02C60: New Old Gateway Games

Sunday Catan

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 1100

When it comes to "gateway games" that we use to help newer players get into the modern board game-playing hobby, there are particular staples that we tend to rely on. There are easy card games 6 nimmt! and popular abstract games like Splendor, Azul, and Century Spice Road. There are other clever little games like Love Letter or Startups. It all really depends on what everyone is in the mood to play.

Last night, we ended up digging up some alternate games as gateway material. We started with a more recent purchase - 5211. It's a pretty quick card game that involves numbers and kododos (a type of lizard) and makes for an interesting gaming kickoff. Then we shifted to Project L, which is a great abstract engine-building game that relies on a bit of spatial reasoning to push things. 

Another game that hasn't seen the light of day in a while was Yardmaster, which is actually a pretty decent gateway game. The card design is a little simplistic but there's definitely a unique elegance to the gameplay that is fun. We haven't played this since 2015, which is the year I first bought the game. I think we'll try to bring it out for more game nights in the near future in order to properly celebrate it again.

Catan isn't necessarily an entry-level game, but it's a decent initial step up when people can handle it. It's easy enough to each and the game's use of a dice mechanic replaced the need for more complex rules and other systems. And it's enough of a game to scratch the initial itch for people and encourage them to go deeper.

What are your preferred gateway games for newer players? Or are there unique games that you like that also feel like they're universally good for any player regardless of experience level?