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Subject: Suitable for book club? rss

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Ed
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I attended my first book club meeting in January. I mentioned that I like board games, so one of the members invited me to bring a game to the next meeting. Normally Ticket to Ride would be a no-brainer, but the club reads a lot of science fiction (Ready Player One, The Martian, Redshirts, Binti), and the last book they read, The Delirium Brief, has some Lovecraft-inspired elements. I’m of course looking for an excuse to form an Arkham LCG group, which I don’t have, so what do you think about bringing this?

I’d say there’s definitely an interest in nerd things, but nobody in the group would describe themselves as a gamer. One guy is a programmer and the other two know him from working together at PeopleSoft. The group meets every two to three months so it would be an infrequent group at best.
 
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Xuzu Horror
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Jumping right into a game like this is probably a bit too much of a step for a non-gamer.

I would instead have them give simpler games a try first. Pandemic is a pretty good starter (or can even go simpler with Forbidden Island first if you really need to go slow). It's cooperative as well.

Then I would try after if they ended up liking it. (though the 2 types of games are obviously quite different)
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Jamie
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I think one or two starter games would be wise, especially if they are new to modern board gaming. The idea of playing Arkham with a book club sounds amazing though. Let us know if you eventually play it!
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Rafe
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Try Pandemic Reign of Cthulu
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Todd Warnken
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Elder Sign would be a better gateway into Arkham gaming.
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Michael S
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xuzuthor wrote:
Jumping right into a game like this is probably a bit too much of a step for a non-gamer.



Agreed. SIMPLE SIMPLE. You want to leave them wanting more not feeling overwhelmed and confused. So you go with something interesting but light and then let them ask you for more next time. Instead of everyone leaving sweaty and confused hahaha.

Ideas:
Paperback Cause book club

Elder Sign Lighter with the theme but everyone understands the yatzee elements.

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu Again easing into this theme and you got coop so everyone working together is usually a good first experience with board games in a group.

Lovecraft Letter Beautiful version of this game. It looks impressive and its good for group. Simple light. It allows you to feel the vibe out and bail in between games if people arent digging it. If they are they will just want to keep playing.


Dont lock everyone into something long people can feel stuck in something and thats never great first experience.





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Ed
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Thanks for the realistic, totally disappointing feedback! shakecry
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Kelly Overholser
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I would say this sounds like a really fun game for a book club, but definitely complex for someone not used to modern board games. Try a few other games to test the waters and see what they find interesting and what they have trouble grasping. A big part of the complexity of AH:LCG is that every card in the deck is different and has its own rules; they all follow the same framework but it's a lot to absorb.

But definitely try to work your way up to it and see how it goes!
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Chris Byer
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Mundane wrote:
Elder Sign would be a better gateway into Arkham gaming.


This is exactly what I was going to say. Elder Sign is extremely accessible esp with you there to help them along.

The frequency of the club meetings sounds like a bit of a stretch unless you'd be playing single scenarios, and even then if the others in the group are non-gamers arkham lcg can be pretty overwhelming. Another thing to consider is if you're only meeting a few times a year I'd imagine you'd be reteaching the game each time.
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Branko K.
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From the perspective of non-gamers, this game is actually pretty weird.

On one side, there is a clear narrative, excitement, the goals of the game are clear, the lose condition is clear, everything is logical and easily understandable from the thematic point of view.

On the other side there is a bunch of small text to be constantly read (with practically everything being important), there are loads of tiny rules and gotchas, the turn structure is rather complex, the timing issues can be rather confusing and I can easily see someone not used to this kind of thing be completely alienated and overwhelmed.

So there's no easy answer to this. You need a) someone you know will stay invested and b) a well-practiced way to teach the game to communicate all the necessary information by just the right amount. I think your best bet is to do a demo of a solo game where you go through the first scenario, explaining on the way (but not every single detail), and then estimate by the reactions of people whether they are interested in actually playing or not.
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Tommy Wareing
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I'd second Lovecraft Letter, but it might still be too weird for hem, depending on what they think of as a boardgame.

If you're doing Arkham with them, I'd be inclined to run it as a roleplaying sesssion, with you as GM reading the cards out before putting them into play, and handling the rest of the mechanics, so they can concentrate on playing the game, without having to worry about whether they've cross-checked everything.
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Rob Keetlaer
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Well, I will join the others in suggesting to not start with AH:LCG. Although you could of course show them the game on the first occasion and tell something about the connection it has to HPL's books.

I would indeed start with Ticket to Ride, and then go on (if and when they are still interested) with Red7 and/or Carcassonne, then 7 Wonders, Dominion, Pandemic, before finally arriving at AH:LCG. Maybe you get some more ideas when you stand in front of your game cabinet. Let it grow...
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MC Shudde M'ell
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After they've played Ticket to Ride and Pandemic, you'll know who (if anyone) has the potential to be a gamer, and then you start setting up AHLCG nights just for that group.
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Richard Pickman
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I like the suggestion of running it as a role-playing session, but I actually think Mythos Tales would fit the bill even better! It's basically Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective but with Cthulhu.

The problem with getting your book club into AHLCG is that, if you ARE successful, it won't be a book club any more. It'll be an AHLCG group. If you are not successful, they'll overwhelmed. There is no middle ground! :-)
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Pascal Lefebvre
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I definitely think the story-telling aspect of the LCG game is much better than anything else. Elder Sign might ruin your group, it's really not on par, mechanics-wise and story-telling-wise. You're better off starting with "complex" games that are right for your group, than wrong games that are simpler. I converted a bunch of my non-gamer friends to boardgames with Agricola, simply because the farming aspect really attracted them. So if you have a book club at hand, definitely go with story-telling first.

That being said, I would play on easy, and make sure the decks are pre-built on your first session. If you do everything you can to make the first experience smooth and fluid, they'll most probably love it and keep playing. But that requires a lot of work from you, and you need a good mastery of the rules so that the explanations are simple, but the gameplay is right.

The core of the game is very simple: you can do 3 things per turn, typically any combination of moving, investigating, attacking and buying a card. There's however a second way to play cards, which is related to skill tests, which can then be demonstrated. The rest you should take care of and avoid explaining in details until it comes up. It would definitely be convenient to start the core-set's campaign too, the first scenario being simple and giving good examples of a lot of mechanics.
 
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Ken Comstock
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Mundane wrote:
Elder Sign would be a better gateway into Arkham gaming.



This.

I plan to add Elder Sign to my short list of gateway games.
 
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Driss
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You could bring a deck with and see if anyone shows interest.
 
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Mike Song
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It's a book club, so it is doubtful everyone will throw away their books on the spot and jump into the game.

Think of it more as a show and tell, NOT a how to play.

Don't even talk about the game mechanics.

Critique the game like you would a book.

Evaluate it's story, how it unfolds, themes it uses, how it communicates using words and other mediums.

It's better to play out a scenario that you have put together artificially (you know what cards are being drawn) to showcase a story. Rather than trying to play it faithfully in front of them.

Then if there's interest suggest ppl who are interested stayback for a playthrough or come early next time.

Also, if there is interest, you could have each person play a scenario and then discuss it next week/month like you would a book. The Core Set costs about the same as a hardback book. And if they aren't interested the rest of you can use it to build decks!
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