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Subject: The Best Beginner/Gateway/Introductory Game: Nominations and Discussions Thread rss

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Tony Ackroyd
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I previously ran this contest in early 2011. You can see the results here: The Best Gateway Games - The Top 100 - Contest RESULTS
That isn't too long ago but since then a number of great introductory games have been released and some of the previous shoe-ins for this (e.g. Settlers) have finally seen their crown slip (as reflected in voting in Le Tour de Geek, Beginner phase) as more and more people realise that what was once a great gateway game isn't necessarily the best now.

The BGG Glossary says:
gateway game
n. A game with simple rules that are easy to teach non-gamers in order to attract new players into boardgaming as a hobby.

Gateways are the kind of game that will open someone's eyes to a new kind of game and make them want to play again.
The right choices will build the non-gamer's trust in your ability to select other games they will enjoy playing in the future.

I struggled with the title of this contest. Some people react very negatively to the word "Gateway" and while "Introductory/Beginner" avoids that, I'm really not that happy with that either.
I'm not a newcomer, but the games in this contest are a lot of the games I regularly play. But I'm not happy with the term "Family" games either. Maybe "Not Complex & Not Long" is the best description, but that feels clunky. If someone has an inspired title I'd be pleased to hear it.

The next entry will contain the nominations list to date. I've begun it by using the Top 100 from the previous contest, added a lot myself and added and games suggested in this geeklist: Your Favorite Introductory Game for non-gamers. Please nominate any games you feel are missing.

Subscribe to this thread and my polls thread to make sure you don't miss the contest: 1000rpm's Polls Notification Thread - Just Subscribe!
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Tony Ackroyd
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Nominations List (currently 211 nominees)

10 Days in Africa
10 Days in the USA
A House Divided
A la carte
Abandon Ship
Acquire
Africa
Africana
Airlines Europe
Alhambra
Animal Upon Animal
Apples to Apples
Aquaretto
Archaeology: The Card Game
Augustus
Ave Caesar
Axis & Allies
Balloon Cup
Bang!
Battle Line
Biblios
Black Sheep
Blokus
Blokus 3D / Rumis
Blue Moon City
Bohnanza
Boss Monster: Master of the Dungeon
Ca$h & Gun$
Can't Stop
Carcassonne
Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers
Cartagena
Castle Panic
Category 5/6 Nimmt!
Cave Troll
Chateau Roquefort
China Moon
Citadels
Civilization
Clans
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects
Cloud 9
Coloretto
Commands & Colors: Napoleonics
Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! - Kursk 1943
Coup
Courtier
Crokinole
Daytona 500
Diamant/Incan Gold
Dice Town
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Dixit
Dominion
Dream Factory
Elfenland
Empires of the Middle Ages
Escape: The Curse of the Temple
Expedite
Fauna
Fearsome Floors
Finca
Fits
Flash Point: Fire Rescue
For Sale
Forbidden Desert
Forbidden Island
Formula D
Fresco
Gambit 7
Get Bit!
Go Goblin, Go!
GUBS: A Game of Wit and Luck
Guildhall
Guillotine
Hanabi
Hey, Thats My Fish!
Hive
Hoity Toity
Indigo
Infinite City
Ingenious
Innovation
Jaipur
Jamaica
Jungle Speed
Kakerlakenpoker
Kamisado
Keltis
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot
King of Tokyo
Kingdom Builder
Kingsburg
Las Vegas
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game
Leaping Lemmings
Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game
Liar's Dice
Libertalia
Long Shot
Lord of the Rings
Lords of Vegas
Lords of Waterdeep
Los Mampfos
Lost Cities
Lost Cities: The Board Game
Love Letter
Mammoth Hunters
Manhattan
Manilla
Mascarade
Memoir '44
Metropolys
Mice and Mystics
Mississippi Queen
Mondo
Money
Monopoly Deal Card Game
Morels
Mow
Mr. Jack
Munchkin
Nefarious
Nexus Ops
Niagara
No Thanks!
Nuns on the Run
Onirim
Pandemic
Pastiche
Pergamon
Pickomino
Piece 'o Cake
Pirates Cove
PitchCar
Power Grid
Pyramid
Qwirkle
Qwixx
Ra: The Dice Game
Resistance
Risk Legacy
River Dragons
Roborally
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age
Saboteur
Samurai
Say Anything
Scotland Yard
Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Settlers of Catan
Shadow Hunters
Shadows over Camelot
Skyline
Small World
Smash Up
Snow Tails
Sorry! Sliders
Space Mission
Spot it
Stone Age
Summoner Wars
Survive!
Sushi Go!
Sushizock im Gockelwok
Takenoko
Tales of the Arabian Nights
TAMSK
Telestrations
The Adventurers
The aMAZEing Labyrinth
The Boss
The City
The Downfall of Pompeii
The Great Dalmuti
The Great Heartland Hauling Co.
The Hanging Gardens
The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet
The Resistance
The Resistance: Avalon
The Speicherstadt
The Three Little Pigs
Thebes
Three-Dragon Ante
Through the Desert
Thurn und Taxis
Tichu
Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
Timelines
Time's Up!
Tobago
Tokaido
TransAmerica
TransEuropa
Tsuro
Ubongo
Unexploded Cow
Vegas Showdown
Vikings
Villa Paletti
Wacky Wacky West / Drunter und Drüber
Wasabi
Werewolf/Werewolves
Winners Circle
Witch's Brew
Wits & Wagers
Zooloretto
Zooloretto: The Dice Game
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Tony Ackroyd
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Should similar games be combined, e.g. the Ticket to Rides, 10 Days games, TransAmerica, etc?

Poll
Should similar games be comined
Yes
No
Maybe
Don't Know
      274 answers
Poll created by 1000rpm
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Boyd Ludlow
Denmark
Copenhagen
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Ave Caesar
China Moon
Los Mampfos
Mow
Piece 'o Cake
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Ken Feldman
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Need some wargames on the list!

Axis & Allies
Commands & Colors: Napoleonics
Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943
A House Divided: War Between the States 1861-65
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Moe45673
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I nominate Lords of Vegas, which is my go-to non-party game to play with non-gamers
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David B
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As much as I would like to say something else, I have to admit Ticket to Ride is perhaps the best game to lure in non gamers.

BUT: Stone Age, Finca, Airlines Europe, Coloretto, and For Sale have all been great games for that purpose in my experience.
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Walt
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1000rpm wrote:
Should similar games be combined, e.g. the Ticket to Rides, 10 Days games, TransAmerica, etc?

Yes, though where the similar games have significant differences, I'd like to see follow-on polls asking which is the favorite version. It doesn't much matter for TransAmerica/TransEuropa (though there's also the "With Vexation?" question), but for TTR, players in my area tend to think Marklin is just too fiddly, and I have a strong preference for Europe or using Europe's stations.
 
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Toms Leikums
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Ra: The Dice Game could be good option, especially to people, who have played Yahtzee (and who doesn't).
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d b
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Scripts and Scribes: The Dice Game

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Enrico Viglino
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I'll go with Civilization and Empires of the Middle Ages.


Mainly because these were gateways to boardgaming for RPGers -
who might well play things like Nuclear War, Illuminati, or
Lunch Money, but never would have progressed beyond short
little games without seeing these.
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Tom Grimshaw
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Was having this very discussion in my FLGS just yesterday. Our consensus (which I didn't agree with) was that Settlers of Catan fills this role well.

My disagreement however was posited on my disliking of the game, and that for something rated so highly, you would hope for more. So, for this reason it could fail to grip folks in the way, say, Ticket to Ride might and, detract potential hobbyists.

That said, it's certainly a Gateway Game that folks will have at least heard of as it's pretty much the Dungeons & Dragons of the board gaming world.
 
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Samo Oleami
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1000rpm wrote:
I struggled with the title of this contest. Some people react very negatively to the word "Gateway" and while "Introductory/Beginner" avoids that, I'm really not that happy with that either.
I'm not a newcomer, but the games in this contest are a lot of the games I regularly play. But I'm not happy with the term "Family" games either. Maybe "Not Complex & Not Long" is the best description, but that feels clunky. If someone has an inspired title I'd be pleased to hear it.

I attack "gateway" with heavy nukes whenever I see it. It's derogatory to players who like accessible games as if it's good to be a hobby gamer and as if heavy games are the pinnacle of gaming.

Introductory/Beginner doesn't change it really. It's the same idea that's behind it. Which is "heavy games are good", "people need to start with simple stuff" and this is debatable. It holds true for some people, but far from reflecting the wider picture, which is many people play these games and don't search for anything else. Or they play just one game.

Anyhow, back to sane stuff...

When on bgg I use the term "nongamer friendly games". Otherwise I use the term casual games and family games. I don't consider these games to lead anywhere or to be a means to whichever end. They are games I'm most likely to play with people who are not gamers. Hence why I think party games belong on this list.

Stuff that I play with kids and in casual settings and it's not on the list yet:

Animal Upon Animal
Blue Moon City
Ca$h & Gun$
For Sale
Incan Gold
Jungle Speed
Kakerlakenpoker
Munchkin
Pyramid
Resistance
Spot it
Say Anything
Timelines
Time's Up!
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Larry Welborn
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Africa
Clans
Ra: The Dice game
Samurai
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George I.
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Mascarade is a way-to-go Party Game, along the already-nominated Dixit and The Resistance. You can play it with anyone, gamers and non-gamers alike and have lots of laughs.
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Nathan Woll
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I would be shocked if Ticket to Ride isn't voted #1. But I'll add a few I've had success with. TAMSK and Kamisado. Abstracts always are good gateway games since they have simple rules, no theme to turn people off and it's easy for a more experienced player to handicap themselves.
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Nathan Woll
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By the way we need clearly defined terms before we vote. Dixit and Wits and Wagers are great family games but they aren't "gateway" games. You don't get someone hooked on those games and then bring out Le Havre.
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I doubt you will ever come up with a term that everyone will be happy with that doesn't sound like you are reading from a engine assembly manual. "Gateway" "Introductory" game, whatever. No one will die.
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Can I un-nominate Pandemic since it's lighter sibling, Forbidden Island, is on the list? (and I've read Forbidden Desert is more difficult than Island)
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nswoll wrote:
By the way we need clearly defined terms before we vote. Dixit and Wits and Wagers are great family games but they aren't "gateway" games. You don't get someone hooked on those games and then bring out Le Havre.


Those are more in the category of 'social games'. And as such, could be removed from this topic of gateway games. The social games can always make an appearance and are fun but I don't feel that they entice anyone to explore the deeper world of modern boardgaming/card/dice.
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Elyse S.
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Ticket to ride and forbidden Island is what turned my husband and I. I can also get my MIL to play both but she wont touch anything else.

I have also used Morels to intro friends.
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Samo Oleami
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toober wrote:
nswoll wrote:
By the way we need clearly defined terms before we vote. Dixit and Wits and Wagers are great family games but they aren't "gateway" games. You don't get someone hooked on those games and then bring out Le Havre.


Those are more in the category of 'social games'. And as such, could be removed from this topic of gateway games. The social games can always make an appearance and are fun but I don't feel that they entice anyone to explore the deeper world of modern boardgaming/card/dice.


But should they? Is this what we're after? [I hope not.]

If the question is: are these games nongamers would be willing to play and hopefully enjoyed them enough to play again, then this should do.

If the whole plan is to imitate nongamers in the secret cabal of boardgame hobbyists then that's basically an ideology (I don't believe that's an ethical thing to do and many times it doesn't end well). Of course if we're doing the whole initiation thingy, we might as well drop Diplomacy on them. (My "entry game" was Arkham Horror).

The key here is that Tony has to decide what this whole series of polls will be about. Or we'll end up in another misunderstanding like with Dice games where we're told that Burgenburgen is the epitome of dice games, just because people who vote haven't actually played a dice game. So without a precise question of what we're after we'll just be re-enacting geekdoms myths and wet dreams. My suggestion would be to search for casual games. Games to play with people not too crazy about being gamers. Normal, mainstream people.
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Keith Sletten
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Innovation
Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot
Shadows over Camelot
Three-Dragon Ante
Tichu

Among games not already on the list, I've found the above games are requested by those that aren't into more complex games.
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Stephen Miller
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Mice and Mystics
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Summoner Wars
Lord of the Rings

Though I'd be very surprised if something in the Ticket to Ride family doesn't win this.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Tales & Games: The Three Little Pigs, The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet
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