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Subject: looking for party suitable, nongeek-friendly games. rss

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James Mantell
United States
Buffalo
New York
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I'm hosting my first official game party this Saturday; I've invited some people from work over my apartment for an afternoon of fun.

Not all of the attendees will be fluent with games, but that's partly why I'm hosting. I'm thinking of suggesting the following games: Carcassonne and Bohnanza.

Do you have any other suggestions? The games would have to be relatively easy to learn and easy for beginners, but not necessarily party games (I'm trying to avoid Cranium-types). Oh, and the games we play will have to support 6 players.

I'd love to show off some of my more complicated games, but I don't want to repel these new gamers. If you've had similar experiences in the past, please post some of your own game suggestions. Thanks!
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Skip Maloney
United States
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If you can grab a copy in short order, try "Faces" by (I think) Buffalo Games. "Poison" is another good choice (Knizia design by Playroom Entertainment). The former is something of a 'party' game, while the latter is more of a strategy/tactics card game. Both should go over well with a basic, non-gamer crowd.
 
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Rick B
United States
Santa Clara
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Bohnanza is a great idea, but I think Carcassonne might not be great as a 6-player game. I know that Inns & Cathedrals supports 6, but there is a lot of downtime while others are playing.

On the "party" side, I'd recommend Wits & Wagers, Wise & Otherwise, Apples to Apples, Time's Up, and The Big Idea.

On the non-party side, I might give Diamant, Medici, Winner's Circle, I'm the Boss, Lifeboats, or Category 5 (6 Nimmt) a try.
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Eric
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I just had to think about this about a week ago, as I had a game night with about three non-gamers. I wanted to give them a taste of the hobby, but didn't want to freak them out with Princes of Florence or Puerto Rico (I've tried that before and those games will freak them out!).

Six is a pretty difficult number, actually. Most games are for three to five. With that said, here are some games to think about.

I've always had good luck introducting Settlers of Catan, but I've never tried it with the 5-6 player expansion (in fact, I've never played it with the 5-6 expansion). But it might be worth a try. Settlers is about the best game there is to introduce non-gamers to Euros. It has always been a huge hit. Almost invariably, someone will ask where I bought it so that they can get a copy.

Manila is another great Euro for non-gamers and usually goes over really, really well, but can only accommodate five (maybe if you scare someone off you can break this out). I'm including it because for non-gamers, it's that good! Really fun game.

Shadows Over Camelot works with six (and is quite good with it) and really isn't that hard, although beware of the rules explanation - when I've explained the game to new gamers, I sometimes feels like I'm going on and on about the different quests, etc. But really, the rules are easy. I've introduced it to non-gamers twice. The first time it worked really well. The second time, it received a mixed review (two loved it and two thought it was okay). On the plus side, it's like nothing any non-gamer has ever played so it can be very intriguing for them. Non-gamers have no idea that cooperative games exist.

Bang is a possibility, but I find that the rules are a bit confusing for what it is. It has a good theme, however, and I have had success with it.

Citadels is another possibility. It is a little geeky because of the theme (with Magicians, Warlords and such), but it's a pretty fun and intersting game that I've had some luck with.

Wits & Wagers is fun. I know you don't want a Cranium-type experience, but W&W has always been a huge hit with non-gamers. I can almost guarantee that people will love this one.

Finally, I know you don't want to do a party game, but Time's Up is an awesome charades-type game that has always been a huge hit. It is often requested by people after they've played it - "Can we play that game with the famous people where you can use only one word for the clue...?"

Just a note on Bohnanza: it's been a mixed bag for me introducing it to non-gamers. Some just love it, while others just don't get it. I tend to think the game is okay, but my wife loves it. Seems to be very female-friendly.

Hope that helps, and good luck!
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Eric Chantigny
Canada
Gatineau
Quebec
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I'd also recommed Nothingham. Other than that, there's all the card games like Take 6, Diabolo...

Not 6 but Ticket to Ride is a classic for this. I've had fun teaching Alhambra (Vizier with 4+ if possible), Manilla, Niagara, Blokus and much more to my no gaming parents! I think I can now go with a little more beef!
 
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Mark Tyler
United States
Orem
Utah
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Nice easy dice game:
Liar's Dice / Bluff / Perudo

A few card games to consider:
Bang!
Saboteur (this one would be easier to teach than Bang!)
Citadels (may be too meaty for your group)

Board games:
Winner's Circle
Around the World in 80 Days
I'm the Boss
Shadows over Camelot
Acquire
 
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james napoli
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Westwood
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for sale
winner's circle
shadows over camelot, if u think u can pull it off
fearsome floors maybe(i think that plays 6)
 
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Peter L
United States
Mountain View
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For Sale is great, and very easy to understand. I also really like Attribute -- it's more of a party game, but it typically works very well and is less random than Apples to Apples. Category 5 is also very simple and good as a short time-filler. None of these are that deep in terms of strategy, but all are easy to learn and might be good openers/fillers.

Personally, I'd aim for a few short, very easy games and maybe one longer one, in that order; that way, it'll be less intimidating. I think Carc might take a loooong time with 6, and people might get bored between their turns. Six player games that don't have a lot of downtime with brand new players (i.e., people who think a lot on their turn) are often hard to find... I can't think of a slam-dunk suggestion off the top of my head, but Ca$h 'n Gun$ is a very fun game that becomes more interesting when you add the police variant. It's hard to find, though
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Dist of Columbia
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Probably not practical on short notice, but my picks would be Dschamal and Dancing Dragons. (Or Tom Wham's Dancing Dragons, as my daughter insists on calling it.)

The former is a grab bag speed game featuring two different people's hands rooting around simultaneously in the same bag. The latter is a turn-free partnership game where each team is racing to assemble a 4 part dragon but the person on the team who succeeds can't be the person who announces victory -- s/he has to get a partner to do so before another team figures out what's up. Lots of frantic swapping out of cards and crazy gesticulating.

We also like 25 words or less which is basically Password meets Name that Tune. My guess is that depends on the group though.
 
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Marty M
Ireland
Fermoy
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I think that Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples and Diamant would all be good suggestions. All of these have already been suggested above. El Grande strikes me as a fairly easy to learn and play game which would probably appeal to non-gamers too.
 
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Dr. Dam
Australia
KILLARA
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Expedition is a nice game and if all of your friends have medical insurance I'd suggest Dancing Eggs!
 
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GameBear
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6-player games that are turn based can take a long time when 4+ players are new, and the wait between turns can really drag. Games like Settlers and Bohnanza alleviate the between-turn wait somewhat thanks to the trading, but I still prefer to introduce those games to 1 or 2 new players at a time in 4-player games.

I would recommend Wits & Wagers or For Sale. Both are easy to learn, and both use simultaneous play to keep everyone involved. Games last about 20 minutes. W&W accomodates up to 7, For Sale up to 6.

Good luck, I hope your game night goes well.

 
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Dustin Andrews
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I would like to add my vote for Settlers. I also recomend Ticket to Ride games. Ticket to Ride Europe only supports 5 players.

If you have one more experience player you could split into two groups and play two games at once.

-D
 
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James Mantell
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I have certainly learned of some excellent possibilities... most notably, Wits and Wagers and For Sale. Those two came up quite a bit. I don't have either, but I'm going to call my flgs tomorrow.

Ticket to Ride was on my mind except for the five player limit. But SaintD gave me an idea--I could just team up with my wife while the 5 others play individually.

Thanks again, and if you have any others, please feel free to add them!
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Robert Janousek
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New Hampshire
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I wouldn't recommend Settlers, Carcasonne or Bang to non-gamers. The back-stabbing elements in Settlers and Carcasonne and possibility of being knocked out early in Bang would likely turn off non-gamers before they gave it a chance. Diamant, Alhambra, Bohnanza, Apples To Apples, Cloud 9, Coloretto, and Zigity would all be good choices.

 
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Enon Sci
United States
Portland
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Fluxx man.. Stoner Fluxx if it fits, but a Fluxx goes over VERY well with a non-gamer crowd.

V E R Y well.

Probably the best intro game for the night anybody could suggest. It's adaptable to a large group, but simple enough to accommodate an unfocused crowd. Simple rules to explain, but unique enough to catch their attention.

Sod anybody that says otherwise, Fluxx is genius in its simplicity. Elegant like Maxwell's equations.
 
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Dr. Dam
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Yeah I might not like Fluxx myself (to random) he has a point.

Very simple making it great for non gamer crowds, chaotic (another non-gamer crown hit) and acommodates a large number.
 
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The Seal of Approval
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Vienna
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On the lighter side:
Apples to Apples
Category 5
Ca$h and Gun$, if that suits your taste

On the slightly "heavier" side:
Citadels
Bohnanza
Bang! (removed because, yes, the elimination element might turn off people)

And some games *with* boards for a change:
Acquire
Vinci
Antike (that one might be too complex)


 
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Adam Skinner
United States
Concord
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I've had success with Loot. It's easy to understand and fun to play. And who doesn't like a Pirate theme? Best with 4 or more.
 
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jeff morales
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I second (or third) Saboteur. Its always a hit at our parties and it works for most people.

I find that whenever a group gets together, there are always a mix of people that have varying degrees of outgoingness (if thats a word). Party games are good for the outgoing, but can make the introverted a little uncomfortable. Heavier games may be considered too dry and boring for the more outgoing types.

Saboteur is good for a group that is mixed. The outgoing people usually drive the game by making wild accusations. The introverted usually are able to play without having to step outside of their comfort zone. Its not uncommon to see some of the introverts step up and join in the wild accusations.

Oh, and one more suggestion, stay away from 5-6 player settlers. Although there is an element of trading, I have found that turn angst to be pretty high between turns. I think I have been quoted as saying, "Id rather slit my wrists than having to play another game of 5-6 player settlers"

Good luck!

oh and as a bonus 2 cents, nothing says that everyone has to play the same game. You can easily break the group up into two groups of 3. Then you would have lots of options.
 
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james napoli
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Westwood
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oh and of course JUNGLE SPEED!
 
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Gert Corthout
Belgium
Lille
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Another vote for Saboteur, it has always been an instant hit for all of my non-gamer friends, every single one of them. surprise It's real easy to teach and just a very fun game that is bound to create some memorable moments. And it works perfectly for 6.
 
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David McLeod
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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Fearesome Floors.

 
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Carl Forhan
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I'll strongly second the vote for Loot - it works great with 6 or 8 players, and is likely available at Target or Wal-Mart for only $5-6. Other good choices:

* For Sale (VERY easy to play and quick, too!)
* Bohnanza (takes longer to explain and you may have to play a couple of 'open' rounds, but really fun with a big group)
* Bang (takes longer to explain, may need 'open' rounds, does have player elimination however)
* Settler of Catan (great game and easy to understand)
* Liar's Dice (VERY easy to play and can scale to 6+ players with some extra dice and cups)
 
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susan morry
Canada
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Try the party game If You Had To Choose...?. The game really makes you think but in a fun and humorous way with questions like:

If you had to choose…would you rather (A) be breathtakingly beautiful but have to go to prison for five years, or (B) always be plain looking but never have to go to jail?

If you had to choose…would you rather be stuck in a one room cabin for two weeks during a severe snow storm with (A) George Bush, or (B) Michael Jackson?

The website is: www.ifyouhadtochoosegame.com

 
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