Get people interested in Tabletop Gaming!

I read a great piece over at LifeHacker on getting folks into gaming. While many gamers may look at this article and think I already have my gaming group and have been playing games with my family for years, this article did raise some great ideas on expanding the world of board gaming to those not yet in to it. Being inclusive and sharing our great hobby with others after all is really the way we can insure the continued growth the board game industry, and make sure we continue to get quality games for years to come!

The first step really is:

Knowing your audience, they are YOUR friends and/or family after all, and as such begin to think about what kind of themes or topics they might be willing to try. Don’t try and pull out Twilight Imperium on their first go around and demand that they love it just as you do.

Start small: Take a small group of just a couple of people of about the same level gamers, instead of gathering up a big group with varied interests. By starting out with a small group you will be able to focus much more on the fact that everyone is able to learn the game, and get help if they need it.

Don’t take it personally: Despite your best efforts not EVERYONE will get interested in tabletop gaming, while it could be a case of the wrong game for the wrong person, tabletop gaming just won’t be for everyone. But if you do happen to see that one or two of the people you are introducing gaming to do seem interested, focus on them and continue to play with them. Who knows they may grow to love gaming just as much as you!

Gateway Games

Choosing the first game to play will be a little tricky, so it’s good to plan before hand and think what specific game would make the best Gateway Game for your group. Choose something interesting, but not too intense, something that perhaps has always made you have a light-hearted good time!

Key Elements:

Easy to learn: While this seems obvious enough, a gateway game that is easy to learn should be something you can start playing quickly, within 10 to 15 minutes, and only takes a couple of rounds to get the hang of. At their base many might look towards simple party games, but since we are looking to get them hooked on games it may be better to choose something with some kind of game mechanic, something that can be found in more complicated games as well.

Fun to play the first time: This really matters a lot. “Easy to learn, hard to master” while fun for gamers, is not exactly what you want for a first-timer, it usually means they will lose rather badly during the first couple of play times. Look for something fun, exciting, and encouraging!

Fitting the mood and occasion: Another key element, make sure that what is happening around you somehow fits the game. Do not go too serious with a deep-thinking game at a party or social gathering, and if the game requires silence take that in to account. Obviously look closely at group sizes and total playtime.

Make it an Event:

When proposing the idea to your friends or family ask them to come over at a certain date and time to play a game. If they are not already interested in playing board games you’ll need to get them invested in the idea that that is what you will be doing.

Instead of just surprising them by breaking out a game, or expecting it to be an all day/night gaming session, suggest playing a game as part of an evening filled with other activities. Snacks, pizzas and drinks will always go a long way in convincing people to join in on the event to at least try out some games!

Remember to set the event up by removing most distractions during the gaming, not having the TV on or having a huge party going on around the game, and focus on knowing the rules prior to beginning very well!

Most of all be enthusiastic about playing and teaching them!

Remember to keep it up after your initial gaming sessions, take your interested friends to gaming stores, if they actually invest in a game themselves that will likely raise their own interest in continuing the hobby!

By: Eero Hulkkonen

LifeHacker/Patrick Allan. 2016. How To Get Your Friends And Family Interested In Tabletop Board Games. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 March 16].

About Eero Hulkkonen