Want to Get Into Board Games with Others

After listening tothe Rabbit-Con episode of GWJ, I think I want to finally dip my feet in the ocean of board games. I specifically want to get into the traitor/mole type-games like Shadows Over Camelot and Battlestar Galactica. I have had my eyes onGalactica for awhile and am considering making my first "true" board game purchase. However, I am concerned that my purchase will not be a good investment, as there is VERY little chance that I will ever get a chance to play with people. I have my cousins, who are the Twilight fangirls, my "friends," who are the douchebags that will surely insult me as a "geek," and a game shop 20-30 minutes away with a community I have never met. I really want to experience the game, but because I have no one to actually play it with, it will most likely not happen. I was hoping I can get recommendations on how and where I can get people to play with. I was thinking of setting up online games via AIM and Facebook, but that would mean I could only play as a moderator. I was also considering play-by-forum options, but I feel like that doesn't warrant a $35-$40 purchase. Will I ever be able to experience board gaming in all it's glory? I need your help!

Welcome to my world. I have Arkham Horror sitting in the closet and it has been played three times. Twice with me and one other person, and once with the same guy and our significant others. That won't be happening again any time soon :). My recommendation is to pick up some games that you can get your current friends into. Cash and Guns would be a good start. Once you get people into that board game mentality try and start subbing in some slightly nerdy games that have a very low learning curve. Settlers of Catan is a good start. Just describe it as monopoly with no money and go from there. If all else fails.... find new friends

Yoreel wrote:

If all else fails.... find new friends :)

Easier choice than anything else.

Don't get me wrong: Battlestar Galactica is a great game. I love it! However, it's NOT one I'd recommend to pop your cherry on. It's intense and complex, with many layers and elements of play. Lots and lots of conditions and rules. You should have at least four dedicated people to play that game (it says a minimum of three, but I wouldn't recommend three players unless you modify yourself some serious House Rules and don't mind having your ass still likely handed to you anyway). They should be four to six people who are relatively experienced and comfortable playing complex boardgames for at least a couple of hours. If you aren't part of a community of hardcore board game fans, this game will probably turn off any casual gamer you try to get to play with you.

Start off light and determine your community first. If the board game store you have access to has regular game nights, go to those first and just watch for maybe the first game or so of whatever they are playing. Ask a few questions and observe play styles and social dynamic. Be honest about your newness and unfamiliarity with other games - many gamers will try to describe a game by saying it's like an other game. Get your toes wet with games like Settlers of Catan(good call Yoreel) or Dominion, and then move on from there. Battlestar Galactica is good sneaky fun, but it's a huge leap and I would not recommend it as anyone's first game.

Someone at the board game store may already have Battlestar, so if you can get a foot in the door there, maybe they'd be willing to play it with you so you can see what it's like and determine if it's a game you should buy before purchasing it.

If you want to try a traitor-game that might appeal to your twi-hard cousins, Shadow Hunters is a relatively easy to learn game. However, 5-8 players is the best, so if you don't have that many cousins it's not going to be nearly as fun. The art style and ambiance of the game reminds me of Vampire Hunter D.

Might be a good start to enter something in your location on your GWJ profile. We're in more places than you might expect.

gamerrox wrote:

I have my cousins, who are the Twilight fangirls, my "friends," who are the douchebags that will surely insult me as a "geek," and a game shop 20-30 minutes away with a community I have never met.

I had a similar problem. Bought Last Night on Earth, then immediately thought "Jesus Christ, who can I trick into playing this with me?" My friends like games but not that much.

Surprisingly they've been more willing to give it a shot than I had given them credit for. Once I lured them in ("It's not like we have anything better to do... and you can finish a game in like an hour!") most of them really enjoyed it. I admittedly fudged the rules on the fly to make things more tense, but I would rather people have fun than stick dogmatically to the manual. Even if it means I lose.

I appreciate your help on this one, everyone! Since the social experience is so crucial to board games, I think that it's right that I start off light with something like Catan or Ca$h'N'Gun$. I'm still skeptical that I can get my friends to play, so my cousins and the local community should show me the way. I'm just concerned with dipping my toes into a new community than a new hobby, to be honest. I wonder the community is like in Berkeley.

I'm not entirely sure why you are friends with douchebags but to each their own Give the local game shop a try. See if they have open board game nights and if so stop on in. Maybe the crowd won't be for you but who knows, you might meet a lot of great people to play games with. Seems like it'd be worth trying out if you feel you have no other outlet.

You could also start your friends with some more party-esque games that could easily lead into more strategic style games. Wits and Wagers is great fun as its a non-trivia game with betting. Apples to Apples is sort of the quintessential party game, or you could try something a little more creative like Say Anything. Heck, Say Anything's tagline is "What do your friends REALLY think?" which seems like something a bunch of Twilight fangirls would eat up

I certainly wouldn't start out with Battlestar Galactica unless your friends are huge fans of the snow. It's not a simple game to teach and not an ideal game to pull in non-gamers. Shadows Over Camelot is a much better starting point, especially if the theme appeals to them. I'd actually recommend Saboteur over both for a really easy coop/traitor style game. You can teach it in a few minutes, it plays quickly and doesn't cost much so you aren't out much money if your friends don't care for it.

Tsuro is probably the game I've had the most success getting non-gamers to play. It is wildly easy to teach and play and it looks gorgeous when set up. Most people are drawn to it and a few minutes later can be playing.

I agree that it is probably worth at least trying a game or two with your friends. You might be surprised. I'm constantly amazed how many people I meet love the idea of playing board games even if they haven't played any modern style ones. Lots of people have fond memories of playing games with their families when they were kids so it is something that people are at least somewhat familiar with.

Let me try this again:
Where do you live, gamerrox?

Heh, sorry I didn't get to replying to that earlier. As of now, I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Hercules, although I hear Berkeley seems to be where all "hotspots" are at.

I find it hard to believe that board gamers are scarce in the Bay Area, especially given the number of goodjers over there. Have you thought about attending the next GWJ meetup ("slap and tickle") over there?

Hey, Gamerrox, I'm a big board game nerd and I'm only a few freeway exits from you, in El Cerrito, off Potrero. I used to be into gaming groups big time, and I'll recommend the Berkeley Board Gamers, who meet at Eudomonia in Berkeley, and the End Game game night in downtown Oakland (near 12th St. BART station, on the corner of 10th and Washington).

The Berkeley gamers are the more social group, playing generally lighter and midrange games, and would very likely be down for a co-op & traitor style game. The End Gamers are a bit more hardcore, playing mid- to heavyweight games with a more serious face. You're more likely to get better games and more of them at End Game, but it's a bit more hardcore and there are a few oddballs who show up every week. It depends on what you're looking for, really, but it sounds like you'd find a better home in Berkeley.

Hopefully there'll be a Bay Area slap 'n' tickle soon and we can meet! I still haven't made it to one, yet.

Thanks for the recommendations! I have been interested in visiting Eudomonia and your testimony has given me assurance on at least stopping by. Do you happen to know which nights are usually their busiest?

Well, I haven't gone for a couple of years now, but check their meetup page to see what events are upcoming. Just tell Gabe (if he's there) that Jake sent ya.

I also have to recommend Dominion. I can't recommend any others because I've just started myself.

Amoebic wrote:

Don't get me wrong: Battlestar Galactica is a great game. I love it! However, it's NOT one I'd recommend to pop your cherry on.

Seconded. The game is very convoluted. In fact most of what I would dub "quasi board" games are. A lot will basically be a card game with visual aids.
I have been playing it for over a year now, at least once a month, and a lot of it is still an enigma to me.

If you are looking to start, Ticket to Ride is a great option. The conceit is be the best Railroad Baron.

I think the base game of Last Night on Earth is good, the expansion makes it very complex though. Maybe a step 2.

If you are familiar with games like Civilization, Age of Empires, etc, I think you will grasp most strategy games like Catan, Agricola, Dominion very quickly.

And not a board game, but if you have the group D and D 4 is designed to be newbie friendly. Wizards is even giving away the starter variant for free(you just have to do a little downloading).