Will Moller
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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Okay, my wife and I moved to small-town USA a few months ago. There aren't quite 500 people in town, the nearest "city" is about 40 minutes away, and the nearest town AT ALL is 5+ miles away. We have no friends here, let alone anyone who likes to play games (that we know of!), and it's generally a stereotypical small mid-western town revolving around older generations and churches (we both are not yet 30 and don't go to church). We play a game occasionally, usually Lost Cities, and I play online a lot, mostly Dominion and stuff on Yucata, and that's it. I was in a group before we moved here, but it's back in that big city and I can't make it even semi-regularly. I want to play games. I love games. I'm tired of not playing games regularly with people.

Recently a youth center was opened less than a 5 minute walk from our home. It's basically a room with table tennis, pool, skeeball, and things like that (no tv, no video games, woohoo!) and has junk food for sale. I knew ahead of time that the age range is 8 - 18-ish and there are roughly 20 kids there in any given week. The center is only open Saturdays 6PM - 830PM, but will eventually be open Fridays as well when it gets cold. Nobody plays board games. I intend to change this.

I finally went there for the first time this past Saturday bringing a handful of games and mostly hoping I'd be heard out before everyone walked away. Games brought:

Carcassonne (base only)
Dominion (base only)
Dixit/D.2/D.Odyssey
Ticket to Ride
Lost Cities
Hive

So I get there and the guy running the show has everyone gather around and hear what I have to say. I wasn't really prepared for that, but I'm fine with public speaking. I explained the games I brought, quickly synopsizing them, mentioning they WEREN'T Risk, Monopoly, etc. (NOT to my surprise, someone said "Awe! No Risk?! I love Risk!") There were of course a couple who complained about being bored or something stupidly teenager-y like that, and one kid said he didn't like trains (who specifically has a beef with trains? trains rule! what's with that?), but most were surprisingly attentive. The group was slightly slanted towards older kids, probably over half were in high school.

Anyway, I managed to stumble through teaching dominion to two guys and two girls (all teens), and they happily played a whole game. I then played a gime of TtR with a teen girl and young boy, maybe 9. They both got it by the end, though the boy took longer as you'd expect. He said I should come back next week. Huzzah! That alone made it a partial success, plus the other kids willingly learning something new. So, I'll go back next week. I love sports too, so I'm also planning to teach things like ultimate frisbee and the like, but I'll definitely bring games.

What have other people done to introduce games to a whole new audience (either people new to you or people being introduced to the greater gaming hobby in general)? What has worked? What hasn't? Are some games specifically better for teens than others?

I am hoping to get my hands on The Resistance (I'm kickstarting Avalon right now) as I would think that's a great game for teens anyway. I just bought Onirim too, though I've never played it. I would think For Sale and Modern Art might be strong games for establishing trust in board gaming as something fun to do (ultimate goal!). After a while I hope to move on to Dominion expansions, Shogun, Kingsburg, etc. For now, baby steps.

I intend to update this thread with this situation as it develops. Reporting live from Small Mid-Western Town USA, this is Popeye, signing off!
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Carl Garber
Canada
Vauxhall
Alberta
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Hey nice job! Look forward to the updates! I recently moved to small town Canada and am looking to introduce teens to games as well(I am an associate pastor with responsibilities for Jr. and Sr. High). So far the kids have been generally receptive to all sorts of different games....however, there are some guys that find the games "too mathy", for these guys I have recently decided to purchase King of Tokyo..I think this is perfect for teenage boys! I'll report back here and let you know how it goes over but I thought it might good for your situation as well!

Happy Gaming!
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Will Moller
United States
Lincoln
Nebraska
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After finally deciding to watch a review of it just yesterday, I REALLY want King of Tokyo. I agree it would be a perfect game for teens, especially boys. Maybe I should get a job so I can afford it...
 
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