Tony Ackroyd
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Brighton
E Sussex
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I work with a pretty cool team of people. We are working on re-designing a telephone servicing system (we aren’t developers though - they are elsewhere). They are a fun group, intelligent and sociable. I think all of them are younger than me (20s and 30s, I’m 44). Previously I’ve experimented with trying gaming with them and written up a couple of them:

Telestrations - went down a storm
Ingenious - Tried twice, people enjoyed it both times
For Sale - was a hit (brief comments in the Ingenious thread above)

What has been noticeable is that about half the people have absolutely zero interest in playing. They don’t even want to come along and see - even some of the ones who played Telestrations.
But recently things changed. I was having lunch with two of the women in my team who had missed the previous sessions and we got talking about games. It turned out that one of them was a secret gamer and she got massively excited when I mentioned Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan. The other one professed to love games too, but hadn’t played any modern euros, but had played Risk, including new variants like Lord of the Rings Risk. Another chat a different day revealed another new member of the team keen to play games, though his reference point seemed to be always winning by cheating at monopoly.
We decided to set up a boardgames evening and invite everyone else along.

Session 1
We invited the rest, but in the end no-one else could make it (or just didn’t want to come). The four of us ate then settled down at one of their houses with drinks and a big pile of games. I’ll call us "me", "gamer girl", "Spanish girl" and "Jordanian guy". I’d taken Ticket to Ride, Gambit 7 (like Wits & Wagers), Carcassonne and For Sale. The other gamer had brought Articulate and Rapidough.
We started with Rapidough. Great fun actually and a good ice-breaker, though gamer girl and I crushed the other two.
Then I got out Gambit 7. It proved to be laugh-out-loud fun, though Spanish girl turned out to be hopeless at both guessing and betting.
Then we played For Sale. This didn’t go down as well as it had done in the office session. We enjoyed it, but I think it proved to be less pure fun in contrast with the previous two games. Later though I found out that Gamer girl had bought as a present for someone as a result of playing it.
Then Articulate! got rolled out. We played two games of this and it was probably the loudest of the four games, with the most shouted disputes and trash-talking. Probably the amount we’d drunk contributed significantly to this. My team lost both with gamer girl winning both. I think that was the game that they liked to most.

My feelings after Session 1 were mixed. It had been a really fun evening, but it looked like this wasn’t going to be work gamer group as they seemed to prefer the party games. I think the alcohol contributed to this, as more gamer games (though light ones) had gone down well in the sober office environment.

Session 2
A couple of months later (this week) and we got together for another session. This time there were five of us - the original four, plus "Northern guy" (who hadn’t played any of the games on show). Again most of the rest of the team had shown little interest, though two of them had claimed to be interested, but had other commitments. Whether they are just being polite is an open question. There was potential that we’d be joined by gamer girl’s husband and nephew, so possibility to split into 2 groups (though in the end they didn’t play).
This time I’d brought Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Bohnanza, Diamant (Incan Gold) and Hey That’s My Fish. Not sure why I forgot Dixit.

I was keen to get a heavier game played this time and so was gamer girl, so we got out Ticket to Ride. The rules took a little time to get across, but soon we were all playing. I’m not sure I’ve played 5 player Ticket to Ride before and it is quite cutthroat, with route-grabbing being fairly common. They took well to this, especially Northern guy, who in the end won, beating me by 3 points thanks to having the longest route and me being greedy and taking too many extra tickets. Gamer girl came a distant last which made the other two feel okay about their okay performance.

Then I pulled out Diamant as one of the only two other games I’d brought that would work for 5. I hadn’t played it for a while and the caves turned out to be quite unforgiving and we all died - a lot. But they loved it and demanded a repeat game straight away, which again went well. There was some blatant jokey cheating by Jordanian guy, but it was stamped on hard by the others and when he realised we were serious and didn’t think it was funny he stopped and I was very pleased about that.

Gamer girl then asked what we wanted to play of her games that she’d brought out. I still wanted to play something gamey and having seen the ‘take that’ play in TtR I suggested The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game. It turned out to be fun and had us all shouting at each other and the dice. It drove Gamer girl’s dog crazy and it was barking along with the shouting. Chaos. By now we’d had a fair amount of wine.
It was getting late and they wanted to play Articulate, so we agreed to stop Nasty Racing after the third race, which was fine by me as it can outstay its welcome.
Somehow we fitted in two games of semi-drunken Articulate!. While it has its moments I’ve got to say that I’m not very enthusiastic about playing it again and unfortunately it seems to be something of a favourite.

So What Next? Ideas for Session Three...
I’m keen to hear suggestions for Session Three. I’m thinking Carcassonne could be a bit dry for them, though Gamer girl is keen to play both that and Settlers of Catan. Pandemic could be a goer as a co-op, though I feel like I’d have to keep my mouth shut and let them play. Maybe I could run it as a moderator. I am thinking seriously about Lord of the Rings Risk as Spanish girl has played it before and I’ve got it and haven’t played it. That would have to be the first game out. Hey That’s My Fish should go down well. I’m thinking that light card games aren’t that good an option - they feel too abstract for this lot. Bohnanza should work though as it has a nice hook of a theme.
I’ve got some good party games that might work well and could help avoid Articulate. Dixit, Say Anything and Times Up. Perhaps GiftTrap too. I’ll be trying to play the "We should play things that you haven’t tried yet so that you can see lots of different games" card -something I’ve already talked about and they seem to get.
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Tom Scutt
United Kingdom
Matlock
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Diamant is also one of my go-to games with non-gamers - it's never failed (and plays with up to 8, which is another bonus)

Dixit is another one, so I really think you should give that a try, as you suggested.

Carcassonne can be a bit dry for non-gamers, as you say.

The other two games that I use are Pandemic and The Resistance - both of these have caused non-gamers to go "Wow, this is amazing!", demand we play again, and then go and buy their own copy the next day (the same is true for TtR and Dixit).

EDIT: Even though I own Time's Up!, we always end up playing the version where you each write a few names down on paper and then use those. This means you can mix work-colleagues and newsworthy celebrities in with the more classic movie stars and historical figures.
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Herbert Griffin
United States
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Game night is all about what the group wants to play. If it's Articulate or Catan, so be it. Playing a game that each active member wants to play really solidifies the group. They feel less like they're just along for the ride.

It seems like your game group is all about the social aspect, enjoying wine and getting drunk. I'd say keep the games light for now and enjoy the moment.

+1 for Resistance and Dixit: both are good before the wine starts to kick in.
Say Anything is great amongst close friends and it looks like you're getting there.
Ca$h 'n Gun$ is good when drunk fun starts/needs to get rambunctious.

Find games that act as stepping stones to the games you want to play. Perhaps, something on scale with King of Tokyo. Otherwise, you and Gamer Girl can always find/start another game night group that enjoys to play the meatier games that the both of you like.
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chad halstead
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I had successfully gotten one person to play several games before here at work and other locations, and he enjoys pretty much everything, and despite not really playing games besides what I showed him, his RPG and MMORPG history lended itself well to the point he has won by large margins every game he played.

The other person at work I showed a game to, he seemed to be more interested in games, yet we played one game I believed he would have loved based on his interests, didn't like it and we have never gamed since.

It's a tough thing to get work people into stuff you like
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Leo Chell
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Shadows over Camelot Is a great game for newer gamers and non gamers. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game has the same sort of mechanic but is a little heavier than Shadows.

Small World can be great fun for newer gamers but still has a little meat for more experienced players. I tend to think of this a little bit as risk light and doesn't take nearly so long to play.

All of those games play well with 4-5 or even 6 players.

Oh and another fun little game can be Colossal Arena
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Julie (Juju) B.
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Herriman
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+1 for The Resistance, King of Tokyo, and Small World

I'd also suggest Ultimate Werewolf: Inquisition and Airlines Europe, which went over well with our group of semi-gamers.
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Gordon Berg
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Escape: The Curse of the Temple works for non-gamers and lets people definitely feel social.

I recently introduced Wings of Glory: WW1 Special Packs at our church's game night of all places and it went over well.

If you find you're stuck in the party game mind set, Pluckin' Pairs works quite well.

One game I always have on hand is Take it Easy! because I have multiple copies and so it can scale with any number of people that show up.

Personally, I've often used Coloretto as an introduction into modern game design and lately I've been using Hanabi as well.
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bort
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I'm trying to get people at work into a weekly game - started with my favourite, 7 Wonders. I've talked to a couple of people about it and they seem enthusiastic.

I managed to get one game going, unfortunately neither of the really enthusiastic people could make it, but I soldiered on. It was a bit of a flop, one guy wouldnt shut up long enough for me to explain it, and complained that I was being "all serious" when I tried to teach it. Sigh. and he was all over he place with it, playing too late, too early, confusing everything. We had to quit half way thru, ran out of time (because we started late).

So I changed gears and tried Love Letter. Again, got one or two rounds in (easy enough, its a quick game), but still havent got the enthusiastic people to the table.

Something always mucks it up: people go on holidays, they cant make that day because of X, they just dont want to play.

I'm almost stopped trying, to be honest. Its like herding cats sometimes.
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Tony Ackroyd
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Brighton
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Session Three

Sorry, forgot to say anything about this.
I kind of laid down a strategy that we wouldn't play the same game twice until they'd tried a good few games. It was my Articulate-avoidance strategy.

Four of us started with Takenoko. I've learnt that we need to hit the most complex game first before people have had a drink or got tired - though actually there are a few non-drinkers in this group.
It went down well - especially the art and the figures. But the game was a bit hard for them to get their heads around.
Then another player arrived and it was decided that rather than carry on with them watching we'd quit and play something else.

So we played Las Vegas. That was very popular.
Then (in my attempt to avoid Articulate) I suggested Dixit as a party game alternative. They loved it.

After that there was a bit of time left but no-one wanted to learn a new game, so we played Las Vegas again.

Pretty cool - three proper (albeit light) games played! As a footnote, gamer girl could not attend due to family issues and another new person joined with us - a woman who has played quite a bit of Ameritrash! Awesome!
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Tony Ackroyd
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Session Four

At first this was going to be a monster session, with 7 of us attending. That dictated what games I could select, so I picked out: 7 Wonders, Fearsome Floors, Dixit, Telestrations, Time's Up, The Great Dalmuti and something else that I forget. I had to bring all of these into the office (fitted nicely into a large daypack I have) so that I could take them directly from work to the gaming session.

Then there was a dropout. Then another. Actually not too big a deal as I'd been carefull to pick games that were mostly playable with 4-6.

I got excited about the idea of playing 7 Wonders with them, so primed the hostess about that and she agreed that it would be the first game. And so it was.

Five of us (me and four ladies) sat down and first polished off some gourmet burgers from Burger Brothers (https://www.facebook.com/burgerbrothersbrighton) during which I gave them a verbal overview of the game, aim and rules of 7 Wonders.
They coped well with this. Burgers finished we broke out the game and they picked their civilisations while I ran through the cards and got them shuffling and sharing out money etc. Then we were off. There was some difficulty understanding the abstract resource production, but generally they got into it.

Overall the game was well received. My pinnacle of complexity so far! "You have to be in the mood for a thinky game" was a general opinion, but they "wanted to play it again soon" as well. There was some good-humoured ribbing that I hadn't properly explained the Science scoring rules (I'd gone with "it is complicated, but the more of them you get the more points you get) and then I'd gone for a science strategy.
The result? I came 2nd with 51, gamer girl won with 52 with a fairly balanced strategy, the win coming from early military in 1st age and then no military.

7 Wonders over, we then played Time's Up. Which wasn't ideal with 5, but we broke into 2 teams. 2 English players in one team versus 3 in the other (one English, one Spanish, one from Swaziland). It was a lot of fun, and a very close result with both teams failing the final challenge a couple of times before the end.

Oh, and one of them put on Facebook a pic of 7 Wonders! But I'm struggling to link to it right now.
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Mark Nicosia
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Portland
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interesting expression, "went down a storm"... had to read the session report to figure out that meant 'went really really well".... originally I thought it might be the way Brits say "down the drain".
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