Thursday, 22 January 2015

1st world problems

It's been a while since I have made a report after a Reading Boardgames social event and that has a lot to do with my current contract tying up much of my spare time. Since I last filed an account a change has happened to the little ad hoc club which would have most similar outfits praising the heavens.

Off the back of a planned social in a friendly brewery where a day of games took place the RBS numbers have swelled from a unlikely weekly total of 10 to at least 30. This is largely due to the guy who runs the club to inviting the Reading Meetup group to the Brewery day. Such was the success of the day that most people vowed to come to the Wednesday meets. Fine and dandy you might think. Endless possibilities for games and opponents is a natural conclusion you might reach however, almost all of these meetup chaps and chapesses are newbie gamers.

This means that for us experienced gamers Wednesdays have turned into a kind of never ending games training session. The idea was to teach enough of the basic games to enough of the new regulars that they might get on with it. This is starting to happen but as everyone knows it takes a while to get up to speed with any of these games so one play is not really enough.

Last night we played a 7 handed game of 7 Wonders with 5 new gamers. It went well although it took twice as long as a regular game. By the end my throat was a dry as a dingo's arm pit. 7 Wonders with that many is a weird beast. It kind of operates like 4 or 5 mini games all stuck together. The possibilities for mistakes are very high and I'd be surprised if it was a pure game. With my experience explainers curse didn't touch me this time and I came first. It was satisfying to see that all the new guys enjoyed it.
Post game calculation with the phone app!

After that I suggested our little gang (There were games of everything being played all over the place) split into two smaller groups so that I could teach one Stone Age. Another entry level classic. This went down even better than 7 Wonders. Teaching was relatively quick but the game lasted 2 hours. I won by a landslide but that was to be expected. I even did the classic thing of pointing out how important culture cards are (And made them repeat it in a comedy fashion) but nobody can prepare for it on the first game.

We finished up with a 6 player Incan Gold which is now a club tradition complete with random screams of Zombie Lady all over the pub.

The problem with all these great and enthusiastic new gamers is that right now I'm not getting to play any of our heavier games with the characters from the club. If we do teach the games they often turn out to be one horse races. The next session there appears to be even more new faces so I'm left wondering if there will ever be a point that people will just help themselves to my bag of games and people just get on with it.....

A nice problem to have I suppose.....


  1. Och, difficult problem, that. You should have some sort of rota so that no-one has to teach too much.

    Perhaps you should start these newbies on some even simpler games; both 7 Wonders and Stone Age front-load the rules quite a bit, it seems to me.

    How about Ticket to Ride, for instance. Or Chinatown.

    I agree Incan Gold is a v good shout - plays lots of people, also because it's so much push-your-luck there's less of a landslide victory for the explainer perhaps.

    Other suggestions:
    Kakaerlaken Poker
    New GNN favourite Pairs (also it plays up to eight, like Incan Gold)
    Las Vegas
    Take it Easy

    And next week hit them with Pax Perforiana and High Frontier!

  2. Or all chip in a quid and get Joe to come down for the night and talk them through Brass!

    Sounds like a fun evening but I take your point, it's less relaxing to be explaining. However, good news overall. We're hitting the mainstream!

  3. Joe, after about 3 sessions of running gateway games I wanted to introduce to some of the willing ones some midrange games. TTR, Incan Gold, No Thanks and Hannabi get played a fair bit as does Camel Up actually.

    Like the idea of kakaerlaken poker. I think I shall get that. I enjoyed it when I played it. Simple to learn as well.

    Anyway, Sam is indicating, getting board games to the masses can't be a bad thing right?

  4. Sounds a lot like my time running London on Board. Definitely has pros and cons!