I got into board games fairly recently and like any recent convert I'm introducing everyone I can to board games. It's a great way to spend time with friends after dinner outside of playing Super Smash Bros or watching a movie. I want to be able to see their faces and have side conversations while spending time with them.
I ended up buying growing my collection of games to a little over 30 in just a few months and was having a blast playing something new every week!
I'm proud to report I even have a shelf of shame with 4 games that I haven't gotten to play through yet. I'm slowly working my way through the collection and will get to them soon but I've been noticing something lately. I'm starting to sense a shift in the way I play games and the ones I suggest when a friend comes over.
Easy to Teach Games
I've been realizing that I'm playing board games more often with friends that I didn't play with last week. I find myself not really getting to go deep into the hobby with more than just one or two people who are often not available so I try and scramble together a few other friends I know and I continually go back to the same few games. I end up choosing games that are still fun for me but are easy to approach for newer gamers.
1. Skull - Quick to teach, Quick to play, Serious Strategy
Skull is especially easy to throw in a backpack when going to a friends house which is one of the other reasons it's a go to. The simple betting structure and quick matches make it great. The additional amazing subtle feature of the game is that strategies continue to change the longer you play with the same people. You start trying to read what they're doing and change up your own game to bring out victories you wouldn't have gotten otherwise.
I recommend starting by never bluffing for the first few rounds. The reputation that you always play it straight makes bluffing later on way more effective.
2. Dominion - Seems Overwhelming but Easy to teach and replay-able
I try to get Dominion to the table whenever I can. Especially now that I just got Intrigue. The rules explanation with the quick "A, B, C" turn structure make it so easy to get everyone into the game quickly. I love that the box comes with 500+ cards and the custom setups makes new gamers nervous thinking it'll take forever to learn and be too complicated. Learning this game and grasping the strategy within just a few minutes has been something that has gotten my friends to try bigger and more complex games.
3. Railroad Ink - Scales in Player Count and Feels Unique
I heard about Railroad Ink from Shut Up & Sit Down and instantly added it to my collection of games that I use to introduce people to games. It's so portable and easy to bring for any number of players (even solo) that it jumps in my backpack with Skull when I'm going to a friends house.
4. Pandemic: Iberia - A Coop that I Mostly Enjoy Playing
I say mostly because I only bring it out when it seems like the group would want to play something cooperative. I never feel like playing cooperative games just due to my love of competition. If there's a story or legacy element that put's us all in it together working toward a goal then I'm all in on that. Games like Pandemic tend to lead to quarterbacking and I'd rather test my strategy skills against other players over the game's mechanics.
Fitting In The Rest
I've been staring at Gloomhaven for a few weeks without getting it to the table. I have a few other games like Dice Throne which I haven't played yet and Root which I've only played once and would love to open up as well. Although I have the desire to bring it out and play, I think I need to establish a more consistent group of friends to play with before I'm able to really dive deep into the games that I want to spend more time on.