Essential Gateway Games for the New Gamer
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I have been introducing games to people who are interested buying games to introduce to their game gathering.

These are the what I recommend for a new gamers to host their own game nights. Their guest will be people who like games but never played any modern designer games.

They play games that you can buy at Toys 're Us and Starbucks, like 24 DVD Board Game, Mahjong,Pente, and traditional card games like Spades.

Purpose--create a short shopping list of games that a new gamer host and hostess can buy so they can teach to their group (without me being there).

My Criteria:
meeple Short and Simple rules -- I will NOT be there to answer questions; thus short and simple rules makes it easy to remember and teach.
meeple Good quality components -- like jewels!
meeple Short -- under 90 minutes
meeple Scalability -- espcially 2-player is good
meeple Appeal to a mixed group of ladies and gents -- so no wargames

Most of all all the games on this list is EASY -- to explain, to play, and to remember the rules.

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1. Board Game: Palazzo [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1440]
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meeple 2-Player and Multiplayer Auction Game

2-4 player -- plays/scales well to accommodate 2, 3, or 4 players

Favre4MVP in the Comments section wrote:
...rare that a game with auctions would work for a 2 player game, but Palazzo works surprisingly well.

If you want to show someone what the German game explosion* is all about, Palazzo would be a great game to get them started on.

*not an actual explosion




A great intro to auction games, especially because very few auction games work with 2-players.

Setup Guide: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/34072
Play Aid: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/34071
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2. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:227]
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3-5 players, 4 or 5 players recommenced

the ultimate auction game that has been published several times by different publishers around the world.

Get the
2008 Lautapelit edition (Finnish)
http://www.lautapelit.fi

or

2006 Odysseia edition (Brazilian)
http://www.odysseiajogos.com.br


Use my English Play Aid for the Odysseia edition: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/27971

Bought my Odysseia edition at www.boardsandbits.com
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3. Board Game: Tower of Babel [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1316]
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meeple Hybrid Area Control & Auction game

Scales from 3-5 players
1 hr

Actually a blind bidding and area control hybrid game.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do not use Actions cards. They look like these:

these cards are unbalanced and because Action Cards were not of Knizia's design.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2488503

cards and the board
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4. Board Game: Great Wall of China [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:2252]
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meeple Area Control Game

Plays 2-5 -- best with 3, 4, or 5

light medium weight game. Attempt to find the path of least resistance and win by making several small victories and while avoiding battles of attrition.

cards and the point chips
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5. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:852] [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
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meeple Secret Identity Game -- Big Group

6+ player game
scalable

Use Eric Bridge variants:

1) "Werewolf" variant. By everyone closing their eyes, and then the saboteurs opening their eyes, the saboteurs know who their fellow saboteurs are.
2) "Greedy Dwarf" variant. If good Gold Diggers reach the treasure, only those Gold Diggers who have unbroken equipment can share in the treasure cards. We ALWAYS use this variant to spice things up.
3) "Middle Treasure" variant. The middle treasure is placed 1 space further away from the start space (8 away instead of 7), not only making it take longer to reach it, but also making it TWO spaces away from the treasure spaces on each side.

Also note that we ALWAYS know exactly how many saboteurs there are. In other words, we don't have an "extra" dwarf card handed out each round.

d10-33 Players: 1 Saboteur, 2 Gold Diggers, Middle Treasure variant. Saboteur wins 4 gold if successful.
d10-44 Players: 2 Saboteurs, 2 Gold Diggers, Rest of game as normal, except successful saboteurs only get 2 gold. (This changes the 4 player game from being so heavily weighted in favor of the Gold Diggers to actually weighted toward the saboteurs.)
d10-55 Players: 2 Saboteurs, 3 Gold Diggers, Werewolf variant, Middle Treasure variant. Saboteurs win 3 gold.
d10-66 Players: 2 Saboteurs, 4 Gold Diggers, Werewolf variant, Middle Treasure variant. Saboteurs win 4 gold.
d10-77 Players: 3 Saboteurs, 4 Gold Diggers. Werewolf variant. Saboteurs win 3 gold.
d10-88 Players: 3 Saboteurs, 5 Gold Diggers. Werewolf variant, Middle Treasure variant. Saboteurs win 3 gold.
d10-99 Players: 4 Saboteurs, 5 Gold Diggers. Saboteurs win 2 gold.
d10-010 Players: 4 Saboteurs, 6 Gold Diggers. Werewolf variant, Middle Treasure variant. Saboteurs win 2 gold.
------
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/242686
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6. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:261]
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meeple Blind Auction Game -- Short Game

A 15-20 minutes, auction game for 3-6 players, but recommend for 4-6 players

You play this as you wait for people or as a closer for a gaming session.

Interesting use of simultaneous bidding to make a short and tense play.

properties auction: from an outhouse (outdoor bathroom) "2" to a castle "28"

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7. Board Game: No Thanks! [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:392]
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meeple Reverse Auction game -- Short Game

A 10-15 minutes, sort of a reverse auction game for 3-5 players. Scales well to accommodate 3-5 players

You play this as you wait for people or as a closer for a gaming session.

A reverse auction game meaning that one bids continuously keeps bidding not to take points that count against you, like the card game hearts.

players say "no thanks" to 35 points by paying a chip

The Tricky Squirrel -- fan made clone for the PC
http://www.hagru.at
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8. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
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meeple Abstract Strategy Game

Scalable abstract game that plays like dominoes.

When playing 4 players, use the partnership rules.

Abstract strategy--games that have no theme or story like chess and poker.

Download a PC game demo with tutorial:
http://www.reflexive.com/ReinerKniziasIngenious.html


A fan made online AI
http://www.marquand.net/index.php?topic=ingenious

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9. Board Game: Taluva [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:410]
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meeple Tile Laying Game

2-4 players -- scales/playes well with 2, 3, or 4 players

A challenging yet simple to explain and play tile laying game.

Lightly themed but the the wooden pieces and the colorful tiles are beautiful to look at and deeper than it looks.



Better than, Carcassonne because Taluva has good wooden bits and art (if not better), but more deep with simpler rules out of the box versus, Carcassonne which needs expansions to make it better. Taluva, also scales better to accommodate different number of players.

Carcassonne: The Castle is a contender for this spot but, it only plays 2 players.
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10. Board Game: Hoity Toity [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1196]
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meeple Blind Bidding (Auction) Game -- Big Group

plays 2-6, recommend 4-6 players.

Blind bidding game -- A type of auction game where you attempt to predict and out guess you opponent.
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11. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
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meeple Cooperative Game

Plays 2-4, recommend 2-4

Work as one team against the game system.

Pandemic has a script that the player follows, draw a city card, spread germ in that city, until you find contain or cure the germs. Players work together to slow the spread of the disease while trying to find a cure at the same time.
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12. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:698]
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meeple Cooperative Game

Plays 2-5 -- scales well for 2, 3, 4, or 5.

If they are Tolkien fans, choose this instead of Pandemic. It is more complex but only because it adds the Lord of the Rings flavor so richly.

Easy game with 2 players because you tend to get more resources.

Better than Pandemic

Lots of stuff--two double sided story board, corruption board, cards, hobbits, sauron, and the "One" ring and more.
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13. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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meeple Economic Resource Management Game

The German monopoly.

Resource management--chose what and how much raw materials to produce to then trade for other raw materials for ultimately build things that generate victory points.

3-4 players

do not recommend any expansions because they make the game too long and complicated for new people.

This may be too long and complex for an introduction of games. Will recommend as the second game that a new to the hobby should play.

Several free computer options, here is what I recommend:
Programmed in Java so should work lots of different platforms.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/solitairecatan/

Also recommend using cards rather than dice--event card expansion > Catan: Event Cards
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14. Board Game: Bohnanza [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:366]
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meeple Trading Game

plays 3-6 but recommend 3-5 players

Great ice breaker--people talk to one another.

Do not recommend expansions because it makes this simple elegant game into a inelegant complex and long game. If you want more strategy in your negotiations games consider Quo Vadis? or Chinatown (more complex).
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15. Board Game: Quo Vadis? [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1717]
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meeple Negotiation Game

plays 3-5 but recommend 4-5 players

Simple rules and under an hour.

Highly interactive. Gets people to talk and talk.

Like, Bohnanza gets people talking.

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16. Board Game: To Court the King [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1401]
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meeple Dice Game

recommend 2-4, 3 being the best number of players.

for the yahtzee and dice lovers

You roll dice to make poker hand patterns like

331 pair
444 three of a kind

When you get certain patterns, like a pair, you win the Farmer Card, which gives you 1 more die to use to roll more complex hands. You attempt to get more complex dice hands like four of a kind, two pairs, and so forth to win more people cards, working your way up to the king to win the game.
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17. Board Game: Catan Dice Game Plus [Average Rating:5.86 Unranked] [Average Rating:5.86 Unranked]
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meeple Dice Game
A free pdf that you can print and play with Catan Dice Game
you need to have


recommend 2-3, 2 players being the best. 4 has too much downtime.

for the yahtzee and dice lovers

You roll these dice

to make hand patterns like
woodbrick=road
woodwheatsheepbrick=settlement

and mark you play sheet to show what you have built for score keeping


Because you can take away points from your opponents, it is more interactive than the original Catan Dice Game.

When you get certain patterns to build a settlements and cities for points, as well as infrastructures like a road. Good intro to Settlers of Catan, mentioned on this list.

This was the oringinal design that was submitted to publisher but the publisher tinkered with it to make Catan Dice Game and Catan Dice Game Plus was published as a free pdf expansion by the author later on the Author's website.
 
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18. Board Game: Lost Cities: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:938]
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meeple Set colletion game

Beautifully themed game with a simple but deep strategy.

A superior alternative or complement to Union Pacific on this list.

game in play
game bits close-up
 
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19. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:468]
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meeple Set Collection
2-4 players -- recommend with 4,5, 6 players

Rummy card melding applied to a modern board game. Collecting (meld) a set of companies (like suites).

Out of print, get a copy while you can from boardgamegeek market place, boardgamegeek trading place, or on ebay. Around $60-$80

The best easy train themed game.

Never liked Ticket to Ride games. Feel that Union Pacific is Alan Moon's Magnum Opus

Use the Amigo Spiele (German) Rules v1.1: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/33534

This play aid based Amigo Spiele (German) Rules v1.1:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/33587
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20. Board Game: Queen's Necklace [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:1700]
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meeple Dutch Auction Game

A great eye candy game as well for the ladies.

Jewels are just pictures but it comes with a necklace and gold rings. You wear the necklace when you get the Queen's Necklace card.


Queen's Necklace is also provides an excellent supply and demand model. Definitely suitable for economics and the how law of supply and demand works.

jewel auction game for 2-4.
Best with 3 players and recommended with 4

2-player variant available:

Quote:
Days of Wonder forum:

Yes, you could remove 4 amber cards, 2 1-gem cards of Emerald, Ruby and Diamonds, and 1 2-gems cards of of the same. This has the net effect of making the game somewhat tighter and reinforcing the importance of the characters play, more like in a 3-player game. At least that's what I do. I usually also remove the confessors outright in my 2 player games

Very Happy .
eric @ DoW



 
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21. Board Game: Risk: Star Wars – The Clone Wars Edition [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3664]
Sebastian Sohn
United States
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If you are interested in wargames. This could be a start.

2-4 players

This game is good because it has short rules and can

meeple card driven -- cards that can play an event that helps you or hinder you or play it to get better type of military units. Timing and hand management of cards add another layer of strategy.

meeple asymmetrical -- each side has different strengths and weakness so they play differently, adding more variety.

Out of print but abundant on ebay for around $20 or here on boardgamegeek for sale and trade.
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22. Board Game: Quebec 1759 [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2018]
Sebastian Sohn
United States
culver city
CA
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If you are interested in a real wargame that uses blocks.

2-player
plays under 60 minutes

trade block games use wooden blocks with sticker on one side facing you only so that you opponent does not what type of units it is. It simulates the fog-of-war, making a game less predictable and ultimately more tense.

trade blocks can be rotated up to four sides to show incremental damage.

trade on the picture below, red player only see the plain backsides of the blue player until a battle occurs where both sides reveal units and to resolve combat.
 
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23. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:569] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Sebastian Sohn
United States
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meeple Group puzzle game -- Big Group

plays 2-10,

Everyone solves the same puzzle under a time pressure.


practice online:
* http://www.braunston.com/kevin/rrobot/rrobot.html
* http://www.ricochetrobots.com/RR.html

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