D20 Holiday Gift Guide-Trading Card Games
This guide is our best, most honest recommendations for gifts for the Magic or Pokemon player in your life; based on interest, experience level/age (and budget).
Parents cheat sheet:
TCG or CCG (Trading Card Games/Collectible Card Games)
Magic, Pokémon, h are all are what are known as collectible card games. (Think collecting baseball cards, where you could actually play those better cards in a game.) The games are in their simplest form like the old card game War, where players put down two cards and the higher one wins. Each player has a starting amount of life, and they play cards used to attack, defense and respond to try and get the other player to zero (or in the case of Pokémon, to get 6 of the other players Pokémon to get to sleep). What is interesting about the game is that the cards themselves add and modify the rules of the game, creating an evolving set of game play. (That’s why the kids get excited about the new set of cards as they come out, each set adds new possibilities that they can puzzle out.)
From the parent’s point of view, the aspects of the games that are good are encouraging reading, math, and logic skills. BTW…ignore the age recommendations on the boxes…Magic is listed as 13+ and Yugioh is 6+…whoever set those levels clearly had no clue about the reality of kids. Pokémon is the usual game that starts kids playing, and it is very common for them to just enjoy collecting the cards without having a clue how to play it. Don’t worry…very normal. We do a Pokémon League on Saturdays where the kids get points for playing and actually get double points for helping the younger/new players figure it out. It’s good to eventually get them to learn how to play the game, because that is when they will start reading the card for real and to start working on the math that is part of playing the game.
It is also good for creating opportunities to learn fair play, though that benefits a lot from our help. Some of the rarest cards can end up being valuable ($100 or more), so talk to your kids about keeping them safe at school, as well as being both careful and fair in their trading with others. Keeping their cards in sleeves (usually between $3.5-$5 a pack) and in a deck box with their name on it ($3-5) will both keep the value of the cards intact and make it less likely for their cards to get mixed up with other kids by accident.
Players (kids and others) love opening up the packs, with that anticipation of finding some treasure within. The individual packs are very fun as stocking suffers or small gifts, but have the possibility of being a disappointing choice as a primary gift, particularly on the Yugioh side where a box of 24 packs only comes with 9 of the “super” and above cards that the players get excited about. See the list below for better choices.
The recommendations below are from our staff (and me) and are our best, most honest advice.
Pokémon (age 6-up)
|Just Collecting for fun|
|Good||Bundle boxes||$10-20 each||These have a number of booster packs and either a full art cool card, little Album or toy figure that matches the cool card. These are great for little kids…lot of “oh, ahh” per inch and there is at least one great card in each. For little girls, the Keldeo box will make their heads explode from the sheer cuteness of it. (this from the dad of an 8 year old girl)|
|New/learning players (6 and up)|
|Good||Pokémon Intro decks||$12.99-13.99||When they first start to play, they really need a deck that has been built for them that works together well. If you want to play with them (which is actually pretty fun), get a second one. (Dad advice…get a set of sleeves for each deck so when the cards get spilled all over, it’s easier to get them back to be usable.)|
|Knows how to play|
|Better||Hidden Fates Pin packs||$21.99||These big stocking stuffers have 3 packs and a bonus card. The Hidden Fates is a more rare set that has been hard to find.|
|Best||Hidden Fates Collections||$79.99-120||These boxes have special rare promo cards and sets of the Hidden Fates Packs. We have about 10 in stock.|
|Better||Pokemon Tins-boxes||$21.99-27.99||These latest tin’s contain Ex (really good) versions of some of the best cards as well as a number of booster packs.|
|Better||Ultropro Premium Side loading binders||$24-29||These binders load the cards from the sides instead of the tops. Because of that, the cards don’t fall out and it is much harder for other light fingers to take things out without being noticed|
|Best||Full art Single cards or Ex-Cards or a box of boosters||$15-50 for the singles, $110 for the booster box (36 boosters)||If you know the cool card they are looking for, we can usually help. Otherwise, get them a gift certificate so they can come in and really trick out their decks. Or get them a full box of boosters. While no one really knows what is in each booster, generally each box has a few of the prized full art cards and they WILL be happy. Let us know if you want these since we don’t always have a lot in stock.|
|Single Packs.||$ 4 each||More fun for new players or kid collectors then advanced players. The more advanced the player the more they will be happy if the pack has good stuff and otherwise it’s a scratcher. Good for stocking stuffers only.|
|Card Protectors (Sleeves)||$3.50-$5||Price is based on style and maker. Keep cards protected and from getting mixed up with other players-They come in units of 50 which is dumb since the decks are 60. (We try and keep extra sleeves to make up for this…)|
|Pokémon Binders||$4-9||Either smaller 4 card per page or larger 9 card per page binders, always a good choice, particularly for younger players.|
|Deck boxes||$3-5||Available with lots of colors and styles, pick their favorite|
Magic The Gathering
Background: There is a new set of Magic cards printed every 3 months, with some special sets printed in between. They are all still part of the same game.
|Good||Intro Packs||$15||60 card pre-made, ready to play decks and a booster pack. The decks are good for playing with other players, but not good for learning from scratch.|
|Better||Deck Builder’s Toolkit||$20||A great mini-collection for new players (and one that kids particularly love). Contains 125 semi-random cards good for building decks, 4 booster packs from recent Magic sets, 100 basic land cards, deck-builder’s guide and learn to lay guide, and a storage box.|
|Very cool||Holiday Gift Box||$20-25||4 Return to packspacks, a special bonus card and the coolest storage box we’ve ever seen. This is a great goodie for any Magic player.|
|Beginners and Intermediate Players|
|Best||Fat-Pack Buldles||$42.99-54.99||Special box with 9 booster-packs, land, life counting die, and most fun for the kids, a full color booklet that shows all the cards in the set as well as having the backstory for the series and some special hints and combinations. (Unfortunately most of these were lost in the theft so we won’t have as many as usual.)|
|Good||Draft Gift Certificate||$15||Gift certificate for one of our Draft events. Good for Friday Night Magic or the kid’s Date Night Magic, these events include three packs of cards and an evening playing with the decks built from them. Lots of fun for kids from 9-14 or for experienced players ready for the big time on Fridays.|
|Better||Izzet vs. Golgari dual decks||$30||Two great decks in one package. We only have a few left|
|Better||Magic Event Decks||$20-40||These are interesting collections of competitive cards. We have these from a number of sets.|
|Stocking Stuffers/Small Gift ideas|
|Single Packs.||$ 4 each||Always fun to open, Return to Ravnica is the latest, M13 is a good staple and there are great cards in the Innistrad set.|
|Card Protectors (Sleeves)||$3.50-$5||Price is based on style and maker. Keep cards protected and from getting mixed up with other players|
|Deck boxes||$3-5||Available with lots of colors and styles, pick their favorite|
|HUGE D20 Life counting dice||$8||An oversized 20 sided die used to keep count of life totals. Available in the 5 different magic colors.|
|Box of Mini-dice||$7-12||These mini-dice are loved by experienced player to use for counters on the cards|
|Play-mats||$16-20||Providing a great surface to play on, these mats come in a number of great designs.|