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Gateway Board Games
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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Welcome, fellow gamers on my ultimate quest for the best gateway games. For all of you who may not know what that is, it's a game that you can use to introduce non-gamers to the world of 'real' games.

Now think of your top 3 successful gateway games. If you don't see them on this list, please add them. Keep in mind the following rules.

1. Must have been successful more than once with newbies
2. Good replay value
3. Nice game components
4. Good for mixed age groups

And, don't forget to leave a comment or two!
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1. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.99 Overall Rank:11]
Jeff Digman
United States
Unspecified
Illinois
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I bought this after reading the first revies of it here on the geek. One week later (and after several plays on BSW) I introduced it to my friends, and it was a big hit. Went over better than Settlers did. We still break this out on a weekly basis.
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2. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:19]
ID 12398 Yosif Videlov
United Kingdom
Guildford
Surrey
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How about a Gateway Card Game that takes 10 minutes to explain the basics and has no text but symbols easy to remember?
Always had success with it and a group of newbs.
 
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3. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:64]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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I've only known one person not to like this game.
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:107] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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...And this one too
 
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5. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:161]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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Of course, this one has to be on EVERY list, right?...
 
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6. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:215]
Kevin H
Canada
Windsor
Ontario
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The first game can be brutal and slow and long, until everyone gets a handle on the different character powers...

But even after that they seemed pretty interested. I wouldn't recommend it with 2 players...
 
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7. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:280]
Kevin H
Canada
Windsor
Ontario
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It's been a hit with everyone. Especially a young 8 year-old girl I've played it with who PLEEEEEADS with me to bring over "the bean game"

I think it's pretty neat myself because you're forced to plan ahead. And giving away cards for free is so frequent that the mood stays light.
 
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8. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:309]
 
Lee Hancox
Australia
Melbourne
Vic
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Alhambra:
Meets your requirements. Was the game that my in-laws loved most. Was easy to teach, was easy to play and they kept asking for more. In fact, they are getting it for christmas.
 
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9. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:318]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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Just picked this one up. Seems to be a good addition to this list of gateway games.
 
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10. Board Game: Medici [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:352]
Siegfried Steurer
Austria
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Very easy, explainable in two Minutes, and plays in less than an hour w/o much downtime (even with 6 players). And still so much to think and choose (from).
 
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11. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:498]
Arcadian Del Sol
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
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Good gateway game because its not player vs player and while there is a big of player elimination sometimes, its a loss shared by the whole group rather than a victory shared by the whole group.

Its also got some of the best artwork in the business.
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12. Board Game: Elfenland [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:582]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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This is a great game that teaches new players that it is ok to be mean.
 
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13. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:654]
Joseph Sack
United States
Bellevue
Washington
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This is a great two-player gateway game. Most people have played traditional card games, which makes the colors/numbers easy to grasp. It's also a fantastic way to get friends into the concept of little wooden cubes. Balloon Cup has always been a big winner in my book.
 
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14. Board Game: Big City [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:661]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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This has never failed to please.
 
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15. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:705]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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This has by far been MY most successful gateway game. Now if everyone would just stop asking me to bring it back out. Don't get me wrong, I'll always say yes to a game of it. I'd just rather play TTR.
 
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16. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:717]
Karlo Gliha
Canada
Toronto
ON
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It may not meet your 3rd criteria (regarding components), but seemed to illicit squeals of evil laughter from one and all. People ask ahead of time if I'm going to bring it over.
 
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17. Board Game: Clans [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:873]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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This is actually the game that started this list as I've never heard of it. It seems to be a good gateway game though. What do you think?
 
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18. Board Game: O Zoo le Mio [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:954]
Andrew Jaster
Canada
Aldergrove
BC
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This gateway game actually has a surprising level of depth which is usually an oddity in a gateway game.
 
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19. Board Game: Tonga Bonga [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2267]
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
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This is one of my favorite games to spring on new players. So far all have enjoyed it.
 
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