D20 Holiday Gift Guide-Trading Card Games
This guide is our best, most honest recommendations for gifts for the holidays; based on interest, experience level/age (and budget).
Parents cheat sheet:
TCG or CCG (Trading Card Games/Collectible Card Games)
Magic and Pokémon, 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+ …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, since they are only “good” if they happen to have good cards in them. 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 function|
|Good||Mini Binders, Pokeballs, and tins||$13-35 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. This is full of great stuff and really big, so it will open well for max under the tree happy factor.|
|Better||Tins and “Boxes”(Collections)||$25.99–49.99||All of these have an Ex, Gx, V, etc (the cards they are looking to get in the packs) as well as a bunch of packs to open. Great “Yay” factor for kits|
|Better||Elite Trainer Kits||$19.99-24.99||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||$24-49||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-$8.99 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. There are Pokemon special packs up|
|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||$11.99-28.99||Either smaller 4 card per page or larger 9 card per page binders, always a good choice, particularly for younger players.|
|Deck boxes||$3-7||Available with lots of colors and styles, pick their favorite|
Magic The Gathering
|Good||Binders||$17-40||Place to put the cards players want to trade.|
|Better||Commander Decks||$35-89||Most popular way to play magic these days. 100 card decks all set and ready to player.|
|Best||Fat-Pack/bundles||$40-89||Special box with 8-10 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.|
|From the Vaults Sets||$49.99-169||Special Limited sets of foil version of classic cards. These are limited edition sets. We currently have From the Vault Angels (69.99 on sale), Annihilation ($49.99) and a few From the Vault 20 ($159)|
|Booster Boxes||$120-$259||Booster box of 36 packs of any of the sets of boosters we have in stock.|
|Stocking Stuffers/Small Gift ideas|
|Single Packs.||$ 4-29.99 each||Always fun to open, from $3.99 Magic Packs up to $29.99 that we usually try and discurage the kids from buying with their own money, but make GREAT stocking stuffers.|
|Card Protectors (Sleeves)||$3.50-$10||Price is based on style and maker. Keep cards protected and from getting mixed up with other players|
|Deck boxes||$3-6||Available with lots of colors and styles, pick their favorite|
|Box of Mini-dice||$15-20||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.|