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Subject: "Reading" Your Game Group and Choosing a Game rss

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Shane Brewer
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Monticello
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I'm the leader of our fledgling gaming group. I own all the games, I learn each of them, and I teach them all. When I purchase games I try to do so (for the most part) with my gaming group in mind. Each week I try to select games from my collection that I think they would like. Occasionally I try to push a game that I, myself, would like.

Coming from a Chess and Go background I really like the brain-burning Euros and beautiful abstracts. It is precisely these kinds of games that my group avoids when I mention them. That's okay. Some day I will find the right person to play these with.

So my question is this: How do you decide what game to try during a given gaming session? Are you able to "read" your group and propose the right game for them? What methods have you used to get your group to try a game outside of their comfort zone?

For instance, I have wanted to get Agricola to the table and have thought about showing up about 20 minutes early and getting it all set up and ready to go. Then just asking people to have a seat and let's get started.

 
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chearns
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I don't have a game group, I just have a bunch of friends who I play games with.

When I know games will be coming up, I look at my collection and ask myself which ones will fit with the people who will be present. I like all of them, so I never end up suggesting something that I myself don't like. I am pretty good at this, although I have, at times, made mistakes and got the wrong game matched up with the wrong people.

If I think a game might be tough to match up, I'll figure out who the most likely people to enjoy it are and set up a time to play this specific game with them. This means that they know what they are in for, and that they are going to play with me because, even if they are sceptical, they believe it might very well be fun.

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David C
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1.) show up with the tote of games.
2.) get someone to express interest in one of them.
3.) break it out.
 
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Rob Heiser
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I have a fledgling gaming group, too. There are some games that I'd like to play that I'm certain wouldn't go over well at the stage our group is at right now. So far, I've tried a combination of techniques:

- Give them a choice of two or three games, with a really concise snippet about each one to see which one entices them.

- Let other people suggest games that they think everyone might like. I make sure to warn them that there are no promises that people will choose their game.

- Talk my wife into playing a new game ahead of time. If she likes it, I know there's a good chance it will go over well with everyone else.

Right now the group as a whole aren't experienced with a lot of the "hobby" games, but I'm slowly changing that. We played Pandemic last time, and I was surprised how well it went over. Next time, I may try to introduce Dominion. My wife really likes it, so I think it may have a chance with the rest of the group.
 
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John Hollier
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rheiser wrote:

- Talk my wife into playing a new game ahead of time. If she likes it, I know there's a good chance it will go over well with everyone else.


This. My wife is actually just as much of a gamer as I am (well, close) so there's not much effort involved to get her to play but we definitely have to try everything out before deciding whether to introduce it to our group. I'd love to try Le Havre with them but I know that there is no way they'd (a) like it or (b) "get" it. So it stays home. We try to push their boundaries each session, though. Started with Carcassonne then Through the Desert then Ticket to Ride and then last time we brought over Tikal and gave that a go (not that it's overly complex but it's more so than Carcassonne or TtR). Twilight Imperium is next up. LOL. I've never played so it'll be an experience but everyone sounded really interested in the theme and mechanics so we're gonna make an effort to learn as a group and hopefully have a lot of fun. If not, I've always wanted the game so it gave me a good excuse to purchase it. laugh
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Chris Miller
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I started up a weekly game night among our friends at the beginning of the year. I'm starting slow with gateway games and after each session I ask what everyone thought of the game, what they liked/didn't like and then base the next new game off of that. It is also important in a game group to not teach a new game every week. Let people explore the strategies and stretch their legs on a game for a few weeks before trying something else.
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