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Subject: Recs for an introverted 15-year-old rss

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Bryce Johnson
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Hi folks,
I'm looking for recommendations for a cousin of a friend of mine. Here is what we know about the guy:
-He's 15.
-He likes to play in lan parties. They play mostly older games, maybe things like Age of Empires or other RTSs, maybe Civilization.
-He is a pretty intelligent guy (good at math, say).
-He used to play diplomacy, but he and his friends got tired of it.

He apparently is not a terribly social guy, and my friend was thinking that playing board games would at least allow him to interact with his friends face-to-face as opposed to over lan chat. We're hoping that recommendations from his older cousin will convince him that board games are awesome.

So what might be good? Does a game like AOEIII actually resemble its computer counterpart? Is there interaction involved with maybe not too much backstabbing a la Diplomacy? It might also be better to have something with a shorter time frame. It seems like Starcraft might be good, but again, I don't know how long it is and whether it resembles its counterpart. Is Nexus Ops anything like this?

I gave her the usual gateway recommendations too (Settlers, PR which she herself liked a lot, and RFTG because it rocks).

My friend says I am not using enough smilies, so here: robotarrrhmeeple

Thanks for any help you can offer.
-Bryce
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João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
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Try Bohnanza, plain old fun with lots of trading. Or the new version of Chinatown, lots of trading too and it's fun.

And some coop games too, like Pandemic or Lord of the Rings or Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, for a break in backstabbing and to introduce cooperation, whcih will lead to increased social interaction. Fury of Dracula (second edition) is quite fun too.
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JH
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Arkham Horror is a terrific cooperative game for up to 8 players. He can even play it alone, if he wants.
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John W
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MGBM wrote:
Try Bohnanza, plain old fun with lots of trading.
WHAT?!
surprise

You get that silly bean-farming theme around a introverted, computer-savvy 15 yr old and he'll come up with 4 l33t-insults about it before you could crack the plastic wrapper it comes in.

LNoE is definately a front runner for possible success with this demographic.
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Got two game tables and a microphone
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Tell the kid to watch TV. A LOT

Just kidding. What about abstracts online? The gipf series is availbale, along with other abstract two playe stuff.
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Luis Padron
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I think the crowd he plays with is as important as the game.
Modern Art, where my significant others' kids got into character (slightly offensive one's at that), proved to be a lot of laughs and helped me abandon tv viewing for gaming. It also got me to act pretty goofy.

In a larger setting, Pit proved to be a killer game. It managed to get my family, which is culturally resistant to the idea of board games, instantly involved.
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Mike Windsor
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BUSEN MEMO - YEEE HAAAA!



Sorry, that wasn't the least bit helpful, but it would have kept me entertained when I was 15.

Seriously, look at some of the games that might be widely available and have hung around the top of the BGG lists for a long time. That was about the time I got interested in wargames (SPI back then). I was smart, not overly social, and loved history. I mainly played solo, but I had hours of fun doing it. Find an era he likes, and pick an intro game from that era.
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T. Nomad
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Hmmm....interaction for teens?

Nexus Ops
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R M
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I'm gonna say Race for the Galaxy:
1 - Its one of my hot favorites right now so am likely to recommend it for any criteria.
2 - It's a cool, geeky theme!
3 - It can be played as a single player game.
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Gabe Alvaro
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bryce_z wrote:
He apparently is not a terribly social guy, and my friend was thinking that playing board games would at least allow him to interact with his friends face-to-face as opposed to over lan chat. We're hoping that recommendations from his older cousin will convince him that board games are awesome.


Sounds like your goal is to just get him talking in a face to face game that he will like. In that case go for excellence. Also go for games in which you have to talk or read something out loud off of a card.

Pandemic can require a lot talking, plus it's cooperative. El Grande has a number of things to read out loud. In Ra, you have to exclaim Ra! when you invoke him. Power Grid just because it's a great game, and oh you have to bid and that's pretty social. Railroad Tycoon is pretty talky with cards and a lot going on it. Imperial and Antike have light diplomacy aspects. Citadels you have to call out roles when you are the King. He might get a kick out of Galaxy Trucker too which requires you to say when you are powering engines and cannons.

I'll second or third Last Night on Earth. The heroes have to work together against the zombies which are played by another player or two. Then again, he can just be the Zombies and just moan "Urrrgh, braiiiins!!!" all night.

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Gabe Alvaro
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reapersaurus wrote:
You get that silly bean-farming theme around a introverted, computer-savvy 15 yr old and he'll come up with 4 l33t-insults about it before you could crack the plastic wrapper it comes in.

True, but if his goal was to get to chatting with the opposite sex (which it clearly isn't here), I could see this one being a nice, silly, ice breaker. Silly always worked well with the girls when I was 15.

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Greg Jones
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I haven't played Age of Empires, but I have played Starcraft once. My impression was that it does have some of the feel of the computer game, although naturally it's much different. I thought it had a lot of the rushed feeling of the computer game - a lot you could do if you only had time. In the computer game, it's actually time you're racing against (that is, the other players or the AI), with only so much clicking around and managing you can do in that time. In the board game, you get limited actions each turn, and you have to decide whether to use them to build new buildings, research upgrades, or deploy your forces. Also, although I couldn't figure it out in my first play, I think there is potential for a lot of tactical knowledge about how to compose your squads. Of course, I'm not sure the same mixes of units work in the board game as the computer game, so that's not necessarily transferrable knowledge, just transferrable appeal.

Unfortunately I think Starcraft might be overwhelming for a new board gamer. It has a lot of non-intuitive rules. It might be hard for someone used to the computer enforcing the rules.

I might recommend Citadels. It's a very quiet, sneaky game which probably teaches a lot of antisocial values. But, perhaps better antisocial than not social at all. The game forces you to get in the head of your fellow players.
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M Hellyer
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Formula De' racecar game would be great for a kid that age.
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andrew
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hmmm.. i'd say at 15 he's more adult than child and they should stop worring about him and just let him do his own thing..

but if it were me.. i'd say get him outdoors, sailing is a great activity to build self confidence/reliance. failing that (lack of lakes or sea in the area), get him involved in a comunity volenteer group of some sort, groups of people working for some sort of common good form wonderful bonds...

but really.. at 15 years old.. i think you should just be letting him get on with his own thing. he's not a child anymore. so he's shy?? he may be very happy just being like that.
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Mark Crane
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What about the new Risk that plays in two hours?
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Got two game tables and a microphone
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Not my thing, but Cutthroat Caverns may be an option.
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I hate to say it, especially since I no longer do so, but what about some old-time Role Playing Games. When I was a shy, introverted geek with limited command of the English language, RPGs gave me a lot more confidence and taught me how to act in a social setting. They made me less introverted too.

Hope this helps.
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Bryce Johnson
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but I don't want a subject line
Thanks for the all the recommendations everyone! (And feel free to keep suggesting if you like.) I am sure she will appreciate all the responses. Also, now *I* want to try LNOE.
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Seth Brown
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AoE III is nothing like the computer game, although I think it is a great game in its own right. Nexus Ops plays more like the AoE or Starcraft computer game, and may well be a good choice.

I also like Vegas Showdown; easy enough for him to teach to non-gamers, but inherently interesting enough not to turn him away.

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