Stop shopping for your card gamer until you've read this guide - Everything you need to know about getting your card gamer the best gift possible.
Knowing what to get your special person who happens to love card games can be an overwhelming task. Take it from a lifelong collector and gamer, there is no gift that will make them feel more understood than the right card, or card-related, gift.
Before you read on, it's important to note that we are not sponsored, partnered, or paid in any way by the recommendations below. That said, here you go, mom.
If you happen to know who your gamer's favorite artist is, you can go beyond all expectations and snag them a unique gift that will be sure to rock their socks. Artists that make art for games like Magic: the Gathering, often have a social media presence and a site where they sell art. Some artists, not all, will sell their artist proofs and for some extra $$$, they will draw something on the blank back and sign them. If this option is too expensive, picking up a print of their favorite art would surely make them love you forever. Some artists will sell playmats showcasing their art and will sometimes sign them.
If you're up for the task, painting your own alterations to a card is a very inexpensive way to give your collector the card of their dreams. With the help of a few videos and online tutorials, you can make something they will love forever.
There is a lot of room for creativity with this option. For people that play often, a playmat is an indispensable tool. Generally, a playmat is a 14" x 24" rubber mouse-pad-like item that protects cards from the table and makes cards easier to pick up. They come in different sizes, with different art, and are even customizable at inkedgaming.com (there are other options for custom jobs as well). Imagine a playmat with your picture, or of their doge/cat, or some inside joke- You can't go wrong.
Ok, it's not what you're thinking. Secret Lair is an official Magic: the Gathering product that is only released periodically. The cards contained within are generally highly sought after and only available for a very limited time. Speaking of time, Secret Lairs take several months to be shipped so if you get one now, it won't get to your gamer for a couple of months. You could always forward them the confirmation email and let them know it's on the way. The latest "drop" for October 2021, has cards depicting characters from Stranger Things (an IP crossover)- here. You probably can't go wrong with getting one of these as a gift for your MTG player. They range in price from $29.99 plus shipping to several hundreds of dollars. They are only available to addresses in the US.
Nothing shows a person you care about them more than taking the time to learn about something they love. The games are usually not as difficult to learn as you might think and you might actually enjoy them!
While gift cards are usually a cop-out, this one actually stands the best chance of getting your cardphile exactly what they want. Card gamers typically need specific cards to complete their decks or their collections. While it's nice to crack some packs every now and then, the chances of getting something you need from a pack are extremely low. Hence the gift card allows them to buy exactly what they want.
TCG player is a massive peer-to-peer and business-to-customer platform that allows players and stores the ability to exchange cards and card periphery in one convenient place. Because of the volume of transactions, the prices on TCG Player are generally better than anywhere else and it's much easier to find exactly what you want. It beats out eBay where you have to sift through unrelated listings and unguided condition guesses.
Sometimes it feels good to rock a shirt or hoodie that represents the game you love. There are several official vendors that have products specifically for Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, and more.
Deck boxes are universally needed by gamers and sometimes by collectors. If you're looking for something that is great quality and will last a while check out the Ultimate Guard collection. Their boxes are on the higher end of prices but they are worth it. I've used Ultimate Guard boxes for over five years and they are the best. Boxes range from that of a single deck all the way up to boxes for 800 double-sleeved cards. They feel great, look great and they last. No matter which brand or type you go with, avoid anything made by Ultra Pro.
Binders are not for everyone. Generally, the collector, not the player is more interested in having a way to showcase their collection in a portable way. Sometimes the player is a collector and vice versa but either way, binders should be low on your list of cool gifts for your card person. Dragon Shield makes some interesting binders though I have never used them personally. Dragon Shield sells their pages separately from the binder and that makes me not want to buy them. VaultX and Ultimate Guard make a comparable product that zips up and has up to four slots per row. The advantage to these brands is that they can hold sleeved cards which is important. The old Ultra Pro 9-pockets won't cut it for the gamer and they won't provide much protection for the collector.
Sleeves are tricky. Every competitive player is required to have sleeves but most players have a brand preference and also a style- Solid colors or dragon graphics? Inner sleeves or none? I can only offer limited guidance here which is: do not buy Ultra Pro sleeves and if they have a color your recipient will enjoy, KMC makes the most durable sleeves out there. Ultra Pro has mastered the production of incredibly poor quality products that break apart, split and tear. It's not uncommon for them to have to be replaced before the end of a single tournament- I have officiated numerous events where a disappointed player is forced to swap sleeves because their Ultra Pros split apart. Dragon Shields are not quite as good as KMC but they will get the job done and they have really sweet graphics.
While most card games use dice indirectly (like for tracking life or marking cards with counters), they are useful to have. Dice come in several shapes, colors, and sizes but every player should have some handy. Etsy and Kickstarter have been great places to find unique dice. I picked up some led-flashing dice a few years back that still gets a reaction every time they're rolled. Some sweet dice in a nice dice bag will be sure to make any card-gamer grin. On the note of Kickstarters, some can take months or even a year to deliver.
Some games require life tracking. While there are a number of apps that can do this for you, I really enjoy an eco-friendly way of writing it out. Ultimate Guard makes a life pad that clears between games- saving paper and the battery of your phone. There are cheaper alternatives on eBay and Amazon but you will get what you pay for.
There are some really cool books out there for Pokemon and MTG that are incredible to flip through and bring back nostalgia for the seasoned player/collector. They are usually inexpensive and really fun to admire and own.
I once received some Magic: the Gathering coasters that a friend of mine made. They have nothing to do with playing the game but they are super cool and thoughtful. You might find something like this on Etsy or maybe you can make something yourself!
I don't recommend that you buy your collector/gamer packs. Since new product is released constantly, it is almost impossible to know for sure which is the correct set from which to buy. For this reason, unless you know your giftee loves getting packs and doesn't care about getting anything specific, I would recommend avoiding buying packs, preconstructed decks, bundles, etc. The clear exception to this is if they are casual players or new to their game.
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