We’ve all been there.
You hype up a board game to your non-gamer friends and family, only for them to get super intrigued and relent to playing with you…and hate it, vowing to never play another.
Don’t worry, it’s an often-reported bi-product of our passionate [read: obsessive] community, and we can help you combat it!
As seasoned board-gamers and gamer-converts, we here at Gameology have developed an almost fool-proof formula for getting anyone interested in board games.
And we mean it.
Tried and tested, here are our current strategies to encourage your loved ones of any age to play your awesome board games with you!
1) Keep it simple.
First up, pick your timing and eliminate any distractions – i.e., don’t beg your parents to play a game of light strategy when they’re busy cooking dinner and on the phone to your sibling with the news going in the background.
You’ll need a solid 1-2 hours for our method depending on the game you’ve chosen to tackle, so best to pick a weeknight after dinner with the dishes done or a lazy afternoon on a weekend.
Pick a game that is easy to digest and introduces the fundamentals of basic board game play. People are much more likely to cotton to a game that is easy to understand and master with a couple of plays, because let’s face it, we’re wired to crave a win with minimal effort, to stay interested.
Aspects to consider when choosing a game include your target’s age (yes, target, because some days this sure feels like a mission), thought process (can they keep up with a bit of light strategy or will they get super bored by it?), time available (do we have 30mins to kill or do we have half an afternoon?) and interests (do they love or hate Lord of the Rings? Do they like pretty components or artwork?).
You know your targets best so these answers will be subjective, but generally we’ve found that complete newbies enjoy quick-play abstract and family games such as; Kingdomino, Azul, Santorini, Love Letter or the classic, Ticket To Ride.
2) Bribe them.
Look, we don’t like it either but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do for the sake of the game.
Tell your parents you’ll wash up after dinner tonight. Tell your friends you’ll supply the beers if they indulge you for a game. Tell your significant other – well, you know where we’re going with that one…
Aaaanyway, unfortunately our community is big but not entirely mainstream, so the average person will struggle to place value on their time spent learning something new and often time-consuming and it’s your responsibility to make it worth their while.
That is of course, until they realise how awesome board gaming is and slowly descend into obsessive madness like the rest of us.
3) Play it through and explain as you go.
Give players a brief overview of the game background and objective and go over some basic rules.
After that, you’ll essentially play the game “open-handed”.
That is, take your turn first and explain your steps and thought process as you go, allowing the other players to pause and ask questions where necessary. Then, let them have their turn and coach them through the process. Continue until they are confident in progressing on their own, with play remaining “open-handed”.
Games with simple, concise steps taken each turn and then repeated each turn by every player are perfect for teaching as the repetition increases familiarity and confidence as play progresses. Games such as The Quacks of Quedlinburg, Splendor and Carcassonne are the perfect examples of this.
The key to this step is patience. Your sense of excited frustration is dangerously infectious in these situations and could not only lead to the abandonment of your gaming sesh, but a heated exchange if you let it bubble over. So ensure you always keep your cool, even if your parents ask the same question for the hundredth time.
Remember, they hold the trump cards in this situation as they could pull the plug at any point and leave you opponent-less, so it’s best to keep calm and carry on.
4) Play it a second time. Immediately.
Even if it seems tedious. Even if they don’t want to! In fact, especially if they don’t want to!
This is our single-most important step in the whole process. The first game is always an ice-breaker, a get-to-know you if you will. The second game cements all the fresh information firmly in your brain by allowing you to play “for real” and put your acquired knowledge and skills to the test.
You’ll usually find that your opponent starts out begrudgingly and finishes ecstatic, having ignited their competitive streak in knowing that they were able to give you a real run for your money!
So here’s our strategy, but we want to know if we missed anything!
Let us know in the comments what you do or have done to entice people to play with you so we can encourage others to try it out and grow our amazing community!