You've never heard of CHESS? Really?!?!
Xander Fulton
United States
Astoria
Oregon
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So, as BGG members, we obviously have a very wide range of games we can draw from to compare a new title to. We've all done it. "Okay, you know 'Clue', right? Well, this game 'Mystery of the Abbey' has some elements in common with that, in that you are attempting to determine specific things about a crime that occured, via a process of eliminating what is impossible."

etc.

Generally, it's wise to pick a game that you know "everyone" knows, and is somewhat similar to have a starting point. Unfortunately, the mass of public can sometimes throw a monkey wrench in this plan by being stubbornly uninformed of even the most BASIC boardgame (hence, the title - although I've never actually had to utter that on, myself).

So...what is an example boardgame you started explaining something with, assuming audience familiarity, that you were the MOST SURPRISED they had never heard of.
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1. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:14524]
Xander Fulton
United States
Astoria
Oregon
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So at a company meeting, one of our new sales people (sorry, I mean, "Account Managers") and I were chatting about hobbies. Yes, this was a North American sales guy, probably mid 30s. Anyway, I mentioned I enjoy playing wargames.

"Oh, like paintball"?

No, actually - boardgames, just themed about historical conflicts.

"Kinda like Battleship?"

Ummm...not really. I guess you could say something like 'Risk', only with a little more constraints around unit movement/actions based on things like supply, etc.

"Like what? Wrist?"

No, 'RISK'. Board wargame? Conquer-the-world type of game? Plastic figures, lots of dice? Made by Parker Brothers?

"Weird - never heard of it"

wow
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2. Board Game: Connect Four [Average Rating:4.84 Overall Rank:15318]
Xander Fulton
United States
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Another one that surprised me.

In one of the 'Chuck Norris' lists that went around, I forwarded it to someone, and got:

"Well, I laughed at most of them, but...'Chuck Norris only needs to connect three'. What does that mean?"

Oh, well, you know, in 'Connect Four', you need to connect four.

"In what?"

'Connect Four'? Mid-80s Milton Bradley game? Yellow grid, 2 kids play taking turns dropping red and black disks into it to try and get 4 in a row diagonal/horizontal/vertical?

"Huh. Never heard of it."

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3. Board Game: Yahtzee [Average Rating:5.29 Overall Rank:15240]
Just call me Erik
United States
Waldorf
Maryland
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A gamer friend of mine asked,

"How's that catan dice game?"

And I said "I'd rather play Yahtzee."

And he said..."Yahtzee? How does that game work?"
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4. Board Game: Shuuro [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:5329]
alberto giusti
Italy
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Shuuro is a game for two players, which merges the precision and rigour of chess with the creativity and variety of war-gaming.

It does so by attaching a points value to each traditional chess piece and allowing the players to spend a predetermined amount of these points (say, a total of 800 points) to select the chess ‘army’ that they think makes the best use of the points. This creates a feeling of ‘ownership’ towards the particular combination the player thinks is the most effective.

The ‘battle’ will then take place on a large chess board of twelve by twelve squares. This board, however, also introduces a new and unique element to the game. Each of the four six-by-six quadrants of the board contains two plinths that block the movement of the pieces. These plinths are placed randomly at the beginning of every game with the help of a dice, ensuring that every game will be different and present unique challenges. The plinths also help in balancing the game, restricting the movement of Queens, Bishops and Rooks, while at the same time allowing Knights to land onto them and using them as defensive positions (as only an enemy Knight can take them while they’re there).

It is worth noting that game box also includes a normal chessboard and full rules for traditional chess, making it good to learn chess and allowing players to engage in this great classic as well as the innovative Shuuro.
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