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Including New Meeples: A New Series on Introducing People to the Board Game Hobby

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I first got into the designer board game hobby a while back. I was playing Catan with some family (which was the only ‘designer’ game I knew at the time) and we were all having a great time. I always liked games but never knew there was anything more than your basic mass market party game, word games, or classic games like Monopoly and Clue. While playing Catan, a family member suggested we try a game called Ticket to Ride, all about making train routes between different cities in the United States. Well, that experience must have stuck, because a couple months later, my partner and I happened to walk into a board game shop, looking for something completely different. We were awed. Shocked, dare I say, at the amount of board and card games in this store. We perused the store and came across Ticket to Ride. Board games are not cheap, especially at independent board game stores. But something stuck out in our minds about the game and on impulse we decided to invest!

We got home and cracked open the shrink wrap, laid out the board, and read the rules. Our first play blew our minds! The simplicity and clean mechanical design! The fun set collection and route building! The fantastic train theme and artwork! We played over and over and over again, relishing in this new world of games. But this was only the tip of the iceberg. My main strengths (via Strengths Quest) are Learner and Input – so I love learning and collecting data and knowledge about everything. I went off the deep end in researching and learning about the board gaming hobby and industry and what games we should try and purchase next. Years later, and hundreds of games played later, we are very deep within the hobby and we are loving every minute of it.

I recognize that my audience on my blog audience is split since I write about books and board games. Board games seems to be more of the niche hobby I hold and I want to provide an easier access point for those who might not play games or might play easily available game and looking for more. I know not everyone will like board games, but I wholeheartedly believe there is at least one game out there each person will enjoy. From social games, to auction games, to word games, to strategy games… From civilization building, to farming, to car manufacturing, to making coffee.. There seems to be mechanics and a theme for everyone.

Instead of simply giving a list of ‘gateway games,’ my goal with this series is to set up ‘librarian recommendations’ once or twice a month. Each post will take a classic or mass market game (such as Mafia, Jenga, or Apples to Apples) and suggest a game that has a similar feel or mechanism. I will try to include games that are easily accessible and have a lower price point because I know board games can be a huge investment. I hope that some of you will find a game you are excited about trying. Thank you for sticking through the introduction and look for episode one coming in September!

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Discussion

12 thoughts on “Including New Meeples: A New Series on Introducing People to the Board Game Hobby

  1. I’m so glad to see you posting this, Brendon! I started reading for your book reviews, and I quickly realized I don’t know anything about board games. I look forward to learning as much as I can about designer board games. Help out the novice!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku | August 26, 2016, 2:27 PM
  2. How nice to include different hobbies in posts. Board games were a favourite past time in my childhood especially on rainy days

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel | August 28, 2016, 10:20 PM
  3. I love this idea. I look forward to it. My friends and I are into the designer board games and we are always looking for new ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons | August 30, 2016, 7:50 PM
  4. I LOVE Catan! My boyfriend is a very big fan of board games too, so we play sometimes, though he’s more enthusiastic about them than I am.
    I appreciated the anecdote that showed us how you first gained your love for board gaming. 🙂 You can be sure I will follow this series, Brendon. I expect to learn so much from it

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Read Diverse Books | August 30, 2016, 8:42 PM
  5. Good idea for a series. I know for a lot of people in the board game hobby, it’s very easy to look down on mass market games, but I think it’s just as relevant to use them as a place to start the conversation. I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by asutbone | September 3, 2016, 1:38 PM
  6. Looking forward to reading this series! Introducing new people to board games is, for me, one of the great pleasures of the hobby! Seeing that light bulb go on in a newbie’s head when they realize “Ohh! THIS is what board games can do!” is a wonderful feeling.

    Like

    Posted by AlexStanmyer | November 1, 2016, 8:40 PM

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