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Subject: Best games to get my girlfriend interested in board gaming? rss

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Matt Hudgins
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Alright I was wondering if I could get some help here. I don't think it would be extremely difficult to get my girlfriend to get into board games with me, seeing as she is a hardcore video gamer, and already enjoys games like munchkin a lot.
I recently made the dive into board games the past couple weeks (I feel board games are a better social lubricant and excuse to get together with old friends than beer), and have fallen in love with games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, and gloom, and I'm getting Battlestar Galactica, Cosmic Encounter, Duel of Ages, Pandemic, and Cutthroat Caverns.

My question is, what would be best to get my girlfriend interested. She is highly competitive which is precisely why competitive games are terrible for her, since she gets emotionally upset if she loses (whats up with women being so competitive? This seems to be a common occurrence). Which is why I picked up Pandemic since its a cooperative game, and Battlestar Galactica since its semicooperative, and if she loses at least its the whole team that loses and not just her. If she feels at any point she is being dominated in a game, she hates it. Which is why I'm afraid to play Settlers of Catan with her (I know I can let her win, but I can't guarantee everyone else will). She also really likes the social aspect of games, which is why she likes munchkin, Quelf, and Gloom so much.

Sorry I just bombarded everyone with so much text, but if anyone has any ideas it would be greatly appreciated, maybe not just the games I play with her, but also the manner in which I present the games to her.

Thanks in advanced!
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T. Nomad
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Short answer: Court of the Medici.

Long answer: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/2293637#2293637

edited to add: just saw that you *don't* want competitive games. perhaps you should ignore my short answer.
 
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Matt Hudgins
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tommynomad wrote:
Short answer: Court of the Medici.

Long answer: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/2293637#2293637

edited to add: just saw that you *don't* want competitive games. perhaps you should ignore my short answer.


Thanks, but also I would prefer games with more than 2 players. I'm more interested in including her with a group of players, otherwise you kind of lose the social aspect that she's interested in.
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Tim Mirkes
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If she's got good hand/eye coordination, perhaps a dexterity-based game might be a good start; something like Polarity, PitchCar, or Hamsterrolle. They're competitive, but sometimes the fun of physically doing something can be enough of a distraction to make the win/lose factor less important or prominent.

Otherwise, I got my girlfriend interested in board games via Lord of the Rings, Carcassonne, and a few concessions to play Monopoly (one she enjoys for the nostalgia value). BANG! The Bullet! has also been one she's enjoyed, but it requires at least a trio to play and has a competitive element (each player plays a role, and may have 1 or more "teammates" of a sort).

For heavier multiplayer fare, Arkham Horror and Small World are good multiplayer games, although Small World might be a bit "confrontational" to fit your exact needs.
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Captain Spaulding
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Ticket to Ride
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RIK FONTANA
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Yep, Ticket To Ride has done the trick for a number of girlfriends...
 
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Tony Chen
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Don't start with Battlestar. It's too much complication for what it's worth.

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Matt Hudgins
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I stumbled upon "Last Night on Earth:The Zombie Game" and I have to say that game looks perfect for my predicament. Its zombies, which she loves, its cooperative so no over competitive problems, the rules are simple to learn, and she loves play Left 4 Dead so it'll be a nice smooth transition from her video gaming world into the board game realm. Agree disagree? Anyone have the game that can attest to that?
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costa
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Alhambra
Keltis
Ticket to Ride
Pandemic
Himalaya
Thebes
Ingenious
Zeus on the Loose
Thurn and Taxis

All of these usually work well with ladies. My wife plays them all and she loves them.

Hope i helped

Cheers,
costa
 
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D L
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These are my suggestions. Some are card games, but nonetheless have enough strategy and social interaction in them.


Time's Up! Title Recall!
Ticket to Ride
Wasabi!
Catan
Power Grid
Pandemic
Wicked Witches Way
Ca$h 'n Gun$
Pit

If she's gets competitive, wouldn't that would mean that she is deeply engrossed in the game (as opposed as someone who couldn't care less if they won or lost)? From the sounds of it, she doesn't mind being competitive, but she wouldn't like it if there wasn't a level playing field.

The key then, is to make sure other players do not play in a cutthroat manner. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland, for instance, has generally a low level of direct confrontation, but can occasionally be played in a cutthroat manner depending on the player. I've had players quit the game mid-way because I kept blocking them.

Also, pick a game where there's an easy learning curve and enough randomness so that beginners would also have a chance at winning. Ca$h 'n Gun$ comes to mind. This game also has a high level of interaction.

Something that doesn't require too much investment would help mitigate a player's sense of having lost. So, games like Diplomacy would be a terrible idea. Pandemic only takes 45 mins (or less), Ca$h 'n Gun$ 30 mins, Wicked Witches Way 30 mins, Pit 5 mins, so these are excellent games in this regard.

Hope this helps!
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Bruno Lorentin
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If competitiveness is a problem then I give a +1 to Pandemic as it is a collaborative game. I think it would be a good way to start. And I agree also about what has been said about Ticket to Ride, it works smoothly with girlfriends usually.

Good luck
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Pone McPoneface
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Here are my recommendations that might be worth a look.

Dixit - abstract card game where a person makes a statement based on a card picture. Other players add a card from their hand and all must vote on which card fits the description given by the player. Artwork is very nice and game play is fast.
Genji - another card game with great artwork.
A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game - co-op style game
Space Alert - another co-op game
Agricola
Stone Age

Hope these help!
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Matt Hudgins
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Pone4games wrote:
Here are my recommendations that might be worth a look.

Dixit - abstract card game where a person makes a statement based on a card picture. Other players add a card from their hand and all must vote on which card fits the description given by the player. Artwork is very nice and game play is fast.
Genji - another card game with great artwork.
A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game - co-op style game
Space Alert - another co-op game
Agricola
Stone Age

Hope these help!


Wow a Touch of Evil looks perfect for her. Thanks for the suggestions! This is great because she likes things that are more thematic, and action packed (something I think she has harbored from being a hardcore video gamer). Killing monsters is something right up her ally, trading and settlement not so much.
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suPUR DUEper
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Yeah, Ticket to Ride is a great choice for her. Let me know how it goes when you block off her path....

I would go for "wacky, fun" types of games. Competition but, you know, in a wacky, fun way. Like:


Galaxy Trucker
RoboRally
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects

Thes games are a bit more, uh. competitive, but have enough chaos that she might not get upset at a loss:

Thebes
Citadels
Mission: Red Planet
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Pone McPoneface
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Another co-op game that is very thematic is Ghost Stories. Forgot to add that one on my previous post!
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Paul Marshall
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I'm in a similar sort of position, though our girlfriends are a bit different in that mine is much less competitive than yours seems to be. However, I've been choosing games with the same basic aim in mind; to have something to play with friends that my girlfriend will also play and enjoy. I also look for games that she I can play together 2-player, either cooperatively or lightly competitively, but absolutely in under 90 minutes.

Still, here's a list of suggestions:

RoboRally - Racing robots across a board. Plays okay with small numbers though with only 2 you're missing some of the chaotic fun. GF had some initial trouble with figuring out how to use her cards and picturing what moves did what, but she got that sorted after her second game. Possible difficulty is that through bad luck and/or judgement you can fall a long way behind... but it can happen to anyone!
Citadels - Card-based game about building your own city. Novel mechanic of choosing roles each round. Not very interesting at 2 player but good for 4-6. Pretty easy to pick up, lightly competitive, plays fairly quickly.
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game - Cooperatively killing zombies on a board. Pretty neat, nice atmosphere, even does a decent turn as a 2-player (even played without a zombie player, just using a "do your worst" policy for the zombie cards).
Zooloretto - Game about building a zoo. Nice mechanics, easy to pick up. Unfortunately, I bounce off the theme (not enough blood and explosions...) but plays well. Competition over animals may get the blood boiling, though, if she's been filling a truck that you "steal" out from under her.

I agree with your choice of Pandemic. Plays cooperatively but also works with a small group. Unfortunately my play group tends to have 5-6 so a lot of four player games aren't appropriate (without expansions, and even then...)

We've also been playing Dominion recently. Another card based game with a novel deck-building mechanic that I've not seen before. Takes 2-4 games to understand what it's about but then it plays nicely and even does a good job as a 2 player game. Again, lightly competitive, but for newer players I don't sense much brutalising or obvious run-away leader problems.

I see some recommending against Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. It's a longer game (~3 hours) so if shorter play time is important then this won't fly. However, my GF took to this quickly despite not liking either the traitor mechanic nor the number of pieces on the board. The mechanics are straight-forward, though, and the traitor stuff is nicely assigned and controlled so this is no Diplomacy "I'll never talk to you again" betrayal. Liking the BSG series may be an important factor, though.

I note you've already got Munchkin, which would have been another on my list, though don't you find that Munchkin ends up with exactly the competitive edge that your GF likes/hates? I find my games can get brutal!

There are a number of 2-player only choices that could work but I've kept the suggestions above focused on more than 2.

I've also been musing on Formula D for when I've got a lot of people around (i.e. 7-10) and Red November because something about that tickles my GF. Not actually tried either, yet.
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Bartosz Trzaskowski

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The choice of the first game is crucial, since the first impression is often the most important one. In view of this, I put another vote on Ticket to Ride (since You're from US, for Europeans I'd suggest Ticket to Ride: Europe). But beware, don't block your GF too much or play too aggresive, at least not in the first game.

Pandemic may also do the trick. Both are easy to explain and fun to play.
 
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Tim Mirkes
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RoninStorm wrote:
and Red November because something about that tickles my GF.

The most complicated part of learning Red November (at least with the non-gamers I've taught) is explaining the time track; you spend minutes as a resource to do actions. That makes sense to gamers, but non-gamers sometimes have a hard time understanding exactly what that means. Once that's cleared away, however, you have a game that's fun, fast, and different every time. I'd recommend it for sure.
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Brett R.
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A couple of people have mentioned RoboRally, and I'd definitely agree. Tannhäuser and Zombies!!! might be a good idea too if you like the idea of Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game.
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Michael Lucey
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I also vote for Ticket to Ride, it worked with my wife.

If she is at all familiar with board games its the Milton Bradley games. Ticket to Ride has that type of feel, but its actually good. I think there is comfort there with the initial presentation.

The game has dual play quality to it that I like. You can be highly competitive and strategize to prevent your opponeent from winning while accomplishing your goals or be scaled back and play as a race to first game if you are in the mood for a more mindless game night.
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Rob Johnson
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I'm going to second Tim- work on the Tolkien angle if nothing else pleases her.

 
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Dodya wrote:
Also, pick a game where there's an easy learning curve and enough randomness so that beginners would also have a chance at winning.


This is really important. Games like Stone Age, Can't Stop, and Doubles Wild work well for us (though I don't think they're necessarily what you're looking for). We also play no-to-low luck games like Antiquity, so it's not all about luck, but it is a fun change of pace.

Oh, and, don't let her win.
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Radica1Faith wrote:
She is highly competitive which is precisely why competitive games are terrible for her, since she gets emotionally upset if she loses (whats up with women being so competitive? This seems to be a common occurrence). . . If she feels at any point she is being dominated in a game, she hates it. Which is why I'm afraid to play Settlers of Catan with her (I know I can let her win, but I can't guarantee everyone else will).


You portray a rather difficult situation. Are you saying that you limit yourself to games that she will likely win, or that you throw the game so she won't get upset? That doesn't sound fun to me.

I understand being "highly competitive", but "emotionally upset" sounds different than "hates to lose". I hope that you're not saying that she's a sore loser. If so, if you can address that then every game becomes an available choice. If not, you're stuck with co-op games, of which several good ones have been suggested.

 
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Captain Spaulding
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Radica1Faith wrote:
I stumbled upon "Last Night on Earth:The Zombie Game" and I have to say that game looks perfect for my predicament. Its zombies, which she loves, its cooperative so no over competitive problems, the rules are simple to learn, and she loves play Left 4 Dead so it'll be a nice smooth transition from her video gaming world into the board game realm. Agree disagree? Anyone have the game that can attest to that?


I can attest to buying Last Night on Earth for my wife and I. While the zombie theme was cool in theory, we really didn't like it at all as a two player game and traded it soon after.
 
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Marja Erwin
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I remember an old *General* article about how people approach games. Basically, some people are mostly competitors, and focus on how to win; some people are mostly socializers, and focus on having fun with the other players; some people are mostly dreamers, and prefer to immerse themselves in the situation.

Now I'm mostly a dreamer, so for me the first question is what I'm interested in. A feel for the situation is important to me. Complexity, not so important. I like complexity which makes the game more realistic, and don't like complexity for its own sake. Balance is not nearly as important to me. A role-playing game, a historical simulation, or science-fiction or fantasy simulation for a detailed background can appeal to dreamers.

But for someone who is mostly a socializer, negotiation opportunities may be more important. Most parlor games can appeal to socializers.

And for someone who is mostly a competitor, strategic alternatives may be more important. Chess and Go can appeal to competitors.
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