My name is Jillian and I'm a born and raised Massachusetts native. I'm a mom, wife, and avid board gamer. I love books, sports, and pretty much all things competitive (at the bus stop with my son this morning: "Do I want to play I Spy? You bet your butt I do. And you're going down, kid!" .. OK maybe not quite as harsh as that).
husband's birthday, and one of our good friends (and a member of the OG Apples to Apples group) approached us and asked, "So, you guys like this type of thing?" Cue our introduction to what would become a year-and-a-half long Dungeons and Dragons campaign. D&D&D as we liked to call it, Sunday dinner followed by hours of adventuring. One day, while waiting for some of our party to arrive, the same friend took out a copy of Castles of Burgundy to kill some time. Now, I realize that CoB isn't exactly an entry-level gateway game, but at this point as I said we had all played plenty of the more commercial, simpler games, and luckily this friend happens to be excellent at teaching rules. I really owe all of my involvement in this hobby to him. After that our weekly gaming group was born and there would always be some tabletop action before getting back into our campaigns.
Fast forward 5 years now and I have a collection of ~200 titles of my own that serve as an excellent conversation piece in our living room. Having them displayed on a shelf that is visible as soon as someone enters is always a great way to get people intrigued about this world of games they didn't realize existed beyond the greats of their childhood, like Mousetrap (was there any kid who didn't love building that plastic little Rube Goldberg machine? I know I've never met one.).
We started off about as simple as it gets, by breaking out Rhino Hero. I always find this to be an excellent game to use with large groups of people, especially if some of them are hesitant to even play. It can be taught in about a minute, and plays quick. Often I find people sit out a round or two and then are drawn in by the amount of fun everyone else is having. We started explaining the rules, and she expressed that she wasn't quite sure she would be able to pick up on it very quick (she had much too little faith in herself about that). It was an instant hit and after a few rounds she was back over at the shelf asking, "what's next?". Boy, is that one of my favorite things to hear from someone I am trying to convert to our hobby!
Next we stepped it up just a little bit with some Unusual Suspects. This one is good because we can always ease people into the idea by comparing it to Guess Who and similar games that they are familiar with. Another hit. We played (and lost) a few rounds of this before finally all getting on the same page and pulling a win. Celebration ensued.
Now she was feeling much more confident and was enthusiastic when our long-time friend asked us if we still have "that game about love letters". We do, in fact, have that game about love letters (Love Letter: The Hobbit version, anyway. Slightly less romantic than the original but, I mean, it has Gandalf). The last one we played for the evening, it took about 3 minutes to explain the rules and we were diving right in. Our newcomer played really well and managed to snag second place, while I was in an embarrassing last with zero gems in front of me (I'd like to blame the celebratory shots we had after our Unusual Suspects win, but really it's just that I'm not very good at that game.)
All in all, I consider this weekend a win. Our friends left, saying they had a great evening and couldn't wait to get together and try some more in-depth things next time. Obviously, we will be more than happy to oblige.
Do you find yourself planning what you will bring to the table when you know that there are going to be people who are unfamiliar with the hobby? Leave a comment and let me know!
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