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Subject: Best game to play with non-gamers?? rss

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I love introducing gaming to my non-gaming friends. But I definitely think to be successful, it’s all about finding a game that’s approachable, easy enough to understand, but also has enough good strategy and decision-making to show them what we, as gamers, love about gaming. What games do people like to introduce to non gamers? I’m always looking to add these types of games to my collection.

I’ll kick it off with Imhotep. What I love about it is that I can teach it in 5-7 minutes and the person I teach it to can generally be competitive in their first game.
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Juliette :0)
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I have actually been working on a Geeklist of these kinds of games that I have tried and recommend: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/253183/fun-games-non-game...


My favorite, though, is The aMAZEing Labyrinth, which is the game that brought me into boardgaming just over a year ago! It is very easy to learn, but the shifting pathways was so novel to me that I immediately was interested, and also wondering what other kinds of games were out there! :0)

For a party game, my current favorite is Snake Oil, which is also very easy to teach, but quickly gets the whole group energized and laughing as people create wacky products to sell to strange customers. Even naturally shy people get really into it! Not to mention my parents, who HATE games really loved it when we played during a holiday family gathering... in fact, I think they got more involved with acting out voices than anyone else!
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Cassandra Thompson
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I am having great success with Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

-- The theme is great - cure the world from some diseases (lots of games have themes that also require a person to be into the theme, e.g. Fantasy, or War... I have friends who just don't get fantasy).

-- A good level of strategy is required (I would say a high level for new gamers), but because it is a co-op game, the players benefit from other players at the table.

-- You don't need to know all the rules to play. One player needs to be able to handle the stuff between turns (and I have found that as the game progresses the other players become better at assisting with this stuff).

-- It has layers, well that is what my non-gamer says. She loves the game, and is in awe of how much is involved.

-- It is an open-handed game... which takes the "am I doing it wrong/badly" away from the game.


 
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Bill Eldard
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Consider Ticket to Ride: New York -- It uses the same simple rules as the original; handles 2-4 players; and the game lasts 15 minutes or less. If they like this game, and don't mind playing a game that takes 60-90 minutes, they're in.
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Michael Debije
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Played Root with three adventurous students and they loved it. Took some time for them to grasp what they needed to do for their faction to compete but once that sunk in, they really got into it.

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Mark Hunter
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mi_de wrote:
Played Root with three adventurous students and they loved it. Took some time for them to grasp what they needed to do for their faction to compete but once that sunk in, they really got into it.



That’s very ambitious. I admire your resolve. Root is a fantastic game, has great scope and design, and is not a game that I would ever introduce to non or new gamers.

Ticket to Ride was the game that I’ve had the most success as the entry level drug or Pandemic as a co-op allows you to help the non gamer.
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Bill Eldard
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Jagger66 wrote:
mi_de wrote:
Played Root with three adventurous students and they loved it. Took some time for them to grasp what they needed to do for their faction to compete but once that sunk in, they really got into it.



That’s very ambitious. I admire your resolve. Root is a fantastic game, has great scope and design, and is not a game that I would ever introduce to non or new gamers.

Ticket to Ride was the game that I’ve had the most success as the entry level drug or Pandemic as a co-op allows you to help the non gamer.

Co-op is a good idea. I would recommend Pandemic: The Cure. The fact that each role has its own unique set of dice seems to appeal to newcomers who find it easy to grasp.
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Arek D.
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Jagger66 wrote:
Ticket to Ride was the game that I’ve had the most success as the entry level drug or Pandemic as a co-op allows you to help the non gamer.
QFT.

I've also had good experiences with Citadels.
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Anna F.
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Ask them what they want to play and then be like, "I don't have that one but I have x which is like it"

Ok, mildly facetious, but I've totally pulled that before.

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Arvid
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Ticket to Ride is good för this, but I find it dreadfully boring, to the point where I can't care about what's going on. So I say Carcassonne - new gamers enjoy it a lot, in my experience, and so do I.

I also have had positive experiences with Citadels.
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Terence Aries
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Pandemic, working to accomplish a common goal helps draw people in.
Carcassonne, a nice puzzle of a game, where you can try to outfox your opponents and sneak onto their fields and cities.
Love Letter. An easy deduction game for over a few beers.
Machi Koro, everyone understands dice and what happens when you roll them.
Celestia, which is always a raucous game when we play it
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I think you are asking for a general approach, but in my experience, you really have to think about each individual person or a theme that the group enjoys. For example, I have a circle of friends from university that are non-gamers. At one point, all of them where watching the TV Show The Walking Dead and talking about it. It was very easy to motivate them to play Dead of Winter, and the Rules Explanation was easy, too.
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Cassandra Thompson
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414448 wrote:
Ticket to Ride is good för this, but I find it dreadfully boring, to the point where I can't care about what's going on. So I say Carcassonne - new gamers enjoy it a lot, in my experience, and so do I.

I also have had positive experiences with Citadels.


My beef with Ticket to Ride as a beginner game, is that the interaction is limited. You kind of play your own game and hope to do what you are trying to do faster than the next person... The only interaction comes when someone takes a route that you needed. The game could easily be played in silence.

It feels boring as a "hey friends lets play together" game.
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Arvid
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kaibis wrote:
414448 wrote:
Ticket to Ride is good för this, but I find it dreadfully boring, to the point where I can't care about what's going on. So I say Carcassonne - new gamers enjoy it a lot, in my experience, and so do I.

I also have had positive experiences with Citadels.


My beef with Ticket to Ride as a beginner game, is that the interaction is limited. You kind of play your own game and hope to do what you are trying to do faster than the next person... The only interaction comes when someone takes a route that you needed. The game could easily be played in silence.

It feels boring as a "hey friends lets play together" game.


Good point!
 
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dirk stouten
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Eldard wrote:
Consider Ticket to Ride: New York -- It uses the same simple rules as the original; handles 2-4 players; and the game lasts 15 minutes or less. If they like this game, and don't mind playing a game that takes 60-90 minutes, they're in.


First game I thought about, after reading the topic title.

Also Elder Sign and Manhattan come to mind.
 
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Azul has been a good success with me.

I purchased one for my mom last year. She really enjoys it, and it's easy to both learn and teach. She usually needs a quick refresher when we play, but it's simple enough.

We played it with my dad on Christmas, and he usually won't touch a game unless it's a children's game with the grandchildren, and even that's iffy. He seemed to enjoy it (and he won).

Just a few weeks ago we played that with my sister, and she liked it so much that she had to go get her own copy of it.

I have also had good luck with Carcassone and Herbacious. Herbacious is a good one because it's easy to learn and plays quickly.

My sister and her husband aren't gamers. But they played Carcassone at a friend's house and then wondered if I had the game. We played it last night, and they liked it so much they bought my extra copy that I was saving for a Math Trade.


 
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ArkhamHorrorGuy wrote:
Azul has been a good success with me.




It’s funny you say Azul because I literally just bought Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra as a game to play with non-gamer friends. I was torn b/w Original Azul vs Sintra but Sintra seemed to offer a bit more complexity/strategy while at the same time, still seeming approachable and not too intimidating for a first timer or just a general newbie to gaming. Plus I also thought that Sintra would be better to play with gamer friends too b/c of the added depth.
 
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Parry Pollock
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I think it totally depends on the people you're introducing gaming to, but for me No Thanks! ALWAYS works. So easy, push your luck strategy, can be cutthroat, and very interactive. Everyone's always watching what the next card will be and who might\wants to take it. You can't go wrong. Now it's a very light game, no where near what Imhotep is, but way less intimidating. Remember they're non gamers, Imhotep is super simple and easy to grasp for gamers, but once you start explaining all the site boards, you might get some eye glazing. (Again, it really depends on the people.) You could probably play Imhotep right after No Thanks!
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Wolkster
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Settlers of Catan (Catan) - I've used Catan many times to introduce euro gaming to non gamers since the 90's and it hooks them every time. Eleven people have bought their own copies and introduced it to their families. No other game I've used has had as much success.

They like the rolling of dice, the trading of cards, the stealing of cards, and the building of settlements.

One problem. I'm so sick and tired of playing the game that I refuse to play it any more unless I'm using it to hook new gamers. When the new gamers come back for a second or third round all they want to play is Settlers, so I've purchase Seafarers, Cities & Knights, Starfarers, The Book of Catan, Stone Age of Catan, etc, etc to give it a new spin, so I don't get bored. I even have the original Mayfair editions version 1 and version 2 where both have different colors, so you can combine them for an 8 player game. Eventually, I have to tell them. Please, no more Settlers!!!
 
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Eva
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Depending on the non-gamer person I want to play with I chose differently, but these I often go to (in no particular order):
Tsuro - easy and you can play with many players
Ticket to Ride - a classic
Castle Panic - co-ops usually works because you can start playing and explaining as you go
Forbidden Island - cheap, good gift
No Thanks! - fast and fun and easy
Carcassonne - another classic
Coloretto - easy set collection but tons of fun
Mint Works - the easiest worker placement I know of
Deep Sea Adventure - push your luck
Flash Point: Fire Rescue - very good co-op, never encountered anyone new to games that didn't like it.
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Another vote for Machi Koro. It was certainly a victim of being over-hyped, but that is a fun, engaging and easy to grok game.
 
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David B
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mi_de wrote:
Played Root with three adventurous students and they loved it. Took some time for them to grasp what they needed to do for their faction to compete but once that sunk in, they really got into it.



For the general "non gamer" , these students are the exception and not the norm.
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Amy Joyce
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Quacks of Quedlinburg
Dice Forge
Carcassonne
Tokoyo Highway
Indigo


I like playing the above games with my family, who are not gamers.
 
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Stacy Malec
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Kingdomino
Splendor
Sagrada
 
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Darren M
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Keeping in mind... every "non-gamer" is different... some are total newbies who may have played no boardgames in 20 years, and who may even actively dislike many themes... fantasy, sci-fi etc.

Others may be "ready and primed" to take the plunge and are "gamers in waiting"... so are much more inclined to be patient and take on bigger, more complex games.


That said there are generally a set of "gateway" style games which are commonly suggested for their relative rules simplicity and a combination of factors such as reasonable play lengths and relatively unconvoluted gameplay.


If I were going to introduce total newbies/non-gamers to tabletop gaming... I'd pick from this list:

Azul
Crokinole
Star Realms/Hero Realms
Sagrada
Splendor
Ticket to Ride: Europe or Ticket to Ride
That’s Pretty Clever
Codenames
Flamme Rouge
Century: Golem Edition
Carcassonne
Santorini


Azul.. simple tile placement/drafting/set collection that looks good and plays in 45 minutes.

Crokinole... simple dexterity game that looks great and plays in 30 minutes. Price for a good board is the only downside but it's a solid investment.

Star Realms/Hero Realms... easy deck building game to teach and play and again it last under 30 minutes so the "pain" is over quickly if they don't like it.

Sagrada... much like Azul.. but with dce.. colourful and simple to teach and learn and over in 45 minutes.

Splendor... nice looking components and plays in half an hour. Easy to teach and there's nothing overly complex in the game.

Ticket To Ride... classic gateway game for a reason... takes a few minutes to teach and the gameplay is pretty simple card drafting/set collection/route building. Intuitive gameplay and it's over in under 60 minutes.

That's Pretty Clever... 30 minutes so it doesn't drag and again it's a relatively simple dice game with a few small pages of rules.

Codenames... simple party game that takes less than 30 minutes to play. Easy to teach and uncomplicated to play.

Flamme Rouge... simple race game that takes ~45 minutes.

Century: Golem Edition... another simple ~45 minute game where the focus is on set collection and the gameplay and rules are simple to teach and learn.

Carcassonne... tile laying classic that takes less than an hour and simple "pick a tile... place a tile" gameplay.

Santorini... fast playing ~20 minute abstract game. Colourful and easy to teach.


That's 1 dozen gateway style games in different genres that I'd use for non-gamers/newbies.
 
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