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Subject: Pandemic as Gateway? rss

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Matthew Reeder
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Illinois
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So I've got a bunch of non-gamer friends coming over tomorrow for a birthday game night.

I feel like co-op games are one of the more interesting genres of contemporary board gaming, and I was wondering whether or not Pandemic might be a good way to introduce them to this type of game?

Forbidden Island is a favorite of our family, and the kids might play it in the other room tomorrow, but I was looking for something a bit more for the adults and something that supports more than 4 people.

Is this a good choice, or will it overwhelm the newbs?

Looking forward to your expert opinions!

 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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It is a good gateway in my opinion, especially if you play at the easiest level and pick the easiest roles to use (ie Medic)
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Adam Mantha
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I'd say that as long as you are familiar with the rules, Pandemic is an excellent gateway game for the situation you describe.
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David Horm
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Great co-op game (to introduce them to)? yes.

Great gateway game? no.

Pandemic requires multiple plays (even at easy level) before players develop enough strategy to consistently win. When I pick my gateway games to introduce to non-gamers, I pick a game with enough luck that a new person could win (but enough strategy to keep them engaged). Games where everybody loses can be demoralizing. You could alpha-game it, but that's not fun for the others.

Once you convert your friends into gamers, then you can hit them with Pandemic.
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Thomas
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Ticket to Ride would be a better choice
 
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TTorres
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If you like Forbidden Island, I would consider Forbidden Desert. It's Forbidden Island with added, welcome complexity. I gave away Forbidden Island and am keeping Forbidden Desert. I also used it as a gateway game for a friend who hasn't played games in almost 20 yrs. It was a huge success, even as we died of thirst on the last turn with a huge NOOOOOOOO!!!

Then much laughter.
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Jim Hansen
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davidhorm wrote:
Great co-op game (to introduce them to)? yes.

Great gateway game? no.

Pandemic requires multiple plays (even at easy level) before players develop enough strategy to consistently win. When I pick my gateway games to introduce to non-gamers, I pick a game with enough luck that a new person could win (but enough strategy to keep them engaged). Games where everybody loses can be demoralizing. You could alpha-game it, but that's not fun for the others.

Once you convert your friends into gamers, then you can hit them with Pandemic.

If you play on easy and offer advice when asked they should have a good chance against it. You can also let them start with extra cards or research stations if you are worried about defeat and the potential for a sour first impression.
 
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M M
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I wouldn't think of Pandemic as a good gateway for non-gamers, no.
 
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Sarah Brennick
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davidhorm wrote:
Great co-op game (to introduce them to)? yes.

Great gateway game? no.

Pandemic requires multiple plays (even at easy level) before players develop enough strategy to consistently win. When I pick my gateway games to introduce to non-gamers, I pick a game with enough luck that a new person could win (but enough strategy to keep them engaged). Games where everybody loses can be demoralizing. You could alpha-game it, but that's not fun for the others.

Once you convert your friends into gamers, then you can hit them with Pandemic.


I think it depends on the friends really. I've used Pandemic as a gateway for some of my own friends (set to easy of course). It can be such an exciting game and is easy to teach. I've had friends just get blown away by it and they said "I never knew board games could be like that!"

That being said, I have some friends who are really only into party games whom I would not (and have not) used Pandemic as a gateway with.

 
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J. Moon
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My very first serious board game was Pandemic (besides MTG) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unlike others, I would recommend this to anyone. I was about to suggest Forbidden Island since it is somewhat 'Pandemic-lite' but you already have that, then go right ahead with Pandemic. Or, since you liked Forbidden Island, do try out its other brother Forbidden Desert as well. It is much different from Forbidden Island, and offers fresh experience. The game can be challenging, and unforgiving, but that could be considered one of charms of the game. Pandemic has been hardly a miss with non-gamers in my experience. I can also think of Flash Point:Fire rescue, but theme of pretending to be a firefighter can be turn off for many people so watch out for that.
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Samo Oleami
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I'm thinking more back door.
Or the door to the balcony.
Not sure about gateways.


As for nongaming friends - dropping Forbidden Island on the table will work just fine.

Don't forget the golden rule about gaming with nongamers: it's not about you, it's about them. If you desire a specific game, buy it and find somebody you can play it with. If you play with nongamers, it's them who dictate what's going to get played. If you already have FI and look for something cooperative to be played with nongamers I see no justification to buy Pandemic instead.

If I really have to think hard about co-ops games I would recommend you to get for nongamers I'd say these two:
Hanabi - co-op + deduction. And neatly talkative.
Escape: The Curse of the Temple - real time dice rolling madness
Everything else you already have covered with FI.

Hanabi is so cheap I'd recommend getting it even if you only play 2 player (I like it best with 3).
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Dr. Barbie
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Forbidden Island is what got me into gaming. I remember thinking how cool it was that you could cooperate instead of trying to beat each other. Just make sure to play on easy mode so people don't get discouraged. Then ease into Pandemic or Forbidden Desert.
 
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Pandemic is an excellent gateway game.

The setting and premise is accessible to just about anyone unlike fantasy, sci-fi, super-heroes, zombies, etc.

The game is fun even if you lose.
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Kevin Garnica
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I agree with Samo's advice. But, like someone else stated, Forbidden Desert is also a good game that falls between Forbidden Island and Pandemic.
 
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Matthew Reeder
United States
Illinois
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Thanks for the advice, all!

I went ahead with Forbidden Desert, for the reasons mentioned, and also because in order to get to 6 players in Pandemic, I'd have to buy both expansions.

Also picked up Mascarade while I was at it. Looks really interesting!

If the evening wanes on and we can manage smaller groups, we'll break out Ticket To Ride, Takenoko, or Small World.

Thanks for the advice!
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Boss Beau Blasterfire
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My wife enjoyed it and she is what I would consider a non-gamer. She has a few experiences now, but still a newbie for the most part.
 
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Morten K
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It's my favourite game to use as a gateway. I have several times had success with letting a group of board game virgins play it together after just explaining the rules and helping them out with rules and questions. At my gaming group at work it has now been played 3 times in a row by the same group that I introduced it to two months ago.
 
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