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Subject: Gateway Game Thought based on some info rss

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ron du bois
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fredericksburg
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Hello All,

I am hopefully hosting a small event to introduce some non-gamer types into gaming. It should be a group of 4 of us...their gaming background includes scrabble and some card games like spades. What triggered this was one of them that I often play scrabble with seeing me play Settlers of Catan one day a few months ago. None of the group are kids. Probably two guys and two gals.

So thoughts....I have Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Pandemic and Ticket to Ride

I am leaning towards Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride since (no good reason why).

Thoughts from personal experience as to which is a better starter game?

Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Bill Kunes
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I don't think you can go wrong with any of these. I've had success introducing newbies (all I seem to do) with these (although I've never played Pandemic, I've played and introduced others through Forbidden Island).

I would explain briefly the different style of game and the expectant experience (e.g. tile laying, cooperative) they can expect and ask which they'd like to try.

meeple Keep playing...
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Tyler
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I'd go with Ticket to Ride first, easy to grasp and most people seem to really like/love it on their first play.
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Anthony
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I've used Ticket to Ride as a gateway with Thurns and Taxis as the followup as it adds one more layer of complexity. By then they are typically hooked and its easy to move on to more in depth games.
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J. Jefferson
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Quote:
I don't think you can go wrong with any of these.


I totally agree.

But the game that I've used to get a whole lot of converts is Bohnanza. It's easy to learn, fun, interactive. It's more interactive than anything on your list except maybe settlers and Pandemic, but it's easier to learn than either of those. The real selling point for Bohnanza is that the time from opening the box to having fun is very short.
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Scott Johnson
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I would go with TTR before Settlers. Settlers is great, but most people new to games really only understand what they are supposed to be doing by the end of the game. The second game is where they can begin to play it with some sort of competence. With TTR, it is simple. Collect sets, make routes.

Also a second for Bohnanza, and you might want to try Circus Flohcati or No Thanks! for a cheap, fun card game.
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Rick Kimmel
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I'll probably get ripped but here goes...

You might try something like Monopoly Deal Card Game which is surprisingly good and will appeal to most people. It's a good stepping stone to something like San Juan.
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Chris Stanton
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Since you mention their previous gaming has consisted of Scrabble & basic card games, I'd save Settlers for session 2. For those with some experience growing up of non-standard games, I've found it easier to teach & for them to pick up. For complete newbies it's a bit trickier & there's a larger initial hurdle. I'll also just mention the dice/frustration aspect


Carcassone is a good one for new gamers as it's a lot easier to pick up (the game being less complex), there's less downtime (normally) & there's always something they can do on their turn.

I've not played TTR so I can't comment personally but have heard good things about it's Gateway credentials.

Pandemic I'd save until later as it is a co-operative & therefore a more unusual example of games. There will also be the issue of the experenced players running things & the newbies not quite understanding what's going on (think of your first play of a new game & multiply it)


So- Carcassonne & TTR I'd recommend for a light initial introduction
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ron du bois
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Thanks all for your input.
 
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euronoob

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I would rank them

1. Carcasssonne or Ticket to Ride (either)
2. Settlers of Catan (close second...or third)
3. Pandemic (distant third...or fourth)

With Carcassonne, you have the option of playing the "no farmers" variant for the first round or two. This makes the game a totally painless gateway.

Ticket to Ride is essentially a rummy card game, so anyone who plays cards will pick this up easily. Also, the ruleset is very simple/quick.

Settlers of Catan - I think if you use the beginner setup in the rulebook, this becomes an easy starter. The board has a balanced distribution of resources, and the starting positions are likewise balanced, so it takes away the element of "if you don't understand what you're doing, you'll screw yourself up for the whole game".

I don't consider Pandemic a starter/gateway game except for, as already commented above, a particular/special crowd. Relative to the other 3 games here, the ruleset is way too fiddly for an introductory game. Also, the game lends itself to the "here, I know what I'm doing, everyone just follow me" syndrome. I'd suggest Power Grid or Puerto Rico before Pandemic if your group is wanting some degree of complexity quickly.

In general I don't consider co-ops to be good gateway games (Forbidden Island may be the exception). It's like a double whammy - "let me introduce you to some weird/new/cool games...and, also, let me break the basic paradigm of game-as-competitive activity."

...actually Castle Panic would be decent starter game, in the sense of low complexity. But not in the sense of most-likely-to-have-lasting/addicting-draw. Settlers, Carc, Ticket, all of those have the quality of either "oh, I'd like to play this again and again" or "oh, this is cool, but now I want to move on to something else."
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Joe Czarnecki
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eggdog wrote:
Hello All,

I am hopefully hosting a small event to introduce some non-gamer types into gaming. It should be a group of 4 of us...their gaming background includes scrabble and some card games like spades. What triggered this was one of them that I often play scrabble with seeing me play Settlers of Catan one day a few months ago. None of the group are kids. Probably two guys and two gals.

So thoughts....I have Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Pandemic and Ticket to Ride

I am leaning towards Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride since (no good reason why).

Thoughts from personal experience as to which is a better starter game?

Thanks in advance for any responses.


Pandemic has simply never interested me, nor has Ticket to Ride. Having never played them, I cannot evaluate their value as gateway games.

Your other two choices are outstanding. Given the background of the folks you're playing with I recommend Carcassonne. It was a huge hit with my older family members who have about the same gaming experience. We have since graduated them to Alhambra.

If they had more depth to their gaming experience I'd have suggested Catan instead.
 
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Joe Czarnecki
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bkunes wrote:
I don't think you can go wrong with any of these. I've had success introducing newbies (all I seem to do) with these (although I've never played Pandemic, I've played and introduced others through Forbidden Island).

I would explain briefly the different style of game and the expectant experience (e.g. tile laying, cooperative) they can expect and ask which they'd like to try.

:meeple: Keep playing...


Forbidden Island is a good choice. Very simply game play.
 
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Jan Artoos
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Much as Settlers is the more 'classic' gateway, I'd go with TtR first, then Carc, then Settlers (haven't played Pandemic, but I'm unsure about using a co-op to introduce newbies to the hobby anyway). Two reasons: complexity and game length. TtR is by far the easiest to play and has the least chance of dragging on.
 
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chris doonan
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I would sat Ticket to ride or Carcassone.
I took ticket to ride to my wife's Family Christmas dinner a few years ago and now between me and 2 other family members we own all the editions. And they have gotten a couple of friends in to the game as well.
A friend got me to play Carcassone and with in a month i had the base game and 2 expansions, I have gotten 3 other friends as well as my wife into playing it as well.

Also the nice thing about both games you can still talk to each other and not get to distracted from the game. As well as not be forced to play in any specific amount of time.
 
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