While my place is too small to host a game night (Although the cats would like it. More laps and more people to beg food from? Meow!), I am the main supplier of my primary group’s games. (For that matter, I am often the guy who brings the games at some of the other tables I play at) I used to be the guy who got stuck teaching games all the time and I’m still the one who teaches games cold the most often. (Teaching games you’ve played before is one thing. Teaching games from the rules is quite another)
This doesn’t mean I’m the one who always gets to pick out what games we play but it does mean that I’m the one who everyone looks at when folks are undecided about what to play. I’m not the guy who is stuck hosting but I often feel like the event planner
So, the other night when I learned that someone was bringing two guests who didn’t play board games, that meant I wanted to go in with a game plan. Literally. Call me anal retentive but I like to know the number of people who are showing up and where their experiences are when I pick out what games to bring. Good times just don’t happen. You got to craft them
Six players, two guests who don’t have much exposure to board games and it’s a work night where everyone has to get up early the next morning? Yup, I can work with that.
I do hold out that you need to balance the number of players, the tastes and needs of the players and the time factor in order to get the most out of a game night. It would be great if we could play Dominant Species every time but the sad fact of the matter is that there very few nights were Dominant Species is a viable choice. There’s the ideal that you hope for and the reality you have to work with.
Or maybe this is just an excuse for me to have a big game collection so I can say “I really need this game in case this particular situation comes up”
Anyhow, I planned a night of TransEuropa, Slide Five and Sticheln. Games that easy to explain and have short turns but won’t bore the more experienced players to tears. It wasn’t brain surgery (and a good thing too since I know nothing about brain surgery) but everyone had a good time so I gave myself a pat on the back.
The TransAmerica/TransEuropa family have long been games I reach for when dealing with new players and Wolfgang Kramer’s family of games that involve severed cow heads never fail to please. And after I had gotten their appetites wetted, I gave them Sticheln so they could lash out at each other and cause some pain!
(Seriously, Sticheln is great as a universal deck of cards with SIX suites and as a trick taking game that is all about jamming the knife in and twisting until you hear them gurgle. Awesome game)
Maybe I take it all too seriously but planning out a game night is something I take satisfaction in doing, particularly if the other guys had fun too.