OK so you have decided to get into board game but you don’t know where to start, well you are in luck my friend as I am going to take you by the hand and guide you through the mind field of mediocre games and find the diamonds in the rough.
Starting out in gaming can be quite daunting, there are a lot of choices and if you purchase the wrong game it can turn you off a brilliant hobby instantly. I know this from experience, the first board game I purchased was Arkham Horror. This looked like a brilliant choice as I was really into the Cthulhu mythos at the time. I had just downloaded the HP Lovecraft back library to my e-book reader and after looking at Board Game Geek I decided this was the game I wanted to start my collection.
So I opened the box after ordering it from my Friendly Local Game Shop (FLGS) and it look brilliant. Large game board, fantastic character sheets and tonnes of tokens. Then I tried to read the rule book and it was like it was written in a different language. It was full of mechanics and concepts that I could not get my head around. Now I’m not saying I an thick or anything, I’m not also the brightest crayon in the box either but I starting gaming the wrong way.
The first thing to do is start simple and build up your knowledge of gaming mechanics.
When starting out in gaming these would be the games that I would purchase.
Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder
Ticket to ride is a brilliant train game and has nice simple easy to learn rules. Luckily this does not create a dull gaming experience and can become quite competitive. This game is also easy to teach to others so is brilliant for Sunday afternoons or after dinner party’s.
Small World by Days of Wonder
This game is a lot like Risk but in a Fantasy setting. Brilliant colourful artwork and easy gaming mechanics makes this a game well worth a look.
Pandemic by Z-Man Games
Players work co-operatively to stop the spread of deadly viruses around the world. This is a nice game having players work together eliminating the competitive edge some games have.
BattleLore by Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy battle game with brilliantly written rules that start simple and build up to the full game. If you want to get into tabletop battle games this would be the place to start.
Starting To Learn Games
Read the rule book until you are happy that you have most of the rules memorised. Make notes to help you memorise those important rules.
The first and best website to get more information about board games is Board Game Geek. This website contains reviews, forums and FAQ for almost every game that has been made. Have a read through some of the gaming session write ups and read the forums for any rules you feel don’t quite make sense.
Your next stop should be at Headless Hollow which contains some brilliant rule summary sheets for board games. These are handy to look up problem rules while playing the game.
Then set up the game board and play a few test rounds. This is probably one of the things that help me the most when I learn a game as it gives me the chance to see all the components on the game board and how the mechanics work.
Then invite a group around to play the game. Playing the game is always the best way to learn the rules and after all you purchased the game to have fun. Get it to the table.