Help a Board Game Beginner

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So I have never played board games beyond games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, or Sorry. With all the talk about board games on the show and on the site lately, I want to jump in.

I was thinking of starting by buying just two (maybe three if there was a REALLY good third one) board games to start off my collection? What would you guys suggest for a board game beginner?

I hear a lot about Cash And Guns, is that game really good? More importantly, is it good for a beginner? Also, I am looking for games that can be played with about 4 people.

Sounds like Settlers of Catan would be just about perfect. It has one of those "easy to learn, difficult to master" learning curves, and everyone I've introduced to it has had fun their first time out. It requires skill but there's enough luck involved that you're never really out of it, and if you get bored with the main ruleset you can tack on the Cities and Knights expansion, which really deepens the game a lot (there are others, but that's the best IMO).

There's tons of other fun stuff like Puerto Rico, old-school Axis and Allies, etc., but they're for after you get your feet wet.

Cash and Guns is fun, but I think it's more of a filler game than a mainstay. I'd say start with something small but with lots of replay, like San Juan or Dominion.

I'm hardly a board game pro, but I'd recommend Carcassonne: very easy rules that allow for very strategic gameplay, simple setup and cleanup, and it scales pretty well from 2-4 players. Some of the scoring rules may make you tear your hair out (e.g. Those Godd*mn Farms), but those all come at the end and aren't as much of an issue, once you get the hang of them.

Ticket to Ride as well as the other ones suggested.

I've had the best luck introducing friends and family to board gaming outside of Monopoly using the Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Blokus, and Tikal.

Ticket to Ride and Blokus in particular are are great ones to introduce to a group of people because the rules and objectives are extremely easy to convey, yet there's plenty of fun and strategy to be had despite the simple foundation.

If you are a fan of Battlestar Galactica you can't go wrong with the BSG board game. It is a fantastic game that combines co-op and traitor gameplay, and it stays very true to the series themes. I would also second the Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride recommendations. Finally, you should definitely browse Board Game Geek for suggestions. BGG, has a very comprehensive list of boardgames with tags, community ratings, and discussion boards.

Settlers. Good, entry level Euro game that will bring much strategery to your table top.

BSG is WAY the deep end of the pool -- very long, complex, etc.

Start with some basics that introduce interesting strategic elements:

Ticket to Ride
Carcassonne
Small World
Bohnanza
San Juan

All easy to pickup, all introduce some nice basic elements. I'd add Modern Art for a bidding game, or even flinke pinky/loco

Cash n Guns isn't a board game, it's really just a press-your-luck party game. But damned fun. Drinking recommended.

rabbit wrote:

BSG is WAY the deep end of the pool -- very long, complex, etc.

It is definitely a long game with a big rulebook, but my friends and I who aren't huge board game nerds still had a blast with it. I keep getting asked when we're going to get together another session of it.

I'd second that BSG is not for beginners. It's a complex ruleset, as well as the game itself being strategically complex.

Big shout out to Settlers, but a bigger one to Blokus. It's exceptionally simple, but with huge scope for strategy.

Ticket to Ride is a fantastic starting point. It is bright and colorful so it looks nice set up on the table and it is also extremely easy to learn. There are several versions; I'd go with the standard (has a map of the USA) but any version will do.

For a second starter game, I'd take a look at either Bohnanza or For Sale. Both are really simple card games that are easy to teach and quite a bit of fun to play. The theme and art on Bohnanza is really bizarre (you are bean farmers trading beans) so that may be a help or hindrance in getting people to try it out. For Sale is all about buying and selling real estate, something everyone can associate with easily and the artwork is great. I think out of everything in my collection For Sale may be the best bang for the buck.

Really anything in this thread is good, though. I would also avoid Battlestar Galactica if you are just starting off. It is a great game - I love it - but it's not a great starting point.

As someone who was in a similar position, Settlers is a great place to start. I've never really gone further than that due to a lack of interest with people I know but I had a lot of fun with it and found it easy enough to get into but with lots of depth once you do.

Plus with Settlers you can introduce your friends to the "have wood for sheep" gag which never gets old.

Everyone I've played Dominion with seems to like it. It only takes a game to learn and games usually end in 30-45 minutes. It's just a card game though; no actual "board" is used.

A lot of great suggestions here. I'll just throw in one more that's a favorite of mine and has been liked by every non-boardgamer I've played it with: RoboRally.

There is a lot of luck in the game play, but there's nothing like trying to guide your increasingly broken robot around a maze of lasers, pits, conveyer belts, and crushers while everyone else is doing the same and trying to kill you.

The Great Space Race is in a similar vein — but can play long.

What kind of themes (genres) do you like?

Do you like more abstract games (like Chess, or Go)?

Card games, or traditional board games?

A mix of both?

Personally, I am more into heavily-themed games, and typically I dislike games with a theme I dislike. For instance, farming and realistic trading games...ugh. These bore me. While the mechanics are sound, I simply have no interest in simulating a mundane real life activity within a game.

I want adventure, and big ideas!

Horror themed: Fury of Dracula - this game is awesome. A little on the complex side for beginners, but I really dig this one.

Fantasy Themed: Talisman - as simple as can be, but also really fun. Roll the dice, move around the board, fight monsters and get stuff. It's like Diablo, but without the mouse clicking.

Sci-F- themed: Robo Rally (May be OOP again, so scoop up a copy on ebay - soon!)

Card based: Dominion is amazing.

Munchkin
is a ton of fun as well, just keep the group down to 4 max.

Mag-Blast is a fun card-based sci-fi shoot 'em up.

Dungeoneer is a fun little card-based dungeon crawler with an interesting mechanic for handling encounters.

wonderpug wrote:

Plus with Settlers you can introduce your friends to the "have wood for sheep" gag which never gets old.

Not to mention providing a valid outlet for excessive pluralisation...

"2 woodses for 3 sheeps?"

Wow! Awesome suggestions everyone! I must say, that Robo rally game looks awesome!

I had always been thinking of picking up Catan, Carcassion or Ticket to Ride on XBLA but my TV is standard definition so some games become completely unreadable and unplayable on it.

Unfortunately Roborally is no longer in print. You can find copies on eBay but you may end up paying more for it than you'd like to.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

Unfortunately Roborally is no longer in print. You can find copies on eBay but you may end up paying more for it than you'd like to.

That's what I thought.

I just bought a new one on Ebay for only $50.

Can't believe this went OOP again. That's twice in my life time!

Wow, glad I picked up Roborally moderately recently. I just played a couple of games this weekend as a matter of fact.

Dreaded Gazebo wrote:

Unfortunately Roborally is no longer in print. You can find copies on eBay but you may end up paying more for it than you'd like to.

Really?!? If someone has a hankerin' for one, I'd be glad to check out my FLGS and see if there's one around.

Just having gotten back into it, we've found Carcassonne and Blokus very accessible.

On the card side, we play the crap out of Flux.

LilCodger wrote:

Just having gotten back into it, we've found Carcassonne and Blokus very accessible.

On the card side, we play the crap out of Flux.

Picked up an almost new version of Blokus this past weekend at a thrift store for $5.99. Score! It's an excellent abstract strategy game.

Last Night on Earth? Amazing, and if you're into the Zombie Craze then It's a blast too! Fairly new so easy to pick up.

I've been playing a bunch of Pandemic recently and also picked up Puerto Rico and Agricola in the last month or so.

One of my main problems is finding people to board game with. I had a couple of friends I thought would be interested that aren't and most my other friends aren't either.

I've had the most success getting casual/non-gamers (my girlfriend, friends of girlfriend, girlfriend of friend, etc...) playing Ticket to Ride, San Juan, and Carcassonne.
They can each be played with 2-5 people, are best with 4 (IMO), and I enjoy Carcassonne the least, although it's still fun to break out every now and then.

I ordered Pandemic last week (birthday present for myself) but it hasn't arrived yet; I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Congratluations on lightening your wallet.

I started into boardgaming after a friend taught me Puerto Rico a few years back, now this is my collection:

http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/...

Boardgamegeek is the place to go for boardgame recommendations. Spend a while browsing around there, you will find a LOT of suggestions. If you live in a reasonably populated area, you should have no problem hooking up with other boardgamers through the site. I hope you have more self-restraint than I did...

Agricola is gaining plaudits at the moment and should be easy to find.

Catan is a definite.

Talisman can be fun, especially if you have kids, but suffers from Games Workshop's Baggyrulesitis.

BSG is ridiculously fun, especially for fans of the series. I disagree that it's too complex, I play it with my muggle friends regularly.

Also see if you can pick up a copy of Kill Dr Lucky.

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