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Subject: "Heaviest" Game You've (Successfully?) Used as a Gateway rss

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Joe Wasserman
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I don't think he would like that.
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For me, it has to be either Arkham Horror or Chaos in the Old World. I think the latter is (debatably) heavier than the former (which I consider pretty light), but BGG disagrees, so... Admittedly, all of the people I've gotten into boardgaming with these games have been of the nerd variety and enjoy thinking, at some point into Magic, World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, and the like. So I might have had an unfairly easy task, but it has been a pleasure to see my friends enjoy gaming with me and even request that we play particular games.

But Arkham Horror is my truly wondrous success story. It has such simple core rules that if you know the rest of the rulebook in detail and can provide gameplay prompts, an introductory session should go smoothly with up to 3 or 4 new players. I have a friend who I played Arkham Horror with before Catan! That he requested Battlestar Galactica as a gift this past Christmas should be a sign of his wholehearted conversion. We played Galactic Emperor together last night.

The people I've tried out some of the lighter fare with, like Ticket to Ride: Europe, as a gateway are sometimes unwilling to try out the more "complicated" games that I like the most.

So my advice: don't underestimate the slumbering gaming desires of currently non-gamer compatriots. If you can find a game that clicks mechanics-wise or theme-wise (I think theme and chrome can be very important for new gamers), opt for that over a simpler game.

Any other seemingly unlikely candidates for gateway games that you've played to great success?
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eryn roston
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It depends on the audience standing at the gate.

Power Grid has worked surprisingly well with groups of new or inexperienced gamers, but I'd never bring it out with people (like my aunt) who think LCR is brilliant.
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Chris Ferejohn
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While Arkham Horror may not be all that complex (and the cooperative nature of it means that new players can benefit from the advice of the more experienced), it is quite long, which can be offputting to many non-gamers (heck, to many gamers). I think that's why it gets tagged as "heavy".

Personally I've had some luck teaching Agricola to non-gamers. I don't really set out to teach them, but some of them have gotten sucked along into a game that others are playing, and the "building a farm" aspect of the game is often enjoyable enough that new players don't mind being a bit at sea.
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Lars Laurent
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Well, MY gateway game was Arkham Horror. Although I have to admit that I bought it myself for myself, but still it was the first modern boardgame I played. The experience was rather harsh and we missed quite a lot of rules in the forst games, but with perseverence we got through.

I have to say that if tou are using such a heavy game as gateway, you have more chances if there are people in the group who know the rules thoroughly and thus have easy time supporting that newbies and keep the game flowing.

Ia! Cthulhu ftagn!
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Hunter Shelburne
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Railroad Tycoon got my friends into diceless games. Great theme, good gameplay and high quality components helped. Citadels got them into more card based games.
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gary wallace
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I have a non gamer brother who is 45, the games he played mostly as a child are card games and monopoly. I took out Empire Builder and after 2 games he was hooked. That was 8 years ago and most holidays when we have more than 3 days off we can play 2 to 3 two player games per football game on the tv in the back ground.

Last year I gave ticket to ride for his birthday hoping to help his non gamer wife to get the bug too.
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Simon Lundström
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I have had many "unexpected" game sessions with new people, immediately going on games I want to play myself.

However, if a "gateway" game is a game that I only and solely use to bring new players into the games I like, I guess I can't say they are gateway games, as they are, in fact, the games I want to play. They're more like "immediate goal games".
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Christian Link
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I actually turned a ex-meth cook onto Illuminati!
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Jörgen Olsson
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The game that got me into this was Age of Renaissance.
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Choubi Gogs
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Let's see...

César: Serenissima
Hadrien, Vincent: Puerto Rico
Laszlo, Laurène, Bassem: Caylus
Sophie: Princes of Florence


I would say Caylus...
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Jon Dockter
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Choubi wrote:
Let's see...

César: Serenissima
Hadrien, Vincent: Puerto Rico
Laszlo, Laurène, Bassem: Caylus
Sophie: Princes of Florence


I would say Caylus...


Caylus as a gateway game? surprise
 
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J C Lawrence
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1830: Railways & Robber Barons -- we used it to introduce a corporate raider (yep, that was his job) to boardgaming. It was the first boardgame he'd played since he was about 7 years old. It worked well, he caught on very quickly, and last I heard the 18xx continue to dominate the games he plays.
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Paul Lister
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Agricola.

The theme makes sense to non gamers, the actions are written on the board or the cards, players get to build a farm and have to feed their families. The only bit that i get complaints about is that you only get one extra animal at breeding time ("but i got 6 sheep - surely i get three lambs")

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CJ
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Sorp222 wrote:
Agricola.

The theme makes sense to non gamers, the actions are written on the board or the cards, players get to build a farm and have to feed their families. The only bit that i get complaints about is that you only get one extra animal at breeding time ("but i got 6 sheep - surely i get three lambs")


That's a bold choice.

Personally, I've always felt that the introduction of games is as much a test for the person as it is for the game. You can, arguably, get away with introducting any weight of game and this is where the person's personality and perseverence come to the fore.

I am inherently lazy and hate stupid people so trying to introduce a heavy game to non-gamers is somewhere around being forced to watch endless repeats of Mr Bean as my worst nightmare. My top three are TTR, Settlers and Tobago (this one is new) and I have no intention of trying anything harder than this the first time around. Dominion is one that I've had success with when looking to graduate people up a level and the ability of new players to win against experienced ones easily offsets the difficulty they have the first time they play.
 
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Michael Pavelich
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I've used Agricola as well. It's very accessible to newbies, especially when using the basic game.
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Shane Walsh
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I am finding that as my gaming horizons expand and I become more proficient at teaching newbies (well I think I'm getting better !!) that teaching games which were hitherto unthinkable as gateway fare are now possible .

Recently , 10 days spent on holiday with lots of friends and newbies galore to "indoctrinate" meant that I used Puerto Rico , Agricola and El Grande in that fashion .

Sure for some it was still TTR , Stone Age and I'm The Boss but I think that one should never underestimate the ability of others to "gateway" with so-called more complex games .

I surmise that whilst my gaming rebirth occurred on the back of "gateway" staples like TTR and Settlers that I was learning on the fly . Now I can "dumb" down some of the concepts in PR etc knowing what I do from having learnt and teaching games now for about 3 years .

Just my thoughts - but I have been surprised to see what some friends as newbies have been able to grasp .
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Harald Korneliussen
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Well, the game that introduced me to eurogaming was Puerto Rico. My brother had heard of the phenomenon, bought Puerto Rico for me and Settlers for my sister as Christmas presents. We played Puerto Rico first, and I was hooked.

The "one board each" model of Puerto Rico, Agricola and some others like Factory Manager, I think appeals to some people, and can make complex games easier to grasp. Games that allow you to build up your holdings with little interference appeals to many non-boardgamers too, I think computer games like Civilization are evidence of that.

I'd say, it depends on how ambitious you feel. If you really really want to recruit a regular gaming buddy, and you have reason to believe the person is the kind of person who will enjoy games, I suggest going for a heavier euro like Puerto Rico. For friends who you'd just like to share the occasional game experience with, I've had success with the lighter ones, like Ticket to Ride and Carcassone (Settlers may be a bit on the serious side - people tend to associate it with the computer game Settlers, or even Civilisation, and expect it to be equally long!).
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Shane Walsh
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vintermann wrote:
Well, the game that introduced me to eurogaming was Puerto Rico. My brother had heard of the phenomenon, bought Puerto Rico for me and Settlers for my sister as Christmas presents. We played Puerto Rico first, and I was hooked.

The "one board each" model of Puerto Rico, Agricola and some others like Factory Manager, I think appeals to some people, and can make complex games easier to grasp. Games that allow you to build up your holdings with little interference appeals to many non-boardgamers too, I think computer games like Civilization are evidence of that.

I'd say, it depends on how ambitious you feel. If you really really want to recruit a regular gaming buddy, and you have reason to believe the person is the kind of person who will enjoy games, I suggest going for a heavier euro like Puerto Rico. For friends who you'd just like to share the occasional game experience with, I've had success with the lighter ones, like Ticket to Ride and Carcassone (Settlers may be a bit on the serious side - people tend to associate it with the computer game Settlers, or even Civilisation, and expect it to be equally long!).

Got to agree with your sentiments here vintermann - assess the type of person you are introducing and you will find as I have that Puerto Rico and others are ideal first time games .
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David Bohnenberger
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cptwacky wrote:
I actually turned a ex-meth cook onto Illuminati!


I suppose ex-meth cooks have their own card?
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Justin Fitzgerald
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Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game worked surprisingly well on someone who had zero experience with the series even.

Then again, I'm rather ruthless. Making a distinction between gateway game and not (in my mind) simply encourages the idea that some games are more sissy than others. I've pulled Sophie's World, Genoa, and Industrial Waste as so-called gateway games and found great success.
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Jack Smith
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I think if someone is interested in a theme and willing to give it a good try than any game is suitable. I introduced my wife by using Wellington and Unhappy King Charles! and she picked them up quickly as she wanted to learn.

I got Agricola for the family for Christmas and it's been played several times by my Children, including my 9 year old. Agricola is actually a simple game wrapped up in relatively complex rules, most of which are there to avoid rules lawyers. Many Euros are like this.

None of my family are what I would call gamers but I think games are easier and people are smarter than some of us give credit for.

I do have a way of teaching that gives a very brief rules introduction (any longer than a minute and you're wasting your time and boring them) and I help and suggest as they play the first game.
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Paul Boos
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Puerto Rico
Cleopatra & the Society of Architects
Pandemic

I can see Agricola (because of the family variant) being one as well.
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D L
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Battlestar Galactica
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marc lecours
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World in flames.

It was the gateway game that got me into gaming. There are very few heavier games than this.

Before that, I had of course played the Hasbro mass market games and I was a go player. But WOrld in flames got me into modern gaming.

Another gateway game for me, many years later was Puerto Rico. I was looking up Puerto Rico on the net and came across BGG. This opened the window to many more games.
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Henric Fröberg
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Battlestar Galactica was my gateway game. I hadn't seen the show, nor had I played boardgames (more than, say, Scrabbles, Risk and Monopoly). But it was a darn fun game and I've played it a lot since. I've also watched all 4 seasons and can't wait for Caprica (the prequel) to come out. So, BSG got me into two great hobbies

The most complex game I've used as gateway is probably Puerto Rico. I brought it home for a weekend and trid to play it with my whole family. My father decided pretty quickly that this was just stupid and he didn't understand anything, but the rest of my family liked it. Actually, my sister asked me to play it >5 times during the weekend and we started discussing different strategies. Now I'm home for the Christmas holidays and I've brought a lot of games with me. I think they will all be played
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