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Subject: Experience using it as a Gateway game? rss

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Thomas Casson
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this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.
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Simon Woodward
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It takes a little while to explain, and there are a bunch of icons (e.g. on the yellow cards). There are some gamer elements that will be unfamiliar to newbies, e.g. the green card scoring.

It also needs to be played fast, I've had someone who needed to have every card explained to them, and it was torture for everyone else. So it depends on the people.
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Chef D
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Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.


There are many on this site that think that 7 Wonders is a simple game. And it is if you are familiar with the many game mechanisms that are in 7 Wonders. For someone not introduced to these concepts it can seem a bit hard to grasp the flow of the game. I have introduced this to non-gamers and it is tough. The icons take a few games to understand and teaching it to a large group of non-gamers can be a challenge especially if there is even light drinking involved. I would stick with a party game if you want to have good gaming success.
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Runcible Spoon
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Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.


Card drafting games are tough for any first time player because to play well requires intimate knowledge of the the available cards, likely strategies to be employed as well as some idea of typical end game states.

With that said, I have taught this to some light-gamers (typical games of scrabble, chess etc. plus new weird ones like carcassone with no expansions) and they did fine with it BUT there where som "I don't really get it yet" comments in the first game.

Good thing we played more than 1 game

During the second game there were a lot more people saying that 'they get it.' I think that is just part of the typical learning experience for almost any sufficiently complex game (not the 7 wonders is really complex, but compared to monopoly I think it is).

Also, have a printed color symbol cheat sheet for each individual at the table and make use of it as you teach. It helps a ton in my experience. Also, don;t be afraid to mention some of the strategies (going for military, or science etc.) It will give them some ideas of the goal directed nature of the game.

Good luck, and whatever game you choose I hope you have fun.
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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This is a light gamer's game, not ideally a gateway game. A lot of the symbology and resource management is derivative of other games and not as accessible as we might think to a newbie. Also simultaneous action is stressful if you're very slow, so it plays best with gamers who can whip through it.

I loaned the base game to a friend who wanted to play it with his wife and another couple, none of whom gamed. Unmitigated disaster. They should have stuck with Apples to Apples (or maybe Carcassonne).
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Igor Knop
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I did not have good experiences using it as a gateway game. People can play it after a while, but the iconography it's a little too much for them.
On card games I had better results with using Dixit (ice breaker), For Sale and Dominion (first preset scenario).
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Jason Miceli
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Agree that this is not a great gateway game. A fantastic game, but not a gateway.

I have a good two part post about great gateway games, where this one is discussed to a degree - take a gander!

Part 1: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/6041/whats-your-gatewa...

Part 2: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/6197/whats-your-gatewa...

Enjoy!
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manukajoe wrote:
It also needs to be played fast, I've had someone who needed to have every card explained to them, and it was torture for everyone else. So it depends on the people.
THat's a rare breed... most pepole just say "let's just start the game and learn as we go", wherein someone will play a card or do something, and then we put the game on hold to explain the game anyways.

.

Funguy wrote:
The icons take a few games to understand and teaching it to a large group of non-gamers can be a challenge especially if there is even light drinking involved. I would stick with a party game if you want to have good gaming success.
yuksoblue I don't want to sound like that guy, but the bigger issue sounds like getting drinks spilled on the cards. I've seen somebody's copy like that, and man do those cards warp.

.

Runcible Spoon wrote:
With that said, I have taught this to some light-gamers (typical games of scrabble, chess etc. plus new weird ones like carcassone with no expansions) and they did fine with it BUT there where som "I don't really get it yet" comments in the first game.

Yeah, one thing I learned with teaching eurogame initiates is for your first game, just focus on getting the rules and mechanics right. Worry about strategy later.
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Dennis de Vries
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If your friends know monopoly, they will certainly learn 7 Wonders quickly. My parents (in their 50's now) didn't know any other ('board')game than Monopoly and Risk (they did know chess and the like). They learned to play Settlers of Catan in no time and 7 Wonders happened in just 2 to 3 games (which were played in 1 evening) and they even bought the game!

Me and my wife visited a friend (in her 20's) who didn't want 'difficult' games, because she really never wanted to play games (almost no experience whatsoever). We brought 7 Wonders, played 3 games that evening. After the first game my friend knew how to play it ('Hey, this is fun! This is a game I understand immediately! I think I can win!') and even won the second game (with the Cities expansion included! So even more symbols...)

Remember to play at least 2, maybe 3 games of 7 Wonders in a row. Game 1 is just for learning and getting to know the cards. And something about the symbols: there are cheat sheets included (one overview, one side of a page, easy to read, easy to have it with the game).

Have fun!
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Marcel
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7 wonder is a very easy and quick game to teach to gamers who are familiar with the basic concepts of many games.

With all it's simple gameplay though, I actualy do not recomend 7 wonders as a gateway game. There are too many different things going on at the same time, which can be very confusing, and then there is the symbology to learn etc.




Menghini wrote:
If your friends know monopoly, they will certainly learn 7 Wonders quickly........
The examples that you give here were cases of you teaching it to 1 or 2 non-gamers at a time. Teaching it to 6 non-gamers at a time will be a lot harder.
 
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Laurence Parsons
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I've had no problems teaching it to new players. It might take a game for it to click, but that usually results in them wanting to have another game right away.
 
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Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.
Seems like we have what's often referred to as "non gamers". Not all of them are created equal. Some of them have a hard time matching colors, like when playing Ticket To Ride (no, they're NOT color blind). 1 of them had a hard time learning Kingsburg, which is NOT a good sign since it's the game that most nongamers not only enjoy, but understand by round 2 or 3 of the game out of 5 rounds/years. It's hard to recognize some of these people without "testing the waters", but if you have a feeling some folks are gonna be like this, then you may want to get gateways games like Ticket To Ride, or even Aquadukt (if it's still available )

With 7W, it should "click" with most people after a few turns, or 1 round of gameplay. In fact, many of the games I've witnessed with newcomers do end up working out this way... they know how things work soon enough. WHile this can be a new concept, they should be able to follow what are still relatively simple instructions (the workplace or military will call for this anyways). Winning is another matter entirely, but with up to 7p and enough newbies there are good odds that one of them will win. I know from experience that the experienced players often spend a dispproportionate amount of time answering questions, explaining things, and making sure rules are being followed that that helps level the playing field.

when you explain the game, make sure you provide visual examples (e.g. these are teh 7 types of resources, and show them actual pictures from the brown/gray cards, and from certain wonders). When explaining gameplay, go through a visual example, and perhaps even do a mock round. Otherwise, just explaining to them orally something like card drafting does no good since they never had a reference for what that procedure/mechanic was.
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Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.


Epic Fail. You want to have fun, don't you?

I would break out into two 4-player games of something else. That is right in the wheelhouse of fun. You could probably get in two games each of something not so convoluted as 7-Wonders. And, what are the chances of you getting a copy of the game that is not defective? I give it 50/50, tops.

Caveat: I hate this company, so big grain of salt. I heard they shipped all the remaining defective stuff to Britain, by the way...just sayin'.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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markgravitygood wrote:
Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.


Epic Fail. You want to have fun, don't you?

I would break out into two 4-player games of something else. That is right in the wheelhouse of fun. You could probably get in two games each of something not so convoluted as 7-Wonders. And, what are the chances of you getting a copy of the game that is not defective? I give it 50/50, tops.

Caveat: I hate this company, so big grain of salt. I heard they shipped all the remaining defective stuff to Britain, by the way...just sayin'.


The copies of the game here (mine and people I know) are fine. But I agree a 7P game of this with total noobs (non-gamers at that) is NOT the way to go.

King of Tokyo would be much better as a gateway game, although it's only up to 6...
 
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Ben Los
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If you carefully plan out how you're going to explain the instructions and do it visually with a couple deck-stacked demo turns, non-gamers can grasp the basics.

Here are some tips:
1. Find a concise, clear way to explain the fact that resources are renewable.

2. Never refer to the act of buying a neighbor's resources as "buying." Instead, call it "paying to borrow."

3. They will understand blue cards fairly easily. Make double-sure they are clear on how to use resources to get blue cards before moving on to the other, more complicated types of cards.

4. Your explanation for red cards should be akin to this: "At three different points throughout the game, we'll stop, tally up the number of shield symbols we all have, and if you have more than your neighbor, you get points. If you have fewer, you lose points." Then visually provide an example with the victory and loss tokens. Don't mention the 3-point tokens or 5-point tokens until the start of Age II and Age III, respectively.

5. The trading post should be defined as a "discount" whenever you buy "those resources" from the neighbor with the arrow pointing at him.

6. Leave your entire explanation of green cards to this: "These are science-themed buildings. If you collect a lot of these, you can rack up points... exponentially. Because your civilization knows more about science." Then show them the rulebook's visual example. Ask if they have questions about the image.

7. Don't confuse them by trying to help explain advanced tactics. For example, don't even mention guilds until you reach the third age, and don't mention a thing about trying to "steal" their neighbr's most-needed cards. They can figure some of these things out on their own, and that's half the fun when you're a new player.

8. Acknowledge that it's hard to understand everything in their first game. The first game is for practice, and they should ask questions about anything. It's not shameful to show one's hand and have you walk them through their options. Also, keep the symbol guide handy, because it will definitely be needed in the third age, with guilds.

Remember, visually act it all out and narrate your thoughts. By the end of the second age, they'll "get it," and by their second game, they'll only be asking questions about the unique symbols.
 
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Stephen McHale
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Thomas Casson wrote:
this is on my radar, but does anyone have experience of playing this with people whose idea of a classic game is monopoly? they don't play a lot games much. and i have 7 people coming this Christmas.. all in their 20's.


Thomas,

Let us know what game you ended up going with, I am curious.
 
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Boojie wrote:

2. Never refer to the act of buying a neighbor's resources as "buying." Instead, call it "paying to borrow."
What's wrong with saying "buying"?

IIRC, the rulebook uses the term "commerce", so I went with that.

8. I will say that when you teach "chaining", use that word instead of "prerequisite". The latter implies that a building like Baths is needed before you can build Aqueduct.
 
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Ben Los
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ackmondual wrote:
What's wrong with saying "buying"?

For experienced players, nothing is wrong with using that word, but I had an occasion in which several players though that "buying" meant you take something away from the seller, i. e. their whole resource card.

On another note, I discovered a thread with a much more detailed and more organized teaching plan than what I offered: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/807451/how-to-teach-7-wonder...
 
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Jo Chapman
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ackmondual wrote:
What's wrong with saying "buying"?


I've run into issues with 'buying' too - usually thinking that if they've 'bought' the resource from their neighbour they're free to use it for the rest of game without needing to 'buy' it again.

When this comes up I tend to explain it as buying a shipment which is just enough to build their current card.
 
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Greg Taylor
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kaziam wrote:
This is a light gamer's game, not ideally a gateway game.


thumbsup This exactly. Too complex for the gateway crowd.

In my opinion, anything with more than a few rules is too complex for the gateway crowd.

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lindyhopper wrote:
kaziam wrote:
This is a light gamer's game, not ideally a gateway game.


thumbsup This exactly. Too complex for the gateway crowd.

In my opinion, anything with more than a few rules is too complex for the gateway crowd.

The more precise term would probably be "aspiring euro-gamers". They've never played games like Settlers Of Catan, but if you spend the 5 to 20 minutes rules explanation on them, they'll be abel to learn the game after a few turns or at game's end. It's the ones that were never interested in these sorts of games nor have the capacity for such games that you'll need games that can be explained in 2 minutes or less. Try to teach them 7W and these folks ismply won't get it.
 
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It looks like I'm a day late and dollar short. Personally I have had great success with 7 Wonders as a gateway game. I've played it with many groups that have not been into gaming but at the same time they have been eager to learn. For me this has been a good game to take out on holidays and family events. Three different people that I have played the game with that have not played it before and are not "gamers" have purchased the game after playing it.

I think the learning curve comes with learning what each type of card does then deciphering the different card symbols from there. I always keep the games light and fun and suggest that players ask about cards if they have any questions. Typically there are lots of questions about the different symbols. Beyond that I agree with the thread that the borrowing of goods from your neighbors can be a stumbling point. One thing I really like about 7 Wonders is once someone has played it once it's fast to play again. It's also great for larger groups beings it can be played with 7 players and now 8 players with the cities expansion.

A note on the science cards, generally I tell new players that green (science) is worth points and the cards build on each other but tell them not to worry about the scoring until the end of the game. When I do this I do not focus my game on science either and everything seems to come out pretty well. Technically the blue cards are more powerful in the game then the science is anyway. At the end of the game I go over the scoring for each player and even if someone didn't have a great first game they usually have a superb second game.

When new players are involved do not use either expansion, just adds more to explain instead of playing. I did use cities once when I had a mix of gamers and non-gamers, that actually worked better than I thought, it helped that the gamers could answer questions as the game went on.

That's just my experience so far.
 
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