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Subject: Games that will help ease my girlfiend into more complicated strategy games rss

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Patrick OLeary
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I enjoy playing longer, more complicated and intensive games like Ikusa, Heroscape, etc. My girlfriend has always enjoyed the usual classic board games but I'm trying to move her more into my world.

Does anyone know any strategy-type games that would ease the transition? Ones that are easier to learn, have shorter playing times, and have less pieces (lots of pieces scare her), but still have the same spirit as the more complicated games?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Luke Morris
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Whooo, first to acknowledge that you have a girlFIEND?! Woooah, wouldn't wanna get on the wrong side of her!
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Patrick OLeary
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Haha, yes. Subconscious typo maybe? She can sometimes be fiendish.
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Eric Knauer
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Any of these should do:

http://www.gateplay.com/caliber-1-gateway-games.aspx

Stone Age is a good one as well.
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Gijs Bouwman
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Beer!

This might help!
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Greg H.
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I also 2nd Stone Age, especially if you are playing only two players. Stone Age is particularly low on direct conflict, which can be good for couples.

Another "wild card" option would be Small World. That has conflict... you are taking out each other's armies! But, the theme is lighter and more fantasy-based, which might ease that transition. It can also play up to five people.

And lastly, a bit of unsolicited advice? One thing I learned from my wife is that it is best to match the game to the person, and not vice versa. I've gotten my wife to play Stone Age, Bohnanza, Mystery of the Abbey, etc. but not yet Puerto Rico or Power Grid (my emerging recent favorites). And, she might never embrace them! But that's OK, because we've found the "sweet spot" in gaming that we can share together. With some of the more intense games, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." Let your girlfriend dictate on her own terms what she's ready for!
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Chris
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cichlidhead wrote:
I also 2nd Stone Age, especially if you are playing only two players. Stone Age is particularly low on direct conflict, which can be good for couples.

Another "wild card" option would be Small World. That has conflict... you are taking out each other's armies! But, the theme is lighter and more fantasy-based, which might ease that transition. It can also play up to five people.

And lastly, a bit of unsolicited advice? One thing I learned from my wife is that it is best to match the game to the person, and not vice versa. I've gotten my wife to play Stone Age, Bohnanza, Mystery of the Abbey, etc. but not yet Puerto Rico or Power Grid (my emerging recent favorites). And, she might never embrace them! But that's OK, because we've found the "sweet spot" in gaming that we can share together. With some of the more intense games, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." Let your girlfriend dictate on her own terms what she's ready for!


A shame I can't give more than only one thumbs-up!
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Andreas
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Disclosure: I am into euro family strategy games (former "german games") and know a bit about them.

An introductory remark: There are a lot of geeklists and threads about "what to play with the girlfriend / spouse / two players". You might check them out for further advice. Also "gateway game", meaning a game for new and casual players, but not boring for experienced ones, might lead to a bountiful harvest.

I suggest You try to make some compromises regarding the following points:

a) theme: You know the princess and pirate thingy and where the girls want to be pretty princesses and the boys the pirates? Games with a war theme, conflict and destruction are less liked by women and girls than games with some coop and a more "friendly" theme. You will have more success with farming and animals or with citybuilding than with monster and zombie wars. Allow for exceptions, I talk in general.

b) play time: Shorter is better. Not only does one not need a huge attention span, but also its easier to find 30 min to 1 hour spare time than 3 or 4 hours. Obvious.

c) rules: The less rules the better, at least they should be logical and be contained in a well written rulebook.

d) appearance: Whats pleasing to eye and hand is liked. So a game with thick cardboard, wood components and nice graphics is more likely to appeal to non-gamers.

e) number of players: As You want to play with her I conclude that a game thats best with 4 or needs 3 cannot be done most of the time.

Because of a) to e) tried and tested games are:

Carcassonne - often first choice as a "gateway game" as the rules are quite simple, it can be played non-confrontational (though it can be very confrontational too, it is what You make out of it), it plays well with only 2 and it has that puzzle aspect, the landscape that You construct during the games course is just nice to look at. I would recommend base carcassonne and not one of that stand alone games as its expandable if You both like it and easily available. Its one of the cheapest eurogames too. The theme is building cities, cloisters, farms and roads in southern france so extremely non-offending. Last reason: It has similarity with dominoes as the tiles must match (city to city, road to road), so people see something they know, but with the meeple placement there is an added element to that too.

Thurn and Taxis - for quite some people the next step after Carcassonne as it has more rules. The theme is building the postal system in Germany, again a non-conflict one. Rules are a bit more complicated but not overly so and it plays really well with two.

Lost Cities is a 2 player card game about venturing into the jungle (Indiana Jones and Indiana Jane maybe?). Well the designers name is Dr. Knizia so be sure the theme is a thin veneer. But nevertheless its one of the most often recommended 2-player games and might go over well.

Metro is a smaller game about building the Paris metro in the 1800s and its best with 2. It can be quite cutthroat when You start to block each others connections so be sure You both can handle the conflict - shouldnt be too expensive either.

Verflixxt! kompakt is a roll your dice and move your mice ehm pawns game, but with a twist. The game "cleans itself up", means the game board consists of tiles, that the last player to leave one gets to keep. There are also dummy pawns, that can also serve to "stick a tile to the table". The tiles give the players who get them positive and negative points, special luck tiles can transform negative into positive points. So You want to get the highest Negatives - but only with luck tiles - and the highest positives. Online play is available at Ravensburgers website - i send You the link if You want. The newly released compact version is much less expensive than the "big" version (around 7 Euros I assume), but I am not sure its released in the states.



All of these should have a playing time of 30 min to 1 hour max, mostly I would think 45 min or even less. For some of the recommended games video explanations are available, for example Scott Nicholson made a Board games with Scott episode about Lost cities and I think Thurn and Taxis too, but not sure about the latter one.
meeple

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Mike
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Mr. Jack - Easily one of my girlfriend's favorite games. She loves this short little brain burner. The only red flag might be the Jack the Ripper theme. Other than that its the perfect 2 player game that is filled with strategy and a few different mechanics. Its also fairly light on actual pieces...but what's there is beautiful. Certainly a good place to start.

Jamaica - Few games have been better at introducing people to boardgames better than Jamaica. It has easy rules, a simple goal and just foreign enough mechanics to pique someone's interest in boardgaming. It also helps that most people like pirates and Jamaica is one of the most stunning games I've ever seen.

The Red Dragon Inn - You could always try a card game. This one happens to be my girlfriends favorite. She loves it so much that she INSISTS everyone reads the flavor text of the cards in specific voices! RDI is great because even though it has a fantasy theme it deals with drinking, money and gambling...all things that exist in the real world. The game gets better with more people, but its certainly playable with two. My girlfriend is pretty lethal with the Fiona card deck...Finding proper ways to use each deck to take down a specific character is all part of the fun.

Kingsburg - After about a year of gaming with simple stuff like RDI, Killer Bunnies, Jamaica etc... I was finally able to start playing slightly more complex games. Kingsburg was actually a game she would request to play! The unique dice mechanic is well done and there are plenty of strategies to try out. The game is simple to learn and there are tons of systems in place to help out those that are struggling.

Good Luck!

~ Bones



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Ralph T
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Most women will not get into games like Samurai Swords or Heroquest for the same reason as girls, they didn't get into GI Joe or He-man. It's war or conflict, not a compelling theme for women. You may be able to get her into Eurogaming, but you will probably never be able to transition her to Ameritrash-style conflict games. The question is will you enjoy Eurogames enough to also be interested in that transition?

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Mystery McMysteryface
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I'd try the following:

Card games:
Coloretto
Lost Cities
Cribbage
Freight Train
Balloon Cup

Abstracts:
Hive
Hey, That's My Fish!
Labyrinth

Board:
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries - I prefer to Carcassonne
Acquire
Pandemic
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Dice bags!
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Thumb for 'girlfiend'

Some ideas:

Tsuro - really beautiful, and plays 2-8 in about 20 minutes.
Archaeology: The Card Game
Labyrinth - nice thick tiles
Jambo - if you're testing the waters for something like M:tG
Pandemic - a coop, so you're working together
Qwirkle Cubes - fun and colorful

Stone Age is a good into to worker placement, to see if things like Agricola could be in your future.

I have a D&D boyfriend, and we tried Prophecy, to see it it would work for both of us. It wasn't a good fit, but Candamir: The First Settlers was a happy medium - you can roll for resolutions, if you choose to fight a bear - and there are reasons to fight the bear, and reasons to go the other way. It's not just about slaying a dragon, getting a bigger sword, and going to the next castle to fight the next dragon, like Prophecy felt to me. At heart it's still a Catan game, where you trade in resources to build items for VPs.

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Tony Brum
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My wife is a new gamer also...She likes the following strategic games..

See almost always wins..





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Karl Schmit
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Proleary wrote:
I enjoy playing longer, more complicated and intensive games like Ikusa, Heroscape, etc.

I'm confused.
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Patrick OLeary
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Thank you!

This is my first thread on BGG (I'm new here), and it is nice to see that everyone was so helpful. I've never even heard the term "Gateway Game" before, so I hope this thread wasn't too repetive for those who have been here awhile.

I am particularly interested in these recommendations:

Carcassone
Stone Age
Lost Cities
Mr. Jack (she likes true crime)
Jamaica
Hive
Pandemic
Tsuro

I know she will never enjoy some games as much as I, but I want to share my hobby with her and find something more interesting to play than Yahtzee. I'm sure one of these will do the trick. Thanks again!
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Dice bags!
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If she likes Yahtzee, look at something like To Court the King or Kingsburg.
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Greg H.
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Smies wrote:
cichlidhead wrote:
A shame I can't give more than only one thumbs-up!


Aww shucks Smies... thanks!modest
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Greg H.
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Proleary wrote:
I've never even heard the term "Gateway Game" before, so I hope this thread wasn't too repetive for those who have been here awhile.

I am particularly interested in these recommendations:

Carcassone
Stone Age
Lost Cities
Mr. Jack (she likes true crime)
Jamaica
Hive
Pandemic
Tsuro


The term "gateway" is an important term to learn! And, it wasn't long ago that I was going through the same relative process that it sounds like you are doing. My first failed attempt was trying to get my wife to play Magic The Gathering. It started fine... until I kept getting better and I left her in the dust.

Board games are nice because the rules are always confined to the box! The trick is matching the right game, and that takes some guesswork in "your audience's" (read: girlfiend's) preferences.

Does she like luck-based games? "Thinker" games? How well does she handle direct conflict? Will she sit through a 2 hour game if she's having fun? What about games that involve a lot of negotiation? Or math?

From my prior experience, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne were instant hits. Mr. Jack was not, and neither was Settlers of Catan. That doesn't mean my wife's preferences are the same as your girlfiends! The best thing to do is read reviews and comments. That will give you a real sense of what the game offers.

Take Mr. Jack for example. It was surprisingly chesslike to me and my wife! There's a lot of study and planning and double guessing. That might work for you, but it didn't work for us.

Ticket to Ride? A good dose of luck, and very little direct conflict, but there's the sense that you are "building something" and working toward your secret goals. Heck, I even taught this game to my in-laws (and that's saying something!).

Maybe ask your girlfiend what she enjoys about games... and what she does not. That will give you a good starting place. If she likes Yatzee, maybe try Can't Stop?

Sorry for the rambling, but I definitely think you're on the right track. Bottom line is you're both not going to like every game... but you'll like enough to keep trying! Ater about a year now, I think I really understand what my wife likes, and every purchase I make is much more likely to be enjoyed by us and our increasing number of gaming friends!
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Scooter
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indigopotter wrote:
If she likes Yahtzee, look at something like To Court the King or Kingsburg.


I second the vote for To Court the King! My wife LOVES that game!! It's got the luck element, but also some decent strategic choices. Plus, it's about $20!!
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M Hellyer
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The odds are low this will work. If she was attracted to games she probably would have found them on her own at some point. Chances are she just likes games to be doing something with you, so find things she likes to play and be thankful if you can get her to play them.
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Dice bags!
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Once you start finding games you're interested in, find someone who shares your tastes, and see what else they're interested in. This is a good way to find new games that might suit you and your situation.
 
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John Cabral
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My girlfriend has really enjoyed Mr. Jack. Her and I have played a bunch of games in the past two months, but this is the first one she has actually tried to make a strategy for during the game. Don't get me wrong, she tries with almost all the games, but this one she refuses to lose. If you think your girlfriend would be into bluffing and decieving to win a game, this should work. If your not sure, there are other, "safer" games that are cheaper and have already been mentioned. I'm just pushing for Mr. Jack.

My girlfriend has just chimed in and recommended Battle Line. Great game.
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Patrick OLeary
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I'm beginning to think that I am the one that has to start playing more games, not just her. There are so many that people have talked about that I haven't even heard of. And most of them sound interesting and different.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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indigopotter wrote:
If she likes Yahtzee, look at something like To Court the King or Kingsburg.


The one I'd suggest in that same vein is Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age.
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To Mega Therion
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No, no no no. No, no. No, sir. I don't know what kinda vibe you think you got off me but I don't play that way. I'm not that way!
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ralpher wrote:
You may be able to get her into Eurogaming, but you will probably never be able to transition her to Ameritrash-style conflict games.



Pretty blanket statements there. For all you know, the "girlfiend" in question may want to play ASL for weeks on end upon being introduced to it.
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