Gift Ideas for Math People

Need gift ideas for your list or for others? You've come to the right place.

This list is heavy on games and puzzles which you might describe as "mathy". But, since there is no such thing as a math person, these are great gifts for all!

What If?

If you don't know Randall Munroe's blog by the same name, you're welcome! In this book he shares answers to his favorite questions from readers.

Wilson Wolfe Affair

Currently on Kickstarter (you won't get it until the summer), this is a detective style puzzle set in a old-timey cartoon meets film noir universe. My excitement for this has no bounds.

Hanabi

An absolute gem of a game. Players work together to play cards from their hand by color and in numerical order. The catch: only the other players can see your cards! This game is challenging and puzzle-y and fun.

Exit: Abandoned Cabin

If you like escape rooms or similar experiences, check out the Exit series. The Abandoned Cabin is the first one to try. Its got some pretty clever puzzles to solve. Lasts about 1 hour, so it's easy to find time for it.

Patchwork

A 2 player board game in which you are making a quilt out of polyominoes. You and your opponent draft pieces from a common pool and there is lots of strategy to be had in how you restrict your opponents options.

The Witness (Steam)

Don't let the fact that this is a video game turn you off; this game is incredible. The designer put together an incredibly diverse set of puzzles from a simple grid maze. You, your family, and friends will be working on this for days.

Portal and Portal 2

My all time favorite video games. The premise is so simple. You have a portal maker. It makes a blue portal and a red portal. When you go through the red portal, you come out the blue portal and vice versa. You use that tool to navigate 3D maps. The puzzles are awesome and the often hilarious. J.K. Simmons even voice acts in the second.

Martin Gardener Giant Book

Are these board and video games too fancy schmancy for you? Pick up this thick book of puzzles from the godfather of recreation mathematics. Then track down my favorite question about sectioning any obtuse triangle into all acute triangles.

Manifold

I got a demo of this at CMC North. It's awesome. You get a small square and have to fold it to match a pattern. They are tough, but not overwhelmingly so!

NMBR 9

A brand-spanking-new game about arranging polyominoes into levels. The more pieces on higher levels, the more points. Takes about 15 minutes, but you will play lots of times!