So I finally got to host a game night for my NGF's... (mini-session reports)
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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I am relatively new to the hobby of boardgaming. I've always had the desire but have only recently started seeking out new games to purchase and people to play with. I attend a regular boardgame meetup with a group of serious gamers, but I also sporadically teach gateway games to friends of mine who are receptive to that kind of thing. It's usually in small groups but I've managed to get a handful of people interested in games like Catan, Dominion, BANG!, Tichu, and even Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game (that one surprised me).

Usually, it's just a couple of us that get together for the purpose of just playing one of these games for a night. I finally decided that I needed to get everyone under the same roof for a longer session where we play multiple games. I was able to get this together last Sunday. Over the course of the evening, there were 13 people in attendance including myself. Here is a list of what was played and some mini-session report type notes of how it went.
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1. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1055]
Josh Bailey
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When I first showed up (the event was hosted at my friend's larger apartment), there were 6 of us that wanted to play a game while waiting on the rest to arrive. A few people asked for Bang! so it was the first game to hit the table. I'm a little leery of teaching this game to new people but I've had to do just that numerous times so I felt up to the task. Not that it's a particularly difficult game to teach, but it can go slowly while people are learning and has a few aspects that don't always agree with everyone. I would typically want to teach this game to one new player per game and not with more than 5 people. It wouldn't have been my first choice as the opening game to play with a few people who were a little unsure of this whole idea.

So of the 6 playing, there were 3 of us who had a lot of experience with the game, another that had played a couple of times, and 2 that had never played before. We only played with the base + dodge city expansion. I go through my usual routine of explaining the overall idea of the game, the concept of range and distance, and the basic rules about what you can play when and hand limits and all that. For the cards themselves, I explain the difference between brown, black, and green cards but I only specifically go over the functions of the bang!, missed, and beer cards. Everything else I tell new players we will go over once the cards come up and that with the exception of bang and missed cards, it's not really a strategic advantage for us to know what cards are in your hand (at least not in a newbie game) so we can play somewhat openly.

Usually when explaining the game for the first time I will elect myself sheriff and deal out the rest of the roles randomly, because I know I will be giving advice and pointers to other players and I think it's better to do that if my role is known. This time, with only 2 of the 6 being new, I decided to deal out the roles randomly. Thankfully an experienced player to my right gets the sheriff and I get an outlaw. The way we're sitting this means there will be turns taken by 3 experienced players before the first new player has to go, so we should have plenty of opportunities to teach new cards. Having said that, the experienced sheriff in his haste to play forgets to draw his two cards to start his turn and I have to remind him, throwing in some comment like "come on now, we're supposed to be showing them the right way to play."

I am sitting directly to the left of the sheriff and am an outlaw. Usually in this position I don't wait too long to open fire on the sheriff and I have even more reason to do so now because it'll draw everyone's attention to me and I can be one of the first players eliminated. This way, the newer players can play longer and avoid the frustration of having to sit there not playing for the longest amount of time. I don't mind that situation because I'll just be helping the new players anyway. I was in fact the second player eliminated, the experienced outlaw to my left going down the turn before me.

The two new players were the last outlaw and the deputy, and they were the next two eliminated. The final showdown between renegade and sheriff was between the two most experienced Bang! players after myself. Thankfully, it didn't take too long and the sheriff prevailed.

The new players seemed to enjoy the game for its humor and enjoyed the confrontational style, so this went over pretty well. Over the course of our game, some more people had arrived and started playing...
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2. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:74]
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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Four people had arrived together while I was playing Bang! and one of them brought his copy of Pandemic that he had just recently purchased. That group of four was excited to play so they got in I believe two plays while we finished our game. I am not sure of the details as I wasn't involved but I was told they were playing with only 4 epidemic cards and still lost both games.

One thing I enjoy about this game with my friends is that we typically come up with names for the different "diseases". I put that in quotation marks because we don't always make them traditional diseases. My personal favorite is to name the blue disease "first world problems" given its location in North America and Western Europe. For instance, when blue diseases come out we'll say things like "a model in Manila just broke a heel" or "some guy in San Francisco just wrecked his jet ski". Another favorite of mine is to designate one of them "whooping cough". That stuff is deadly.

This was played on a couple of different occasions throughout the night (none by me) and I don't think they ever won. It's difficult to win a 4-player game with new people. Some of the same people also got in some games of...
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3. Board Game: Gloom [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1486] [Average Rating:6.36 Unranked]
Josh Bailey
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This was also owned by the person who brought Pandemic. I have played it with him before but it's not a game I really enjoy. 2-player is okay to me every now and then for a distraction but I don't like it with more than that. They were playing with 4 players, so I'm glad I wasn't involved. It seems Atlas Games just aren't for me (see: Lunch Money).
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4. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:186]
Josh Bailey
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Back to my table. We added one of the people previously playing Pandemic to start up a 7-player game of The Resistance. This was probably the game I was most looking forward to playing although I had kind of envisioned it as more of a last game of the night type thing. But whatever, I was happy to play it any time. I had previously introduced Are You The Traitor? to some of the same people but it never quite clicked for them (or me, really, despite my background in online werewolf here on BGG). I was confident this game would fix all the problems of Traitor and be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Thankfully, I was right. I decided to make the other players come up with a government or corporate entity that we were trying to overthrow and since we are in Atlanta we decided to be the underground resistance against Coca-Cola.

In the first game I was Resistance and we had some rules mistakes regarding plot cards, but that was my fault and I don't it think affected the game too much. The turning point of the game was when another Resistance member viewed my role and called me a spy. Clearly, this threw off all of my reads and led in part to a Spy victory. Apparently, I didn't explain the team aspect of the game well enough (she was completely new to gaming, the SO of another person in attendance) and just said that she thought she was supposed to be deceiving and wanted to lie about something. If nothing else, it made for lots of laughing after the game, so no hard feelings. Lesson learned: even if you think an aspect of a game is obvious, go ahead and make sure it's totally clear to people with little gaming experience.

In the second game, I was a Spy. Through a series of events involving plot cards over the first 3 missions, I had been basically outed. It stood as 3 people on one side who had mostly verified each other, and me saying all 3 of them must be spies. Fortunately, I had been able to fail 2 of those 3 missions so I had at least done something good for our team before I was basically rendered useless. I decided to invest my new-found lack of trustworthiness in disagreeing with and doubting one of my fellow spies who had flown under the radar and had been on a mission that passed. I was hoping to make him look better and better to the 3 who were completely against me. This spy got on the 4th mission but he was alone so he couldn't fail it, and the mission passed. This was the Resistance's downfall, however, as they sent him on the 5th and final mission which he failed to give us the win. It was pretty exciting for all involved.
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5. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:126]
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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Around this point most of us went out for food around the corner. The four who stayed decided to try out Tichu (2 of them had played before) and were playing their first hand when the rest of us got back with our takeout. I don't know much of what happened with the game other than they didn't finish more than a few hands after learning how many points they were supposed to play to. (I told them afterwards they could've just played to a lower number or a set number of hands or something).

After finishing my food I went out to make a phone call so I missed out on the formations of the next few games which was yet more Pandemic and a large game of...
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6. Board Game: Guesstures [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:4117]
Josh Bailey
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I was watching Pandemic during this (another loss :-() but the other 8 people playing this seemed to be having a good time. Neither game took very long so I was able to get back in on the action after only a short break. We split up into three groups at this point and I talked some people into...
 
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7. Board Game: Citadels [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:332]
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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I said earlier that I was most looking forward to The Resistance. That's partially true in that it's what I most wanted to play, but this is the game that I most wanted to introduce to the group. I just felt like it had everything that would make it a hit.

We had 5 people which is a really good number for this game IMO, and only one other person had ever played the game. Everybody picked it up very quickly and for the most part grasped the strategy. I was unfortunately forced into a somewhat antagonistic strategy. My opening hand contained a lot of expensive cards, but they were not districts that I wanted to get rid of via the magician, so I had to build up gold over a few turns to pay for them. This left me open to thieving as I hoarded gold so I was left with two options for role selection in the majority of rounds: Assassin or Spy. Further prodding me down the dark path was one player who was also gold hoarding, though on a larger scale. She at one point had 6 gold in front of her and I knew I'd end my turn with 0 gold so I had to take the thief. She was the last person to choose a role but there was one person in between us, so I knew of 3 possible roles she could take. I correctly guessed she would go for the Architect. It was a rough play, but wow it feels good to steal 6 gold. A few turns later we were in a similar position. I was going to end my turn with 0 gold in front of me after building a district, and the same player had 4 gold in front of her this time. I felt a little bad about it but again I took the thief. And again I correctly guessed that she would choose the Bishop. At this point I've stolen 10 gold from here so I swear to myself I'll leave her alone for the rest of the game. I finished the game with 28 points but another player who nobody was really keeping an eye on barely got past me with 30 points thanks to the 4-point bonus for being the first to build 8 districts. A very fun game that even the person I stole from repeatedly said she enjoyed.

This was the last game of the night for 3 of the others, but I think they got to leave on a high note.
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8. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:292] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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While I started up the game of Citadels some other friends pulled out Settlers. It's one of the guy's favorite game so he wanted to teach it to his girlfriend, and the other two players were a couple, one of which I play games including Settlers with all the time. They were playing at the same table as me so I'd check in on them every now and then, but I really don't understand what happened. Somehow, after an hour of play, nobody had more than 5 points. I asked and the two people who had played before just said "I don't know, the setup is weird nobody is getting resources". So they elect to only play to 8 which somebody finally achieves after 1.5 to 2 hours of playing. I'm glad I was playing Citadels.

I hope that this didn't ruin the game for the girlfriend, as I know that the guy really likes Settlers and was really excited to teach it to her. Needless to say, after this ordeal they were done for the night and went home. I don't think they left on as high of a note as my Citadels group.
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9. Board Game: Battle Line [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:187]
Josh Bailey
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Hendersonville
North Carolina
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There were 2 people who weren't playing either Citadels or the Settlers game that would never end, so they took out Battle Line. They played a couple of games then waited for their ride to finish our game of Citadels. Once that was done a lot of people went home (except for the Settlers group). While the Settlers game finished I got to play this myself with another person who lived at the apartment, and after two games the Settlers game finally ended and everybody went home.

All in all, it was a great experience and I got many thanks for setting it up and wishes for more in the future. I can only hope.
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