Because I’m lazy, I’ll copy my letter from the BGG secret Santa as an example of the sort of information you could provide. It does not need to be anywhere near this long!
I hope you are doing as well as you can during the completely bananas situation that is 2020. I’ve been relatively fortunate this year, so I’m looking forward to contributing to this secret Santa and brightening up someone’s day. I’ve included quite a lot of information below, but you can find everything you need in the TL:DR section at the top.
List vs. surprise : I’d be delighted with any of the games on my wish list, no matter the ranking (3s and 4s are fine). If you read my profile and spot something that you think I’d love that isn’t on my list, then go for it. Please check my ratings and previously owned games first though.
Are used games OK? : Of course! As long as they’re in decent condition and don’t have the same weird smell as the copy of Roll for the Galaxy at my local gaming café… Some of the shops linked below have a section for damaged games at cheaper prices - feel free to get me something from there as well.
Non-game gifts : I enjoy constructing inserts (mostly folding-space so far). I already have inserts for: Sidereal Confluence, Caverna, Gloomhaven, and Scythe. Upgrades for components are also always welcome.
Language : English
Game store : If you can support a small or local game store, that would make my day. My FLGS is The Travelling Man. I’ve also had positive experiences with, or heard good things about, the following:
Dietary restrictions : vegetarian
Things I love in games : Asymmetry, variable player powers, spatial puzzles, logic puzzles, optimisation, engine building, multiple paths to victory. I probably skew more towards games with a lot of tactical depth (reacting to the board state/other players), but there are some very strategy-focused games that I love. I enjoy a good brain-burning economic game too.
Things I like in games : Player interaction is nice, but not essential. If there is a strong component of randomness I prefer the ability to mitigate it, unless the game is short. Interesting themes and great art are always a plus, as are mechanics that fit well with the game’s theme. I prefer party games that encourage interesting conversation (e.g. Wavelength) rather than take-that meanness.
Hit and miss : Auctions, bluffing, dudes-on-a-map. I can think of games that include these that I like, but it’s very dependent on the rest of the game. Generic space/fantasy/mythology themes are a bit of a turn-off, but if there’s a great game in there I usually warm to it (I still don’t want to play Race for the Galaxy though!).
No thank you very much : Games that involve yelling at each other, anything resembling charades, Cards Against Humanity/Apples to Apples or similar, The Mind, anything involving rolling a lot of dice in a cup (I know its weird, I just hate the noise), any variant of Werewolf, role-playing .
My Gaming Accomplices
At the moment, I only play IRL games with my husband and a friend who is in our ‘bubble’, so games that are good at three players would be much appreciated. If you’re feeling exceptionally diligent, you can check out our friend’s collection to avoid overlap, but I certainly don’t expect that level of effort. My husband and I don’t tend to play two-player games – gaming is a social activity for us. In normal times we also have an occasional fourth player, who intensely dislikes traitor games (Detective Club is her one exception). My husband dislikes co-ops, which is a shame since I love them! If you want to get me a co-op game, it would need to be playable solo.
Outside of our weekly game sessions, we would normally go to conventions and local game meetups fairly regularly. We have a group of friends that we see at conventions who have a very wide range of gaming tastes, so I have a few games that are convention-only occurrences (Sidereal Confluence and Galaxy Trucker spring to mind). This just makes conventions full of even more exciting possibilities!
I also organise occasional game nights with my colleagues (when we aren’t all working from home). Games that have gone down well with them include Codenames, Concept, Colt Express, and Magic Maze.