Look, not everyone can drop $50-100 or more on board games as gifts. This year many people have lost jobs or seen reduced hours. We are lucky to be doing fine this Christmas, but we have had many handmade Christmases and lean years. We have always found a way to show our love to one another despite the situation. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Print and Play games are a great budget option. There are a few different places to get printable versions of games. Our personal favorite is PNP Arcade. You can see our post about the site here. You can choose how you want to produce the game you pick. You could print it in color or black and white. It could be laminated. You could hand make the game by copying out the PDF on whatever materials you have available. You can be creative with it and spend as much or as little as you like on it.
Board Game Arena is the most expensive item on this list. You can play for free, but for $24 you get an entire year of play with all the games. That is pocket change for the size game shelf you are providing. It includes some of our favorite games and we have found some new games we love too. You can play together on separate devices and over long distances. We play with friends and family 1200 miles away. If you want to come play with us, join our community AnM Gameschool.
Painting Minis is my personal favorite gift to give. I like to paint them, a lot. A couple of years ago I painted the Scythe minis for him for Christmas. I did the Rise of Fenris minis for him for valentine's day. You can see some of them in the photo above. I use the cheap craft paint from Walmart with a satin finish varnish on top, same brand. They look great on the board and, to be fair, some people get paid quite a bit to paint people's minis.
Custom RPGs are a really fun way to gift an experience. For father's day this year, the Kiddo made a single session (one shot) role playing game for his dad. It took a couple hours to play. They had a great time playing out the story of the beard thefts. He prepared the general story idea in advance as well as the character sheet. It was a great bonding experience. He is even planning on writing a short story about the events of the game to give him as a memento this Christmas. If you need some help getting started with RPGs, check out our post here. It includes some free role playing game options.
You can find all of our budget gaming posts here.