Games That Got Me (A Girlfriend) Into Boardgaming
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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I see a lot of lists on here from guys listing what games they played to get their girlfriends (or try to get their girlfriends) into boardgaming. I thought I would put a different spin on it since I am one of those girlfriends. Of course this could be to introduce your boyfriend, friend, parent, brother, sister, grandma, whoever to games, but since girlfriend seems to be the most common list, and thats what I am, I am doing the list as girlfriend.

My BF and I started dating about 1 1/2 years ago. My friends and I loved games but all we had experience with were party games. My BF opened my eyes to a whole new world of boardgames and I have never looked back. Here are some of the games that he used to get me into boardgaming or to pique my interest in games.

I tried to keep the items in the order they were introduced to me but there might be some variation in the middle. These are not all games you would want to play the first night. I think these were probably over the first 6-8 weeks so you can see they get deeper and more complicated as the list goes on. There were many more games played in this time, but these are the ones that moved me forward to another game or inspired me to want to try another genre. As I am new to participating in BGG and this is my first list please forgive any errors in terminology.

At the end of each item I put a lesson learned by introducing the game. As always these lessons worked for me and I believe will work with a lot of people but I make no promises. After all, women are not all the same and you should know her better than I do!
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1. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:3349] [Average Rating:5.94 Unranked]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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To be completely fair to him my BF hates this game. This is the one game I was playing before we met but it was the first game I ever played with rules that were more than roll the dice, guess the clue, move your pawn, when you reach the finish square you won. He did sit down and play this with me and my friends in spite of his loathing and that opened the way for him to put one of his own games on the table afterwards.

I used to love this game but it has fallen in my esteem(and ratings) the more boardgames I play. I don't really play this game anymore but I will look on it fondly as the game that initially got me into gaming. Of course as with most firsts I wish I had held out for a more handsome, popular, and deep one, but it will always hold a place in my boardgaming heart.

The Lesson: Even if you hate whatever game she DOES like, play it with her and then she will be more prone to return the favor and try one of yours. This is not the time to tell her why her game sucks and yours are better.
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2. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This is one of the first games that we played. Our first game "session" was a 2 player one which was nice for a learning curve. This one was fairly easy to pick up, let us get in a couple of plays, and then made me ready to move on to the next game. It also gave me a little bit of confidence because I had played and understood the rules well. It gave him an opening to introduce a slightly more complicated game but still in a 2 person format.

The Lesson: 2 player is the way to start. It gives her time to get used to more complicated rules while not feeling like she has to keep pace with your boardgaming friends that have already played each game 25 times.
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3. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:606] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This is the first game that he bought me. I hate to say this because I don't want to fill the stereotypes that some men have of the "female gamer", but there is something about putting together a zoo and making baby animals that appealed to me. Later he bought me Aquaretto and I do like the additional actions and scores added but I loved Zooloretto before I even played it.

The Lesson: Sometimes there is something to be said for "cute".
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4. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This is a good game to introduce competition with. It's a game where you are playing against the other player and you can have your routes messed up but usually in such a way you can recover. It also introduces some elements of long term planning and short term goals. It also is fairly simple to teach and grasp so I was able to spend my time thinking of the strategy I wanted to use instead of trying to remember rules minutiae.

The Lesson: Introduce player interference slowly. Even if she will eventually love it like I do it's not a good starting place.
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5. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:447]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This was one of the first games we played in a group. He invited another couple over that are light/medium non-serious gamers. They don't like anything too heavy and that was good for our first group session. This is about as heavy a game as we have ever played with them and was the most complicated one I had played up to that point. Even with the destroying of other people with lava and the volcano it was the kind of group where no one was incredibly vicious. When people were destroyed it was even slightly apologetic(although with several fun falling into the volcano noises). It was a good group for my first game where you go after other people's pieces.

The Lesson: Be careful who you play games with at the beginning. I would never say let someone win(and I would have been upset if anyone had done that to me) but at the beginning play with a group that likes to win but isn't really going to take the game all that seriously. If she makes a mistake, they will let her fix it(as long as it's not 3 turns later). Start the hardcore play once SHE is asking for the game.
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6. Board Game: Niagara [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:1093]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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I do not like this game. It might seem odd to put that on a list of games that got me into boardgames but it is important to realize at the beginning what you don't like as well as what you would like. I have said that I would definitely give it another try but I had a strong negative reaction to it. It wasn't the stealing of the jewels, in fact that was probably my favorite part, but I hated fighting the current. I just wanted to be able to plan each move a little more. I think that now that I have played more games I would be more open to this but at the time I was just frustrated and felt like I couldn't get anywhere. I had no fear expressing my dislike to my BF but he had no trouble saying "Ok, that one didn't work. What didn't you like about it? Oh! OK, then let's try this one. . . . ."

The Lesson: Just because she has a very strong negative reaction to a game you show her early doesn't mean she won't like boardgames. Just ask what she didn't like and try again.
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7. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:157]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This is not a game I would ever have looked at and wanted to play on my own. Now that I have it's one I would ask for again. How did it hit the table in the first place? He asked for it for a gift. That's right, that's all it took. He asked for it, I bought it for him for Christmas, and then of course I had to play it with him. What fun would it have been to give him a gift he couldn't enjoy or had to wait a month to enjoy with someone else?

The Lesson: Sometimes she will try something just because you ask her to or want her to and she might end up liking it. Believe it or not, she probably wants you to be happy too and will be willing to try things with you to make that happen.
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8. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This was one of my favorite games in the beginning and still remains one of only 2 games that have earned a 10 on my rating scale. What got me into it in the first place? The auction and the market. I really like the interaction of the auction and it also makes it feel like you aren't just always sitting there waiting for the next person to go. I also like the market in this game. You can buy items that drive the price up for your neighbor, but you rarely can buy every one out there so there is at least a chance for your neighbor to recover. There is a healthy amount of competition without ever feeling like someone could ruin your whole game in 2 turns.

The Lesson: I don't know how many people this would apply to, but this was very good for me on the player interaction level. It's fun to laugh over the bidding, outbidding, and sometimes overbidding.
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9. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:73]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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This wasn't one that I played right away because it wasn't out yet, but I was able to enjoy the anticipation. This game was a good one to introduce me to because I am fascinated by virology. This was one that was purchased for me and I was told it was coming so that I could be excited about it. I was thrilled that there was a game that actually followed my interest in this subject-so thrilled that I was willing to play other games while waiting for this one to arrive(which did take a while!)

The Lesson: HER INTERESTS! This is just like having conversation on the first date, the more you can involve her interests the more successful you are likely to be. Virology is not going to be the thing for some people but try and find a theme you can get her interested in. It might let a game thats more complicated than normal hit the table and ease her into more difficult games.
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10. Board Game: Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:133]
Archidamia
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Hazel Park
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I found that this was a great game for worker placement/choosing roles. There was a wide variety of activities to choose each turn but a lot of different ways to win. It was a game that really made me learn to be flexible. When we started playing this game I was already fairly good at forming a long term plan but flexibility hadn't really played into it yet. This game taught me how to form a long term plan but also scrap it and change directions when necesary. This still ranks as one of my favorites!

The Lesson: Just because it has war and killing don't assume she won't like it. It could have good lessons for her and who knows? She might ask for it over and over.
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