen-and-paper RPGs are niche hobbies, yet this slight obscurity causes the ranks of their fandom to be filled with passionate people. So what's a player to do when the larger geek community fails to recognize the analog side of gaming? The only option is to take matters into their own hands.
The board game evangelist is a common sight, turning friends and family members into card-carrying, dice-toting gaming geeks. No time is he more active than during the holiday season, where a well thought out gift can easily spread the love of hobby gaming. However, a dud can solidify a permanent distaste for the hobby, so follow me and I'll provide the perfect gift ideas for the future gaming converts in your life.
The Potential Roleplayer: Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game Box Set
The Mouse Guard RPG may be a simplified version of the Burning Wheel system, applied to a setting filled with small furry creatures, but don't call it a kid's game. Based on the comic series of the same name, the Mouse Guard RPG is a game that bucks the trend of most roleplaying games where success is typically measured in levels and loot.
Instead, Mouse Guard has meaningful character creation (where even the slightest background details directly tie into your character's stats) and you will be rewarded for playing your character according to a list of their beliefs and instincts.
This deluxe boxed set includes plenty of newbie-friendly tools, such as a rule book that coaches the player through running a game, and equipment and status cards that simplify the process of character management. This is the only game where I would feel comfortable telling a player who had absolutely zero roleplaying experience that they could run the game, making it the perfect gift for groups with no veteran guide.
Runners-up: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box, Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: The Essential Starter (Red Box)