Many people struggle with not being able to get people to play board games with them once they've started working on their collection. Maybe they even have one or two people to play with (often a spouse, roommate, or best friend) but the fact is that most board games play better with more than 2 or 3 people. Many great board games can't even be played with less than 3!
So, wouldn't it be nice if you could "convert" people you already know into board game players? Of course it would.
Introducing: The Gateway Game!
Here's the thing: many people who aren't into board games feel the way they do because they think board games fall into two categories:
1) Trivial games that are only fun for children
2) "Geeky" board games that are not social, too complex, and would be boring to a casual player
And they're completely wrong! But if your goal is to show them that, then you'll need to show them a game or two that is a nice "middle-ground" between the two extremes.
You'll want a game that shows them that board games can be fun for adults, and without being overly complex! Here's where you have to be careful -- you have to pick the right game.
The sort of game that will grab their respect and attention because of its elegance and depth, yet also impress and amaze them that it was so easy to learn.
To that end, I am going to tell you about a few "gateway games." These games tend to be fun for everyone, from the hardcore to the absolute newbie.
3 Gateway Games to Introduce New Gamers To:
The Settlers of Catan has achieved mainstream success in a way that most strategic could only dream of. I find that of all of the board games in my collection (barring Monopoly and other "classics") that Settlers of Catan garners the most recognition from random people I have over.
And you know what? Everyone loves this game. It has loads of player interaction, it's very tactical, and it can be taught to a new person very easily, or even "as you go along."
The Settlers of Catan's success is not by accident. And if you find someone who has never played it before, there's a good chance that they'll want to play more of your board games after they get a kick out of this one.
Click Here to Read my Full Review on The Settlers of Catan (opens in a new window, so you can keep reading)
Pandemic is a very interesting game to those you want to get into board games, because it tends to have elements that they've never seen before.
Most importantly, Pandemic is an entirely cooperative game. Every player works on a "team" as you work together to try and rid the world of diseases.
That team aspect is a large part of what makes Pandemic such a great "Gateway Game." It's VERY easy to teach "as you go", because you are working together anyway. Their success is your success, so there is no conflict of interest!
Pandemic is a game that you can jump right into, and trust me -- this game impresses. It's tense and exciting, extremely challenging, and no two games play the same.
After playing this game with my girlfriend and me for the first time, my elderly father actually started looking for his own copy of Pandemic to purchase, and also asked me to recommend OTHER games for him!
Click Here to Read my Full Review on Pandemic (opens in a new window, so you can keep reading)
Dominion is an amazing game. It's a card game that's so ridiculously simple yet extremely addictive, because the game changes every time and the amount of different strategies you can use is immense.
This game actually took the hardcore board game world by storm when it was released, because it was the "freshest" game to come out in a while. However, it's also extremely appealing to casual players at the same time, making this a perfect game to bridge the casual and the hardcore.
Click Here to Read my Full Review on Dominion (opens in a new window, so you can keep reading)
This is Not the End
I could go on and on about more gateway games to recommend. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface, and the 3 I picked here were largely "at random."
Thing is, I didn't want to make this list unreadably long. I wanted to keep it short and sweet, and give you a few ideas of games you can use to get people into board games.
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