David C
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I need an easy to explain game, but the weight (with more than 20 ratings) has to be 2.3 or higher.

The obvious ones are the abstract games. Dvonn is a 2.7.

Now, this is pretty darn subjective, I do understand. However, I think we can all agree that Carcassonne is easier to explain than, say, Twilight Imperium.

 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11901/tic-tac-toe

So ... what's your theory?
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David C
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Stormtower wrote:


My theory is that with a good degree of confidence (really don't have a number to it)

Most all games weighted 2.1 or lower, are easy-to-explain to most anyone receptive to learning a boardgame.

2.2 -> grey area.

2.3 or higher -> only for the initiated gamers.
 
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Rich Shipley
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Diplomacy - 3.4

edit: There's only about 5 rules. The depth is in the off board play.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Ra and Dominion both have a weight rating of 2.4, and neither is terribly difficult to explain.

Would you care to share your theory, or would doing so interfere with this data collection exercise?

It makes sense that ease of explanation is correlated with complexity which is correlated with the weight ratings. So you would be looking for games with low complexity but high weights, which pretty much means simple rules but lots of depth. As you point out, that tends to be abstracts. There are probably some thinly-themed games in that category as well. Surely there must be other Knizia's like that...but then you have this arbitrary 2.3 cut-off, so that would eliminate some contenders.

I haven't played König von Siam (2.7 weight), but it keeps showing up on "short but deep" lists, so maybe it would qualify.
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That's an interesting request. I can think of several games I've taught that have small rule sets (easy to explain), but are hard to master or to learn how to win:

* Ra - mentioned above
* Acquire - easy to play, hard to learn how to win
* Kingsburg - roll dice, place dice, buy buildings
* Eminent Domain - simple rules, but the cards have a lot of information on them. May not fit your category.
* Container - surprisingly easy to teach
* Egizia - place boats and move down the river. Collect resources or VPs.

So, is your theory that there are no good gateway games above a weight of 2.3 or so? That is, games that some one new to the hobby wouldn't enjoy or "get"?
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Rich Shipley
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Civilization - 3.7

A very easy to explain game. The way the elements are introduced over several turns helps a lot. It is long and not everyone likes it, but I've never had anyone have a hard time grasping it.
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Keith S.
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bippi wrote:
I need an easy to explain game, but the weight (with more than 20 ratings) has to be 2.3 or higher.

The obvious ones are the abstract games. Dvonn is a 2.7.

Now, this is pretty darn subjective, I do understand. However, I think we can all agree that Carcassonne is easier to explain than, say, Twilight Imperium.



Definitely subjective on the "easy to explain" part. I personally would say Stone Age is easy to explain (I can have a brand-new group of players playing by the rules in about 5 minutes) but many may disagree. Settlers, just by virtue of being a gateway, has to have a set of rules that new gamers can wrap their heads around, but while the rules are simple, there are more of them, and more nitpicky ones that you have to pay attention to during play, than in most other games with the "gateway" label.

The obvious games are indeed the abstracts. In rank order, here are the top 10 that I would give as examples. These are games I know and have taught personally, and consider truly easy, so I may be skipping some that others know and love:

Dominion
Stone Age
Go
YINSH
Settlers of Catan (BARELY; for a gateway, its rules complexity is rather high)
Hive
DVONN
TZAAR
ZERTZ
GIPF (without potentials)

Apparently none of the Blokus family are considered heavy enough, which is fair; the rules to any given Blokus version take less than 30 seconds to explain, and the games aren't as deep strategically as the GIPF project.
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David C
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First off: massive thanks for your comments. I realize this is so...vague... but it's one of those things that's driving me mad.

I also need to form another thread here. Hard-to-explain games rated 2.3 or higher.
 
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David C
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rshipley wrote:
Civilization - 3.7

A very easy to explain game. The way the elements are introduced over several turns helps a lot. It is long and not everyone likes it, but I've never had anyone have a hard time grasping it.


I'm totally going to have to look into this. I thought it was huge.
 
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Oliver Kiley
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What is your criteria for "easy to explain"? Can you give us examples for what you think being easy to explain constitutes?

Keep in mind that the "weight" rating tends to lump together both "rules complexity" and "strategic depth" and it requires some understanding of the game to know what the weight is attributed to.

For example, Go has a weight rating of 4.0, but the rules can be explained very quickly and easily. Caylus (3.8), Brass: Lancashire (3.8), Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization (4.1) and Agricola (3.6) all have comparable/higher weight ratings but take considerably longer to teach and learn the rules.

You can find similar trends at any weight level.



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David C
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Mezmorki wrote:
What is your criteria for "easy to explain"? Can you give us examples for what you think being easy to explain constitutes?



Tiki Topple, Mother Sheep, Dvonn, Blokus, base Ticket to Ride...

and the top of my 'want' list right now:

Paris Connection doesn't even need a half page.

Basically all of these I think could be explained in less than 3 minutes. To add, there's not a lot of symbology or exceptions in the rules, so they end up being very elegant in explanation.

----------

This is where I have a hard time with some of Knizia's games, Through the Desert and Ra, specifically. Stupid-simple on the surface, but the scoring can be a bit to remember without some aids.

--------------------------------------------

What brings all of this up, is that it's Christmas time, and usually quite a few of us are gaming with family members rather than friends.

I brought out Tiki Topple. First time explaining it, first time playing it and I only vaguely remembered the rules. I got it explained, and everyone loved it. I realized that, while yes, I'm not the greatest game explainer... I didn't have one instance of, "I didn't know that rule" or "There's a lot of rules"... and I looked at all my good experiences explaining (and playing) games to the uninitiated... they're all pretty small on the scale of complexity. That break, at least for my collection, hovers around 2.1. The 2.2 is a little interesting...and I wouldn't even try with anything 2.4 or higher (Stone Age), but I would be a little reserved at 2.3.
 
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I figure there is about a .5 variance (plus or minus) between BGG's weight rating and what I would give a game. Most games are within .1 of my assessment.

I agree with you that anything in the 2.3 ballpark (e.g. San Juan) and above is questionable as a gateway game. They may be great "next step" games, but I try not to bring true non-gamers in at that level.

I'm not sure if I have dealt with any 2.2 games, but I think the 2.1 games I have seen could work with motivated non-gamers. For people who didn't ask to play a game, I would generally stay around 1.7 and below.

But keep in mind the .5 variance I mentioned, and also that different people have different capabilities and interests. So for someone who has a very logical mind and a strong interest in the theme, I might start with a heavier game. For someone who is not all that bright, even 1.7 might be too much.

I watched part of a 3+ hour game of Stone Age, where by the end, one player (a guy, for anyone who cares) still had *no idea* how *any* of the following worked:
- Tools
- Dice->Resource conversion ratios
- Feeding
- Cards
- Huts
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Caleb
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I played a game of Bohnanza once with my wife & another couple (who specifically invited us over to teach them one of our games). The guy had to ask, on every single turn from the first to the last, what his options were, when he could flip the 2 cards in the middle, whether or not he had to plant, which cards could he trade, how many did he HAVE to plant, etc. It was literally teaching the entire game anew EVERY SINGLE ROUND.

We didn't ever play games with them again.

So, you have to know your audience
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Joe Pastuzyn
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cannoneer wrote:
I played a game of Bohnanza once with my wife & another couple (who specifically invited us over to teach them one of our games). The guy had to ask, on every single turn from the first to the last, what his options were, when he could flip the 2 cards in the middle, whether or not he had to plant, which cards could he trade, how many did he HAVE to plant, etc. It was literally teaching the entire game anew EVERY SINGLE ROUND.

We didn't ever play games with them again.

So, you have to know your audience


This reminds me of a Geeklist I saw on what a gamer would have to endure if he spent perpetuity in hell. One person said playing Race for the Galaxy with some one who didn't know the game and suffered from attention deficit disorder. It sounds like you were almost there.

Edit: Found the forum referenced above for the curious:

/article/4480349#4480349

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bippi wrote:
This is where I have a hard time with some of Knizia's games, Through the Desert and Ra, specifically. Stupid-simple on the surface, but the scoring can be a bit to remember without some aids.


fwiw, I avoid bringing games with "bonus" VPs when possible. Knizia's Ingenious (weight 2.0) does a *very* good job of intuitive scoring, although you have to remember the "Ingenious" bonus turn.

Are any party games hitting 2.1? I doubt so.
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Taluva

Hansa

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Kevin B. Smith
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Some of the suggestions are reinforcing how "easy to explain" is very vague and subjective.
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I'm going to go with Acquire. Weight of 2.5, more depth than meets the eye, and the simple rules fit on the inside of the box lid:



In the same vein, the Acquire-esque German Railways. Weight 3.1, and the rules are only slightly more complex.
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this was the first game I played when I joined a games club a few years back.. the rules session was done simply and quickly and yet is was a really rather complex and deep game.
edit: i would say though that the guy explaining the rules was an Essen veteran and an expert rule describer.

Oshi
slightly under at 2.2, but i put it here because i managed to explain the rules in under a minute to a 9yr old and she understood fine.. then kicked my arse.
edit: the rules are so simple they are pretty much the same as the blurb in the game description on the geek.
"The goal is to be the first player to push seven points worth of your opponent’s game pieces off the board. Each player begins the game with eight game pieces shaped to look like one-, two- and three-story Japanese buildings. The number of stories a piece has equals the number of spaces it can move, the maximum number of other pieces it can push and the number of points it is worth if pushed off the board. Pieces move side to side and forward and backward."

and there is always chess...
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+1 for Taluva, great game.

It's all pretty straight forward. The specifics of tile placement and how building placements work is only mildly complex. The basic gameplay, strategy, and winning conditions are very overt, which I think is important for a simple to teach game.

For comparison, it's a lot simpler than something like 7 Wonders which has many different scoring categories, each with their own way of working. Much more complex in my opinion than a simple win condition.
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David C
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Chinatown

This is pretty darn easy to explain if you can be concise.
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Amanda S
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Tichu is pretty simple to explain and rated 2.4.
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pinum314 wrote:
Tichu is pretty simple to explain and rated 2.4.


It's not too bad, if you've played some kind of trick taking game and you've played poker (although it's not truly a trick taking game, but definite similarities; poker helps with the card combos you can play). I still remember that my very first game of tichu had all of the special cards. Sigh. I can still remember Karl in the Games Keep laughing at me. (in a nice way).
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