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VICTOR JOECKS: 5 great Black Friday gift ideas

Most of the year, I hate shopping. Black Friday is the exception.

Searching out deals is as close to treasure hunting as most of us will ever get. Sometimes figuring out what to get is the hardest part, so here are some personal gift recommendations.

Board games for adults

I’ve long enjoyed board games, and they’ve come a long ways since Monopoly.

You can’t go wrong with Settlers of Catan, which major retailers now carry. It’s a great strategy game for three to four players with lots of interaction. You trade resources with other players to build up your settlements and cities. If you’ve ever wondered if free trade increases wealth, try playing this game and not trading with other players. You’ll soon see that not partaking in mutually beneficial exchanges is a losing strategy.

My wife and I have really been enjoying Codenames. It’s best with four or more players, and the two teams try to guess certain words. Your biggest competitive advantage is playing with someone who understands how you’ll make wacky connections.

Some of the best two-player games we’ve found are Lost Cities, Cable Car and A Little Wordy. If you have lots of free time, Twilight Struggle is an amazing but long, strategy-intensive game.

If you have board games you enjoy, shoot me an email. My wife is always trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas.

Board games for kids

Because I enjoy them, my kids might as well get indoctrinated young. I’m super-excited to get my older elementary kids Exploding Kittens. Shhh. No one tell them. It’s a fast-paced card game with great art. The strategy should be accessible for kids 7 and up. For younger kids, the beginner’s version of Carcassonne is fun.

Books for adults

False Alarm” by Bjorn Lomborg provides a detailed look at the benefits and costs of reducing carbon emissions. That starts with understanding how adaptation will prevent the worst-case scenarios that receive outsized media attention. He also explains how the world would be better off in 2100 by investing in fossil fuels, even accounting for the costs of global warming.

Signature in the Cell” by Stephen Meyer convincingly argues that the information contained in DNA provides compelling evidence for intelligent design.

Books for kids

The Magic Tree House series is incredible for pre-K to early elementary students. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series are classics for a reason. “Blue Hat, Green Hat” and “Dear Zoo” are great board books.


As a kid, I loved receiving a deluge of presents on Christmas Day. As a parent, I’d rather see things spaced out. Clubhouse magazine subscriptions are a great option. This year, we’re giving our older kids DIY projects that come every few months.

Yes, it’s a shameless plug. But a subscription to the Review-Journal is a great gift idea. The RJ is the best news source in Southern Nevada, and I’m personally partial to the opinion page. Depending on which email I’m reading, this column is either a must-read or an affront to humanity.

Regardless of where you stand in that debate, Merry Christmas.

Vi ctor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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