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Subject: What is the best term for games to play with non-gamers? [POLL] rss

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Tony Ackroyd
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In a parallel thread (The Best Beginner/Gateway/Introductory Game: Nominations and Discussions Thread ) there has been some discussion about what to title the contest. I was being cautious of using the term "Gateway" as it seems to inspire geek-rage in some users here. The main objections seem to be "We don't need to be boardgame evangelists" and "We shouldn't molly-coddle people with simple games, we should bitch-slap them with Diplomacy or Power Grid."

Anyway, I set up a poll to find the most popular term, unfortunately the thread had cooled down somewhat. So here I am trying to get more participation.

Poll
What titles do you like for this contest? (select all that you would be happy with)
Gateway Games
Introductory Games
Games for Newcomers
Games for Beginners
Games for Casual Gamers
Games to play with Non-gamers
Light Hobby Games
None of these
Something else (please comment as well)
      243 answers
Poll created by 1000rpm
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Initiation game?
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Dex Quest
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I think Gateway has now earned its place, and it's a fine term for 'gamers' to use amid forums like BGG; but 'gateway' does carry an assumption that there is a definite longer (and tougher!) gaming journey ahead; that this is an archway you must pass through as you walk towards more challenging terrain...

Our types of games don't have to be a 'hobby' for casual gamers. Spouses, mums, dads and grans might well play once or twice a year. With this in mind I often use 'casual strategy board game', or 'casual gamers' game' as it is also used in other forums, such as videogames, to describe games that are easier to digest for newcomers.
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Ed G.
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Just call them "games." If you say, "My brother-in-law is interested in my game collection and the hobby, what game should I play with him?" the type of game is implied by context. And we as hobbyists develop after a time an innate recognition of types of games, so using "gateway" or the like among those familiar is superfluous.
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Alex Treacher
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I think gateway is a perfectly acceptable term. Trying to find alternative (lightweight strategic/economic game etc) often ends up sounding forced and committee-designed or suffers from relative terminology (it might be lightweight to one person, but a brain-burner to someone who has never played anything beyond Monopoly or Risk)!

And since the term 'gateway drugs' is well-known and understood, no-one who gets hooked can say they weren't warned from the very beginning!
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Tony Ackroyd
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willsargent wrote:
Our types of games don't have to be a 'hobby' for casual gamers. Spouses, mums, dads and grans might well play once or twice a year. With this in mind I often use 'casual strategy board game', or 'casual gamers' game' as it is also used in other forums, such as videogames, to describe games that are easier to digest for newcomers.

Agreed and this is another reason I wasn't sure about using the term "Gateway". Most of the games I play regularly are nominees in the contest and I'm in no way a newbie. They are just fun games to play with friends and are still challenging with clever people.
My group aren't hardcore gamers though. Half of them don't own more than a couple of games. I guess that 'casual gamers' is a good term for them, even if we do play the odd game of El Grande, Power Grid, Puerto Rico or Container.
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Mel
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My sister once told me I tortured her with games when she was a kid. I was able to change all that by bringing out a game which fit the moment, was easy to learn, easy to play, and she had a shot at winning.

I'm not sure what term I would of used. For her it would of been a simple game with some fun art on it. For someone else it might of been an easy to learn cooperative with a lot of theme and deep strategy.

The biggest vote does seem to be "Gateway", but does it mean the top 10 games most introduced to get people started gaming? My sister probably wouldn't have liked any of those initially.

I know my other sister is a total non gamer. To get her to play a game is a begging tournament. When I finally win and she starts to play, she gets into it and finds some joy. But, it is always the same the next time. She's just not a gamer. So is there really a "Gateway" for non gamers?

Perhaps anyone that starts gaming is a gamer at heart but just needed a spark to get them going.

I know what got me started on gaming, but it's a loooooooooong story.

Pthllllllllllpth! I don't know. More meeples... MORE MEEPLES.
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John
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willsargent wrote:

Our types of games don't have to be a 'hobby' for casual gamers. Spouses, mums, dads and grans might well play once or twice a year. With this in mind I often use 'casual strategy board game', or 'casual gamers' game' as it is also used in other forums, such as videogames, to describe games that are easier to digest for newcomers.


Gateway & Casual have different implications, and different styles of games would suit each. A gateway game obviously implies leading into playing more games and possibly fairly frequent play of that game at which point the rules could be reasonably complicated. I'd think of something that a bunch of friends might play once a week for a year or two, and then discover loads of other games. A casual gamers game has to be fairly easy to pick up if you've not played it for ages, something like Carcassone is good for that where if you're with you brother who played it twice a year or so ago and he say "can we play that game with the tiles?" and you can get it remind him of how the features score and off you go.
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river tam
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I think there isn't really a term for games to play with non-gamers because what BBG users call non-gamers include both people who don't like to play games and several different catagories who like to play games but not the type that is most popular on BBG i.e.

people who like to play word games, some of whom can be as competitive about their games as BBG folk are about their strategy games

people who only like party games

people who like casual, lighter games

the rare people who are strategy gamers but don't know it and can be converted to our hobby by gateway games or heavier strategy games.

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Harper Hobbs
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++++ Gateway Game ++++

People use the term "Gateway drug" to describe pot, all the time. They like to believe that somehow pot leads to meth. But I am sure many people just stop at pot.

This same sentiment can be directed toward hobby games, which is why "gateway game" is perfect. Anyone trying to change it at this point just doesn't get it.

e.g.
People use the term "Gateway drug game" to describe pot ticket to ride, all the time. They like to believe that somehow pot ticket to ride leads to meth power grid. But I am sure many people just stop at pot ticket to ride.
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Herbert Griffin
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At the moment, my own ranking goes like this...

Games you grew up to.
"Yay, I landed on free parking!"
"B7."

Party Games
"LMFAO Apples to Apples. Best game ever."
Posting a pic on Facebook: "Check out my hand! #CardsAgainstHumanity #ImGoingToHell"

Mainstream to Aficionado
"Does anyone have wood for sheep?"
"Wil posted a new episode of TableTop!!!" (He did actually: Shadows Over Camelot)
"Hmmm, what should my BGG user name be?"

Connoiseur and Beyond
No explanation needed really.
"Only 6 spots left for the early bird pledge level. Should I?"
It's time to buy a shelf.
You're a FLGS advocate, member of Amazon Prime and/or need to spend $62 more to reach level 8 reward tier.

Gamer Nirvana (speculative)
Bucket List Item complete: GenCon, Essen
You've played a full game of Twilight Imperium.
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David Buckley
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I voted for Introductory games or Gateway games based on your definition in the other thread "n. A game with simple rules that are easy to teach non-gamers in order to attract new players into boardgaming as a hobby." but if you are simply looking for the best games to play with non-gamers, as your thread title suggests then I prefer "games for casual gamers" or "games to play with non-gamers".
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Derek H
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TouchMySusu wrote:

Gamer Nirvana (speculative)
Bucket List Item complete: GenCon, Essen
You've played a full, face-to-face game of Twilight Imperium, Magic Realm, Advanced Third Reich and Diplomacy.

FTFY.
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Hammock Backpacker
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No geek-rage here for the use of the term Gateway. It does, however, seem to have dug in its heels.

Gateway does imply some sort of linear progression that I'm not sold on and I'd like to think your first game with a non-gamer might simply open their eyes to something they never realized existed and/or weren't expecting, so:

Epiphany Games

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Rob Doupe
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Accessible games.
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Samo Oleami
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Butsudoka wrote:
Initiation game?

Hehe.

But that's what it seem to be. What do you need to play to be a gamer. Obviously not Settlers, we're not in the 1990s anymore folks.

Actually for initiation game I'd say there's only one possible. Diplomacy. After you play at least 10 sessions of that you can call yourself a gamer. Hey rites of passage must be taken seriously.

willsargent wrote:
but 'gateway' does carry an assumption that there is a definite longer (and tougher!) gaming journey ahead; that this is an archway you must pass through as you walk towards more challenging terrain...

Our types of games don't have to be a 'hobby' for casual gamers. Spouses, mums, dads and grans might well play once or twice a year. With this in mind I often use 'casual strategy board game', or 'casual gamers' game' as it is also used in other forums, such as videogames, to describe games that are easier to digest for newcomers.

What he said, and + 2 to what I emphasised.

zabdiel wrote:
Gateway & Casual have different implications, and different styles of games would suit each. A gateway game obviously implies leading into playing more games and possibly fairly frequent play of that game at which point the rules could be reasonably complicated. I'd think of something that a bunch of friends might play once a week for a year or two, and then discover loads of other games. A casual gamers game has to be fairly easy to pick up if you've not played it for ages, something like Carcassone is good for that where if you're with you brother who played it twice a year or so ago and he say "can we play that game with the tiles?" and you can get it remind him of how the features score and off you go.

And this!

Prodromoi wrote:
And since the term 'gateway drugs' is well-known and understood, no-one who gets hooked can say they weren't warned from the very beginning!

Actually it isn't. Nope. There's more to gaming that anglo-saxon culture. We don't do war on the drugs. It's not a familiar reference.

Bhobs wrote:
This same sentiment can be directed toward hobby games, which is why "gateway game" is perfect. Anyone trying to change it at this point just doesn't get it.

e.g.
People use the term "Gateway drug game" to describe pot ticket to ride, all the time. They like to believe that somehow pot ticket to ride leads to meth power grid. But I am sure many people just stop at pot ticket to ride.

I agree with you and hence I think that's a good argument why this isn't suitable.

Yes, I'm not getting it. War on drugs in not something familiar in my social context.

And furthermore, I don't want to change it, because a different term has a different meaning. I'd say I want to stop using a term that has problematic undertones and start using the one that's more realistic and appropriate about what these games are about and not just some gamer's wet dream. "Casual games" and "gateway games" are not the same grouping of games - are party games gateway for instance? They don't lead anywhere and are not made to lead anywhere, yet they're made to exactly fit casual gamer's style (they're causal but not gateway). So both terms are not interchangeable, hence we're not talking of changing, but replacing.

Thing is "gateway game" is what gamers wish these games would be. It's not something that people who play only such games casually would identify with. It's a term coined by "outsiders" that's why it's a bit derogatory. Ameritrash is OK as it was embraced by people who play these games.
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Tony Ackroyd
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Poll
Which is the best term?
Gateway Games
Accessible Games
      42 answers
Poll created by 1000rpm
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Tony Ackroyd
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sgosaric wrote:
Thing is "gateway game" is what gamers wish these games would be. It's not something that people who play only such games casually would identify with. It's a term coined by "outsiders" that's why it's a bit derogatory. Ameritrash is OK as it was embraced by people who play these games.

I love your line of argument, but then I come up against the problem with it for what I want to use the term for.
I like "Casual gamer", but it means someone who is already playing these kind of games.
I want a term for games that could be the first time they play them. They may decide they don't like them. They may become a casual gamer. They may become a gamer. But I want a term for the games that give them the chance to make that choice in an informed way. Not in a "Boardgames? I hate monopoly!" way.
Like others have commented, I don't see "Gateway" as meaning that you have to become a full-on gamer or play heavier games. I see it as meaning that they are at the gateway to a whole range of new games. Whether they want to just play the easy ones of those, play the heavier ones or not play at all is not the point of the term.

As terms I like "Epiphany", "Accessible" and "Introductory" too. But we "outsiders" here know what "Gateway" means. We don't mean it as an insult and we don't have to tell the Non-gamers our term - until they become at least a Casual gamer anyway. Or perhaps level 3 in the cult.

What I didn't expect was "Gateway" to be so clearly the most popular term in the poll. I'm starting to think that "Accessible" is the only term that could stop it, and I don't think it will. At least not in time for my contest.
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Enrico Viglino
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Gateway is cool (though I prefer not differentiating at all here),
because it represents the addictive nature of the hobby.

The problem therein is that there are several hobbies represented
under the 'gaming' label and this site. A gateway to what I consider
my segment of the hobby is something that gets people to be willing
to sit down and play an interesting game for at least 4-6 hours -
and I have used primarily on RPGers in the past.

Most here would use it to target those who haven't played hobby games
of any kind (I guess), and want to introduce them to the simple fact
that there are games which are different from (though requiring no
greater effort than) popular family games. In most cases, I see little
if any qualitative difference between what is required for these -
it is just a matter of exposing people to games which are less well-known,
and differing design paradigms.

So, the question of 'gateway to what' arises.
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David Buckley
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1000rpm wrote:
Poll
Which is the best term?
Gateway Games
Accessible Games
      42 answers
Poll created by 1000rpm


Depends. Are you trying to find the best gateway game or the best accessible game?
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Korey Jackson
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Just a gateway, man. Doesn't have to go anywhere.

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David J. Mortimer
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How about "Universal Game" .
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Quote:
I was being cautious of using the term "Gateway" as it seems to inspire geek-rage in some users here


Nah. Let it be Gateway. Geek-rage is funny.
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There doesn't need to be a word. Just call them games, as in, "Hey, wanna play a game?"
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Family-friendly-ticket-to-gateway-game

FFT2GG for short.

but seriously, for us lot inside th ehobby Gateway is fine, outside the hobby I'd plump for family-friendly game, as a non-gamer might think its literally a game about gateways. I mean, if they can make dice games about coffee beans...
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