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My five favorite games to play with non-gamers.


The title for this is fairly self explanatory. These are titles that I like playing with people who are not gamers. These will be five specific titles. But, I my number one pick will be more of a philosophy rather than a specific game pick.

6. #Forbidden Island You could probably put in #Pandemic or #Forbidden Desert in this slot. But, these lighter coop games are great for putting a spark in a persons eyes, and they can be a very friendly game learning experience.

5. #Carcassonne This game is downright ancient in gamer terms. And, considering its age, its popularity is a indication how solid a game this is. People who have not been exposed to gaming love seeing how one builds the gameboard during play. And furthermore, this game is short enough, typcally, that they often want to play another round.

4. #Dominion: Second Edition It is true that the skilled domion player has to be a little careful not to too thouroughly beat the new player.  But, when they realize how they can build and customize their deck, their eyes often light up.

3. #Ticket To Ride Of course this had to be on the list. This is a classic game, and with good reason. It is beautiful, it has simple mechanics (it is basically a themed rummy), and it is such a tactile experience. But, it gives the players a certain control over their gamestate which they love.

2. #Catan It has become fashionable to hate on Catan. And, to be honest, I don't get why it gets so much hate. Of course, it has some weak points, but I challange you to find a game that teaches so many different mechanics in such a light package. In this one light game you have, area control, set collection, trading, negotiation, network building, etc...... In addition to that, you are involved on everybody's turn. You are watching what they roll to see if you get production, you are trading are refusing to trade with your opponents. There are people who will be turned off by it, they will think that it is to heavy on the negotiation etc..... But most non gamers love to see the amount of stuff you can do in a game that takes an hour(ish) to play.

1. Play whatever they want. Sometimes we as gamers get too hung up on the weight ratings. And we think that non gamers are somehow stupid, and can't grasp anything over a 2.3 on the bgg scale. But, when it comes to playing games with non players, the single most important component, in making sure the non player enjoyes him/herself, is their investment in the experience. The best way to have them invested is to let them pick, or help pick the game. The vast majority of modern boardgames can be played by non gamers. Of course, I recognize that these games might come easier to one who has been playing a long time, but they are still playable by the average adult. I met a man who's first hobby board game was #Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, and he was hooked from there on. I personally have taught or been involved in games, with new players, of #Scythe, #Race for the Galaxy, #Power Grid, #Agricola (Revised Edition), and #Puerto Rico. All of these games went over well. That is not a testament to me, or whoever the teacher was. That is a testament to the fact that the new players picked them , and were invested from the start. So, let them play what they want. Though, I would say that if it is a game you are not comfortable with, you might ask if they wouldn't be more interested in another game.

So, what have I done wrong? I know I left a lot of "gateway games" off the list, after all a list of five doesn't give me many options. But, which of your favorites did I leave off? Do you hate me for putting Catan on the list? What game was your gateway?

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Supporter5 months ago

Good choices.  For me the only thing that has really clicks with non gamers are party games.  I've tried to gateway my wife in and it just doesn't stick.  She does like#Sushi Go! though.

Supporter5 months ago

Your number 1 is something I wholeheartedly agree with. So much of a game is it's theme and if a person is really interested and absorbed in the theme, then the game will be easier to teach and learn. Definitely don't get in their way and help them learn. 

Supporter5 months ago

Great minds etc....... 

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