Article Smallworld Underground

Published on October 18th, 2013 | by Nicole Jekich

How to Get A Friend Into Board Games

Like many people, I first started playing board games at the insistence of my boyfriend and friends. I grew up playing the basics like Monopoly and Rummikub but I never ventured outside of the selection of games found at Target. I had all the excuses too. Those board games don’t sound fun. I have other things to do. All those games seem too complicated. I had been hesitant to give board games a try but I am glad I did! It’s been three years since my first game of Smallworld and now I play on a regular basis and get to share my passion for board games here on Across the Board Games. I would like to share some suggestions for getting your girlfriend, boyfriend, platonic friend or family member to put aside their excuses and sit down to play board games with you. Who knows–maybe your friend will become a lover of games too!

Start with the Basics:

One of ATBG’s first and most popular articles is the Top 5 Games New Gamers Should Play First. I highly suggest starting with one of those recommended games or similar games such as Settlers of Catan, Munckin, Zombie Dice and Flashpoint as these tend to be rules-light, play in a reasonable amount of time and are geared towards a more casual gamer audience. Nothing turns away a new game convert faster than complicated rules system and long, daunting gameplay. So maybe keep Twilight Imperium and Descent on the shelf for another, more adventurous time.

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Find Out What She/He Likes:

I’m not about to get into relationship advice on this blog, however communication is also very important in learning a friend’s board game preferences. A new gamer may not know right away what games they like so ask them what he has enjoyed playing in the past or what themes or genres he enjoys. I loved playing Rummikub and thus I enjoy playing card and board games that have similar set collection mechanics, games like 7 Wonders, Glory to Rome and Battleline. I also tend to enjoy light-hearted fantasy themed games or games about food. Perfect games that fit those respective themes would be Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfrye or Food Fight. Getting recommendations for board or card games for new gamers is easy. In addition to Across the Board Games, the internet is an excellent resource; but even better would be a friendly community around your local game store.

Play with Friends or Visit a Friendly Local Game Store:

Venturing into the gaming world doesn’t have to be a journey made alone. After playing Smallworld Luke took me to our friendly local game store, Gamma Ray Games, for their weekly board game night. It was so much fun and I got introduced to many more games at a more rapid rate. Each week there was a new theme and a range of game options available.  I was exposed to different genres, strategies, gameplay, designers and learned so much about games from this community. In addition, game stores often keep a varied gaming library on hand to play and test out before making a purchase. I also met many more gamers and future friends at the store ranging from young to middle-age, men and women, novice and experienced gamers. Your local game store is a great way to meet others who like to play games, especially casual players.

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Visit a Con:

For those that can’t make it out to a game store on a regular basis but would still like to play games with other strangers on occasion should definitely attend conventions. We at Across the Board Games are lucky to live in Seattle where we are spoiled year-round with amazing cons like Go Play Northwest, Emerald City Comicon, Sakura-Con, Geek Girl Con and PAX Prime. I especially want to point out that Geek Girl Con is a fast-growing convention that puts women in the spotlight and works to build a positive, inclusive nerd culture for gamers of all types. Geek Girl Con ’13 will be in the Seattle Convention Center tomorrow (Oct 19 and Oct 20) and ATBG will be there to play games and meet awesome people!

Cons usually have a centralized nerd focus like anime, roleplaying games, etc but you can bet that there will always be a tabletop and board game area. Board games are the best ice breaker for cons and they let you meet people with similar interests while also expanding your friend’s experience with board games. Cons are also a great way to play a game that requires a lot of time or a lot of people.

Show Support and Encourage Experimentation:

Luke and I love playing games together but we have also realized that we have different game preferences. For example, Luke loves playing confrontational games with friends like Caylus, Cosmic Encounter and Twilight Imperium where as I prefer to avoid that entire list. I enjoy playing casual party games and dice games like Cranium, Mascarade and Zombie Dice more than he cares to play. At this point, your friend might be interested in exploring games on his own or buying games that he or she enjoys playing. Play a game of your friend’s choosing or better yet show your friend Kickstarter and let him fund independent projects into existence. I could tell that Luke actually held back a tear of pride when I told him that I bought a couple Kickstarter games for myself because I wanted to play them.

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About the Author

Nicole Jekich

came from humble beginnings as a Boise suburbanite with a love of Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. She attended an open board game day three years ago and is now an avid gamer and fantasy artist. Her interests are primarily in Dungeons & Dragons, dice placement and Roman-themed tabletop games. Nicole is also a fan of playing games that let her release her inner barbarian. Her favorite game currently is Far Space Foundry.



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