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Best gateway game

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#1 tombrun



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Posted 06 August 2013 - 09:06 AM

I'm thinking about starting a new gaming group with three other people. The only game they've played (outside of Monopoly and the usual children's games) is Settlers of Catan. We've only met once and played Settlers. They said they were interested in other games too, but since I only own FFG games, it might be a little too much for them in the beginning.


But since I HAVE to choose from my shelf of games, these are the games I own. Any suggestion to which of these I should start with? I've played them all with other friends, but I wouldn't know the best gateway game from this list.


  1. A Game of Thrones (second edition base game only)
  2. A Game of Thrones LCG (base game only)
  3. Android
  4. Arkham Horror (with all expansions and investigator minis)
  5. BattleLore (with 7 expansions)
  6. Battlestar Galactica (with 2 expansions)
  7. Chaos in the Old World (with 1 expansion)
  8. Civilization (with 1 expansion)
  9. Cosmic Encounter (with all expansions)
  10. Descent: Journeys in the Dark (second edition base game only)
  11. Fury of Dracula
  12. Gears of War (base game only)
  13. Lord of the Rings, 2000 (base game only)
  14. Mansions of Madness (base game only)
  15. Nexus Ops
  16. Rex: Final Days of an Empire
  17. Runebound (with all expansions)
  18. Runewars (with 1 expansion)
  19. Talisman (with 7 expansions)
  20. Tannhäuser (base game only)
  21. Tide of Iron (base game only)
  22. Twilight Imperium (with 2 expansions)
  23. Warhammer: Invasion LCG (base game only)


Older games:


  1. A Game of Thrones (first edition with 1 expansion)
  2. Descent: Journeys in the dark (first edition with all expansions)
  3. Doom (base game only)
  4. Starcraft (with 1 expansion)
  5. Warcraft (with 1 expansion)
  6. World of Warcraft (with 2 expansions)


Any suggestions as to where to begin will be gladly appreciated.


PS: Sorry about my bad english. I'm from Norway :-)

#2 subochre



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Posted 06 August 2013 - 10:14 AM

Man!  I haven't played most of those, but yeah, it looks like you've got your work cut out for you.  A lot depends on your group; if your goal at the outset is just to find a game that won't scare them away, Cosmic Encounter is pretty easy to learn, but it doesn't have that much in common with most of your other games, so I'm not sure how gateway-ish it is. 

On the other hand (and since you're here ;)), I will say that Arkham Horror has roped in a surprising number of my formerly nongamer friends.  It's really intimidating, true, but if you think these folks won't run from the sight of a huge board with a billion pieces, open-information cooperative games are often the best for new players, since you can provide a basic overview to start and then worry about explaining the intricacies of strategy and mythos timing rules and so on as the game progresses.  And once they've done AH, they'll be ready for anything ^_^

#3 Julia


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Posted 06 August 2013 - 11:26 AM

Settlers is quite an easy game. Most of the strategy lies in the initial placement of the settlements, then it's just a matter of how bad you roll your dice. More or less. FFG games are somehow advanced when compared to Settlers, so prepare the guys to what's about to come.

As for from where to start, I'd suggest you to start with a coop game (hence, Arkham or Gears of War). In this way, the most experienced player (you) can help the others to learn the rules and learn how to play an "advanced" boardgame. Then, after some games, move on to semi-coop (1 against many): Dracula & first edition Descent (scenarios from the base set are really didactic), with you being Dracula / the Overlord (2nd edition Descent could also work because of the experience done with Gears of War; nonetheless, I dislike the game per se, hence the idea of 1st edition). In this way you will force them to rely only on themselves (and not on you like in the full coop) and become stronger players.

Then go with whatever you want, they are ready to war.

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#4 Lilikin



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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:22 PM

My experience it's about Genre, I couldn't get a fantasy or a Sci Fi past the wife but she loves Mansions for the Roleplay (although it's not obviously a RPG in the standard term)  she likes the setting.


You need to work out the sort of movies/books they like and try and bring that in.  Mansions/Descent type games are good as they all one person to effectively hero the rules while they are learning them.  As long as you know them it should be a good game and in my experience they will start picking up the rules pretty quickly

Wait lassie what's that noise? A few people telling FFG on a forum how to make their own games, well lassie that told them

I have three more ships than you so my opinion is twice as valid!!

#5 tombrun



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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:23 PM

Thanks for the tips! I really agree with both of you. Cosmic Encounter might be a way to go, but like subochre said, it doesn't have much in common with the rest of my games. I was actually concidering either AH or Descent 1st edition because of the reasons Julia stated. I dislike Descent 2 myself, so I don't think I'm gonna introduce them to it. If they like it, they might not like D1...


Gears of War and Dracula aren't my favorite games either, so I'm probably gonna wait a bit with those two. But I don't know if they like what I like. My absolute favorite is Twilight Imperium, but maybe I should wait a bit with that one :-)

#6 Julia


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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:36 PM

Aye, Twilight is great but it's also... overwhelming...

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#7 tombrun



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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:46 PM

What about Runebound? Not my favorite game, but it's easy enough and it's not gonna ruin anything for the other games.

#8 Julia


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Posted 06 August 2013 - 04:08 PM

Never played it, sorry buddy! Can't help

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#9 Pac_Man3D



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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:10 PM

We got our non-gamer friends into boardgames with Talisman. We billed it as "like Monopoly, but epic, and rather than bankrupt, you get to slay each other (as well as dragons)". They loved the theme, the straightforward (largely luck-driven) mechanics and the opportunities for delicious backstabbery. Since then we've introduced them to Mansions of Madness, Robo Rally and the CoC LCG. Next time it will probably be Arkham Horror...

#10 Jake yet again

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:50 PM

From that list I'd choose Fury of Dracula and make sure you play Drac himself. This'll allow you to judge how the game is going and fudge it to make it interesting.


Option 2: BSG. Play the base set only and do not introduce the Cylons til the first half. This gives the humans a chance to see how the game plays before the traitor element is added.

Edited by Jake yet again, 09 August 2013 - 03:20 PM.

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#11 El Mariachi

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:51 PM

Ouch, I'll have to counter that last post (sorry Jake, nothing personal). In my experience, Fury of Dracula can go really badly with new players (especially those new to boardgames in general) because with the wrong group, it can be an intensely boring experience for the hunters. It's a game which (my group has found) is generally only fun for Dracula. Your view may vary of course.


I'm tempted to say Arkham Horror (maybe with one minor expansion such as Dark Pharaoh without the herald as he's quite tough!) although Battlestar Galactica can be a good choice (providing the new players clearly understand what to do if they end up a cylon and you're not unluckly enough to get a game without cylon attack cards). I've had quite a bit of luck getting people into boardgames via Doom...


Hope that helps a bit!





#12 dj2.0



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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:29 PM

It is probably easier to eliminate from that list. I only know a few personally, but i can help with those-

Eliminate MoM because there are issues in the base game that would not go down well as part of an entry game situation.
Eliminate Fury because of the reasons just noted.
Thrones lcg because you have 4 players and only the base set. Not ideal for an entry experience.

Thats 3 down and of the games remaining in your list i know AH, Cosmic and Talisman. Interestingly from 3 different genres. Perhaps pick based on that? If not, by rules AH is the most complicated - not complex but complicated. There is a difference. An aeroplane is complicated but a mayonnaise, that's complex. So we are talking about a lot of bits which gives everyone a niche task to manage, and its co-op so you will all lose or all win and that is a perfect entry game situation.

Edited by dj2.0, 09 August 2013 - 11:30 PM.

#13 Dr.Faust



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Posted 10 August 2013 - 04:49 AM

Arkham Horror or Elder Signs, though, that one isn't on your list. I agree with everyone though that says play the co-op games (or Descent, since I've heard that labeled as a gateway game specifically on at least two counts). I am going to try and get a working group for Arkham myself like, tonight even, so we'll see how it goes. All the same, Arkham is just complicated looking, like dj said. The base game, as most anyone with experience on here will tell you, is simple, and the first time I played through with new players (using Azathoth for simplicity's sake) we won and I think I only fudged by drawing Mythos cards every other round instead of every round.


The best way I explain it is this: Close the Gates. That's the whole point. If the player has enough Clue tokens to seal the gate, then let them know, but otherwise, just tell them about that at the outset and then let them do what they want. The less strategy, as Julia noted, the less overwhelming it will be for them. In all things, remember KISS (Keep. It. Super. Simple.)


The hardest thing that I seem to have with new gamers is the concept of the 'First Player' since most everyone is used to the idea of everyone always going the same turn order every turn. That, I admit, has stymied me in some ways with my more--petulant friends, who are excited when suddenly they get to go first one turn and then next turn have to go last! XD

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