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Subject: What is a gateway game? [Poll] rss

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Sam Lam I Am
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I'm sure it has been discussed before, and will be again, but the topic came up in the Geek User Poll comment thread. I like polls, so I made one. I thought about putting out a bunch of nuanced answers, but screw nuance. Take a side!

Poll: What is a gateway game?
Which sentence more accurately uses the term "gateway game" in the way you understand and use the term?

A: Risk (or Scrabble or Monopoly or Hearts, etc.) was my gateway game because it turned gaming into my hobby, even though it was not until later that I learned to love modern games/Euros.

B: Catan (or Carcassonne or Dominion, etc.) was my gateway game because it opened my eyes to the world of modern games, even though I already loved to play games.
A
B
      296 answers
Poll created by samlamiam


 
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No One
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I've been gaming since long before Catan, Carcassonne, or Dominion (Et al) were a twinkle in their designer's eye.

~V
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R.T. Sloan
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Silly man.

A 'Gateway' game is a game that contains gateways.
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sloan66 wrote:
Silly man.

A 'Gateway' game is a game that contains gateways.


Do games that contain doors, portals, portcullis, and/or teleporters count as a subset in the "gateway" category?

~V
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Sam Lam I Am
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Veero wrote:

I've been gaming since long before Catan, Carcassonne, or Dominion (Et al) were a twinkle in their designer's eye.

~V

Excellent. I was hoping for an old-timer, so I could ask a history question. Did people use the term "gateway game" before Catan?
 
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No One
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samlamiam wrote:
Veero wrote:

I've been gaming since long before Catan, Carcassonne, or Dominion (Et al) were a twinkle in their designer's eye.

~V

Excellent. I was hoping for an old-timer, so I could ask a history question. Did people use the term "gateway game" before Catan?


No. Now get off my lawn!

~V

P.S. Also, in my day we didn't have the fancy-schmancy wiki-thingies, apps, or printed rulebooks. We learned our games from the inside of the box lid!
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One person's gateway is another person's "is it over yet, I've got the ironing to do, and, er, the teapot to descale. "
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Just because they weren't called gateways doesn't mean they didn't exist.

The term I would assume was borrowed from the term "gateway drug" which was first used in the 80s.
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Robert Bracey
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Neither. I was playing board games as hobby before 'euros' existed as a concept (back when Scotland Yard and Cosmic Encounters were just games and not heralds of things to come).
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maf man
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samlamiam wrote:
Did people use the term "gateway game" before Catan?

nope
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Veero wrote:
P.S. Also, in my day we didn't have the fancy-schmancy wiki-thingies, apps, or printed rulebooks. We learned our games from the inside of the box lid!


And the publisher was happy to answer any questions as long as you included a self-addressed stamped envelope for return correspondence.
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Michael Dyrud
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As always, it's context dependent. Anything called a gateway is just an introduction to something, so it depends on what you're being introduced to. Category A might be your introduction to board games in general, but I think more often a "gateway game" is Category B. It's an introduction to the games beyond the standard mass-market games most people are familiar with.
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Sam Lam I Am
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RobertBr wrote:
Neither. I was playing board games as hobby before 'euros' existed as a concept (back when Scotland Yard and Cosmic Encounters were just games and not heralds of things to come).


Sounds like you're endorsing the gateway-to-the-hobby interpretation of the term. Isn't that pretty much spot-on Option A?
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M. B. Downey
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RobertBr wrote:
Neither. I was playing board games as hobby before 'euros' existed as a concept (back when Scotland Yard and Cosmic Encounters were just games and not heralds of things to come).


Same.

I don't remember the first one, since it was in my blood, but early games were things like:

Feudal
The Godfather Game
Rummikub
The Creature That Ate Sheboygan
Can't Stop
Axis & Allies
Scotland Yard
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M. B. Downey
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samlamiam wrote:
Sounds like you're endorsing the gateway-to-the-hobby interpretation of the term. Isn't that pretty much spot-on Option A?


No. The games you list for Option A are largely crap games. Great games existed before "modern/euro" was a thing.

My interpretation of your poll is:

A - A gateway game is a game that makes me a gamer, even though they were crap and I didn't know good games existed
B - A gateway game is a great game that showed me there was whole other world beyond the mass market games everybody had

My answer is C: I played great games from the get-go before this "new world" was a thing. (Get off my lawn)
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At BGG, why are "games beyond the standard mass-market games most people are familiar with" so often considered to be Catan-and-later modern euros specifically?

E.g. SPI and Avalon Hill wargames were certainly not mainstream normal games. Joe Sixpack has no idea what Advanced Squad Leader is. And Shogi (about 1000 years old) is certainly not a standard mass market game most people are familiar with. Yet many BGG users seem to consider any game that's not a "modern" game (which in cult of the new fashion seems to mean only the past decade or two at most) to somehow not a "real" boardgame in the sense of being into boardgames as a hobby.
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M. B. Downey
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russ wrote:
At BGG, why are "games beyond the standard mass-market games most people are familiar with" so often considered to be Catan-and-later modern euros specifically?

E.g. SPI and Avalon Hill wargames were certainly not mainstream normal games. Joe Sixpack has no idea what Advanced Squad Leader is. And Shogi (about 1000 years old) is certainly not a standard mass market game most people are familiar with. Yet many BGG users seem to consider any game that's not a "modern" game (which in cult of the new fashion seems to mean only the past decade or two at most) to somehow not a "real" boardgame in the sense of being into boardgames as a hobby.


Yeah, I played a gajillion Avalon Hill games before Catan was ever created.
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Sam Lam I Am
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downeymb wrote:

My answer is C: I played great games from the get-go before this "new world" was a thing. (Get off my lawn)


Interesting take. I see now that a lot of the discontent with the way most of us use the term "gateway games" stems from the fact that it implies that games before 1995 were heaps of crap, and the pre-Catan gamers want acknowledgement that they were geeks playing cool games before it was cool to be geeks. Me calling them pre-Catan gamers will no doubt burrow deeper into their skin.

Most people are not bothered by Option B because in their experience, games before 1995 were indeed heaps of crap.




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CARL SKUTSCH
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russ wrote:
At BGG, why are "games beyond the standard mass-market games most people are familiar with" so often considered to be Catan-and-later modern euros specifically?

E.g. SPI and Avalon Hill wargames were certainly not mainstream normal games. Joe Sixpack has no idea what Advanced Squad Leader is. And Shogi (about 1000 years old) is certainly not a standard mass market game most people are familiar with. Yet many BGG users seem to consider any game that's not a "modern" game (which in cult of the new fashion seems to mean only the past decade or two at most) to somehow not a "real" boardgame in the sense of being into boardgames as a hobby.

My first real boardgame was Tactics II. I first played it around 1974. Then I learned about other Avalon Hill games, then D&D.

I don't think of chess/shogi/go as gateway games because of the place they hold in our culture. They are classics that don't have to lead to anything or have any connection to modern gaming.

Catan was a gateway game in a sense because it introduced me to these new style games that were coming out of Germany, but it hardly introduced me to atypical games.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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samlamiam wrote:
downeymb wrote:

My answer is C: I played great games from the get-go before this "new world" was a thing. (Get off my lawn)


Interesting take. I see now that a lot of the discontent with the way most of us use the term "gateway games" stems from the fact that it implies that games before 1995 were heaps of crap, and the pre-Catan gamers want acknowledgement that they were geeks playing cool games before it was cool to be geeks. Me calling them pre-Catan gamers will no doubt burrow deeper into their skin.

Most people are not bothered by Option B because in their experience, games before 1995 were indeed heaps of crap.

Most games played by most people today are still heaps of crap.
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Sam Lam I Am
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skutsch wrote:

Most games played by most people today are still heaps of crap.


I concede the point.

What I'm saying is that most people who use the term "gateway game" use it to mark the dividing point in their life between playing crap games and discovering (in their view, at least) non-crap games.
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samlamiam wrote:
downeymb wrote:

My answer is C: I played great games from the get-go before this "new world" was a thing. (Get off my lawn)


Interesting take. I see now that a lot of the discontent with the way most of us use the term "gateway games" stems from the fact that it implies that games before 1995 were heaps of crap, and the pre-Catan gamers want acknowledgement that they were geeks playing cool games before it was cool to be geeks. Me calling them pre-Catan gamers will no doubt burrow deeper into their skin.

Most people are not bothered by Option B because in their experience, games before 1995 were indeed heaps of crap.






The term as it is often used also has an element of "damning with faint praise". It is often used to suggest, intentionally or otherwise, that such games are not the REAL stuff. They are beginner games - only fit for people who have not developed real gaming chops.

Then follow a couple more ideas - the idea that people need converting to gaming life - like, gateway games are these awesome traps that you can lure people with or something - and also, that you cannot possibly introduce people to gaming WITHOUT a gateway game, because to do so will scare them away. This last one is often coupled with the idea that people are generally not capable of playing non-gateway games until they have mastered different mechanisms step by step, building their skills slowly until they are ready.

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mafman6 wrote:
samlamiam wrote:
Did people use the term "gateway game" before Catan?

nope


Now I am curious, when did "gateway game" enter the lexicon?
 
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RingelTree wrote:
mafman6 wrote:
samlamiam wrote:
Did people use the term "gateway game" before Catan?

nope


Now I am curious, when did "gateway game" enter the lexicon?


The oldest reference I could find on BGG:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1584/milton-bradleys-amer...

2003, describing Broadside

However, this site has apparently been around for a bit longer,

http://www.gateplay.com/

Descriptions of Catan and Bohnanza as "gateway" games on that site were apparently posted in 2001 according to google.


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Matt Brown
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I've come to the conclusion I don't like the term gateway and was using entry level when I honestly conceded light was the proper term.
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