Social games that don't scare non-gamers
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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This is a list of multi-player games I feel safe to introduce to non-gamers and even children. They are really simple, quick to teach, yet they are still games with strategy and not much luck. You'll notice 2 popular introduction games missing from the list. Settlers of Catan and Bohnanza; I have occassionally experienced people that were slightly intimidated by the rules (Bohnanza especially can be a bit complex for the first time gamer). Which is why they didn't make the list, but I would definetly include them in the next game to introduce to a non-gamer list.
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1. Board Game: Fossil [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:13834]
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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Fossil has had a hard time on boardgamegeek, with a rating of only 5.63 I think it has suffered from a bit of vengence voting. I admit that it lacks some personality, but the game deserves much more than this. I think that if it had not won Game of the Year it would be rating much higher. While it is no where near my favorite game or one I would choose to play, I have found it one of the best social games there is. Non-gamers seem to love it. There are lots of decisions, no luck and most important - a novice has just as much chance of winning as a hardened gamer.
 
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2. Board Game: TransAmerica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:894]
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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Another game that is proving popular as a social game. There is no conflict, the luck is greatly reduced by the grouped coloured stations and just like Fossil, novice players have a chance of winning. Though there is an acquired skill of second guessing other players plans. This is a game of bluffing and the winner is usually the player that makes the most of other players hard work.
 
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3. Board Game: Through the Desert [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:435]
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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No luck, lots of choices, and simple mechanics. I have played this with children as young as 6. A 7 year old I had taught it to, then went on to teach her parents (and bet her Dad). There is the opportunity for indirect conflict i.e. blocking an opponents camel train (which in some games can turn off non-gamers) but isn't a big problem in this game as there is so much going on with different ways to score that there are usually plenty of alternative moves. Not a favourite of mine but a very good social game for the novice player.
 
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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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If played without farmers, Carcassonne, is another good game for the novice, while still having a good element of strategy and decision making. If farmers are used, it adds big avantaqe to the experienced player. And as experience has shown, the one thing that turns non-gamers off playing games is being thrashed on the score board. Without the farmers, the so-called luck factor evens out the game, giving the novice a good chance of winning.
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5. Board Game: Hare & Tortoise [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1072]
Tim Tripp
New Zealand
Christchurch
Christchurch
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This one suprised me. Non-gamers seem to enjoy it, but i thought the strategy would be a bit complex. I don't think the critism of it being a math game is fair. It comes with a chart of movement costs, so players don't have to do the calculating, they just check the chart to see what movements they can afford. I think, people enjoy it because they begin with low expectations. It just dosen't look like an enjoyable game, but once they start, see how clever it is.
 
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