Rated "G" For Everyone: Games for the "Non-Gaming" Masses...
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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My opinion: most everyone likes boardgames. But they have to play fairly quickly, have a generic, common theme both men and women can relate to... and they have to be perceived as fun by a diverse audience. Be forewarned: This list, in part, will most likely appeal to the "Parker Brothers" and Party Game crowd... but there are some commonly agreed upon great games, as well. I'm not claiming all the games on this list are even close to "perfect"... but my experience is that they are very popular with people who don't play boardgames a whole lot... but who do enjoy it as a diversion. They have catchy themes, are marketed well and generally encourage a fair degree of social interaction. Sorry, but Settlers and Carcasonne do not make this list. If these games were in Toys R Us, people would probably pick them up on their own.
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1. Board Game: Sword & Skull [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:13950]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Say what you will about Avalon Hill, but it is a fair assumption to say that they are now "marketing for the masses". And I can accept that. With that in mind, I think this game hits the mark as a gateway game... and I will refrain from the temptation to compare it to other like-minded "track" games and allow it to stand on its own merit.
 
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2. Board Game: Cranium [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6059]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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This is a well-balanced party game that can appeal to a spectrum of other types of party games. It has trivia, charades... the whole nine yards.
 
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3. Board Game: A Dog's Life [Average Rating:5.54 Overall Rank:12403]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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The most thematic game that I know of, this remains the most requested game in my collection. Admittedly, I had to deal with some drawbacks with the mechanics...the same as many people have spoke to. But with some simple common adjustments from the official rules, the fix is easy and the game becomes great fun!
 
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4. Board Game: Balderdash [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1492]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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This game is hilarious!
 
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5. Board Game: I'm the Boss! [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:934]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Known by the American name of "I'm the Boss" (English translation) this game is kind of lacking in player social interaction.... NOT! (laugh)
 
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6. Board Game: Bootleggers [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1122]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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You're in the Mob now! This game is popular with more than just the mob... and the masses!
 
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7. Board Game: Simply Suspects [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:11898]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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This is a very quick playing but surprisingly delightful little entry. Was definitely popular with our group... but you do have to have a lively group to play this one...
 
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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:125] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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VERY popular with a broad number of people, this is fast being considered the pre-eminent "gateway game" to introduce people to boardgames.
 
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9. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:3151] [Average Rating:5.90 Unranked]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Not one of my personal favorites, but I cannot deny its popularity with friends. Many people think this is a great and unique party game.
 
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10. Board Game: Mystery of the Abbey [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1076]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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As been oft repeated... if you like Clue, you will LOVE this!
 
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11. Board Game: Pirate's Cove [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:1020]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Known by the American name of "Pirate's Cove" (English translation) this game can get people into a role-playing mood quickly! Arrrgh. (laugh)
 
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12. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:320]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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It's not released yet... but if it was on the shelf, I'd buy it. In fact, I did... if you count pre-orders.
 
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13. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:337]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Ok, at the bottom of the list are some games I don't own yet. So you tell me! This will be re-released by Avalon Hill. The new box art is superior as usual. But there is not a picture on the geek yet... so I will use this picture. It looks like my friends would enjoy bumping robots about! Do you agree?
 
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14. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:422]
Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
Missouri
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Another in non-ownership status. My understanding is there are some game mechanic fixes needed for this one... But this sounds like it would make a fun, seasonal Halloween game everyone could maybe enjoy?
 
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