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Flicking, Sliding, Stacking, and Pulling

Jason Moslander
United States
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Originally Post at

Mechanisms: Volume E Dexterity Games

There is a lot of talk about "gateway games" and the such. These are games that are easy to learn and can be used as a tool to get new players into the hobby of board gaming. When one uses this term, they immediately refer to games such as Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. Two games that we've discussed a great deal and are brought to the table often, especially with newer players. However, recently, I have had a change of heart; a change of perspective. I have discovered a new mechanism not only for gaming, but a means to introduction into gaming. This mechanism is dexterity.

Dexerity games can range from stacking blocks to form a tower in Jenga to flicking discs in Crokinole, or launching birds as in The Angry Birds game. These all have one thing in common: you have to do something physical with your body in order to win, score points, accomplish your goal, etc. Some gamers scoff at this concept and runaway and remind you that they play board games because they hate sports, because they aren't any good at them. However, flicking and stacking is easy to teach, engaging, and just a good time.

Most Americans have seen or played Jenga at some point in their lives and can easily get the concept of other stacking and pulling games, such as Villa Paletti or Rukshuk. Most people can also relate to the sliding in shuffleboard or curling and Crokinole is a great segway to the tabletop for these games. Finally, sports are just about everywhere and PitchCar and Fastrack can easily be compared to sporting events. This connection with other games and activities outside of board gaming can make an easy introduction into the board game world. Most of these games are also fairly short. They take 20-30 minutes to play in most cases and can be a great way to set the tone of a game night, or they can be the tone of the game night.

After you have introduced someone to dexterity games, they may inquire about other games, and this is a great opportunity to bring out one of the classic quote on quote "gateway games." Dexterity games do the one thing that is required of games: they are fun. It's fun to crash your cars or see how high you can stack the tower or watch your opponent's face as you knock their disc or car from their desired location. They are not always the most strategtic or deep games, but they are fun and that's what matters when it comes to selecting a good game.

What's your favorite dexterity game and why?

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