Coliseum of Comics’ 2021 Nerdy Gift Guide

When it comes to shopping for the holidays, buying for the nerd in your life can be hard. Their special interest might not have associated products that are sold in big box stores. They already own everything related to their interest, and you’re stuck with finding something new but like the other thing they like. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. But, this year, Coliseum of Comics is here to help ease the troubles and worries that people deal with when trying to search high and low for a gift for the geek in their life. The following is a curated nerdy gift guide to help you find the perfect gift no matter what their niche interest is.

Image by Rex Mazzotta


Buying single comics as gifts is tricky business as there are a lot of factors to consider when buying for a serious collector. It can be tough to know what issues they’re missing or what condition they deem acceptable, but finding the right back issue or something they would like can definitely happen with the assistance of experienced comic shop workers. There are also other nerdy gifts that you can buy that are associated with their favorite comic characters or can expand on their reading experience. 

Popular Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks

If you’re searching for a nerdy gift that also serves as new reading material, it might be best to grab a graphic novel or trade paperback over a single issue. It might help your search for the perfect nerdy gift if you know the difference between the two. Graphic novels are works of long-form comic content that have never been published in any other format. Trade paperbacks, on the other hand, are collected content bound into one book that has previously been published in other formats, most commonly single issues. No matter which one you’re on the search for there are tons of comic books out there for people of all ages to meet your nerdy gift buying needs.

Vision Complete Collection

If the friend or family member that you’re buying a nerdy gift for was a fan of the Disney+ show WandaVision, they need to read Tom King’s Vision. The premise may sound a bit familiar if you’ve watched the show. Vision, longing to be human, creates his own perfect little family complete with a wife, daughter, son, and dog named Sparky and moves them to the suburbs where he juggles his new role as man of the house and his role as an Avenger. On the surface, it seems like he and his family have it all together, but not everything is as it seems. 


Saga is a New York Bestselling epic space opera that is making its long-awaited return this coming January. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, the comic follows the lives of Hazel and her star-crossed parents. It’s a hit that everyone will be talking about when issue #55 hits comic store shelves. Buying any of the nine trades or the first compendium will ensure the person you’re nerdy gift shopping for is completely up-to-date on one of the hottest comic series of the last decade.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Avatar the Last Airbender

The Avatar the Last Airbender graphic novels follow the beloved AtLA gaang from the popular animated television show and are perfect for fans of any age. It follows the characters in times before, after, and in between the show’s seasons. It’s a great nerdy gift pick for fans who want to get hyped for the upcoming live-action show.   


Image by Theresa Cobb

Comic-related Merchandise 

If you’re at a total loss for what to grab for your comic nerd this holiday then don’t feel too pressured to get them reading material; there are plenty of other comic-adjacent products out on the market. Statues and figurines can make fun, exciting, and nerdy gifts for comic lovers as they can bring their favorite characters into their homes. Those trying to think of nerdy gift ideas for kids, many stores carry plushies and action figures of comic and game characters. Legos and model kits that are Marvel and Star Wars-branded also make great nerdy gifts for young, budding comic readers. For those looking to display their nerdiness loudly and proudly, there are keychains, pins, and patches for a wide variety of superheroes and other comic characters. No matter what their interest, there’s something out there for comic lovers of all types.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Board Games

Board gamers are a special breed of gamers that often crave the next holy grail that will keep them entertained for months, even years, to come. If you’re shopping for someone who loves board games then they may have already played some of the most popular board game gift picks, such as Catan, Gloomhaven, Betrayal at House of the Hill, and Marvel Champions. With that possibility in mind, here’s a curated list of board games that are similar to those popular choices.

Games Similar to Catan

Settlers of Catan is a trading and expansion game that’s been regarded as one of the most top-tier games in the industry since its creation in 1995. The concept is straightforward: the person who can gather resources and build the biggest settlement wins. And, the gameplay is about an hour give or take. If the person you’re shopping for hasn’t played Catan then it’s a great addition to game night. If they have then take a gander at these other similar games. 

Lords of Waterdeep

When playing Lords of Waterdeep, you take on one of the personas of the rulers of the fictional Dungeons & Dragons city Waterdeep. While it is a D&D branded game, you need absolutely no knowledge of the tabletop RPG to take part. Much like Catan, your mission in Lords of Waterdeep is to gather resources, but, instead of expanding your settlement, your goal is to expand your influence in the city in eight rounds. Lords of Waterdeep operates on a point system just like Catan, but it adds in Quest and Intrigue cards that amp up the fun and complexity of playing. Its system is as easy to learn as Catan’s and is the perfect pick for someone looking for a nerdy gift for his or her family member.

Image by Theresa Cobb


Scythe is a resource-gathering, settlement-building game that could be described as a mixture between Catan and Risk. You play as one of five factions in alternate-history 1920s Eastern European countries. That concept sounds very involved, and it kind of is. The country you choose to start as gives you unique and specific advantages that can guide your strategy in the game as you gather resources, build influence, expand, and go to war. Scythe is definitely the pick for someone looking for a gift for an experienced gamer looking to take on a new challenge.

Games Similar to Gloomhaven 

Speaking of hardcore games, Gloomhaven is one of the most fun and intimidating games out there. It comes in a hefty box that feels like it weighs a ton and can only be described by its hours of epic gameplay. Gloomhaven is designed to be a game that is played in multiple sessions, includes leveling up characters, fighting monsters, and has some “Choose Your Own Adventure” roleplay decisions that have made some people describe it as the board game version of Dungeons & Dragons. Gloomhaven is a commitment. A lot of tabletop lovers have already made that commitment and are looking for something new. Others may be too intimidated and need something a little more toned down. Whatever reason you may have on passing on Gloomhaven, the following games are great alternatives.

Mansion of Madness

Mansion of Madness is a cooperative Lovecraftian investigation, where one to five players are tasked with solving a mystery with the help of a companion app on your phone. Just like Gloomhaven, you operate on a team, have to fight monsters, and must explore the scenario map to complete collecting clues and collect evidence. It’s not a heavy time commitment when compared to Gloomhaven, the gameplay is estimated to take two to three hours, but you still get that thrill of completing an adventure as you and your companions venture the streets of Innsmouth. It’s a unique nerdy gift for those who are both board game lovers and Lovecraft fans.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Image by Theresa Cobb

Descent: Journey in the Dark

Descent is similar to Gloomhaven in that it plays into participants taking the role of adventurers who must complete dungeon crawl-esque missions. It’s semi-cooperative as one person does have to take on the role of evil Overlord while the other players take on the roles of heroes who do get to level up and utilize a dice pool to get boosts to their combat. With a gameplay time of two hours, Descent: Journey in the Dark feels like a much more scaled-back version of Gloomhaven, making it the perfect nerdy gify for the fantasy lover in your life who’s looking for something different but not too different from D&D.

Games Similar to Betrayal at House on the Hill

Party games of all kinds often feature the theme of betrayal. There’s something primally exciting about the inevitability that one of your friends is going to turn on you but having the chance to snuff out their treachery before they get the chance to strike. In terms of board games, the most successful of this genre is Betrayal at House on the Hill. A game where you and two to five of your friends build your own unique haunted house that foretells the sudden but inevitable betrayal. The objective of the game is simple: stop the betrayer before they betray. Betrayal is a modern classic in the board game world with many iterations ranging from a Scooby-Doo version to a Dungeon & Dragons version. If you’re looking to buy a board game as a nerdy gift for a collector, it’s likely they already own this one, but they may not own the following ones listed.

Dead of Winter

Dead of Winter disguises itself much better as a cooperative game because it can be just that: a simple co-op. You and your friends are a part of one of the last colonies of people in a world where everyone is either diseased or dead. You are given an objective card as a group that must be completed to achieve one common victory condition, but you are also given your own, secret objective card that may or may not result in some sort of betrayal. The addition of these secret objectives that have the possibility to not appear in the game amps up suspicion among players which can get in the way of completing your character’s goal and the common goal needed to win the game. It’s a guessing game like Betrayal, but the main objective is surviving the winter above all else making it the perfect nerdy gift to put friendships to the test. 

Image by Theresa Cobb

Letters from Whitechapel

The setting is London 1888. One of your friends takes on the role of infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper while one to five other people masquerade as the detectives that are tasked with catching him. Letters from Whitechapel is a board game that relies on deduction and bluffing as you and your friends are on a time crunch to catch the killer before he murders his fifth victim. The concept is straightforward, but tensions can get high as you and your friends brainstorm Jack’s next moves. Unlike Betrayal, you know who you’re working against, but it’s still suspenseful, since you don’t know when or where the killer will strike.

Games Similar to Marvel Champions The Card Game

Some gamers might get tired of the work that goes into setting up complicated board tiles and getting out all of the little tokens and figurines that board games come with. Living card games allow them to cut down on all of that while maintaining a fun and complex system. Marvel Champions is a fairly new card game, but it’s smashed its way to the top of many gamers’ must-have lists. The system allows players to embody some of Marvel’s greatest heroes as they construct decks to help defeat villains in a multitude of scenarios. Besides having a no-fuss set up, Marvel Champions regularly releases expansions that keep the game fresh and exciting. It’s the perfect nerdy gift for the player that quickly gets bored of the same scenarios.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a living card game based in the same setting as the board game of the same name. Another Lovecraftian-inspired Fantasy of Flight game, Arkham Horror: The Card Game allows players to build decks based on the investigator that they want to play to face off against eldritch horrors that threaten to take over the world. It shares many of the same qualities that Marvel Champions has, but does come with a playing board to help players visualize where their cards should go. It’s the perfect nerdy gift for the man or woman who wants to personally fight Cthulu.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Funko! POPs

Funko! POPs are a great nerdy gift for anyone. The 4-inch tall vinyl figures have characters from a range of TV shows, movies, video games, and almost any other major franchise you could think of. They’re small enough to make great toys for kids looking for something related to their favorite Disney princess or anime character. They offer unique variations, known as Chases, that make them perfect for established collectors and those looking to get into collecting. Overall, they’re a super versatile nerdy gift, and they have some great options that are releasing soon and in stores right now. 

Holiday Marvel POPs

Funko! releases a range of Marvel POPs each year that are always unique and adorable. The last couple of years have seen popular superheroes in holiday sweaters and one beloved galactic tree covered in Christmas lights. For the 2021 holiday season, we see a variety of popular characters, including Scarlet Witch and Black Panther, become gingerbread people. These caked-up figures are perfect for any collection and can serve as adorable decorations to your Christmas tree or holiday miniature town. These POPs can be found in local comic and game shops now!

Image by Sierra Folie

Upcoming POPs

Hitting shelves sometime this holiday season are Funko! POPs that are sure to be perfect nerdy gifts for friends and family alike. If you loved the newest Marvel movie the Eternals, you can snatch up POPs of Sersi, Ikaris, Thena, and all of the others in local stores sometime this November. Similarly, you can find the newest iteration of Harry Potter POPs this holiday season as well with a themed advent calendar already released. The last big splash for upcoming POPs are ones for the classic Disney movie Sword in the Stone. Be on the look for Arthur, Merlin, and Madam Mim on store shelves while you’re doing your holiday shopping. 

Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Tabletop roleplaying games, like Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons, are gaining popularity like never before thanks to streamed shows like Critical Role and the wide availability of books on the subject. It’s truly a great time to be a nerd, and the holidays are the perfect time for you or someone you know to dive into the TTRPG world if you haven’t already. If you’re searching for a nerdy D&D gift to get someone, you can always look at the newest releases, expand your collection of accessories, or even expand your play systems.


If you’re on the hunt for Dungeon and Dragons gift ideas, you don’t have to overcomplicate things too much. Wizard of the Coast published books can be an investment that many players and dungeon masters hold off on, which makes them perfect nerdy holiday gifts. Chances are they have a Player’s Handbook, and there’s a high probability they may own the Monster Manual, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the other older sourcebooks as well, so your best bet for getting them a sourcebook they don’t have is by snagging the newest releases listed below. 

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything released late in 2020 and made some drastic changes to how people play fifth edition D&D. It introduced the expanded rules option for players to help diversify their characters and campaign. It officially introduced the artificer class as an option and gives players a plethora of magical items and spells to choose from. It’s a great companion sourcebook to pair with the Player’s Handbook.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons

Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons is the newest D&D book to be released, which increases the likelihood the person you’re nerdy gift shopping for doesn’t have it. Fizban’s is another tome that introduces new subclasses, magic items, and feats to the library of 5e. The new D&D book also introduces a new type of dragon while expanding upon the lore of existing types, making it a great nerdy gift for fantasy lovers. game as you gather resources, build influence, expand, and go to war. Scythe is definitely the pick for someone looking for a gift for an experienced gamer looking to take on a new challenge.

Minis, Maps, & More

There are many ways to play Dungeons & Dragons, but there are two schools of thought on how to visualize each session: theater of the mind and miniatures. For the latter, there are several products on the market to help players see the encounters they face. WizKids and Bones have a variety of different unpainted models for those who want to get into painting their monsters and player characters. For those who would rather forego the joyful experience of painting, there are many pre-painted figures that you can opt for instead.

For battle map visualization, dungeon masters can opt for the old pen and paper method (which is fine and totally fun to do) or they can use dry erase maps, like those offered by Chessex and Roll 4 Initiative, or WizKid Warlock tiles, which serve as an affordable alternative to custom 3D map tiles offered by companies like Dwarven Forge. To further enhance visualization on your battle maps, you can hunt down unique map dressings that player characters can interact with, such as the Wizard’s Room unpainted terrain setting from WizKids.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Alternatives to Dungeons and Dragons

It happens to almost every roleplayer; you’ve played one system for so long that you crave the chance to test out something new and different. If you’re looking to buy a nerdy gift for the him or her looking to expand their horizons, the following are just a few new systems they can check out.

Star Wars RPG

You can be a part of the Star Wars universe and interact with some of the most iconic characters in mythos with Fantasy of Flight’s suite of Star Wars roleplaying systems, including Age of Rebellion, Force and Destiny, and Edge of the Empire. Each system is designed to cater to who you want to be in the galaxy’s next great space opera. The three games share the same core mechanics and operate on their own special d6 dice system. If the TTRPG nerd you’re shopping for leans more into sci-fi-themed niches then any of these systems are worth checking out.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Image by Theresa Cobb

The Witcher RPG

If you’re a fan of the Witcher TV show or video game or want to try out a system that focuses more on grimdark fantasy, The Witcher pen-and-paper roleplaying game is a nerdy gift worth considering. Made by the same designers who created the Cyberpunk system in collaboration with CD Projekt Red gives you nine unique classes options so that you can immerse yourself in the world of The Witcher.

Trading Card Games

This past year has seen a huge increase in interest in the trading card world. If someone you know has caught the bug or has been a fan for years, the holidays are a perfect time to get them the cardboard craze of their choice. 

Magic the Gathering 

Magic the Gathering has gathered and kept a large fan base since its inception back in 1993. Wizards of the Coast, the game’s publisher, releases new products for the game almost every three months, meaning that there is always fresh product on your local game store’s shelves. If you’re hunting for an appropriate nerdy gift for a Magic the Gathering fan then look no further than the latest releases.  

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt & Crimson Vow

For the Halloween season, Wizards of the Coast released companion sets for Magic the Gathering centered around two classic spooky creatures: vampires and werewolves. Midnight Hunt, which centers mostly around werewolves, was the first of the two to be released, so it’s been out the longest. It introduces exciting new mechanics and enriches the lore behind Innistrad. Crimson Vow releases November 19th and focuses on the wedding of two of the most notable vampires in Magic lore. The new set is decked out with special Dracula promos, paying homage to the original vampire, and introduces powerful cards for almost any mana type. Ask your local game store what product they have in stock for each set this holiday season.

My Hero Academia CCG 

One of the newest card games to hit the market, the My Hero Academia Collectible Card Game is a great option for those trying to get an anime-related nerdy gift for someone. The card game works on the same system as the rest of UniVersus’ line, meaning that they can be integrated into one another if the person ends up enjoying the gameplay. The cards can be used for just collector’s sake as well with a few cards already breaking $100 in value. Whether for novelty or actual play, the My Hero Academia is something to consider when looking for Otaku holiday presents.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Yu-Gi-Oh Legendary Duelists: Synchro Storm

Synchro Storm is the latest release for the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, making it a prime choice for a holiday nerdy gift for the Yu-Gi-Oh player in your life. The set includes 56 cards and has cards used by specific characters from the anime. It expands on already existing archetypes in the game, making it a good addition to an established player’s collection. Synchro Storm has been released as a booster box, but you can find individual booster packs from your local game store.

Image by Theresa Cobb

Where to Shop 

Holiday shopping is stressful at the best of times and a complete catastrophe at worst if the specific gift you’re hunting for is out of stock or you’re operating on a tight budget. The strain of the holidays seems even higher this year as many industries are dealing with the fallout of the pandemic. Supply chains are still trying to recover, and stores are fighting to get products in, which is why it’s more important than ever to shop local.  

Shopping local not only helps put money back into your community, but the experts at your local comic and game stores can offer comparable alternatives and give insights that online shops like Amazon cannot. 

If you’re looking for a nerdy gift for someone this holiday season and you’re located in Florida, stop into your closest Coliseum of Comics! We’ve tried our hardest to get stocked up for the season and have set up some unbeatable sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Give us a call at any of our nine locations to see if we have the nerdy gift you’re looking for in stock!