'Tis the season to recommend gifts to make your holiday shopping easier! This year, we at USgamer are taking a different approach to our video game gift guides. Instead of a handful of ideas from the staff, we're offering mega-focused gift guides for the sorts of people who you'll be shopping for this holiday season.
For this gift guide, we'll be helping you shop for The Person Who Loves to Throw Gaming Parties. It could be tabletop games, rounds of Jackbox, or even a more tight-knit couch co-op experience. These gifts are sure to help all your loved ones who love to host others, and maybe give you all something to play in the afternoon of whatever holiday you celebrate. So, without further ado...
Best Gaming Goods For Parties
NES Controller Doormat
For as soon as someone sets foot in the door, they know this is a cool household. This NES doormat copies the design of Nintendo's classic rectangular controller, which lends perfectly to the shape of a doormat. It's a nice home gift for the person in your life who finds themselves hosting hangouts, dinner parties, or just generally having people over a lot—because let's face it, some animals don't take off their shoes before walking into a house. This at least alleviates that.
Animal Crossing Coaster Set
Everyone who throws get-togethers at their place is also obsessed with coasters. (I know this, being one of them. Everyone loves a cool coaster set.) Some game merchandise is notoriously garish though, but luckily, that's where fan creators on sites like Etsy come in. These tasteful Animal Crossing coasters are as subtle as can get-hand painted by creator Zoe to look like the grass texture in Animal Crossing. It's cute, can go with just about any decor, and doesn't scream "video games," while also still being from video games. A win-win, in my book.
For beer enthusiasts, a good growler is essential. When not in use for housing obscene amounts of craft beer, a nice growler can look good on display somewhere. Bethesda's own official Vault-Tec Growler, inspired by Fallout, definitely fits in that category. It's a glass growler, so it's great for cooling off in the fridge before serving to a gaggle of friends at a house party. Maybe when your giftee touts it to a local brewery to get it filled up they'll get a compliment from a Fallout fan that catches the logo. You never know, but you could help your recipient be the talk of the beer nerd town. Alternatively: Bethesda also sells a steel Doom growler for $40.
Skyrim Bottle Opener
The Bethesda Gear store has more than just one potential great gift for the perennial host in your life: there's a pretty neat Skyrim bottle opener too. As someone who somehow owns too many bottle openers-from a Sailor Moon-themed one to just other, more boring ones-it's a fact that one can never own enough bottle openers. This Skyrim bottle opener has potential to be a great stocking stuffer too, if you're looking to gift to an older sibling or someone else in your immediate family who has a thirst for bottled beverages and slaying dragons, as one does in Skyrim. And the best part: It's magnetic, so they can keep it on their fridge at all times.
The Official Overwatch Cookbook
Video game cookbooks are all the rage. Fallout has one. World of Warcraft has one. Hearthstone has one. This year, both Overwatch and The Elder Scrolls got cookbooks too. Both are great options to get the gamer who loves to entertain guests with food in your life. Friend of the site Rebekah Valentine has even been cooking her way through the latter since earlier this year, if you want to see how those recipes look as a preview. The Overwatch cookbook, which released in October, has a mixture of drinks and full dishes inspired by the heroes and places of Overwatch.
Best Party Board Games
The Legend of Zelda Chess Set
Every household needs a chess set, so why not get a neat The Legend of Zelda-themed chess set for a loved one this holiday season? This Legend of Zelda chess set looks really classy too, with vinyl chess pieces representing Link and Ganon's sides, respectively. Who knows, maybe this can be the game where Ganon remains undefeated. The nice looking box itself would look nice on any board game shelf or coffee table.
Minecraft: Builders and Biomes
Builders and Biomes is a new Minecraft-themed board game developed by Ravensburger in collaboration with Mojang itself. It's a strategy game for up to four players, with blocks to build structures on the board itself. A round of Builders and Biomes will reportedly take 30 to 60 minutes, and it has a recommended age of 10+, making it a great purchase for someone who has kids, and maybe hosts playdates from time to time. It's a new release too, just out this mid-November, making it a pleasant surprise as a gift for the holidays.
Resident Evil 2: The Board Game
Resident Evil 2: The Board Game started off as a Kickstarter project, long before even the Resident Evil 2 remake made its refreshed world premiere in 2018 before it's release at the top of 2019. Likewise, the Resident Evil 2: The Board Game also released in the early months of 2019, with a complex ruleset, up to four player fun, and some gnarly zombie miniatures in tow. It's a longer experience, lasting 90-120 minutes allegedly, but for the hosts among your shopping list for the holidays that get really into board game nights (and happen to be Resident Evil fans too), the Resident Evil 2 board game will have them squealing (or screaming) in delight.
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of those board games you might catch out of the corner of your eye at a friend's house, and immediately be enamored by what it is based on its spooky artwork on the box. It's another great board game to gift this season too, because it hosts about 3-6 players in total—the perfect amount of guests for a dinner party that wants to wind down with a fun board game. It's a devilish co-op game (until it isn't), with tons of replayability. Your giftees will find themselves reaching for it time and time again.
Super Mario Bros. Monopoly
Everyone hates Monopoly, but everyone owns at least one addition of Monopoly. If you know someone that for some reason does not own any Monopoly, perhaps this Super Mario Bros.-themed edition will be what they need? They'll surely thank you through gritted teeth, knowing the game will never leave their possession. In their will, they might even gift it back to you, as revenge. Or they might actually be grateful, you never know! If you want to get a loved one some other themed Monopoly, then check out our friends at Jelly Deals' own Monopoly buying guide for alternatives.
This gift is maybe less for the adult that likes to throw parties in your life, and more for the kid that goes to a lot of friends' parties (or their parents arrange playdates accordingly). Minecraft UNO is the card game classic, only with Minecraft characters on it. It's still the same UNO-fun, and would make for a great stocking stuffer for your son, daughter, niece, nephew, random kid you associate with. Whoever, as long as they like Minecraft. Alternatively, you can also get someone BTS Uno, just to spread the Army love.
Monikers is the best game to play if someone has a lot of people over, as it's catered to large groups, and only takes about 30 minutes to play. It's playable for parties of 4-12 players, but even that cap of 12 is a soft cap. Anyone can play, really. In Monikers, players pull a card, and then each round there are different rules for telling clues about what or who they are. The first round lets the player say whatever they want as a hint, round two lets you say one word, and round three devolves into charades. If the person you want to gift Monikers already owns it, or you want to really splurge on their gift, you can also pick up one of Monikers' standalone expansion packs too.
Some Very Nice D&D Dice
For a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast, getting them a nice pair of dice is always appreciated. It's the sort of thing no one really buys for themselves (unless, y'know, they're really into running tabletop campaigns). And on Etsy, it's a gold mine of really unique looking dice that people sometimes handcarve themselves. Maybe you can pick up some dice that are so nice that they merely just put them on display somewhere. Regardless, we love this smokey black dice from Etsy creator Eric. Alternatives that also look slick rolling onto a table or put on a shelf: these hand-carved green fluorite dice are on the expensive side but they look incredible, while these autumnal dice give a warm fall feeling, for folks whose favorite season will have just passed by when the holidays roll around. Also, if you want to get them an ultimate D&D starter's kit, this guide will help you check off your shopping list.
The Best Couch Co-Op Games Of 2019
Jackbox Party Pack 6
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Apple TV
Jackbox games are the best party video games around. What makes them the best is that they're available on virtually every platform, and people play it by logging into the match's room through their web browser. Most Jackbox games host upwards of six players, which makes them great for big groups too. This year's Jackbox Party Pack is definitely weaker than past years-the heights are Jackbox Party Pack 5 and 3 for sure-but if a friend or relative still hasn't picked up this year's edition, it's worth the gift. Joke Boat and Trivia Murder Party 2 are the highlights of this party game bundle.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
I recommended Man of Medan in our Halloween game round-up earlier this year in October, but I reckon it's a game folks should pick up still. If you know someone who was a fan of Until Dawn, or at the very least is into Telltale-like adventure games, then Man of Medan would be a swell present because of how it combines that particular brand of choice-driven storytelling with... co-op parties. Man of Medan is engineered with couch co-op immediately in mind, letting players pick and choose characters they control over its short story. With Black Friday coming up to, Man of Medan is already planned to be heavily discounted, making this an easy budget-friendly purchase too.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Heave Ho has become one of the breakout couch co-op games of the year, and it's easy to see why: it's hilarious. In it, up to four players work together (or don't) to make it across horrible levels. You grab onto one another, try to build up momentum, and swing. Also, there's a fart button that can propel yourself, and a teammate, to victory or demise. I've never not played it while somehow laughing so hard that I end up crying. The only hangup is that Heave Ho's a digital only game, so it might be a bit harder to gift-if anything, you can get someone a gift card, or a code specifically, and print it out to slide into a card that way. For the party thrower in your life: Heave Ho is an essential addition to anyone's library.
Ring Fit Adventure
Ring Fit Adventure isn't solely a party game, as its main goal is to get players exercising. Nonetheless, it's a pretty fun party game when you gather friends around, and challenge to best one another in its fun minigames. Everyone will surely be sweaty and exhausted by the end of it-so it's perfect for cracking open that last bottle of wine as a party cools down and people start to trickle home. Be careful who you gift Ring Fit Adventure to though: they might think it's a rude hint to force them to get into an exercise routine or something.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
This Wii U original finally came to the Switch at the start of this year. It's a side-scrolling Super Mario Bros. game like the classics, only it's in 3D and supports up to four-player co-op. Thanks to the ease of the Switch's Joy-Cons, it's easy to pop more than one player into the Mario-led platformer. This isn't the sort of party game that will get your party roaring with laughter like Heave Ho or a Jackbox Party Pack, nor will it make enemies out of your friends like any board game, but it's a welcome addition for a host who might search for a more chill game to play with a quiet get together. And what better gang than Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad to accompany them? Another plus: it's one of the rare Nintendo games I've seen already discounted within a year. It's not much, but it's not $60.