Some of us think about board games a lot. Maybe much more then we should. We read reviews or watch them on YouTube, as well as run throughs and unboxings, as we search for the newest addition to our board game collection. We segway board games into conversations and hope that colleagues, friends and family catch the bug.
But believe it or not, not everyone wants to play board games. Crazy, right?!
It can be hard to convince some people to join you at the table, to have a taste of the sweet, juicy, goodness that is board gaming. But, if you prepare well, they may enjoy their experience and hopefully come back for more.
But you need to set the stage:
Choose a Theme They Might Enjoy
Some games ooze theme. A decent theme can be enough to capture a person and deliver an enjoyable gaming experience. Someone who is reluctant to play may never have played a game that is targeted at them. They may be unaware that board games have moved past themeless roll and moves.
So, for example, if you know the person/people enjoy racing sports, then offer them the chance to play a racing game. What Tour de France fanatic could resist the nail biting ending offered in Flamme Rouge? Surely any Lewis Hamilton follower is sure to go mad for Downforce or Formula D.
Or maybe they consider themselves something of a wine connoisseur. Then look no further than Stonemaier Games’ Viticulture. You could be forgiven for becoming so emerged in building your own vineyard, that you almost believed it to be real.
There are so many games out there now, and not all of them will suit everyone. A theme could push someone away as easily as it can wrap them in a great big welcoming hug. Be considerate in what you offer and you may well have a gaming friend for life.
Bring the Game to Life with a Carefully Selected Soundtrack
Well chosen music complements anything. New levels of emotion can be reached in films with the simple addition. A relaxed playlist can settle patrons in any restaurant and complement their food and their conversations. The same effect occurs when accompanying a game with music.
A game of Jamaica bursts into colourful life with the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack tickling the players’ ears. It takes it to a whole new level of immersion and fun and will have all players swinging their arms and shouting, “AARRGGHH!”
Finding cures for diseases in Pandemic becomes much more tense and absorbing with The Dark Knight soundtrack. Every decision becomes even more important and can really help everyone have an entertaining experience.
Take the time to create your own playlist to complement whatever board game you bring to the table.
Go Easy on Them
This is an obvious one.
No one is going to enjoy a new game if you focus your energy on destroying them. That’s not to say you have to treat them like a child, you can win, but it is unlikely that someone will return to a game if they got trounced the first time they played it.
We’re all invested in a game when we’re trying to win, and games require this from all players so that you can get the most from them, but it won’t be the end of the world if you hold back on a turn that could guarantee a victory if you can see the other player(s) is absorbed in the game play and planning their next move.
A victory or a closely fought battle can help the reluctant gamer to feel that buzz that card and board games give and maybe leave them wanting more.
Another obvious one. You may be able to plan three goes ahead, but someone new to a game will need time to plan the simplest of moves and may need to ask you a million questions before they make a decision.
Rushing them or mocking them (which is seriously bad form) could leave them feeling inadequate, incapable and push them further away from the hobby.
Your job is to help them along until they are ready to go it alone. It may even mean you are unable to focus wholly on your own game plan, but that’s okay because it ties in well with the previous piece of advice.
Take Them to Your Local Board Game Cafe
To really sell the hobby, why not make it feel like more of a special occasion by inviting them to your local board game cafe? Cafe’s are springing up across the country and they offer the chance to play numerous games as well as enjoy drinks and food in a single sitting.
Game guru’s provide a great service and can tailor the gaming to your friend(s) or family member(s) experience and interests. Plus, they will help to set-up the game, explain the rules and provide potential strategies to make it less complicated for everyone, including you.
By the end of the sitting, your friend or family member may have learned a little more about the hobby and who they are as a gamer and hopefully they’ll be hungry for more. If not, you’ll all still have enjoyed a nice afternoon or evening together.