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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.