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Subject: "Game Night" start up kit rss

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Robert barnes
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I'm looking to start up a game night with a bunch of friends and was hoping to utilize some of your expertise in selecting some good *starter* games.

I'm in the strange position of having a rather mixed bag of friends when it comes to interests. Some of them are into the "geekier" stuff whereas others would be more into the party/family style games.

My restrictions for this list are:

~I have set a personal limit of $150 to be spent amongst multiple games.

~I would like a few games that favor different group sizes.

~Any games that would be considered *starter* games would be awesome. As I expect a mixed group it may be difficult to find a balance.

~I personally like pretty much everything though I favor social games. I, myself, have just recently been turned on to the vast world of board gaming (I mean who knew Risk wasn't the end all be all?) and the idea of co-op games interests me greatly. Would love some suggestions there.

~The cheaper the better. Most bang for the buck. Since this is a concentrated effort by me to get a group going I would like to keep the wallet impact as minimal as possible.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to read this post. I'm terrible at composing forum posts and I probably am rambling and making very little sense.
With the big holidays coming up I would like to get some people interested. Seeding some of my gift swaps with a few games to further my cause is a strategy I am not adverse to devil
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Matt Brown
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Top 200 BGG games sorted by the Amazon price

No Thanks!
The Resistance
King of Tokyo
Dixit
Glory to Rome
Cosmic Encounter
Genoa
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Robert barnes
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Thanks!

Re: The Resistance - I originally had this as one of the games I was thinking of buying. After watching a review of it I heard it compared to "Werewolves" which in turn I researched. As it is a play on a game which can be replicated using only some scrap paper and pencils do you consider it worth the purchase or am I better off just having fun with the "Low-Tech" version?
 
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Diz Hooper
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Here are the ones that I've had a lot of success with when I had mixed groups of gamers and non-gamers:

King of Tokyo
RoboRally
Unnamed Object
Liar's Dice
Ticket to Ride

That should be enough to get you started.
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7 Wonders - plays up to 7 without a lot of downtime because people are choosing and passing at the same time.

Tsuro - plays up to 8 in under a half hour

Unnamed Object - another one that plays up to 8 with simple choices (stay or go) but some strategy

Coop: Pandemic, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Elder Sign

Wits & Wagers, or the new Party version

Check thrift stores in your area for things like Blokus, Pit, Survive, 5ive Straight/Game of 99, Perudo/Liar's Dice, Qwirkle, Slide 5
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Adam
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Genoa and Cosmic Encounter are both pretty pricey games and not great for beginners.

My list would be...
• Ticket to Ride ($30)
• The Resistance ($13.50)
• Dominion ($25)
• Pandemic ($26)
• For Sale ($16)
• Incan Gold ($16.50)
• No Thanks! ($7)
• Archaeology Card Game ($7)
• Dixit ($20)
• Lords of Waterdeep ($32.5)

These are all current CoolStuffInc prices, by the way. I know I pushed the $150 limit, but hey, welcome to the hobby.

You can play The Resistance with just a deck of cards and some tokens, but the boxed game is really slick and worth the small price.

I also recommend Liar's Dice, Time's Up (Celebrity), and Telestrations (Eat Poop You Cat), all of which can be put together using spare dice and notecards.

I agree with the thrift store recommendations too. People abandon some pretty decent games once in awhile! Snatch up Pit, Sequence, Acquire, and most games by the big publishers and you can't go wrong.
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Robert barnes
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johnjon wrote:
I know I pushed the $150 limit, but hey, welcome to the hobby.


Haha. I have no problem going over the limit I just want to get a feel for my group before I splurge. I tried finding a solid pre-existing one but haven't been able to.

I can't thank you all enough for these lists. It is nice to have a starting point to throw some stuff in with the rest of my holiday shopping. Thanks so much!
 
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Josh Bodah
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This would be a really solid starting point:

2 player: Innovation (medium, scales well to 3 also) or Battle Line (light) or Twilight Struggle (heavy)
3 player: Stone Age (light worker placement, scales well) or Settlers of Catan (trading, plays 3/4) or Pandemic (coop, scales well)
4 player: (note that neither of these scale) Tichu (filler, climbing/trick taking) or Chaos in the Old World (medium-heavy thematic area control)
5 player: Bohnanza (filler, trading) or Cosmic Encounter (negotiation)
5+: The Resistance (deduction, traitor)

If it were me:
Battle Line (~15)
Pandemic (~25)
Tichu (~10)
Cosmic Encounter (~40)
The Resistance (~15)
================
Total = 105

You can fill the rest with whatever games fit the number of players you'll usually play with

In my experiences, all the games in the top 100 are very good and most of the top 300 is really good too. I would threshold the search by weight and then pick ones that sound the most interesting.

I find it easier to get people to play fillers, so I bring a whole bunch of them around with me (I own about 30 and can carry them all in a medium-sized box if I just take the components rules)
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Scott Hill
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I would definitely get a co-op, if I were you - I've got Flash Point: Fire Rescue and really like it, and Pandemic is high on my 'to buy' list.

I would avoid Glory To Rome - I've played it once, found it confusing, and not particularly engaging.

Some popular 'gateway' games are: Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne.

You might want to consider Munchkin, but it's very much a game you either love or hate.
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Josh Bodah
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Bleuchz wrote:
Thanks!

Re: The Resistance - I originally had this as one of the games I was thinking of buying. After watching a review of it I heard it compared to "Werewolves" which in turn I researched. As it is a play on a game which can be replicated using only some scrap paper and pencils do you consider it worth the purchase or am I better off just having fun with the "Low-Tech" version?


The Resistance is well worth the money. The components in the newest edition are excellent. You could just play with a deck of cards, but the theme is conveyed easier to non-gamers when you have actual components. Plus it is dirt cheap for an amazing game.

Games like Battle Line and Lost Cities are easier to play with normal playing cards because they are more abstract.
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Richard Galati
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Pandemic, Small World and BattleStar Galactica. Battlestar is a really fun game where someone in your group my be a Cylon spy.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Glory to Rome is a great game, but I wouldn't put it in a starter kit.

Yes to Ticket to Ride.

I would also suggest Ingenious and Dixit (a social game).
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Sara Van Landegem
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King if Tokyo, Seasons, Hanabi, Agricola, D-Day Dice and Mice and Mystics ;-)
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Laura Creighton
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Love Letter will be released very soon now -- next week?
www.coolstuffinc.com has it on preorder for $6.50.

Your biggest problem if you have a mix of geekier friends and non-geeks is that, if you try to get them all to play social games with you, you may find that among your friends are people who dislike social games.

Is what you are trying to build 'stuff to have around the house so that whenever anybody comes over we have something to play'? or 'I am trying to set up a gaming group?' -- because the needs are different. (Though Love Letter should be on both lists.) How many people do you expect to be playing at once?

Citadels
Innovation
Roborally

would also be good to have.

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Linus Callheim
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Bleuchz wrote:

~I personally like pretty much everything though I favor social games. I, myself, have just recently been turned on to the vast world of board gaming (I mean who knew Risk wasn't the end all be all?) and the idea of co-op games interests me greatly. Would love some suggestions there.



My absulute favourite co-op game is Space Alert
It is however more suited for advanced gamers, but have a look at it when the budget allows further investments...
 
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Mads Fløe
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Ca$h 'n Gun$ - party
Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition - party
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island - co-op
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Uncle Ralf
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It's recommended in this topic before, but I HIGHLY recommend Pandemic. Great co-op fun and easy to learn, which is fun for "geeks" and newcomers.

Carcassonne also works well with people who normally don't play boardgames, but you might want to consider playing without "farmers" your first play.

If you can get your hands on Hanabi, it's a great small co-op deduction cardgame. Easy to learn, great fun.

Catan works for both non-gamers and gamers alike.

Bohnanza is a great simple card game with some surprising depth behind it.

Niagara is great fun. Great components, interesting mechanics, and with some tense decisions. I believe it's currently out of print, but I don't think a copy is too hard to find. Fun with a bit of chaos mixed into it.
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Jay I
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Many people will advise you to get only lighter games for new gamers. I've found that this is true for many people new to the hobby, but for the most part, it depends on the interest of the person who's playing. I've had luck with Arkham Horror and Agricola for first-timers as long as it captures their interest. So, I wouldn't be afraid to put one or two slightly heavier games in the mix.

coolstuffinc.com prices:

Court of the Medici - $6.50 A fun 2 player card game
Chronicle - $6.50 My favorite 3-4P inexpensive game
Bohnanza - $13 Very interactive
Snake Oil - $13 Highly interactive
Dominion - $25 Almost always a hit with everyone
Elder Sign - $23 A fun co-op that may appeal to the geekier friends.
Dixit: Journey - $21.50
Carcassonne - $15.50
Lords of Waterdeep - $32.50 A bit more going on than the other games

Total $156.50
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Jacob Nushmut
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johnjon wrote:
Genoa and Cosmic Encounter are both pretty pricey games and not great for beginners.

My list would be...
• Ticket to Ride ($30)
• The Resistance ($13.50)
• Dominion ($25)
• Pandemic ($26)
• For Sale ($16)
• Incan Gold ($16.50)
• No Thanks! ($7)
• Archaeology Card Game ($7)
• Dixit ($20)
• Lords of Waterdeep ($32.5)

These are all current CoolStuffInc prices, by the way. I know I pushed the $150 limit, but hey, welcome to the hobby.

You can play The Resistance with just a deck of cards and some tokens, but the boxed game is really slick and worth the small price.

I also recommend Liar's Dice, Time's Up (Celebrity), and Telestrations (Eat Poop You Cat), all of which can be put together using spare dice and notecards.

I agree with the thrift store recommendations too. People abandon some pretty decent games once in awhile! Snatch up Pit, Sequence, Acquire, and most games by the big publishers and you can't go wrong.


Lots of good suggestions already, especially the post above.

As others've said, Cool Stuff Inc is probably your best bet if you're spending $150. They have free shipping on orders over $100, and their prices tend to be a shade cheaper than Amazon's.

The Resistance is a dramatic improvement on the Werewolf formula, and it has the added advantage of supporting a mostly different player count (5-10, while Werewolf favors around 10-15 players). I do recommend it.

Here's some suggestions broken down by category:

FILLER: Get a good filler like
Coloretto (cheap, $8.99)
Incan Gold
For Sale

PARTY GAMES: The top party games on BGG (sans The Resistance) are:
Dixit (my favorite party game)
Time's Up (if your group would like a charades-style game)
Wits and Wagers (trivia, but you bet on who knows the answer rather than having to know it yourself, so the person who's best at trivia doesn't run away with the victory)

PARTY-ISH GAMES
Shadow Hunters
Ca$h and Guns
King of Tokyo


INTRO WORKER PLACEMENT
Lords of Waterdeep
Stone Age

OTHER GOOD INTRO EUROS
Carcassonne (tile laying, very well known)
Ticket to Ride (train game, very well known)
7 Wonders (supports a wide player count, 2-7)
Dominion (the original and purest deckbuilding game)

COOPERATIVE
Pandemic (the co-op standard)
Flash Point: Fire Rescue (a lot like Pandemic, with a different theme)
Forbidden Island (simplified Pandemic: I mention it because it's cheap)
Space Hulk: Death Angel (card based, supports 1-6, relatively cheap)
Sentinels of the Multiverse: Enhanced Edition (if you like superheroes)

SOMETHING AMERITRASH-Y
Nexus Ops (expensive, but you can't get a better mid-weight Ameritrash)
Cosmic Encounter ( also expensive, but a really classic Ameritrash with high interactivity)

Most of these games scale well by player count. Pick up one or two per category, and maybe a medium-heavy Euro as well, for the full experience.
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Jess
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johnjon wrote:
Genoa and Cosmic Encounter are both pretty pricey games and not great for beginners

My list would be...
• Ticket to Ride ($30)
• The Resistance ($13.50)
• Dominion ($25)
• Pandemic ($26)
• For Sale ($16)
• Incan Gold ($16.50)
• No Thanks! ($7)
• Archaeology Card Game ($7)
• Dixit ($20)
• Lords of Waterdeep ($32.5)

These are all current CoolStuffInc prices, by the way. I know I pushed the $150 limit, but hey, welcome to the hobby.

You can play The Resistance with just a deck of cards and some tokens, but the boxed game is really slick and worth the small price.

I also recommend Liar's Dice, Time's Up (Celebrity), and Telestrations (Eat Poop You Cat), all of which can be put together using spare dice and notecards.


This is a good list. Personally I would leave off Pandemic and Archeology the card game. (And having never played Lords of Waterdeep, I don't know if that's a good recommendation for you or not).

We started up a public game group about a year ago - and at most days in the first 6 months there was at least one complete newcomer. Here's the games that we get the most use out of (roughly in order of how often they get played):

No Thanks
For Sale
Ticket to Ride: Europe
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Bohnanza
Carcassonne
Kingdom Builder
Stone Age

We had half of these games already though - the ones we bought specifically for the group were No Thanks, For Sale, Survive and Kingdom Builder.

If I were in your position starting out a new games group from scratch (and based on what you've told us) I'd have a slightly different list, selected from the following:

2-3 good fillers:
Incan Gold
For Sale
No Thanks

2-3 good gateway games:
Ticket to Ride (the original one)
Carcassonne
Dominion (base game)

1 or 2 social/backstabbing fun games:
The Resistance (leave out if you don't expect to get more than 5 people regularly)
Survive: Escape from Atlantis
Saboteur

1 or 2 social/party games:
Say anything
Times up (save money and play the make your own version which is listed on bgg under Celebrities)
Wits and wagers
Incan gold also sort of fits in this category

Other:
Bohnanza - great game and plays well for anywhere between 3-7
Maybe a cooperative game - Flash point: fire rescue or Forbidden Island
7 wonders (maybe)


This is a very light list - mostly geared toward non gamers and social gamers. This is because I find that the non gamers are the ones you need to convince with fun but easy to learn games, whereas gamers usually still find these games fun anyway. Fillers are great because they only take 20-30 min and can be played while waiting for people to turn up or as a break after a longer game, or with people who "wouldn't normally play games but if they only have to sit down for 20mins they're willing to give it a try".

With the list above you also have a good range of games for anything between 3 to 7 people and a couple of games that play more (incan gold and say anything go up to 8, the resistance and saboteur go up to 10 and celebrities can be played with pretty much any number).

---

Once you're up and running and the non-gamers are ready to move on to more complex games (or you decide to run an extra night for the gamers), I would get more medium and heavyweight games. I can't really recommend medium or heavyweight games without knowing a bit more about what you and your friends like (and how many people you're likely to get). But here's a few suggestions on how to pick heavier games when you get to that point.

If your group really likes The Resistance, Survive or Saboteur, look into Citadels and/or Battlestar Galactica.

If your group really like Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, or Dominion, look into El Grande, Tikal, Railways of the World, Stone Age, Race for the Galaxy or the Dominion expansions. Also start looking by what theme they might like.

If your group really like the fillers or the party games (and not the gateway games), well sorry but they're probably not going be into heavier games

Hope this is helpful and good luck with your new group
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Jess
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As far as the games other people have recommended (that I am familiar with), I would not consider any of the following as "starter" games:

Innovation
Glory to Rome
Genoa
Cosmic Encounter
Agricola
Battlestar Galactica
Twilight Struggle
Chaos in the Old World

Some of these are excellent games but they're not starter games.

Pandemic, Archeology and Settlers of Catan all count as starter games, but I personally don't recommend them because I think there are better starter games out there. (Better in this case equals more fun - and therefore more likely to get new people hooked). This a matter of taste though, so you may want to consider them.
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Bryan Maxwell
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Shadow Hunters has gone over GREAT for me with both new/casual gamers and serious gamers (with the caveat that it needs 5-8 players and really shines with 7).
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Robert barnes
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I'm overwhelmed (in the best possible way) with all the responses.
I appreciate everyone's input so much.

Here's how my unfinished list currently stands:

Filler Games:
Forbidden Island
No Thanks
For Sale
Incan Gold
Bohnanza

Party Games:
Dixit
Times Up
Wits and Wagers

"Main" (for lack of a better term) games:
Ticket to Ride
Pandemic
Resistance
Shadow Hunters

Questions for the Experts :

I think I should have the greatest number of filler games and maybe drop down to 2 each of the party/main games? This number sound about right or should I have it more evenly distributed?

I am consciously avoiding 2 player games. I feel like the number is too limiting. Do you think I should throw a cheap, solid 2 player filler in? If so any suggestions?

I would like a nice spread of different physical styles (Board, Cards, Dice, etc) to give almost an "implied" variation. I think it would be nice for a newcomer to see how varied the hobby could be. Good idea or am I better off not worrying about it?

Ease of rules. Which of these games do you think may have rules a little on the complicated side? I will be playing most of them for the first time myself and flipping back and forth between play and looking up rules is never fun.

I tried to represent a few different game types before I pare it down but perhaps I am missing some. Any general types I've left out?

Maximizing value. I will look into making some nice homemade versions of some games. I am artistically challenged but mighty crafty . Any suggestions on games to try and resources to get started?

I actually didn't ask in my original post but... Any suggestions on actually running a game night? I.E. the ideal amount of people to invite, how to plan for people not showing up or arriving late, best practices for quickly setting up and transitioning games, how to introduce the games, what are the best snacks, etc. Any and all advice is appreciated and will be heeded!

Note on Games I am avoiding:

Anything that seems heavily "themed" I have left off. I fear that opening up a box of, say, King of Tokyo or Arkham Horror may actually put some people off. Any experience in the matter? I've actually made a list of every game recommended in this thread as a future buy I just think it may be wiser to hold off on these until I get a feel for the group?

Games with strict player numbers. I think most of the games I purchase should scale well. Please let me know if any on my unfinished list don't scale well or if you have an idea of one that would fit a hole I am missing.


Once again I just cannot thank you all enough!
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David Millette
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Bleuchz wrote:
I'm overwhelmed (in the best possible way) with all the responses.
I appreciate everyone's input so much.

Here's how my unfinished list currently stands:

Filler Games:
Forbidden Island
No Thanks
For Sale
Incan Gold
Bohnanza

Party Games:
Dixit
Times Up
Wits and Wagers

"Main" (for lack of a better term) games:
Ticket to Ride
Pandemic
Resistance
Shadow Hunters

Questions for the Experts :):

I think I should have the greatest number of filler games and maybe drop down to 2 each of the party/main games? This number sound about right or should I have it more evenly distributed?

I am consciously avoiding 2 player games. I feel like the number is too limiting. Do you think I should throw a cheap, solid 2 player filler in? If so any suggestions?

I would like a nice spread of different physical styles (Board, Cards, Dice, etc) to give almost an "implied" variation. I think it would be nice for a newcomer to see how varied the hobby could be. Good idea or am I better off not worrying about it?

Ease of rules. Which of these games do you think may have rules a little on the complicated side? I will be playing most of them for the first time myself and flipping back and forth between play and looking up rules is never fun.

I tried to represent a few different game types before I pare it down but perhaps I am missing some. Any general types I've left out?

Maximizing value. I will look into making some nice homemade versions of some games. I am artistically challenged but mighty crafty :). Any suggestions on games to try and resources to get started?

I actually didn't ask in my original post but... Any suggestions on actually running a game night? I.E. the ideal amount of people to invite, how to plan for people not showing up or arriving late, best practices for quickly setting up and transitioning games, how to introduce the games, what are the best snacks, etc. Any and all advice is appreciated and will be heeded!

Note on Games I am avoiding:

Anything that seems heavily "themed" I have left off. I fear that opening up a box of, say, King of Tokyo or Arkham Horror may actually put some people off. Any experience in the matter? I've actually made a list of every game recommended in this thread as a future buy I just think it may be wiser to hold off on these until I get a feel for the group?

Games with strict player numbers. I think most of the games I purchase should scale well. Please let me know if any on my unfinished list don't scale well or if you have an idea of one that would fit a hole I am missing.


Once again I just cannot thank you all enough!


Well. Nice list. +1 for For Sale, Ticket to Ride, Bohnanaza, and Shadow Hunters.

I think 7 Wonders is a must. Fun card game that plays the same with 3-7 players. Quick and fun. I can play that one all night.

Also think you should consider Smallworld and Carcassonne Hunters and Gatherers.
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Adam
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In regards to your choices...
Looks like a decent list. I have a few thoughts though.

First, Pandemic and Forbidden Island are extremely similar games and I recommend you only pick up one or the other. Spend the saved money on something with more variety. Forbidden Island is generally considered a "kid-friendly" Pandemic as it has a simplified (and therefore less interesting) gameplay experience. Pandemic is just "crunchy" enough to be allow a variety of interesting decisions for new-comers without being overwhelming. It's cooperative anyway so the old hats can help the others out.

Second, Shadow Hunters and The Resistance are also pretty similar, although not nearly as much as the aforementioned games. Still, since you're starting out and wanting a variety of games for a variety of gamers, I would pick one or the other. And by that I mean pick The Resistance because everyone likes it and Shadow Hunters stinks. I would consider both of those games "party games" too, in case that matters to you.

I'm surprised you didn't put Dominion on your list. It's widely enjoyed by many stripes of gamers. Is it because of the price?

I think I should have the greatest number of filler games and maybe drop down to 2 each of the party/main games?
It depends on your environment and attendees, really. Some party games can be a bit raucous (e.g., Time's Up) and therefore not jive well when others are trying to play more "intense" games like the ones in your "Main" section. I personally would tire of playing a series of filler games. It's like chowing on chips and popcorn. Eventually I need something with some meat and substance or I leave wanting. I think once you gather a crew of regular attenders, they're going to want a few games they can sink their teeth into. Basically, I'm suggesting to be wary of focusing too much on the lighter far or people may lose interest. Throw all that out the window if you're shooting for socialization over games though.

I would like a nice spread of different physical styles (Board, Cards, Dice, etc) to give almost an "implied" variation.
I wouldn't be too worried about a variety of "physical styles" of games. If people are seeing that there's more to gaming than 4 hour sessions of Monopoly, then you've won.

Which of these games do you think may have rules a little on the complicated side?
All of the games on your list have pretty basic rules. I'd be really surprised if you had trouble learning or explaining any of them. Pandemic and then Ticket to Ride would be the most "in-depth", but they're still well within most people's capabilities. If you do end up with questions, we here at BGG have got your back.

Any general types I've left out?
In regards to this question and your above question about different physical types, you don't have any dice-based games listed. King of Tokyo would fill in this gap well.

Any experience in the matter?
Some games' themes can be off-putting for some people, but all the games on your list have pretty neutral themes, with the exception of maybe The Resistance and Shadow Hunters. The Resistance is sort of a futuristic gov't versus rebels deal with pictures of sinister looking people and some artwork of guns. During the actual playing of that game though, the theme is rarely mentioned, which could be good or bad depending.
Shadow Hunters is slightly more theme-heavy. It's a supernatural world of evil creatures and the people that hunt them down. There are a lot of specific item cards like weapons or fantasy-ish trinkets that do thematically related things. I don't like Shadow Hunters, theme-wise or gameplay-wise, so I may not be the best person to ask about it.
You mentioned Arkham Horror briefly. While I personally thoroughly enjoy the game, it is most certainly not for beginners or people potentially sensitive to theme. The rulebook for that game is a beast, it can take hours to play, and characters get destroyed by ancient, evil gods. Just FYI.
King of Tokyo, like others have said, is probably a good fit for you. Unless people are put off by giant cartoon monsters duking it out with laser-beams and such.

Whew! There you go. Block o' text!
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