You could be forgiven for thinking that the dad (or dads) on your Father’s Day gift list are only interested in grilling implements and aftershave. Those might make great gifts for the right guy, but dads of a geekier persuasion might appreciate something other than a tie they have to pretend they love. Barnes & Noble has you covered with plenty of nerdy presents for fans of fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes, gaming, or all of the above—any one of which will be enjoyed at least as much as those barbecue tongs.
Dungeons & Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer, with Joe Manganiello
Dungeons & Dragons isn’t just a game, it’s a foundational work of geek culture. For creators, it’s also been a labor of love: the fantasy art produced over the years for reference books, novels, and even ads is widely varied and frequently stunning. This comprehensive collection charts the evolution of D&D through gorgeous full-color paintings, maps, sketches, merchandise, and more. Much of the amazing fantasy art that’s graced the various guidebooks is represented here, as are early D&D-related reference materials and even some of the quirkier stuff featured in ads, cartoons, and more. For old-school fans (including more than a few dads), it’s a glorious trip down memory lane, but newer players will also appreciate the depth and variety of the book. The B&N Exclusive Edition has a unique cover and six full-size gate-fold pages , offering even more imagery you’ll find nowhere else.
Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook (Core Rulebook, D&D Roleplaying Game), by The Wizards RPG Team
There are a lot of D&D reference books—diving deep into an adventure of your own creation is part of the fun, and the ability to expand is a feature—but the Player’s Handbook is essential. This edition of one of the game’s core rulebooks is an attractive hardcover featuring the most recent 5th edition rules. It’s an essential guide to character creation and development for beginners and veterans, containing rules for backgrounds and skills, exploration and combat, equipment, and spells among the various races and classes of D&D, a game that spans generations.
Rick & Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons (B&N Exclusive Edition), by Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Zub, and Troy Little
Impressive credits on this one: Jim Zub teams up with fantasy novelist and D&D superfan Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle) and cartoonist Troy Little (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) for the story of a tabletop game gone horribly and hilariously wrong. Morty wants to impress a girl at school, so asks D&D veteran Rick for some help. Before long, the whole family is trapped in a world in which the rules of the game become the rules by which they’ll live or die. It’s a legit Dungeons & Dragons crossover, so there’s plenty of cool stuff for fans of both R&M and D&D. The B&N Exclusive edition has a variant cover and a bonus poster, among other goodies.
Paperback $17.99 | $19.99
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins (B&N Exclusive Edition)
by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch
It’s a graphic novel based on a podcast in which three brothers play Dungeons & Dragons with their dad—does it get geekier? It’s a setup that might sound boring if you’v never experienced the growing phenomenon of “actual play” podcasts. And certainly the show is hard to describe, precisely because it’s so unique, even in the field of gaming podcasts: it’s comedy, but the McElroy brothers—Griffin, Justin, and Travis—and their dad Clint also take the storytelling and characterization quite seriously (the rules of D&D… less so). Their first campaign is retold here, brought to life in brilliantly colorful art by Lumberjanes‘ Carey Pietsch, who also co-wrote. The goofiness of the audio version is very much in evidence, but the graphic novel puts a bit more focus on the story itself, making the case that the quest of Taako, Merle, and Magnus stands on its own as a funny, swears-y, complementary adventure. (Also, it just so happens that B&N has a sweet exclusive edition with a variant cover and a poster.)
Catan 5E, by Fantasy Flight Games
Catan (originally called The Settlers of Catan) has been at the head of the pack in tabletop gaming for years now, taking the lion’s share of credit for a popular resurgence in board gaming in general. The game takes place on the island of Catan, as players endeavor to become the dominant force by marshaling resources—wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone—to build a thriving civilization. It’s a game that’s fun and challenging across a wide variety of ages, meaning that it’s perfect way to engage in a little healthy, cross-generational rivalry. For its fifth edition, the game was recently given a polish and the rule book was updated to make things a little bit clearer for newcomers. Dad will be mastering the art of bartering sheep for bricks in no time.
Lord of the Rings: Quest to Mount Doom—A Middle Earth Adventure Game (B&N Exclusive), by Games Workshop
There’s fantasy, and then there’s Lord of the Rings—the inspiration for generations of stories filled with quests, wizards, and dragons. Blending the world of Middle-earth with tabletop gaming? Geek heaven. In this popular game for 2-5 players, you race to find the One Ring and carry it to Mount Doom, the one place where it can be destroyed. Many of the locations familiar to LOTR readers are represented, as are beloved characters, in the form of highly detailed miniatures. This is a fast-moving game, and perfect choice for families looking for an adventure everyone can share.
LEGO Technic Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, by LEGO® Systems, Inc.
Cars, LEGO, and engineering: three great geeky flavors come together in this model car kit, developed in coordination with Corvette. The replica model includes details like a large rear wing, 4 tailpipes, black spoked rims with low-profile tires, working steering, and a detailed V8 engine with moving pistons. In fact, there are a whole bunch of realistic moving mechanisms that are fun to build and provide some insight into the engineering of real full-sized cars. Even better, the 579-piece model has an alternate hot-rod build, so it can be taken apart and reassembled in an entirely different configuration. It’s a nice set for dads and younger family members to work on together.
LEGO Architecture San Francisco, from LEGO® Systems, Inc.
They spent years trying to convince us that LEGO are primarily for kids, but I think we know the truth. Still, the company has done us the favor of creating a number of more grown-up sets, just in case the dad on your gift list feels self-conscious about building with blocks. This one’s particularly nice: a representation of the San Francisco skyline that includes the famous “painted ladies” residential buildings, 555 California Street, the Transamerica Pyramid, Salesforce Tower, Coit Tower, Fort Point, Golden Gate Bridge, and even Alcatraz Island. Once the 629 pieces are assembled, it makes for a handsome display piece.
POP Marvel: Avengers Endgame—Hulk & Thanos [B&N Exclusive], by FUNKO
Spoilers? These B&N Exclusive Funko figures feature Thanos and Hulk as they appear in the latest (last?) Avengers movie. If the dad on your wish list still hasn’t seen the movie, you might want to include tickets along with this Funko Pop two-fer. Hulk is dressed in the special-use new uniforms from the movie, while Thanos wields the powerful blade he uses to do major damage to the team.
POP Deluxe: Game Of Thrones—Cersei Lannister Sitting on Iron Throne, by FUNKO
Who will sit atop the throne when all’s said and done in Westeros? Will anyone? (Why would anyone want to?) However unlikely a victory for Cersei seems, Funko imagines her in all her glory: powerful, regal, cruel, and filled with a fiery passion—you may not love her, but you have to respect her. Since Cersei resisted the idea of appearing sans the Iron Throne, this deluxe figure pairs the two. If the dad in your life has GoT fever, this is a great way for him to show it off.
Game of Thrones Iron Throne Bookend, from The Noble Collection
Even though there might not be quite as many Game of Thrones books on shelves as we might like (at least not yet), the collected page count of what’s already out there is enough to constitute a mini-library. The GoT-loving dad in your life might never sit on the Iron Throne (just as well, really…it doesn’t look at all comfortable), but a sturdy, handsome replica will do a lot to shore up his collection of George R.R. Matin books It also works nicely for Blu-rays of the TV series. Speaking of which…
Game of Thrones: The Complete Seasons 1-7
What could have been a geeky pastime became a national obsession: by Father’s Day, HBO’s Game of Thrones will be over, having stunned, horrified, and riveted us for years. We’ve watched the powerful and would-be powerful of Westeros vie for control of the Iron Throne and domination of the land. If the geeky dad on your wish list hasn’t seen it, now is the time to catch up—just don’t get too attached to anyone. If that dad’s already a huge fan, well, now his (re)watch can begin.
Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition
Batman’s 80th anniversary this year just happened to line up with the 1,000th issue of Detective Comics, the book that introduced him in issue #27, waaaaaay back in March of 1939. Giving the Bat (and friends) the same type of celebration that Superman received for his 80th last year, this deluxe volume includes a couple dozen of the best stories drawn from Detective over the decades, including the first appearances of Robin, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Batgirl and the introductions of a few non-Batman characters who have made their marks in the long-running book. Also featured: essays from Bat-luminaries and a new cover from artist Jim Lee. It’s the perfect way for to help dad celebrate a milestone Bat-Birthday.
Aquaman [Blu Ray]
DC’s Aquaman had always been a bit of a joke: a guy who rides a seahorse and talks to fish doesn’t sound like your typical superhero. All that changed with director James Wan’s 2018 adaption, which quickly became one of the top super-films of all time by bringing over-the-top action and a wild sense of fun to the stunning undersea world of Atlantis. Game performances from Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, and Nicole Kidman don’t hurt either. The Blu-ray is a great way to experience the colorful visual feast. If the dad on your gift list loves superheroes—or fish—this is a great one.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Complete Series Box Set, by Yukito Kishiro
This legendary manga series was just made into a major motion picture, but the original books, from artist Yukito Kishiro, are the real deal. Disgraced cyberneticist Daisuke Ido discovers the detached head of a cyborg in a junkyard, the remains of a woman with almost no memories of her past. Naming her Alita, the doctor builds her a new body. She soon realizes that she retains the knowledge of the martial art Panzer Kunst, which she uses to mold herself into a Hunter Warrior, tracking cyborg criminals. Alita’s journey, and her quest to uncover her own past, form the basis of the series, enhanced by Kishiro’s crisp, kinetic artwork, which has never looked better than it does in these oversized, deluxe hardcovers from Kodansha.
Geeky Gear Gift Set
What do you get for the nerd who has everything? How about a geeky grab bag? This fun gift set includes chevron ear buds with a 47-inch cord and extra ear cushions; a USB charging cable; a mechanical wind-up toy; and, most handy, an 8-piece screwdriver set with a magnetic tip and a handle that stores stores 4 flathead and 4 Phillip head screw bits. Perfect for geeky emergencies.
What’s on your list for the geeky dads in your life?