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Top 5 Games For Non Gamers In Your Life

games for non gamers - codenames

It can be difficult for some of us to understand, but some people don’t get a kick out of poring over the rulebook of a new game, or juggling cards, resources and meeples simultaneously. Believe it or not, there are plenty of games for the non gamers in your life!

So which games should you present to a group who don’t want to spend two hours getting to grips with how many phases each turn has and how many of the six possible actions they can take? Here are five games for non gamers that are easy to get to grips with:


Codenames is a favourite of many of my family and friends. It’s a great game to finish the evening off because you must get home soon, or you want something light at the end of an epic session of a more complex game. It’s one of those games that someone always opts out of, but they end up craning to see over your shoulder and barely suppressing hints to the players after a few minutes.

Codenames is simple to teach. All you have to do is think of links between the words you want your partner to guess and give them one-word clues. The first team to guess all their words wins. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Finding those links can be challenging and you also have to avoid clues that lead your team to guess your opponents’ words, or worse still, the assassin. An easy concept, but it will make your brain work.


One of my sisters is like me. She enjoys nothing more than ripping off the cellophane and identifying components of a new game. We study the rulebook together, refer back to it repeatedly during our first play through, and congratulate ourselves on more or less grasping some of the rules by the end of the evening.

The other sister is different. If she hasn’t got the hang of it all within the first five minutes, she loses interest. But she does have a mischievous streak and so I knew she’d enjoy Plotalot. In this card game, you plant vegetables in your field, enhancing the yield by way of such things as fertilisers, polytunnels and helpful hedgehogs. But don’t wait too long before you harvest those crops - an opponent might deal you an aphid invasion, or a runaway wheelbarrow! This game is quick to learn, beautifully illustrated and wickedly fun.

Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride is easy to learn. On most of your turns, you can do one of two things: pick up cards or put down trains. This means that the time before your next go is just long enough to decide on your next move and watch that nobody else is building a route that might block yours.

Any new players can rapidly get the hang of what to do. The cards are aesthetically pleasing and it’s satisfying to work your way across the map (I do love a map!) Once you’ve introduced Ticket to Ride, why not take the small steps required to try another game in the series. Ticket to Ride Europe, for example, has tunnels, ferries and stations to think about. Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails features boats as well as trains. There are many other versions of this game and all of them are only a small jump for someone who’s played the original before.

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game that only takes half an hour to play. Tiles are shuffled and set on the table to present the island. It immediately begins to sink under the players feet. Or at least, under the feet of the characters they are playing. As a team, you must collect cards to rescue all the treasure and then rendezvous at the helicopter landing point to escape before the land disappears completely.

This game is a little more complex than the others and the players have different abilities. However, because it’s a coop, you can get started very quickly and learn as you play without anyone getting too overwhelmed.


All you need to do in Carcassonne is place a tile into the landscape in a way that it fits properly, and decide whether to lay claim to a particular feature by placing a meeple on it. It’s very simple and there is a certain satisfaction in completing roads and towns and scoring points as you do so.

If you want to think a bit harder about it, you can plan ahead, reserve your meeples and mess up what your opponents are trying to achieve. Although this game doesn’t call out to me when I open the games cupboard, some of my friends love it, and I do always forget that there are two expansions in the box I haven’t tried yet!

Hopefully that has made you think a little about how to draw in those people in your life not yet addicted to board games. Good luck!

That concludes our list of Top 5 games for the non board-gamers in your life. Is there any we missed? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.