Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: Hosting a game day with 5-6 newbies - please advise! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Aaron Wood
United States
Keller
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Guys,

I am certainly not a master geek by any stretch of the imagination myself, but I have played several geek games, and am the most experienced of my group of friends. So, in order to introduce some friends to my habit, I have decided to host a guys gaming day this coming Saturday. It will be about 8 of us, aged late 20s to 30s mostly, but my dad (60) will also be there, and he's played almost all of my games as well. As far as I know, the others haven't played anything more than Monopoly/Risk/Scrabble. Here's my question - how should things go? We are starting around 2ish, and said we'd just go until everyone had to go, so we've got several hours carved out.

Oh, I should probably mention - I just recently added half a dozen games to my collection:

Citadels (haven't played yet, only read the rules - really looking forward to this one tho)
Power Grid (played a "warm-up game" with my dad and wife yesterday, think it'll be even better with more than 3)
Tichu (only read the rules, thinking this one will be for another time)
Incan Gold (only read the rules, but don't think it'll be hard to figure out)
Forbidden Island (played through once)
Hive (played 4 times, love it, but lost every time, lol!)

EDIT - I have ordered some other new games from the market, but not sure if they're going to get here in time, but they are:
Memoir '44 + several expansions (not planning on this one, that's for my dad and I later)
Dominion(could definitely get a couple rounds of this one in)
Small World + Be Not Afraid (would like to pull this one out if it gets here in time!)
Race for the Galaxy + Gathering Storm (thinking this'll be for later on)

My main games in my collection are:

Settlers (base game only, no expansions)
Puerto Rico (current fave, but Power Grid and Citadels might dethrone, at least temporarily)
Carcassonne (base only, no expansions)
Ticket to Ride US (and 1910 expansion)
Ticket to Ride Marklin
Bohnanza and High Bohn and Bohnaparte
Blokus (and Trigon)
Elasund

In the past, I've mostly gamed with my wife and in-laws, who all play my games, and we'll just pick one game and play it (if short, maybe several rounds), then be done, so this is my first time being in a game party.

My real question is where should I start, and then go?

Was thinking to start them off with some filler type games - No Thanks!, For Sale, Blokus, Hive, while people are arriving.

Then Incan Gold and Citadels once all 8 of us are there.

And then move into the heavy hitters - Puerto Rico, Power Grid, and/or Settlers/Carc (or even TtR), with me at one table of 4, and my dad at the other, so that both tables at least have someone who is familiar with the rules.

Any other thoughts and/or suggestions for me, since this will be my first time hosting this type of gaming party?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Markus
Germany
Kaiserslautern
flag msg tools
badge
So this is my new overtext ? Hmmm...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
Starting slow and simple is a good idea, maybe play some of the shorter ones several times. Not only to wait until the group is complete. but also to let the people get a feeling for the games. Especially if they are not familiar with boardgames at all. Incan Gold is a good start in my opinion.

Up the ante slowly, especially if some of your friends show signs of being bored two sentences into the rules explanation. It's not a good idea to play Power Grid with such people, better something like Forbidden Island (simple rules, cooperation also helps).

And be careful with Citadels. Citadels is a nice game, but it's not the best game for beginners. It's a bit confusing and also quite confrontational. Getting assasinated and stolen from several times a row might put some of your friend off while others might love it. And it can last quite a while with 8 people (plays best with 4-6 imho).

P.S. I had good experiences with Small World, Elasund, Ticket to Ride US and Forbidden Island. Good luck and have fun !
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben R
United States
Brooklyn
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
Look at the board game geek file sections for every game. Look for player aids and other tools that are useful for teaching. If you feel bold enough to play Race for the Galaxy you'll want a player aid that goes over all of the iconography. The game itself is relatively simple, but it's like reading a foreign language for a newbie.

Power Grid is much better with 4+ players and will shine with 6.

With 8 players I'd start a table doing Catan and a table doing Dominion. Then switch after everyone gets a game or two in over the course of an hour.

Then I'd do something similar with Forbidden Island and Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne.

I think that'll give everybody a variety of games to play to get their feet wet and will take up 4 or 5 hours of pure gaming.

After that if a player or two drops out I'd bring out the bigger games like Power Grid or Citadels. If you still have all 8 I'd consider letting the big game have 6 players and doing some Memoir 44 with the remaining two if you think you have a potential war gamer in the group.

Also, is there going to be much drinking involved. The sobriety factor is definitely important if you are considering bringing out the heavier games later into the day.

If you happen to have an extra $15 floating around you should try to snag a copy of Fjords. It is one of my favorite filler games to play while waiting around for a game to finish. That or Lord of the Rings: Th
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
I'll just echo two pieces of Markus's good advice:

1) Start slow. Incan Gold is a great starter. Bohnanza, Blokus, and Carcassonne are pretty light to follow. Dominion and TTR maybe at the halfway point. Power Grid I wouldn't pull out until the end of the night. Puerto Rico I'd save for a future night.

2) Citadels can be a brutal, brutal game for a newbie who gets assassinated or thieved a few times. Some people will just laugh and not mind, but for others, it can really ruin a gaming experience. I'd avoid it unless you know none of your group will fall in the latter category.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Wanda Davies
United States
Olympia
Washington (WA)
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
I'd recommend sticking with games you know really well. I've been doing a lot of gametroducing lately and I've found that it's comforting for people if someone knows the rules. These games are already new and strange to the vast majority. Many also feel like they take too long (oftentimes because one of the new folk playing aren't actively engaged). Knowing the rules can really help keep the games moving which will make it much more likely they want to play again.
If you're going to run two games simultaneously, don't play yourself unless there's someone who knows the game who's a decent teacher playing. Stay available to answer questions, etc. If you've chosen good games (which you will with your collection and the recommendations you receive here) they will do the work for you, so long as they are played how they're supposed to.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
nick s
Australia
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
All good advice above. Be familiar with the games - some go for much longer than others, and some are very different games with 3 ppl vs with 5 ppl. eg. I enjoy 2 and 3 person Caylus which goes relatively quickly, but foolishly did a 5 player game once - it went for 3 hours and was No Fun At All. Equally as important is to be familiar with the people - one girl in my group hates numbers, some of my friends are engineers, one is a marketer - you need to know what will gel with each person or subset of people.

With the collection Above, I'd go Bohnanza, Settlers, Blockus, Carc, Ticket To Ride and Smallworld , in groups of 3 or 4, and don't play yourself (or play both but open handed and explaining your entire thought process, to help people Get It). Even then, Settlers and Ticket To Ride will probably go 1.5 to 2 hours each... ooo just saw you have No Thanks and For Sale - yes yes yes! Them plus Blockus are pretty low investment (timewise, rules-in-head-wise) so good for starters, instead of an epic 2 hour game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco Wong
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
My fellow geeks above all gave very valuable advice. I'd like to add a few words:
1. Don't try Citadels with newbies. I myself had a bad experience with this game and almost every newbie found this game having too much words on the cards, and not to mention, the brutal backstabbing nature.
2. Card games/ something with dice are good options, as many newbies would find comfort with some components they're familiar with.
3. It is not necessary to find a place for every newbie. You could just group them together as a team of 2, so that you can manage 1 table with 4 groups instead of 2 tables with you in charge of 1 table and your father in charge of the other 1. I have this suggestion as I believe the newcomers are familiar with you rather than your father, and they won't enjoy playing a game with a 'stranger', in addition all games are 'strange' for them.
4. Remember that your chances are few, so if they get bored this time most likely they won't come back, or come back for another reason. So getting to know every games being played through and through is a must.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Wood
United States
Keller
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
Thanks for all the advice guys, will definitely take it to heart! Especially about the player aids, I think that's a great idea - and I didn't know where to find them before, thanks!

And yes, I planned on us playing several of the lighter games multiple times, even after everyone arrived, to get them "in the mood", I just was talking about a general order of things.

Several further points:

When I invited them to come over, I warned them that this wouldn't be your father's Monopoly we'd be playing, so I think most of them are up for the challenge of learning something new and strange.

Not much drinking going on, as the majority of us are tee-totalers (lol, not even sure I spelled that right), so shouldn't be too much of an issue with comprehension (and attitude!)

Most of the guys already know my dad, we play fantasy football together, so that's not too big a deal.

Point taken on Citadels - will hold that one off until I've gotten their attention.

Will probably try to sit out and just be teaching as much as possible. While I really want to play, it's more important to actually cultivate an interest, so I have future game days!

And since it's still a week off, I almost am counting on someone backing out, and not having a full 8...


Keep the ideas coming, especially recommendations of what to play, and when!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Jourdan
United States
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Re: Game day with newbies
There has been alot of good info given already. I'll just share with you my own experiences with this type of thing.

I usually always try to keep the first hobby game I introduce to 1 of 2 games basically. For people who like card games I go with Dominion. For those who like games like monopoly and things where you can build stuff, then I go with Settlers.

From there, Smallworld can be fun, but it sometimes is confusing to new people. They can get overwhelmed by all the various special abilities.

Carcasonne can be good if you have people that like to think and plan ahead.

I find some type of trick taking game to be a hit around here for filler, as trick taking games are popular.

Hope that helps.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Wood
United States
Keller
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm leaning towards starting with Blokus, For Sale, No Thanks!, and Incan Gold (probably several games of each, depending on how much they like them) for warm-ups, TtR, Catan, and Carc now as my middle games (leaving Small World, RFtG and probably even Dominion for other times - it looks like they'll be here on Friday, but that doesn't give me much time to play them before game day), and then expanding to Puerto Rico, Citadels, and Power Grid for the big finale if I still have their attention.

On a side note, I taught PR to a newbie the other day, he caught on super quick, and I didn't think it was tough to teach at all (and he kept saying what a great game this is about every other round, lol!) - but I saw someone suggested not even pulling that one out until another day. Tough for me to do, since it's currently my favorite. Any reason I should or shouldn't shy away? I can see Power Grid making some eyes glaze over, but PR seems pretty straight forward - pick a role, and take that advantage. Obviously, the strategy runs much deeper than that, but if you've got everyone on fairly even ground - brand new, it seems like a pretty good fit.

Any other thoughts or suggestions? Just wanting to make sure I do this thing right!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carson Dech
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Catan and Carcassonne are my standbys for introducing new people. Catan is very nice for the social aspects of trading and the familiar dice.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Hinchliffe
Canada
Mississauga
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I never found PR to be tough to teach. My 9 year can play it, and I taught it to him quite quickly. The game is very easy to learn if someone is teaching.

However, I'd say the drawback is visualizing the end game conditions. In Settlers, even for a total newb, it isn't tough to go "Ok, I need 10 points, so that's 4 Settlements, a couple of Cities and the Longest Road or Largest Army". In PR, this is a MUCH harder task, given the lack of a strict finish line. For non-gamers, this can lead to meandering strategies with no real focus, and hence, a lack of fun.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.