Gateway games
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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These are the games I have used to good success to introduce non-gamer friends to the world of modern board games. Feel free to add your own.
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1. Board Game: Fearsome Floors [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1087]
Board Game: Fearsome Floors
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Simple mechanics and a wacky theme, this game is attractive and fun. Being able to trick the monster into moving towards other people is one of the features people enjoy going for.
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2. Board Game: Ligretto [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:2807] [Average Rating:6.18 Unranked]
Board Game: Dutch Blitz
Juan Medina
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Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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This dexterity/observation card game is great to pick up the pace after a couple sit down games. Everyone seems to get the gist of it really quick, and there is always that next hand for a comeback. Even people that end up dead last have fun playing this.
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3. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1122]
Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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People get a kick out of pointing guns at each other, and every round there are a ton of laughs when the moment to pick your target comes. Nice and simple to explain, this game is the one to pull out when you want to have a bit of competitive edge without to much seriousness.
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Family: Game: Carcassonne
Juan Medina
United States
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Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
It takes very little to explain the way to play this game, with the farms being the hardest one (which is not complex at all). Laying the tiles comes naturally for most people, and playing a forgiving game where you suggest alternatives and allow for people to re-position is the key to get people hooked.
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5. Family: Game: Dominion
Board Game: Dominion: Intrigue
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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This is one of the two "heavy" games on the list. It does take a bit to explain many of the mechanics in Dominion games, but if you pick a simple and non-combative deck set, it should be Ok to have most first time players go through a whole game. This one I will play once I have seen the shine in the eyes of the newbies after playing a couple other games.
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6. Board Game: Skull [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:374]
Board Game: Skull
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Another good game to change the pace, the bluffing aspect works well for most people, and the laughs come all the time. It takes literally not time to explain, and plays as short or as long as you want, making it a good filler or a good long session game as your play group likes.
 
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7. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:399]
Board Game: Shadows over Camelot
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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One of the simplest Coops around, it has the advantage that it is trivial to mix newcomers and experienced players alike, thus making it natural to introduce the mechanics of collaboration by example. After a couple rounds, most everybody will have a full grasp of how to work the game. If this one works, then you know you can start pulling Pandemics and Defenders of the Realm, or Yggdrasil into the mix.
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8. Board Game: Ivanhoe [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:2115]
Board Game: Ivanhoe
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
I always thought that the "special action" cards would make this harder to explain, then found out most people have no problem interpreting the cards. The mechanics are straight forward, and the game balances out pretty well. People naturally understand the "ladder" concept, and play with good strategy after the first three or four rounds. This is also one of those games that people will ask to play again, once they understand the nature of the game.
 
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9. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:58]
Board Game: 7 Wonders
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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This is probably the most complex game I have used to introduce people to the concept of modern gaming. It does offer several advantages. First, it fits a lot of people, so you can teach several new players at once. This also contributes to make the first try balanced, as people that are new will very likely play to the same level as their fellow newcomers. The game is also very pretty and appealing, which makes most people just be drawn to it. Lastly, the theme works into explaining the different scoring opportunities. Being collaborative and allowing people to ask questions during the first games works great. This is also one of those that people want to play again immediately after their intro game is over.
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10. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:266] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Dixit
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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The concept in this game is pretty simple to explain, and a few examples on how to phrase your concepts and play a few rounds take very little time. Some people will have a hard time creating a complex or crafty way to describe their picture, but the game plays well even then. This game also has a good characteristic and it is that it plays well with a very dispair set of people, kids, heavy gamers, newcomers. Lastly, the artwork keeps people engaged as they are always trying to figure out ways to explain the different cards they were dealt.
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11. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:606]
Board Game: Wits & Wagers
Juan Medina
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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This amazingly fun game is the quintessential party experience where you have a large or unbalanced set of players. It explains in very little time, and it does allow for luck and some good people judgement calls to put you on the lead. Since you are not required to know exactly anything, the usual reluctance to play trivia games goes away, and everyone participates and discuss the different answers, how close they were, why they missed the value, etc ... Best game to integrate a large group of people.
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12. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow: The Village [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2498] [Average Rating:6.95 Unranked]
Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow: The Village
Juan Medina
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Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
One of the greates social games, Werewolves and its many incarnations are the type of games that you can introduce in any large social center. I like this particular version because of the sturdiness of the materials as well as the appealing artwork. If I see people are catching up quick with the basics, I can increase the roles, add village locations and force certain people to play certain roles.
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13. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:297]
Board Game: For Sale
Juan Medina
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
In my opinion the best filler game of all times. This you can explain as you go and play as many hands as needed to train people in how to play. Fun and fast it is certain to attract new players before you get them to play heavier auction and bluffing games.
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14. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:705]
Board Game: Diamant
Juan Medina
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Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
Pitting people against each other in this "press your luck" game is great.
Explaining the mechanics takes about five minutes, and getting the flow to go quick takes three or four rounds. The downtime, even for players that go back to camp early is really short, and the decisions are limited to d"o I stop or do I go?" which is great for newcomers.
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15. Board Game: Chinatown [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:359]
Board Game: Chinatown
Juan Medina
United States
Cedar Park
Texas
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Board games rule my life, and my wife's. That is a good thing, believe it or not ;)
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Microbadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: My wife buys me board games!Microbadge: Three Kingdoms Redux fanMicrobadge: Microbadge: I prefer cold weather over hot weather
If you know how to buy stuff, then you can play this game. Trading comes naturally for most people, and the concepts in the game are really simple. In the end, is all about money, and you can trade anything you are playing with. This is Monopoly without all the painful roll-and-move mechanic and without player elimination. It would fit anyone that has played the old classic instantly.
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16. Board Game: Trailer Park Wars [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:6718]
Board Game: Trailer Park Wars
eric hogan
United States
Salem
Oregon
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This is a very simple off color game-but quite fun. New players get it within two minutes and always have a good time.
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17. Board Game: The Looney Bin [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:13384]
Board Game: The Looney Bin
eric hogan
United States
Salem
Oregon
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I always pull this out as well. Another off color game that is teachable in under two minutes.
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18. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:384] [Average Rating:7.16 Unranked]
Board Game: Catan
Liam
Scotland
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Still the game that I have used most to covert non-gamers and was converted by.

Despite this I don't consider it to be the best of gateway games.

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19. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:97]
Board Game: Pandemic
Liam
Scotland
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This instantly converted a new flatmate on her first night. Happy days!

It remains a gateway game that blows non-gamers minds.

Quote:
"I didn't think a board game could feel like this."
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20. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:118] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe
Liam
Scotland
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Another game another instant conversion; edition does not really matter.

Quote:
"Oh I bought two copies of that train game, one for me and one for a friends birthday."
"Oh did you..... Aside: YES!
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21. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:347]
Board Game: Kingsburg
Liam
Scotland
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One of these games that daily I'm realising is a good gateway game.

Only one conversion so far but from someone who I thought would never be a gamer:

Quote:
'Thanks for bringing that game round. I'm really enjoying playing these new types of games.
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22. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:531]
Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii
Liam
Scotland
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From the maker of Carcassonne an even more exciting and perfect game.

This is a quick gateway game. This worked amazingly well with my lovers mother:

Quote:
So are there other board games that you can just play be yourself?
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23. Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:277]
Board Game: Survive: Escape from Atlantis!
james elmore
United States
St. George
Utah
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Microbadge: Popular Front fanMicrobadge: I love Spain!Microbadge: España 1936 fanMicrobadge: Spanish Civil War fanMicrobadge: Anarchist
This is very easy to learn in five minutes or so. Seems to appeal to a broad spectrum of people and they all like it.
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24. Board Game: Volle Hütte [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:8553]
Board Game: Volle Hütte
Angel Garcia Perez
Spain
Malaga
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Microbadge: Parent of Three GirlsMicrobadge: Rules Addict - I read rules before I go to bedMicrobadge: la BSK userMicrobadge: Always room for 1 more gameMicrobadge: Gamer Wife
Fun!!!
 
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25. Board Game: 10 Days in Asia [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2399]
Board Game: 10 Days in Asia
Ronny S. Mo
Japan
Iwamizawa-shi
Hokkaido
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Microbadge: Owner of Too Many Unplayed GamesMicrobadge: Plays Games with SpouseMicrobadge: Plays Games with ChildrenMicrobadge: AtheistMicrobadge: Owner of Too Many Unplayed Games
This has worked well with my wife, who is now looking to explore more complex games, as well as non-gamer friends who then also want to try other games.
 
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