Sunday, January 10, 2016

Gateway Index

This section I try to say something personal yet witty.  Occasionally I succeed.



Elevator Pitch:

Short explanation of the plot of a game.  We are not going into too much depth here, just giving a taste to see if it sounds interesting.

Personal Impression:

What I think of the game, which isn’t especially important until you happen to be trying to play a game with me.

Good for People Who Grew up Playing:

Many gateway games take element from popular but flawed older games that you may have played while growing up.  It is one of the main criteria I use to pick out what gateway game to introduce you to.  For instance, if you liked Risk, you will be a good candidate for Small World, while a card player will probably enjoy Tichu. 
Ease of Learning:

Since many of the people to whom you will be teaching these games will have little gaming experience, it is important that the rules be simple to understand for novices.  Particularly we will focus the complexity of taking a turn and understanding the goal of the game.     

Fidgety Index:

One of the difficulties in getting newcomers to play games is holding their attention.  I may be excited to try new game mechanics, but someone else might just see bits of cardboard.  However, if players have something to do while they learn and play the game, such as build a mini city of meeples or examine interesting art they may be more engaged.  Fidgety index measures how good a game is at keeping players interested with things auxiliary to gameplay.

Universal Theme:

How strong is the theme?  How much does it relate to game play and how much will the average person care about?

Player Count and Game Length:

With how many players can the game be played?  How many players should the game play?


In business speak we call this vertical integration.  Some individuals would rather add to games they like rather than trying new ones.  Luckily many gateway games offer numerous expansions to part you with your money.  This section looks at which expansions you should add to the base game and which you can do without.


Games that are not direct expansions, but similar in theme, mechanics, or design.

Introducing the Game to Novices:

It can be hard to teach people new games.  If you are an established gamer, the chances are high that you are going to be better than a gaming newbie, particularly if you played a particular game numerous times before.  You usually don’t want to mercilessly crush people you are introducing to the hobby, but you also want to avoid playing down to them.  This section is advice on how to navigate that divide to ensure that new players get to experience what is enjoyable about these games.  This advice isn’t right for all players, overly aggressive people might want a cutthroat introduction, but it generally will help you not be a jerk.


Talks about the digital applications of games or other ways to play the game virtually.  I have mainly Apple devices, so the focus will usually be on ios.


Places to buy, play, or learn more about games.

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