What Introductory Games are Most Likely to Succeed *without a gamer being present*?
David Webb
United States
North Little Rock
Arkansas
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I have found myself, over the last year or so, in a need (or with a desire) to give a gift of a board game to a friend, and usually it's easy enough to show them how a game works. But once or twice I have needed to send a game when I knew they would have to figure it out on their own, and that requires a more specialized group of games I think. Most recently, I wanted to send a nice "thank you" (in addition to payment) to a friend who is a carpenter and who made me a nice game table. The table turned out better than I expected, and at a good cost Table Pic Thread . I thought it would be very appropriate to send a game or two with a card, but I don't think I would give a gift of some of the games I usually give as gifts when I can show them (i.e, non-gamers) how to play it. I think this particular person has really only played Settlers of Catan a few years ago.

Anyone have any particular suggestions? I would think (a) easy rules, (b) very well-written/laid-out rulebook, (c) a fairly high level of polish, in terms of board/pieces/etc. and (d) good fun, would be the most important things if you're hoping to keep them interested in this sort of thing.

Some games that I have given as gifts to newbies that might not work if I'm not there:
-Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre: The rulebook is a bit of a mess, though once someone shows you how to do it, it's not difficult.
-Pandemic: Seems like it might work well, but for someone who's not used to playing games, the setup might be a little complex at first.

Thanks for any help!
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1. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:151] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
muddy sneakers
United States
Washington
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Base Carcassonne is very easy to learn. Only issue might be farmers.
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2. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
muddy sneakers
United States
Washington
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Ticket to Ride is pretty easy to learn and lots of fun.
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3. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:257]
Dan Edelen
United States
Mount Orab
Ohio
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Very simple. Possibly a few questions about the order in which events happen (especially with 5-6 players), but otherwise easy to pick up.
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4. Board Game: Fjords [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1213]
David Witzany
United States
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I gave a couple expecting their first child this game several years ago. The way you simultaneously build the map and jostle with your only opponent to nab the most hexes makes for a really excellent but easy-to-learn game. Unfortunately, this one's out-of-print at the moment.
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5. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:566]
Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
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Also Saint Petersburg, Oregon, and Pastiche. The rules are easy. The rulebooks are well written. Play is very intuitive. Plays well with 2 or with more.

I don't recommend one of these four more than the others. I had to start with a picture of one, and I picked it randomly.
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6. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:194]
David Witzany
United States
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Another game I've given away. Also for two players, also with easy-to-learn rules, this one's still in print. You take the strategy of poker, reduce the hand size to three cards, then let each player construct nine 3-card hands as the game progresses. Honestly, this is one of Reiner Knizia's best games because, while it doesn't have the number of twists and turns of other games of his (my favorite is either Amun-Re or the original Lord of the Rings, both considerably more complex), Battle Line confronts you with a very straightforward situation and offers you very simple options over and over again. That doesn't make your choices obvious, it makes you repeatedly choose among several obvious choices--by game's end, each "simple" decision is as nerve-wracking as the climax of a Hitchcock movie. All that in a game with a MSRP of under $25.
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7. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:241]
David Webb
United States
North Little Rock
Arkansas
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I'm going to add two more that I went with today. It just seems like Love Letter is so popular right now, and so simple, that it would be about the easiest thing possible to pick up on.
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8. Board Game: Guillotine [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1058]
David Webb
United States
North Little Rock
Arkansas
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I also went with Guillotine. I think the rules are very straightforward and the text on the cards doesn't seem to cause much confusion about rules or turn order or such.
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9. Board Game: Jungle Speed [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1179]
Fernando Robert Yu
Philippines
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Nothing "gamey" here..the one with the most accurate eye and fastest hands wins here!
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10. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:838]
David Witzany
United States
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Might as well add a game that supports more than two players--up to eight, actually. Each turn, you draw a piece and play one of the few you have in your hand. Each piece you play lengthens the path you're on, and your marker moves along the path you're creating. Eventually, your path intersects those of the other players, so more than one token moves when you play a new piece--or when your opponent plays a new piece. Since it's a fight to be the last player to keep their token from running off the edge of the board, the interactions get very nasty very quickly. The downside is that players are eliminated. The upside is, they'll have a very short wait until the next game.
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