'Tis the season for gift giving and gift getting. 'Tis also the season for wondering what to get for those special folks in your life (maybe including yourself, since the sales are pretty terrific these days). In keeping with our helpful attitude here at Gamesopedia, here are some on-line board game gift guides and what they're all about to help you on your quest. This is not a directory of Gift Guides, nor even a "recommended" list (although I do recommend some of them). It's more of a "sampler" - a variety of resources to get you started.

Here at Gamesopedia, we're all about helping people find great games to play. This includes telling folks about classics, popular mass-market games, hobby games and so on. We also want to help you sort out the amazing amount of game information on the web. We want to answer these questions:

• What websites have the most useful and current information?

• Where can I get advice on making a game purchase or finding a gift?

• Can I rely on the reviews I find on the Internet?

• Can I find out how to play a game on the web?

• How can I meet up with local people to play some games?

To get this Internet adventure started, I just typed “board games” in the Google search window to see what would come up. I wasn't too surprised to see Amazon.com at the top of the list of 486,000,000 results. So I clicked it to see how helpful it might be.

As I expected, landing on the Amazon web page was like walking into a game store with no employees. The page reported that there are “38,044 results for Toys & Games : Games : Board Games.” Wow. Its a game store, and though there are some computer-generated “related products” and “search filters,” its primary purpose is to sell you stuff.

On the left of the page at Amazon are some helpful filters to refine my shopping experience - Age Range, Gender, Game Type, Featured Games, Number of Players, Boutique (?), Featured Characters and Brands, Interest (very interesting), Target Audience, Feature Keywords, Featured Brands, Packaging Options (?), Avg. Customer Review, Price, Discount, Seller, and Availability.

Let's see if we can find a new family party game. I entered age range of 8 and up, Party (which oddly took me off-page for a bit), and five players. Not too concerned about the other choices at this point, so let's see what comes up.

Two games. “The Resistance” from Indie Boards & Cards, and “Eye Know” from Wiggles 3D. My search parameters filtered out 38,042 board games. Hmm... Let's try that again.

As I clicked through the filter selections, I noticed a drop to 149 results when I clicked the “Party” category, and it was the number of players that dumped 147 board games from that list.

Wait a minute. I have lots of party games in my collection that work great for five players. Dozens of 'em. And many of those work great for family members down to 8 years old. And “The Resistance” ..well I'm not sure about the 8-year-old target there. Sounds like Amazon's search filters are a little less than wonderful.

Well, let's excerize that great “what other people bought” filter they have there, based on a game that I know the family likes to play: “Apples to Apples.” Wow again. 10,591,979 results for “Apples to Apples.” Let's scroll around a little...

Sour Apples to Apples (gets mixed reviews), Cards Against Humanity (gee, I wonder what the kids will do with that one?), Big Picture Apples to Apples (for kids, ages 5 to 15), Headbanz and Spot It show up on the next page (actually, these are pretty good recommendations), Bananagrams, Jenga, Uno (how are these related?).

I clicked on the basic Apples to Apples game. The page says “Frequently bought together” are AtA and Cards Against Humanity. (I don't think so.)

Down the page a ways is “Customers who bought this item also bought:” THAT's what I'm after. Taboo, Pictionary, Uno, Jenga, Monopoly, Catch Phrase, Scattergories, Yahtzee, Sorry, Connect 4, Cranium... now I'm back in the game aisle. 20 pages of these, with numerous variations on these standard titles.

So, my conclusion? Amazon is not helping me find a game for my family that's anything like Apples to Apples except variations on Apples to Apples and the VERY questionable Cards Against Humanity. Guess what - there are LOTS of games available that could be recommended, so Amazon is clearly not a “recommendation” site.

That said, once you DO decide what game to purchase, is Amazon the best source? Best how? Wide selection? (more than most retailers, they're either direct from Amazon or available through an affiliate). Best price? (not really - particularly when you factor in shipping). Convenient? (sure - that's what makes them the world's largest retailer these days).

November 15th, 2014 — International Games Day @ your library!

This is a chance to celebrate games and libraries, not to mention the communities that both help to create and sustain, with other library-lovers around the world. On Saturday, November 15, 2014, people all over the planet will join together to celebrate the mutually-reinforcing power of play and learning. And when we say "all over the world", we mean it. International Games Day @ your library has visited every continent on Earth - even Antarctica!

If you're not sure that your local library is involved, give them a call. The event is sponsored by the American Library Association and similar organizations in other countries. Game stores and game groups are involved as well, and over 1,000 locations participated last year. This will be the sixth year of the event, and it's more popular than ever.

The games can be anything the library and community in question likes: previously, libraries have hosted "learn to play chess" days, board games, card games, trivia games, tabletop roleplaying games, online video game tournaments, and social games that travel the entire world.

If you're looking for something to do, as individuals or families or organizations, this is an ideal opportunity to share in the fun. Learn some new games or get reconnected with the classics. For more information, you can visit igd.ala.org!


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