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Subject: Games for new gamers/females? rss

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Mike Collins
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---

First off, this is my post. Since I feel it has to do with being a "newbie," I felt this was the spot to put it. If I'm wrong, I apologize, and ask that it is moved to the appropriate section.

---

I've seen a single GeekList on the subject, but couldn't find much here in the forum. I'm a lifetime gamer, but am relatively new to board games; I pick games up very quickly, but don't know what to play.

I'm trying to get my roommates (2 females), very much into mainstream board games, which tend to bore me, into REAL games.

I'm not on a budget, but I am partial to playing games I have, but certainly don't want to overwhelm them just because I have access to a particular title.

I plan on starting with the following (games I have or can borrow and are "easy"):
Stone Age - already ordered (chosen over Small World to minimize the fantasy theme)
Pandemic - already ordered
Dominion - have
Ticket to Ride - have
Ivanhoe - have

then maybe (have or have access to or interest me and are "easy to medium"):
Small World
Alhambra
Carcassonne (everyone has to try it)
Settlers of Catan (everyone has to try it)
Battlestar Galactica - can borrow
Thunderstone
Race for the Galaxy
Formula D
Steam

and ultimately (have or have access to and are "hard"):
Puerto Rico - can borrow
Power Grid - can borrow
Agricola

Any input? Seem like a fairly logical progression? What am I missing?
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Chris Ferejohn
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Quote:
Any input? Seem like a fairly logical progression? What am I missing?


Well, basically that you may never get to the end of your list. Depending on the person, they may like one of the first few games they learn so much that they are not interested in moving on (or they may dislike it so much that they roll their eyes at you and deal another hand of Uno).

I'd start with TTR and Settlers personally. Those tend to have a pretty good level of comfort for traditional game players. Actually, I'd start with Ra, but it's not on your list...
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Pablo Santangelo
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Imo, Settlers is for more ppl... if you´re gonna be just 3, start with pandemic, nice looking board and tiles, nice theme, cooperative...
The rest of your list sounds great, i´d be careful with some of them (Race for the Galaxy, Battlestar, if they´re not much into sci-fi, they´ll prob. get bored quickly, not to mention, BsG would likely need more ppl too)
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Michael Christenson
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iammike wrote:
---
Any input? Seem like a fairly logical progression? What am I missing?


Well, you also might want to search on "gateway games", those games that are great introducers to the Eurogaming style (which most of yours are).

You also might want to look to the Reiner Knizia games (Lost Cities, Samurai, RA, Through the Desert, etc) as these games tend to be simple to learn, balanced for different number of players, and Alan R. Moon games (Elfenland, King of the Elves, Ticket to Ride, Union Pacific).

Both of those designers rank highly in my "favorites" list, along with Tom Lehmahn of RftG fame (although I haven't really tried his other games, his balance in RftG really pleases me).

Good luck, and let us know how it all works out!
 
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Nathan Clark
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Hi Mike,

You're off to a good start but I'm afraid you are missing one: Thebes. I think this would be ideal for you for the following reasons:

The theme, archeology, tends to have wide appeal
It is strategic enough for gamers, and the drawing tiles from the bag mechanic is lots of fun and adds a good dose of luck - which appeals to many non-gamers.
My wife is a non-gamer and this is her favorite game (and one of my favorite games).
The components are superb and will attract non-gamers to the game.
It plays best with 3 or 4 players.
It doesn't take too long to play - about 45 mins.

Hope this helps,

Nathan
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Mike Collins
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Thanks all, I went ahead and ordered SoC and Lost Cities as well.

Will add Ra to the shortlist.

Took a look at Thebes and it the description doesn't interest me much... Maybe later.
 
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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I think Stone Age is a good start.
But mayby first coose somethin even faster likeClans, Taluva or maybe Snow Tails.

Among the Cooperative Games i prefere Shadows over Camelot

If the first step is done, look what games they prefere and than decide, which more heavy games fit.
 
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Judy Davis
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Well you have some games on your list I want to try.

As a fairly new female gamer, I suggest starting with Carcassonne and Settlers. And I don't see any problem moving on from there. It is going to depend upon your roomates personalities what games they may or may not enjoy.

I recently purchased for my husband Race for the Galaxy which I am looking forward to playing and purchased for myself Tigris and Euphrates.

Start slow, explain the rules and let them go from there.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Pandemic is great, taught it to my parents and they went out and bought their own copy.
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Allison dlr
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I would start with Ticket to Ride, then move on to Carcassonne, and finally Settlers of Catan, which has the most rules of the three. And then reassess their interest. Don't try to teach them too many games in too short of a time, it can be overwhelming. Let them ask for new games, if they're still interested. I can see those three games being enough for at least 6 months, depending on how often you play.

Also, I agree with searching for geeklists or forums on "gateway" games on this site. The fact that you're trying to hook females - I see that as mostly irrelevant. Whatever applies to new male players should also work on females. The only thing you need to be careful of is theme - guys tend to be more interested in sci-fi and war-themed games than girls. But that said, some girls are totally into Battlestar Galactica, so it's really a matter of determining their individual interests and tastes.
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Mike Collins
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TriChick wrote:
Start slow, explain the rules and let them go from there.


Absolutely.

Other tips for teaching folks new games (from my findings):
- Play stupid. Nobody has fun when you run the house on them.
- After the game tell them what you would have done differently and why... This I'm not so sure about... Rather than telling someone the best route to take (some games are that way... think "Dominion w/ recommended starter cardset"), maybe more fun to allow them to find it themselves?
- Don't put on an elitist attitude. You don't want a "your games versus my games" thing going on [even though it is going on in my mind].

TriChick = triathlons? If so, awesome, I'm a runner/marathoner
 
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Mike Collins
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almo1705 wrote:
The fact that you're trying to hook females - I see that as mostly irrelevant. Whatever applies to new male players should also work on females.


That depends on who your friends are. My guy friends are all into video games/have geek tendencies... These girls are absolute non-gamers, but they love Boggle/Trivial Pursuit/Cash Cab [they like gaming, they just don't know it]. So for me, the distinction matters... For my male friends, I'll just throw them straight into Dominion and they'll want to dig deeper. My female friends? Must tread much more lightly.

almo1705 wrote:
The only thing you need to be careful of is theme - guys tend to be more interested in sci-fi and war-themed games than girls. But that said, some girls are totally into Battlestar Galactica, so it's really a matter of determining their individual interests and tastes.


Ah-ha! You've got what I was getting at.
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Dice bags!
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It's a good list, but as was said, you may never get all the way through it. They might like 1 or 2 games, and just want to play those, at least for a while. Ticket to Ride is a good starting place, and perhaps Carc or Stone Age if they're interested.

You might consider some colorful abstract games, like Qwirkle Cubes, which can easily be explained as "like Scrabble, but with shapes and colors" or Ingenious, which is "a lot like dominoes, but with different scoring".
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cferejohn wrote:
...(or they may dislike it so much that they roll their eyes at you and deal another hand of Uno).
...


Ok, that's not funny at all. NEVER EVER EVER play Uno, under any circumstances.

yuk
 
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Walt
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almo1705 wrote:
... The only thing you need to be careful of is theme - guys tend to be more interested in sci-fi and war-themed games than girls. But that said, some girls are totally into Battlestar Galactica, so it's really a matter of determining their individual interests and tastes.

Quoted For Truth.

I would also add high complexity rules. I think women are more likely to lose patience with overly complex rules, essentially, "What's the point of all these rules when we're here to have fun?" "Get to the point," essentially. But as she said, it's a matter of individual tastes and interests.
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What I'd do is take every game you physically have (or can get) and pile them on a table and ask them to come up with the game they want to play. This accomplishes two things:

1) They cannot blame you if it's a dud in their minds. They most likely will be willing to try again with another game of their choice. The key here is to give them the power to dictate what is played. If you have gamed as long as you say (why say it then, right?) then it probably makes little difference to you what you play.

2) They get the credit if they like it. It's empowering.
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Lo Ma
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Hmmm, need to stay away from fantasy themes, at least at first, eh?

Well, here are some of my thoughts on various games. I'm a mom who plays with kids of all ages, my spouse, and with friends. I tend to like heavier games, but appreciate many lighter ones too.

San Juan - PR's littler sibling. Straightforward play with a colonial city building theme, and resource management and variable player role selection. Very portable card game that uses its cards as money, buildings, and resources. I'd start with this before going to Race for the Galaxy. If your roomies like San Juan, they might be willing to play Race for the Galaxy. I have to that Race for the Galaxy never much appealed to me because the artwork doesn;t appeal and there's a learning curve for the symbols and such that I don;t want to bother with.

Havana - if your roomies like the colonial theme, you might want to try Havana, which is Cuba's littler sibling. Havana's got more meat on the bones, so to speak than San Juan, so it is a step up. It's got cool bits, simultaneous role selection, nice buildings, and such. This is the game that shoved San Juan off the table. Note that in spite of the similar themes and role selection thing, Havana and San Juan play and feel completely different.

If those go over well, then you can go to Puerto Rico or Cuba. I prefer Cuba because the bits and graphics are a lot cooler, plus it's a perfect marriage of Caylus and Puerto Rico. It takes familiar mechanics and puts them together into something really fresh feeling. This is the game that shoved Puerto Rico off my table. Oh, and have you thought of Caylus - still a super cool game in which you;re a medieval real estate developer eyeing that long meandering road...

Endeavor - a good medium light game that is pretty abstract, but absorbing nonetheless. A bit fussy to set up, but after that the play flows and feels intuitive.

Pandemic - I found this one really boring and couldn't understand what all the fuss is about. Note that I like c-op games such as Lord of the Rings, even though I am definitely not a Tolkien theme, and when it was first introduced to me, I was rolling my eyes, but found it to be great fun game. I also love playing Castle Panic with my kids - it is very silly, but a great intro to co-op play, and this co-op also has a competitive mechanic. Everyone can see everyone's cards, and players have to make decisions about whether to do what's best for the team, or what's best for themselves. You might want to try it, introducing it as a fun and silly game that gets you into cooperative play. Then maybe try Pandemic, which might have a them more appealing to your peeps.

Also if they git a kick out Castle Panic, they might be more willing to go the fantasy route.

Tciket to Ride - this is a good gateway game. The theme isn't off-putting, and it's good grounding for more complex network building games later.

Small World - I like Small World (I like Vinci better though) - it's a fun and light area control game. However, I found the artwork very off-putting. I especially HATED how the women in the game were depicted. I still play the game, though not with my kids because I do find the images offensive and I am still jarred by the artwork. You might want to keep that in mind.

In the Shadow of the Emperor - you can find this game for $10 and it is a great game with some very unique mechanics, most especailly the aging mechanic, it which your guys age off of the board... Interesting game I think that has some complexity to keep it interesting but it's not real hard either.

Yspahan - A boatload of dice, a bunch of camels, wooden gold coins, bunches of little colored wood cubes, action cards, souks, and caravans - what's not to like! The game uses its theme well and the game components are fun with a lot of visual and tactile appeal. It's a fun tactical game that's accessible for all, and the gameplay is fast with little downtime. It utitlizes different kinds of area control, and you have to develop and deploy your resources to get those victory points, while facing the problem of choosing which of the many options to take during your turn. As long as players don't agonize and take forever to make their choice of what to do, this is a totally fun game. The game does involve luck, but not as much as you'd think, and it does level the playing field a bit, so to speak. Good solid sense of game progression. My family totally loves this game, so it gets played a lot even though we've had ot for years.

Cleopatra & the Society of Architects - another great light game for 3 or more players. It's a kind of set collection game in which you're architects building Cleopatra's palace. You of course want to be the best architect, so you do what you can hiring workers, getting resources, etc, to add to the palace. However you can get yourself in trouble with corruption, and the player with the most corruption gets throwm to the crocodiles... the corruption mechanic, as well as the amazing plastic chrome in this game, is what makes this one tick.

Railways of the World or the Steam basic game - very similar flavors, although the bits of Railways of the World are pretty spectacular. I think I would go for Steam though, since the basic game doesn't involve auctions, and lots of new players are very put off my auctions.

Roll Throught the Ages - hey, if they like Yahtzee, then try em out on Roll Throught the Ages. Believe me, the decision points are more varied and interesting than in Yahtzee. And it puts you in mind towards toerh games with a similar theme that might be more complex...

Stome Age is also a farily good choice, although lots of people are pretty much done when it comes time to count up all the points at the end of the game. I been in games where everyone decided they didn;t want to bother. It also means that the game can lack a sense of preogression when you're not tracking points as you play. It can go a little too long for what it is, in my opinion.

Dominion - this seems to be a game that folks either love or dislike. The theme is a bit dark too, so if your peeps aren't into the fantasy or dark themes, you might want to hold off on this one...

Power Grid - I've never played it because the artowrk is so ugly and dull... yeah, I know I'm probably missing a great game, but it looks so unappealing I just don;t want to play it.

Agricola - a complete dud for me. It takes so long to get your engine going that by I time it's rolling, I really don;t care. I just want the game to end... It somehow makes me feel claustrophobic. But I know lots of people, including new gamers, who LOVE it!

By the way, I'm a woman who was not at all receptive to fantasy themes, little minis, and all that sort of thing, but so many good games have those themes, and when you;re a mom you can;t avoid them anyway. And my current number one game is Dungeon Lords... so go figure. But it's a fine meaty game, and the theme is cute rather than gross or dark.
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Mike Collins
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Again, thank you all for the input. My "think about buying" list is getting huge

This is useful: http://boardgamegeek.com/tag/gateway. Searching the forum? Not so much.
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Moved to Recommendations
 
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Ralph T
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Pick up California. That one always worked with women. I think I've played with six different women and California and everyone liked the game.
Pretty cheap in the marketplace.
 
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Walt
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ralpher wrote:
Pick up California. That one always worked with women. I think I've played with six different women and California and everyone liked the game.
Pretty cheap in the marketplace.

Thanks! For this and the review: I picked up California in shrink and was wonder whether to break the shrink. Would you be willing to come down to the next Duck Club (sorry: have to register) to teach it? Can I teach anything in return? (Check my Collection.) I'm planning on arriving about 1:00. Saturday--not the usual Sunday. Or if you want to come to my group, also good! (Apologies if we've met: so many events, so few synapses! Either place, just ask for Walt.)
 
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Judy Davis
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[
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TriChick = triathlons? If so, awesome, I'm a runner/marathoner [
/q]

Yes sir. Triathlons the name of my sport, 1/2 marathoner as well.
 
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Mike
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The most important things to consider are theme, complexity and most importantly fun factor!

If a game looks like fun to them chances are they will be willing to give it a try.

I know its abhorred around these parts, but Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot has hooked most of my female friends. They simply love the theme and it's very simple to play. Plus its one of those games where anybody can win. Having a new player win their first game sometimes helps because they feel confident that they can learn a new game AND win it.

Another good game is Jamaica. Players new to gaming are going to love the excellent production values and the idea that they can easily understand the goal...finish first and with the most points. Always make sure the goal of winning is clear to them.

I would have to say Dice Town is another game with great potential. It's more or less Yatzee with a wild west theme and a great deal of fun. Easy to learn, plays fast and fun to slam down the dice cups.

Honestly, once you start playing games that are outside their comfort zone it will be up to you to gauge their comfort level. Just because they try Jamaica doesn't mean they will ever want to play Agricola. You just never know. I've found that alot of the times new players will become enamored with the games they first learned and simply will not want to try anything new. If given the choice they will stick to their new favorites more often than not. So introducing new games can be tricky/difficult. Some people simply will never progress into more complex games. I've found that they simply have no desire. If you notice this happening don't try to force it. It's like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

I think the biggest resistance comes from the fact that people don't like learning new games. That's one of my favorite things about the hobby, because I love learning and teaching new games. However, if you rush through teaching them and one new game falls flat be prepared to hear them say "Lets just play Game X instead...we already know how to play that". I think the biggest part of getting people to game is to be a great teacher. Make it easy for them and really do your homework about the rules. You should be able to answer any questions they have without having to constantly reference a rulebook. If you can't do this than you run the risk of having a terrible time with that first play. Something I've learned can leave a bad taste in people's mouths. Download player reference cards from the geek or create your own. Do whatever it takes to make the game flow as smoothly as possible.

Hopefully everything goes well for you. Just don't be discouraged if they don't like the same games as you. There is nothing wrong with that. Give them options, hell show them games on boardgamegeek and see if any of them look interesting. You might be surprised to find out that they think Arkham Horror looks interesting. Who knows what will happen. There is no such thing as the perfect gateway game. Just try to find games that look like fun to them and give it a shot. Hopefully it will click with them.

Best of luck to you.

~ Bones

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Grant Smith
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Take a look at a geeklist I made about a year ago when I was getting sucked into the board gaming world. I wanted to try and take my wife with me down the rabbit hole, and this is what really worked for me.

2 Weeks to a Geek: My 2-Week Journey into Gaming Goodness
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Tall_Walt wrote:
ralpher wrote:
Pick up California. That one always worked with women. I think I've played with six different women and California and everyone liked the game.
Pretty cheap in the marketplace.

Thanks! For this and the review: I picked up California in shrink and was wonder whether to break the shrink. Would you be willing to come down to the next Duck Club (sorry: have to register) to teach it? Can I teach anything in return? (Check my Collection.) I'm planning on arriving about 1:00. Saturday--not the usual Sunday. Or if you want to come to my group, also good! (Apologies if we've met: so many events, so few synapses! Either place, just ask for Walt.)


Hey Walt, I'm not able to make the Duck Club this Sat. I'm sure it will be easy enough for you to teach though. It's just 1-3 decisions a turn. Take money, or buy a tile, deciding which tile and where to place it.
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