Games that aren't intimidating to learn but still pack a punch
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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I'm constantly looking for games that I can introduce to my wife. Lately i've been looking at games which I feel are not as "intimidating" - as much as I want her to play a game like Memoir '44, I feel like un-boxing and setup would totally zap her enthusiasm to learn.

This list is meant to focus in on games that are...
- light on components
- relatively quick setup time
- simple rules to explain and get going
- provides a fair degree of replayability


While the criteria pretty much focuses on the lighter games, my goal here is to get her comfortable with introducing/learning a new game every couple months. The hope that I can bring her over to the darkside of LOVING to learn new games!
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1. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:217]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Own.
This was easy to teach to the wife and she enjoys it.



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2. Board Game: Hive [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:204]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Own.
I believe this is exactly in the sweet spot in the spirit of this list. Wife learned it and enjoys it.
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3. Board Game: Zombie Dice [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:1712]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Own.
Wife enjoys this and I've been able to get all the expansions in the mix.
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4. Board Game: Hey, That's My Fish! [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:677]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Own.
Easy to introduce and still offers a good degree of replayability after many plays - still trying to teach the wife to be more aggressive.
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:138] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Own.
This is the next "new game" I'm going to introduce to my wife. I believe she'll like it.
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6. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:293]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Looking to buy.
I think this is EXACTLY what I'm looking for ... just waiting for the reprint.
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7. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:276]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Looking to buy.
Simple rules, gameplay and should have a good degree of replay (even at 2) as we strive for a perfect score.
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8. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:623]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Looking to buy.
Think it'd be a good way to build on the push-your-luck success of Zombie Dice!
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9. Board Game: Tsuro [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:771]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Possible buy.
While this have alot of tiles I see this as being a good candidate. Unsure if this is a good buy with largely playing as 3 player.
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10. Board Game: Sushi Go! [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:345]
Matt Dodgson
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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Possible buy.
I think it would be GREAT for 3-5 (don't really want to try the 2-player dummy). I'm foolishly hopeful that it could be a gateway to 7 wonders.
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11. Board Game: Sail to India [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1123]
Jonathan O'D
United States
Delta Junction
Alaska
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Quick set-up, rules explanation and good reference cards.
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12. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1090]
Phil Triest
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Not much to this one and very easy to teach. Deeply strategic though.
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13. Board Game: OddVille [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1274]
Phil Triest
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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Again not much to teach but still has some tough choices.
 
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14. Board Game: Quoridor [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1009]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Quoridor meets all your criteria and has the bonus of looking like art. It represents a nice change-up from the cornucopia of card games on such lists. It's the only game I rate a 10.
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15. Board Game: Splendor [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:116]
Brent Schleicher
United States
Hugo
Minnesota
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This one is very easy to set up and to teach.

Plays really well with two.


Edit to add: also the box is comically oversized. The game is just a set of nice poker chips, some cards, and a few tiles to extra scoring. Takes up about 10% of the box, so it's a good fit for your light on components request.
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16. Board Game: Quebec 1759 [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:2040]
Christopher Donovan
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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A light, simple, classic, strategic block wargame on an interesting subject, and has nice components...
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17. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:333]
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
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Easy to play, but there is some strategy.
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18. Board Game: Patchwork [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:58]
UT Dawson
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My wife and I love to play this together. You can teach someone to play in less than 5 minutes, and games last about 20 minutes. The decisions are always interesting.
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19. Board Game: Flowerpower [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2459]
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
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Difficult to find, but if you're crafty:
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/31264/want-copy-flowerpow...

Amazing payoff. Shenomad's top game of 2014.
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20. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:181]
Murray Fish
Australia
Canberra
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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Battle Line is one of my most-played games. It is two player, quite easy to learn, sets up quickly and plays very well - I can usually finish a 'best of three' series over a lunchbreak.

There is a great amount of depth and replayability it this little package - highly recommended.
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21. Board Game: Harbour [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1248]
David Leach
United States
Virginia
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I found the core market mechanic in Harbour to be quite interesting, in fact I think it works better with fewer players (less chaos) and packs quite a lot of interesting decisions into a tiny box. Many like to call it "Tiny Epic Le Havre" as it seems to certainly have had some influence there with the way the buildings are played.
 
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22. Board Game: It Happens.. [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:2991]
David Leach
United States
Virginia
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An under appreciated little game by Stefan Feld where you're controlling ant hills with dice, attempting to both collect sets of items and have pip majority on a given card at the same time. The incredibly fun artwork adds greatly to the appeal. Don't let the cartoony artwork fool you, however, there are plenty of opportunities to screw over your opponents, which should be expected.

It plays up to five, but has an interesting set of rules for two, where on your turn you have a choice of either playing one of your own dice or one of a third dummy player. Unlike most dummy players that follow a set of simple rules, by allowing you the choice of playing the third player's dice instead of your own it opens up lots more decisions and chances for blocking. I had low expectations for the game at first but have actually found it highly enjoyable and the fun artwork makes it seem more accessible.
 
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23. Board Game: Blueprints [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:723]
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
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Games take about 20 minutes.
Dice aren't so random as to be without some forethought.
Players are trying to make 3D shapes on cards using colored dice that each score differently.
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24. Board Game: Cartagena [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:856]
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
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This game sounds unappealing on its face (it's basically "Candy land" with a small twist.) That small twist - however - is that you have to go backwards to draw more cards in order to play them to match the symbols to ultimately move forward. It's a delicate game of timing with a race element to it.
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25. Board Game: Red7 [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:545]
Kevin Garnica
United States
West Covina
California
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There are a ton of interesting card games that could work here. Aside from the entry pictured, I'll just list a bunch that I know would work well for the purposes of this list...

Coloretto
Haggis
Machi Koro
Diamonds
Elevenses
Artoretum

And if you want even more options with less money to have to spend, try looking into card systems like the Decktet, or the Badger Deck. The Decktet plays interesting card games unlike any other, while almost all of the aforementioned card games can be played with a Badger deck, including other entries on this Geeklist, like Lost cities and Battle Line.

Or you could try other game systems in general, like Icehouse Pyramids, or the Piecepack.
 
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