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!