What’s a better name for “gateway” games?

Supporter

This discussion topic has been bouncing around in my head for a while. 

It seems to me that the terms “gateway” and “introductory” are almost... derogatory toward the games they get applied to. They seem to imply that the games that get labeled this way aren’t really worth the time of “serious” gamers. I don’t think that it’s right to label games in this fashion.

So - Let’s change it up then. What would be a better name for such a game? Or, do you think it’s fine as it is, and if so, why do you think that way? I’m curious to see what you all think!

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10 months ago

I generally use other games that are of equal complexity to reference a new game I might be telling someone about.  I do think "Gateway" is an undefined term and its been misunderstood by moth serious gamers and beginning gamers alike.  Setup, Turn Length, Options During Turn (Choices), and Strategic Weight all play significant roles and in many cases games like Wingspan offer ease of play at the entry/learning level with a greater complexity good the road as players grow more familiar with the game.  I think when folks generally refer to "Gateway" games they are thinking of the ease of getting someone to play a game that offers a complexity level they have not played at before. 

Given these dynamics I like the idea of referring to some games as "Induction" level games.  An induction game is one that lends itself toward engaging a player into a game complexity slightly above the level they currently play at.  So if a player has only played games such as Monopoly or Life then Splendor lends itself as an induction level game or Azul as these offer more strategical complexity with easy to engage mechanics and dynamics that tend to gradually encourage players to expand their game play strategy over a course of games. 

So Azul & Splendor are induction level games from family style games to light weight game (up to around 2.0 or 2.15 weight).  Wingspan, Stone Age, or Castles of Mad King Ludwig (base game) offer induction to the medium weight game (2.15 - 3.5).  Tapestry and Heaven & Ale offer good induction into a heavier weighted game (3.5 - 4.5). 

There is no induction past 4.5...just therapy after that.  

    

Supporter10 months ago

Lol to your last bit. 

Great thoughts and good examples. Thanks for your input. 

Supporter10 months ago

I hear what you're saying.  The alliteration of Gateway Games makes it hard to give up.  I think this is more on what some of gamers put on Gateway Games.  Beating up on them as if they are now too cool for them.  I have Gateway Games that I hate.  Not because it's a Gateway Game, I just never liked it.  I have games that are beyond Gateway Games that I don't care for either.  As far as filler games (I wish I had enough time to play a filler game truthfully, game nights are so far and few between that I don't have time for that).  

Supporter10 months ago

Sometimes fillers are all I have time for. 

I do agree that the alliteration makes it hard to give up. But with respect to @WadeB1977 I do sorta think that gateway actually makes sense, if considered as a attribute rather than as the whole description. 

Supporter10 months ago

Some words that I’ve been thinking of would be: Threshold, Portal, or Doorway. Of those I kind of like doorway the best. Although it sounds kind of stupid if you say it out loud. 

10 months ago

So would Munchkins be a kick down the doorway game?

Supporter10 months ago

Lol. No that’s a leave the room game. 

Supporter10 months ago

Lol

10 months ago

I don't feel that the term "gateway game" is derogatory in itself, but it's the way some gamers look down on those types of games that makes it so. Maybe those games are a little less mentally stimulating than the games we move on to, but they're still fun to play with friends and family, and shouldn't be looked down upon.

Supporter10 months ago

Absolutely correct. Gamers shouldn’t limit themselves from playing different types of games with different people. Just because you like more complicated games doesn’t invalidate the games that someone else likes. 

10 months ago

Agreed!  There are quite a few games out there that I do not enjoy playing as much and others that I tend to avoid.  I avoided Gloomhaven for a long time because I thought it seems to complicated for my tastes.  However, I was later proven wrong upon playing it.  Other games I thought I'd love I found to be less enjoyable than I imagined.  These days I'm more willing to try a new game style that I have been in the past because I've been pleasantly surprised many times.

Supporter10 months ago

I hear you. And I have thought about it many times. I haven't really been able to come up with anything I like better. 

I have finally decided that I am OK with gateway, or introductory, or family weight.... But, in my mind I consider more of a attribute than a full description. You look at a game listing on BGA or BGG and it usually has a lot of mechanisms listed under it. Game x has deckbuilding, but it is not a pure deckbuilder. In the same way I think of gataway as, game x has gateway capability, but it is not only a gateway. 

10 months ago

I'm of the same mind on this one. I can't come up with something I like better and think the word "Gateway" works pretty well. I look at it the same way I do the word "Filler". I don't love labeling games as such because I think it does a disservice to the game itself. However, I think they are both so universally understood, that they get the point across. 

What people need to do is not get bogged down with labels. "Gateway" and "Filler" games make up some of my absolute favorites. If people look down on games because of how they're labelled, that's on them. In order to grow the hobby, people need a Gateway.

Supporter10 months ago

Ooh. Filler is even worse in some ways. That word implies that the game is only worthy of filling in time between other games. I would use the word “shorter” instead of filler. 

Supporter10 months ago

Interestingly enough, I don't find filler problamatic. For me it just means that the game is short enough to play in small amount of time. For instance, race for the Galaxy is a filler in my mind, because I can play it two player in 30 minutes. But I have also had evenings when rftg was the focus game of the evening. Dominion and Innovation are two other games that I play as a filler and a destination game. 

Filler, is not a pejorative, at least not in my mind. It is a description of a game that you can play in short amount of time. Some of my favorite games are fillers, and I love that because I get to play them more often. 

10 months ago

A label can become pejorative and I think Filler is definitely closer to it than Gateway. Most people don't use it that way, but I've definitely encountered it.

I simply don't use filler as a term to describe games. I prefer to reference their complexity rating like light, medium, heavy, and everything in between. It gives a better idea of what to expect I think. Of course, casual gamers don't always know what you mean when you say a game is light. That's where explanation can open up the door to talk to them more about the hobby.

Supporter10 months ago

Sure, it can and is used as a pejorative. That is a attitude problem not a definition problem. 

Also I think that filler has more to do with length and less with complexity. Rftg is significantly more weighty and Monopoly. But, rftg can be a filler and monopoly isn't. 


Supporter10 months ago

I too quite like gateways and fillers.