Gateway Games

Hoping one day  you can convert your spouse or friend over to your gaming religion? Perhaps you’ve already tried getting them to play a few games but they left with blank stares and glazed eyes.

Although you might be excited about gaming, sometimes your “easy to play” favorite is a little too much for a starting player and that can lead to game day shutdown. So here’s a sure-fire way to get even the most fickle to play a few games. 

There are three things you have to keep in mind when introducing new players to a game .

The Setup: Is the set up time lengthy? It might seem weird to you but a large and lengthy game setup can be pretty intimidating to new players. They’re left looking at the board and envisioning four hours of frustrating rules and questions. Don’t scare your players before the game even begins!

The Rules: Speaking of rules you want to make sure the first game they play has a simple rule system but gives them more depth than Monopoly. Generally I focus on games that require the player to make only a few actions on their turn. This limits how confusing the game will be overall.

Gaming Style:  Everyone likes playing something different and sometimes  figuring out what they like to play is the key to unlocking their gaming future with you. So make sure not to force what you want to play. Instead ask them which games they enjoy the most and then tailor your choices to help them find more games they’ll enjoy.

Here’s my personal go to list of introductory games.

Card Dice Euro Mini CO-OP
Starter Love Letter King of Tokyo Ticket to Ride Mice and Mystics Forbidden Island
Mid  Smash Up Machi Koro Revolution! Golum Arcana Pandemic
Gamer Ready MTG Quarriors Lords of Waterdeep X-Wing Dead of Winter

What do you use as your starter game for new players?

One comment

  1. While it’s been OOP for a while, Pirateer from the Mendocino Game Company is a huge starter game. The rules are easy enough to understand, setup takes about 10 seconds, and there are enough variants to the rules to keep it interesting.

    It doesn’t hurt that the OOP status has elevated the price, so non-gamers who think board games are beneath them can appreciate monetarily the value of board games.

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