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Subject: The Top 150 Best Gateway Games - The RESULTS rss

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Tony Ackroyd
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After six rounds of voting and votes from hundreds of users on 210 nominated games, we have the final results of the contest to determine The Best Gateway Game. You can see the last round here: The Best Gateway Game - Round 6 - The Final! [POLLS]

There was (as usual) a lot of discussion about what a Gateway game is, whether there is actually any such thing and whether we can come up with a better name. You can see it here: The Best Beginner/Gateway/Introductory Game: Nominations and Discussions Thread

The BGG Glossary says:
Gateway Game: n. A game with simple rules that are easy to teach non-gamers in order to attract new players into boardgaming as a hobby.

Gateways are the kind of game that will open someone's eyes to a new kind of game and make them want to play again.
The right choices will build the non-gamer's trust in your ability to select other games they will enjoy playing in the future.

Top 150 Gateway Games

1 Ticket to Ride/TTR Europe
2 Carcassonne (all)
3 King of Tokyo
4 Dixit
5 For Sale
6 Diamant/Incan Gold
7 Can't Stop
8 Pandemic
9 Love Letter
10 Settlers of Catan
11 Takenoko
12 The Resistance (& Avalon)
13 Forbidden Island
14 Survive!
15 Alhambra
16 No Thanks!
17 Hanabi
18 Dominion
19 Stone Age
20 Crokinole
21 Time's Up!
22 Flash Point: Fire Rescue
23 Forbidden Desert
24 Category 5/6 Nimmt!
25 Coloretto
26 PitchCar
27 TransAmerica
28 Lords of Waterdeep
29 Wits & Wagers / Gambit 7
30 Jaipur
31 Bohnanza
32 Timeline
33 Hey, Thats My Fish!
34 Ingenious
35 Augustus
36 Las Vegas
37 The Downfall of Pompeii
38 Tsuro
39 Ca$h & Gun$
40 Escape: The Curse of the Temple
41 Liar's Dice
42 Lost Cities
43 Finca
44 Ave Caesar
45 Winners Circle
46 Morels
47 Blokus
48 Tokaido
49 Zooloretto
50 Agricola: All Creatures Big And Small
51 7 Wonders
52 Small World
53 The Adventurers
54 Qwirkle
55 Sushi Go!
56 Battle Line
57 Airlines Europe
58 Saboteur
59 Thebes
60 Tobago
61 Formula D
62 Kingsburg
63 The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet
64 Qwixx
65 Kingdom Builder
66 Biblios
67 Castle Panic
68 Mice and Mystics
69 Jamaica
70 Coup
71 Fauna
72 San Juan
73 A la carte
74 Animal Upon Animal
75 Ubongo
76 Say Anything
77 Mississippi Queen
78 Telestrations
79 Scotland Yard
80 Cartagena
81 Werewolf/Werewolves
82 Guillotine
83 Indigo
84 Fits
85 Balloon Cup
86 Cloud 9
87 Thurn und Taxis
88 Blokus 3D / Rumis
89 Get Bit!
90 Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
91 Pickomino
92 Mascarade
93 Dice Town
94 Hive
95 Archaeology: The Card Game
96 Sushizock im Gockelwok
97 Shadow Hunters
98 Jungle Speed
99 Chateau Roquefort
100 Expedite
101 Hare & Tortoise
102 Cinque Terre
103 The Dwarf King
104 Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game
105 Wacky Wacky West / Drunter und Drüber
106 Citadels
107 Fearsome Floors
108 Vegas Showdown
109 Fresco
110 Witch's Brew
111 Tales of the Arabian Nights
112 Memoir '44
113 Through the Desert
114 Villa Paletti
115 Acquire
116 Vikings
117 Aquaretto
118 Elfenland
119 Pastiche
120 Mr. Jack
121 Spot it
122 Niagara
123 Manhattan
124 Dream Factory
125 Libertalia
126 Kakerlakenpoker
127 Zooloretto: The Dice Game
128 Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
129 Daytona 500
130 River Dragons
131 Samurai
132 Piece 'o Cake
133 Long Shot
134 10 Days in the USA/Africa
135 Manilla
136 Nexus Ops
137 Lost Cities: The Board Game
138 Snow Tails
139 The aMAZEing Labyrinth
140 Pergamon
141 Sorry! Sliders
142 The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
143 Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
144 Hoity Toity
145 Mondo
146 Pirates Cove
147 The Hanging Gardens
148 The Boss
149 Pyramid
150 Abandon Ship

So what has happened since last time this contest was run? Well here is the previous Top Ten:

1 Ticket to Ride
2 Carcassonne
3 Settlers of Catan
4 Pandemic
5 Ticket to Ride: Europe
6 For Sale
7 Diamant/Incan Gold
8 Coloretto
9 No Thanks!
10 Hey, Thats My Fish!

One change is that we've merged TTR into one entry, giving an extra space in this year's Top Ten. But still, last time's 8th, 9th and 10th games disappear (to 25th, 16th and 33rd!).
Settlers of Catan drops from 3rd to 10th.
Pandemic from 4th to 8th.
New in are Love Letter, Dixit (29th last time), King of Tokyo and Can't Stop (20th last time).

If we run this again I'd expect Settlers to drop even further. Love Letter I see as something of a flash in the pan being this high. Otherwise the rest seem solid and should only be pushed out by new gateways, or perhaps Takenoko getting more well known.

If you like this kind of contest you should subscribe to this thread:
1000rpm's Polls Notification Thread - Just Subscribe!
I have a couple of things in mind for the next contest, but haven't decided yet.
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Derek Stephenson
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Some many cool things going on at this site I'm ignorant about. Consider me subscribed!
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Leo Chell
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Yeah, I'd be really surprised if Love Letter stayed that high. I'm amazed it's on the list to be honest. It's a great little party game but I'm not sure there's enough meat on it to consider it a full on 'gateway game'.
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Eric
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I'm surprised by Settlers' drop. My guess is that Settlers is responsible for more people getting into our hobby than just about any other game. It sure was with me, and I know many others for whom Settlers was the game that opened their eyes to the world of hobby games. People around here might be tired of it, but to this day, almost twenty years after its release, Settlers continues to recruit lots of people into the hobby.
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Roger Dodger
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Cash N Guns is a top 40 Gateway Game?
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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RVS70 wrote:
Cash N Guns is a top 40 Gateway Game?

Yes.

And I can say with recent experience that it works. Obviously it is dependent on the person, but lots of grown men love to point foam guns at each other and receive money in return. And potentially talk in funny voices.
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Abdiel Xordium
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Ticket to Ride isn't my favorite game, but it is the only game I have where, when I play it with non-gamers, they immediately go out and buy a copy. I think there might be a little bit of cocaine baked into the cards or something.

(Note that these non-gamers don't suddenly become gamers. They just stack Ticket to Ride in the closet next to Monopoly, Risk, and Uno. They will play it about as often as those games, too, which is almost never.)


King of Tokyo is a game I love, but I've had a hard time getting non-gamers into it. It's much more fiddly than Yahtzee or Bunco so if all you want to do is roll dice, those games are much more accessible.

King of Tokyo really shines once you recognize the surprisingly complex player interaction that goes on. Considering many gamers fail to recognize the opprotunities for player interaction, non-gamers can hardly be faulted for missing it. But without it, King of Tokyo is pretty bland.

However, I've found that kids in the 8 to 12 age range tend to really like it regardless of the player interaction. They think the monsters and special power cards are cool and they find it fun to attack each other.
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Aaron Silverman
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Want to get kids started? Paste the Adventure Time variant onto your Love Letter cards. Instant junior gamers!
 
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Mindy Basi
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I can also attest that Cash n Guns works, even with rather conservative in-laws. I think it encourages people to have fun and let loose a little, it's just so over the top. Surprised me, too, but there you go.

TTR is a good introduction to strategy and more complex game play, which makes it a perfect gateway. And trains somehow are charming, so it makes it "fun."

KoT was actually my gateway game, and I didn't like it! Not really a good theme for everyone, I found it too competitive and I am not really into campy monsters. I own way too many games now, and I still don't own it. So for some, "gotcha" games aren't a good introduction to gaming. Fresco was the game that sucked me into the hobby.

Edit: I have a funny story about Jamaica, too -- also one of the first games I played at my FLGS game group. The person who brought the game didn't really know how to play it very well, and so the rules were quite fuzzy. In fact, we were playing it all wrong. Once we figured that out, we christened it "Ja-maica your own rules" and now, my family uses that phrase when we realize we have missed a rule or two in any game.
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nithos nithos

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DJ Kuul A wrote:
Want to get kids started? Paste the Adventure Time variant onto your Love Letter cards. Instant junior gamers!
This is what I am doing to get my wife to play Love Letter. She loves the show. I might also do one for Archer as well.
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Trent Boardgamer
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Great list. Of those that I've played I agree with their general placement, but certainly the fact they are included on the list.

Breaking it down a little, some lead better into other types of games than others. That's a few new list for that though.
 
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Aaron Green
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I have to say, I was very surprised Bang! is nowhere on this list. I don't even like the game, but it's probably the best gateway game I've seen. Easy rules, short play time, and it does have a very catchy theme.

Every year I help introduce board games to 40-50 new college students, and Bang! far and away outpaces other games like TTR, Carcassonne, Settlers, Dominion, 7 Wonders, Resistance, Pandemic, etc.

I really wish it wasn't so popular for new gamers because I think all those other games are much better, but it does seem like a very good gateway game.
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Tony Ackroyd
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aarongreen50 wrote:
I have to say, I was very surprised Bang! is nowhere on this list. I don't even like the game, but it's probably the best gateway game I've seen. Easy rules, short play time, and it does have a very catchy theme.

Every year I help introduce board games to 40-50 new college students, and Bang! far and away outpaces other games like TTR, Carcassonne, Settlers, Dominion, 7 Wonders, Resistance, Pandemic, etc.

I really wish it wasn't so popular for new gamers because I think all those other games are much better, but it does seem like a very good gateway game.

Was in the first round, but got mostly Good and Okay votes.
More Awful and Bad votes than Best and Awesome was the killer.
 
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Aaron Green
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Haha, that makes sense. 'OKAY' would probably be the highest vote I would give to it, so I can see why it would drop out. Maybe it is the most polarizing, because it seems like those new to games consistently vote to play it. Or maybe it's just my group.
 
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Trent Boardgamer
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aarongreen50 wrote:
I have to say, I was very surprised Bang! is nowhere on this list. I don't even like the game, but it's probably the best gateway game I've seen. Easy rules, short play time, and it does have a very catchy theme.

Every year I help introduce board games to 40-50 new college students, and Bang! far and away outpaces other games like TTR, Carcassonne, Settlers, Dominion, 7 Wonders, Resistance, Pandemic, etc.

I really wish it wasn't so popular for new gamers because I think all those other games are much better, but it does seem like a very good gateway game.


Trying to locate a copy might factor in to that?
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Jason Kotarski
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As a new designer, having my game (The Great Heartland Hauling Co.) being included in something like this is pretty humbling. I mean, there are some GREAT games on this list and I get to be a part of that. Here's to hoping I never feel like I've "arrived" so I can experience the joy of moments like these.
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Rana Puer
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Ok, this is as good a place as any. What is it about Carcassonne that is good for beginners? Every time I have tried it on beginners, it has flopped. I triple-checked to make sure I'm playing with the correct rules and everything. The players I teach it to generally hate the idea of giving up a farmer for the rest of the game, even when I explain to them that farm points are important, and they think the whole tile-laying concept is weird in general. Can someone explain it to me?

Voters nailed the rest of the top 5 IMO. Although seeing Hey! That's my Fish! Tumblr 23 spots is a travesty. And yes, Cash and Guns belongs right where it is.
 
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David B
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ranapuer wrote:
Ok, this is as good a place as any. What is it about Carcassonne that is good for beginners? Every time I have tried it on beginners, it has flopped. I triple-checked to make sure I'm playing with the correct rules and everything. The players I teach it to generally hate the idea of giving up a farmer for the rest of the game, even when I explain to them that farm points are important, and they think the whole tile-laying concept is weird in general. Can someone explain it to me?

Voters nailed the rest of the top 5 IMO. Although seeing Hey! That's my Fish! Tumblr 23 spots is a travesty. And yes, Cash and Guns belongs right where it is.



The only drawback to Hey, That's My Fish is that the setup to play time ratio is too high. Set up and play time are almost the same.
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Abraham Pak
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ranapuer wrote:
Ok, this is as good a place as any. What is it about Carcassonne that is good for beginners? Every time I have tried it on beginners, it has flopped. I triple-checked to make sure I'm playing with the correct rules and everything. The players I teach it to generally hate the idea of giving up a farmer for the rest of the game, even when I explain to them that farm points are important, and they think the whole tile-laying concept is weird in general. Can someone explain it to me?

Voters nailed the rest of the top 5 IMO. Although seeing Hey! That's my Fish! Tumblr 23 spots is a travesty. And yes, Cash and Guns belongs right where it is.


Here's how I'm doing it. I start by teaching with the no farmer rule. As Iplay, I'll explain how multiple meeple in a city/road works and how to try and block each other. All the while, I explain how its not really an advantage to have a bunch of free meeples. Then introduce the farmer. Theyquickly get how free meeple's not making them any points.

Seema to work.
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Jesse Winslow
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I must say that the game I've had the best luck with for non-gamers is Lords of Waterdeep. Whether they like the fantasy theme or not, every time I've played it with non-gamers they say "Wow! That's way different than any other game I've played, super fun!" Just the simple worker-placement mechanic that they've never been exposed to opens their eyes beyond the roll and move mechanic they are used to. Now that I own Fresco I may switch over to that, but Lords of Waterdeep has been good to me.

On a side note, TTR was the game that got me back into gaming after a 10 year hiatus. Kudos to Alan R Moon for designing such a sublime game.
 
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Tony Ackroyd
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pfctsqr wrote:
ranapuer wrote:
Ok, this is as good a place as any. What is it about Carcassonne that is good for beginners? Every time I have tried it on beginners, it has flopped. I triple-checked to make sure I'm playing with the correct rules and everything. The players I teach it to generally hate the idea of giving up a farmer for the rest of the game, even when I explain to them that farm points are important, and they think the whole tile-laying concept is weird in general. Can someone explain it to me?

Voters nailed the rest of the top 5 IMO. Although seeing Hey! That's my Fish! Tumblr 23 spots is a travesty. And yes, Cash and Guns belongs right where it is.



The only drawback to Hey, That's My Fish is that the setup to play time ratio is too high. Set up and play time are almost the same.

?!

Are you playing with real ice?
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James Ross
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The results seem very fair and representative from my standpoint. Pandemic would have been my number one choice, never played Ticket To Ride.
 
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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1000rpm wrote:
pfctsqr wrote:
ranapuer wrote:
Ok, this is as good a place as any. What is it about Carcassonne that is good for beginners? Every time I have tried it on beginners, it has flopped. I triple-checked to make sure I'm playing with the correct rules and everything. The players I teach it to generally hate the idea of giving up a farmer for the rest of the game, even when I explain to them that farm points are important, and they think the whole tile-laying concept is weird in general. Can someone explain it to me?

Voters nailed the rest of the top 5 IMO. Although seeing Hey! That's my Fish! Tumblr 23 spots is a travesty. And yes, Cash and Guns belongs right where it is.



The only drawback to Hey, That's My Fish is that the setup to play time ratio is too high. Set up and play time are almost the same.

?!

Are you playing with real ice?

Some marketing goon just got a brilliant idea:

Hey, That's My Fish: Special Collector's Edition
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Dennis Ku
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Ticket to Ride: Europe was the first game of its type that I ever bought, back in 2005. 8.5 years on, it's the reason I'm on this site daily and playing games like Navajo Wars.
 
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Don Fehner
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I wish the poll had which games were in print and not in print, like Tobago which I want. Not all of these games are available unfortunately.
 
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