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Subject: When would you introduce Castles of Burgundy to a non-gamer? rss

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David Horm
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Lets say you have a non-gamer friend or family member visiting you for a long holiday weekend. They are cautiously interested in your large boardgame collection. You want to start introducing them to different games with the end goal of them finally playing Castles of Burgundy. Obviously you'd want to start off with gateway games to see if they even enjoy boardgames. So what games would you have the non-gamer play first before suggesting Castles of Burgundy?
 
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Jarek Szczepanik
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CoB is a great Euro game, but is relatively dry, what can be an obstacle for beginners. I would start with Puerto Rico or Suburbia (good Euros), then Kingdom Builder (a dry game but less complicated than CoB).
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Wil
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My suggestion for intrigued non-gamers is almost always Dominion as it's simple to teach, quick to play, and gets them to explore card combos.

From there, I'd suggest San Juan.

At that point, you'll have a good feel on if they are ready to take a jump to a more medium weight game like Castles of Burgundy or not.

Have fun.
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Mark Raciborski
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Taught it to the wife and a couple, both wife's non-gamers. A four player game took 5 hours, yeah you read that right 5 hours. Went by like 30 minutes. Everyone wanted to replay it again, the "group" light bulb flipped on at the end. This is just a game that a few rounds doesn't do it, you need that first full game under your belt.

The first game is brutal, it is the ICON over load. I printed out for each player one of those ICON cheat sheet found in the File Section. This does a couple of things, stops you from having to find and reread over and over from the rule book what the ICONs mean, it cuts down the AP, well spreads it out, as players will peruse their cheat sheet, the board, during their down time. Our second game took about 2 1/2 hours.

TCoB is a great game, people seem to enjoy the puzzle like aspect of their "estate", the dice rolling can be exciting, it maybe dry, theme wise, but it is engrossing.

So yeah, I would introduce it to non gamers.

Airlines Europe is another good game. About 1/3 of the way into it you "get" it.

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Andy Burgess
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5 hours?!?! Wow!! That's a hell of a long time to play CoB. If my calculations are correct, that's 3 minutes per turn every turn. How did the game not speed up as it progressed?

Still... Good work for making it enjoyable despite that length. Always a bonus when new people want to keep on playing.
 
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Chris
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Never never never play it 4p! 2p good, 4p baaaaad.

I'm kind of amazed to hear PR being recommend as the light fun simple thing to play before it. it's just as ugly, and CoB is, IMHO****, a far better game in any direction. There are so many other games out there, why would PR be suggested here?




**** MY opinion
 
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Carsten Jorgensen
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Never never never play it 4p! 2p good, 4p baaaaad.

I'm kind of amazed to hear PR being recommend as the light fun simple thing to play before it. it's just as ugly, and CoB is, IMHO****, a far better game in any direction. There are so many other games out there, why would PR be suggested here?




**** MY opinion


I would also say PR is not a gateway game. One thing it has going for it though, is that players are pretty much always "on". No long waiting the 2-3 other players before it is your turn again. But there is just too much going on. If one has the Anniversary edition (like me ), it looks great though.

Played CoB with two non-games a while ago. On that evening we started with Stone Age and they both agreed, that CoB was a more difficult game, while SA was right at their level.

Ticket to Ride is also one most non-games can easially get into. They might not win it, but there are a limited number of options you choose between each turn.

A game that I would not recommend eventhough it plays easy, is 7 Wonders. Just had one non-gamer, who just threw away cards in age III for 3 gold, as she had no idea what to do with them (and probably felt to embarrassed to keep asking).

Finally Settlers of Catan is something most non-gamers will like in my experience. Though one can get set back by roll of the dice or a bad starting possition. I had one game Saturday with someone new and didn't pick the intro island - probably a mistake as one player got boxed in fast (so pick the intro island when playing the first game with non-gamers).
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Tomello Visello
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davidhorm wrote:
They are cautiously interested ...
That "cautiously" is what I focus on. I have come to seek out games that have these attributes: a) modest duration; b) limited number of actions; and c) fairly quick feedback on the player's success.

Your Castles although not complicated has too many things going on at once to fit. Too bad some smaller module couldn't be sliced off.

The most likely choices already in your collection are Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride.


Carcassonne is often suggested for your purpose.

I am wary of TtR becuase it is weak on the feedback attribute. So much is hidden in your hand for a payoff much later in the game.



The game I have most often used in the last couple years is Cartagena, which now has minimal retail presence.

In the past I have also been successful with Aquädukt and Maori, both of which you may find only in the used marketplace.


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Alicia
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Dominion was my gateway game, but I don't think you always have to go with a classic gateway game to get someone into gaming. I introduced a friend of mine to Puerto Rico and The Castles of Burgundy, and she really enjoyed both. She owns her own copy of Puerto Rico and plays it all the time on iOS, and might even pick up Castles of Burgundy one day. She talked about it for days after we played. Another friend of mine got into gaming with Agricola and Puerto Rico. Several others only know Puerto Rico, and they all really like it.

Any game can be a gateway game, really. While games with simple rules are often the easiest ones to use for introducing people to games, don't feel it always has to be one of those.

That being said, you may need a little extra assistance when teaching a more complex game. Player aids and video tutorials are great tools (especially ones that demonstrate a round or two of game play). People have different learning styles, so keep that in mind when teaching the game. I myself learn best from watching tutorial videos/playthroughs.

I would give the person a few options and see what he/she is most interested in trying.

I will say, the nice thing about using your standard gateway game is that you can maybe try a couple out, rather than only getting one game in that the person might not enjoy. That way, if the first game is a dud, the second game might spark interest.
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Federico Gomez Cucchiararo
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Last week I started with Carcassone to introduce 2 new players into the Hobby. Then we played Survive and had lot of laughts. After that we played Pandemic (All three games cover different "gaming" aspects). They loved all three and we played Pandemic twice in a Row (Remember, new players who had only played Monopoly and Risk).

I love Burgund Bridges and I was planing to continue playing Puerto Rico next week, followed by Burgund.

I got people into the hobby playing: Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Chinatown, Survive... then, after they had a good time they just want to play and try more games. But what's important is that you have fun playing first so they feel what playing and having fun means.
 
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Charles Snakes et Lattes
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I would agree that Stone Age is a good prelude. It brings in the concepts of dice, denying options, multiple choices and end of game victory points (the thing I find most devastating in COB is those end of game bonuses).

It is slightly different because COB has limited commodity conversion (shipping goods is the only thing similar) but so many of the other elements are there.

Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and Puerto Rico, although all good games, don't have any real conceptual similarity to COB. They do all have end of game victory points, but they don't use dice and they have limited denying and multiple choice elements.

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Jestin Jund
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I have to agree that Dominion (or maybe even 7 Wonders), while not exactly related to CoB in any way, has the combo system where " if I do this, then I can do that" comes in to play. I think this is genuinely beneficial for new people to Euros because that concept can seem overwhelming at first. I'd also say Kingsburg or Stone Age are a good way of introducing dice manipulation and dice as workers.

Someone also mentioned Pandemic which I think is another good one. It's good way to get into a gaming mindset with someone because you're working together and you can help them through their turns.

When I teach CoB to new people, I always explain every single thing you can do with a die and why you would want to do those things: Buy something from the board, place something on your board, sell something from your board, or buy workers if all else fails. Once they have a good grasp of what you can do on a turn, it's good to run down each color of tile, with brown probably being the last you explain.

Maybe I just know the game so well that I'm a decent teacher, but I've never had trouble getting new people in to CoB. It might take a few turns but people generally catch on pretty quickly.

Good luck!
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Joe Price
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CoB was my first Feld game and I didn't find it too tough to pick up and play without a lot of prior board game know-how - especially if someone knowledgeable is there to refill the pieces each round and explain what the different buildings/knowledge tiles do.

I actually think CoB is a good gateway game - at least it was for me. And even though I play a bunch of Feld games now I still love good ol' CoB. There is still that tension and endless variation. And it plays fast with 2p!
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Josh Chen
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Looking at your games the first thing comes to mind is Ticket to Ride! I think it is a solid game and a good one to introduce a non-gamer to.

Then I'd suggest Dixit if that person is a creative type.

If they are good with math and logic then Dominion is my choice.
 
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August Larson
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I had played many other games with my non-gamer wife prior to introducing her to CoB one year ago, but despite her experience playing some gamer games with me, CoB fell short and she left the game utterly confused. The whole time playing it she just felt overwhelmed by all her possible actions and just asked me to tell her what would be most optimal. Fast forward a year later (last month) and we have played many other games in varying themes and mechanisms. I tentatively pull out CoB and ask if she'd like to try this one again. She sighs but agrees because she loves me. Lo and behold she loved it this time! The game sped along at the right pace and she made all her own choices!

At least with my wife, CoB was a deeper game than she was able to handle while classified as a non-gamer. She's not a full-fledged gamer now, but she is willing to play most medium-weight games with me. I don't know which games specifically helped her better grasp CoB, but if I were to throw one out there I would say Lords of Waterdeep for its simple worker-placement options. CoB could be seen as a worker/action-placement game, at least to me.
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Chris
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colmustard21 wrote:
CoB could be seen as a worker/action-placement game, at least to me.
Not sure you get to make up your own definitions there tbh. Can I define it as a wargame, at least to me?
 
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Aaron Edwards
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I would probably start with Ticket to Ride. I know it's cliche, but you already own it and it's a pretty safe bet. If they handle it well and are enthusiastic for more, then step up to something a little heavier. If they tell you that TtR is about as complex as they want to get, then you know CoB probably won't go over well.
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Wil
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Oph1d1an wrote:
I would probably start with Ticket to Ride.


FWIW - I personally avoid using Ticket to Ride with new gamers these days? Why? It's too long, it can be frustrating to some users who don't handle getting blocked well, and it doesn't trigger the "let's play that again right now" look.

I personally think a game like Dominion is a much better choice. It's simple to teach, it plays in half the time, it's different each game, it triggers the let's play again look, and it's full of mini victories or satisfying plays where the player gets a huge smile when a combo works out for them or each time they buy a province.

Ticket to Ride is a great game, but it really lacks that level of excitement in my opinion. Dominion or another card game that invites multiple plays and combs tends to be a better choice in my experience.

Need something simpler, then go with Diamonds which is a fantastic game that hits these marks and has the added familiarity to Hearts that a new gamer can grasp on to right away.
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Josh Chen
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I would say Dominion will probably bring out more frustration when you pull out a Village + Laboratory + Smithy combo while giving them curses with your witch and when they have no clue on how to play and saw you rack up 30 VP versus their 11 points. Not so fun in my opinion. At least in TtR you can get around the block route.
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Eric
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You could start with Love Letter. It's been a huge hit with non-gamers and has whetted their appetite for more...
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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lmnop wrote:
You could start with Love Letter. It's been a huge hit with non-gamers and has whetted their appetite for more...


I totally agree here. there are a lot of newer games these days which are great gateway games. I would add Splendor and Rise of Augustus as well. Both light and short games which introduces mechanisms used in many modern euros.
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Justin
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If you have time to play several games i would say Ticket to Ride, then Lords of Waterdeep. If they liked those two then i would move on to Burgundy.

Or you could just try Lords of waterdeep.
 
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James Myers
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Splendor is a good bet.
 
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Jim bo
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If you're looking for a good gateway game that has similarities to CoB I'd recommend Vikings.

It has a main board where players compete over tiles and you then place those tiles on your own player board in the most efficient manner to maximise your VPs.

It's easier for beginners to pickup because you don't have all the various building and knowledge tile types with each offering it's own specific benefit which tends to ramp up the learning curve of CoB.

For that reason I don't think I'd attempt to introduce a non-gamer to CoB straight off the bat because I'd spend most of the evening answering the question 'what does this tile do?'
 
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