Board Games for Non-Gamers

If you’re a fan of board games, you know how hard it can be to get others to play games with you if they don’t also enjoy board games or their extent of games is Cards Against Humanity and Monopoly. However, there are some great games to help you on your quest to play games with your non-gaming friends.

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Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a go-to Christmas game now for my family, as I introduced it to them a couple years ago. My family enjoys games like Clue, The Game of Life, and various Domino games, so Ticket to Ride fit in well. It worked especially well for my parents, as the theme was enjoyable for them. My mom even bought Ticket to Ride: Europe for us to all play together.

Ticket to Ride is elegantly simple with its gameplay, where the rules are easy to learn but there are many strategic options to choose from. It can satisfy the newest of gamers as well as the most die-hard, which is why it is on this list.

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Unstable Unicorns

I put Unstable Unicorns on this list because it is a great transition for those friends who think Cards Against Humanity is a great game. I bring it to game nights with these friends, and it always gets played and spares me hours and hours of exhausting CAH games. It satisfies the need for humor and ridiculousness that CAH provides while staying fresh and having strategy to make it more interesting.

sushi-go

Sushi Go

Sushi Go is another game my family now plays on holidays. It’s also easy to learn and quick to play, but still has strategy to make it more worthwhile for you and introducing strategy games to your friends/family. The theme is also adorable, which helps make it a winner amongst the non-gamers.

takenoko

Takenoko

Takenoko is a great gateway game because of its theme and using that theme to introduce different game mechanics. I think it’s a good game to adjust the mindset of people who associate Monopoly as the peak board game because it incorporates some of the mechanics from Monopoly in a much more enjoyable way. Also, you have an adorable panda to feed, which is much better than the Monopoly man.

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Betrayal at House on the Hill

If your friends are not into the cutesy game themes, Betrayal at House on the Hill is a great option. It’s a horror game, where you begin by playing cooperatively while exploring a haunted house. But eventually, you’ll lose one of your compatriots as an event starts and things get even scarier. This game is great for your friends that enjoy horror and darker stuff, and stories in general. This game also introduces co-op and hidden traitor mechanics that you can find in other games. And there is a tone of replay value with the many events that can be triggered.

What board games do you use as gateway games for non-gamers? Share them in the comments below.


mhmMay is Mental Health Month, and mental health is an incredibly important thing to me as someone who lives with mental illnesses. So for every post this month I’ll be including this message as a reminder that there should be no stigma for mental illness and that everyone has mental health. Read my full Mental Health Month post for resources and more information. 

10 thoughts on “Board Games for Non-Gamers

  1. I’ve been having lots of success with my family introducing them to social deduction games and word games, as well as dexterity games. Some particular favorites have been Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Ice Cool and Codenames. After a few years of lighter games I’ve been sneaking in more weighty stuff with success – Quacks of Quedlinberg went down very well, even got a recent game of Agricola to happen with the family.

    But certainly dexterity based games are always very well received, they are often quick to teach, easy to understand, and ‘luck’ based enough that everyone can have a fair go at winning and have fun as well.

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  3. I tend to be the ‘in between’ friend who likes some board games but isn’t quite a board game geek. Great to see Betrayal at House on the Hill on your list because that is one of my favourites! I also recommend Munchkin and the Flux series. Flux is great because it comes in so many different flavours (Batman, Wizard of Oz, Zombie to name a few) that people can really get into the spirit of the game through their love of something else.

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  4. Exploding Kittens is the main game I play with people who aren’t gamers and I’ve got a few of my friends properly into board games that way! I think Celestia, Codenames and The Resistance are great games to introduce people too as well. I totally agree about CAH, I do not understand how people can play that so much. It’s only funny first couple of times!

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  5. Mysterium is always my go-to game for groups of friends who are new/don’t like board games usually. It takes a while to set up and explain the rules (bit pricey too), but its so fun! By the end people usually want to play again, rotating who gives out the cards as the ‘ghost’.
    Story War and Anomia are other good ones to get people into, if they’re more competitive. Whenever I play these ones with my friends, someone usually ends up in tears, laughing about whatever wild story/answer someone else came up with. I’m definitely going to look into your recommendations above for future games to try 🙂

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  6. These are great choices.

    Fluxx is an interesting one because of its dynamic rules; you can explain it in seconds, but every game is a bit different because of the way it all works.

    Catan and Carcassonne are classics that can be good gateways into more strategic affairs. Carcassonne in particular is very accessible, and Catan scratches a similar sort of itch to Monopoly, if you have people familiar with that.

    Blokus is pretty neat, but works best with exactly four people. (There is also a smaller two-player version that is also cool.)

    Dixit is a lovely icebreaker, though everyone involved needs to be “into it” and vaguely creative. I would much rather play Dixit than CAH, though; I’ve grown to absolutely detest CAH as a game and always find an excuse to be elsewhere if it ends up coming out at a party!

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      • It’s worth a try for sure! Doesn’t take long to play and is a lot of fun. Very random, but a good starter.

        Ooh, I thought of a few more.

        No Thanks is a great simple card game that is easy to understand, all about trying to avoid scoring points.

        Ascension is a straightforward and easy to understand introduction to deckbuilders that will appeal to those who enjoy magical fantasy.

        Sagrada is a cool game I got a copy of recently that is all about drafting pretty coloured dice to make stained-glass windows. I’ve only played this one once so far but I really liked it.

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