Kevin L. KitchensUnited States
(a COUNTERPOINT response to Gateway games are insulting.)
The article starts with the false notion that the term "Gateway Game" is insulting and then once off the rails, stays off them.
"Gateway Game" is not an insult in any way, shape or form. It simply describes a type of game that while lighter on the rules overload, does present a fun experience and challenging game that us "real" gamers would not be embarrassed by. You may have some friends that have never played a modern board game in their life and are capable of going from Netflix binging to a deeply complex tabletop experience in a single step. Those people are rare.
More often than not, like I was, "civilians" are unaware this stuff even exists and when they hear "board games" they assume (eyeroll) Risk, Monopoly, or Scattergories. When you wake them up from that (or worse, calm down their excitement at playing the dog vs. the shoe), a gateway game is the perfect solution to show them that there is better stuff out there, introduce them to modern designer board games and for you as their gaming buddy, to gauge their interest in going further in the hobby, or sticking to the fun and simple mechanics of a gateway game.
If they are interested and "hooked" as we all became, THEN you can introduce them to games that are tailored to their interests. But there are also so many gateway games that you can probably start close to their interest as well. Someone interested in WW2 military history can tackle a Memoir '44 or even Tide of Iron before taking on the more meatier, rules-heavy games.
Also, there is a difference in a one-on-one gaming session vs. gaming with a group of newcomers. Introducing a new gateway at a party instead of playing Apples to Apples again is a logical and correct step bound to reveal the ones in the group who want to go for more and those who are content to stay at the intro level (and those who are disinterested, which is also ok).
But no, don't belittle the very positive term "Gateway Games" and its benefit to growing this hobby we enjoy so much. Without them, many of us would not be here playing. Were it not for a co-worker teaching me Carcassonne and Lost Cities before we stepped it up to Pandemic, I might never have rediscovered the joy I had boardgaming as a kid.
I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame
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