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Top 5 Games To Introduce To Your Non-Board Game Friends


So. You’re into board games. By now, your bank balance and storage space will be depleting rapidly, but it's all worth it for the thrill of introducing your friends to this amazing hobby. So you break out your brand new copy of Spirit Island and in a quick breezy four hours you’re in need of some new friends to play board games with. You forgot the golden rule of initiating people into a hobby: Keep it simple, keep it light. If, like me, you’re sick of resorting to Codenames, Ticket to Ride or Forbidden Island, I've got some more board games to throw into your rotation to ensure fun times for everyone from board game beginners to seasoned veterans.


Despite the fact that for most of the game, players cannot talk to one another, this is one of the most emotive and expressive games ever designed. In Magic Maze, you all work together to move four characters around a shopping mall, trying to shoplift their desired items. The twist is that each player can only do a certain action, so one player can only move players up, or one player can only generate new tiles of the mall to explore, making it an incredibly simple game to pick up and play for your non-board game friends.

The real comedic element of this game comes from the giant red exclamation mark: players' only real way of communicating for most of the game. If you notice that one player needs to move one of the pieces, you can pick up the exclamation mark and place it in front of the player on a scale of passive to active aggression. Placing the exclamation mark in front of someone, only for them to stare dumbfounded back at you never gets old and you don’t even know the definition of the word flustered until the rest of your friends all gang up on you, taking turns to slam the exclamation mark in front of you to do your action while you sweat; nervous and confused.

My only caveat to this recommendation is that it can fail horribly given the wrong group. If anyone in your group is a perfectionist, they will blow a blood vessel when they slam down the exclamation mark for the billionth time in front of the target of their ire, only for them to move a completely unrelated piece.


Flamme Rouge is a ridiculously easy game to teach with some ridiculously outrageous moustaches. You all control teams of cyclists in the Tour de France circa 1920s, competing to be the first to cross the finish line. On your turn, you draw a hand of movement cards from your deck and select one to decide how far along the track your two racers will go and that’s it, simple as. What gives Flamme Rouge its character is that it’s a game of contrast. You want to save your large movement cards for the end, but if you're too conservative you will fall behind the pack. You want to be near the front of the pack, but not right at the front otherwise your cyclist becomes exhausted, meaning they will have less high value movement cards to choose from at a given time. Each player has to reckon with this constantly shifting balancing act of how far to move your racers; making it a game of surprising depth given how simple the rules are. On top of this, by giving players exhaustion for being at the front the problem of a runaway leader is eliminated.

All of these mechanisms force players into one main cycling pack for the whole game, with the main objective to try and be closest to, but not at, the front of the pack to ensure you’re in the best position to break away and cross the finish line before anyone else. This mechanic means the game avoids the issue of new players being left far behind the others, as it encourages pack formation that ensures that everyone thinks they have a chance to win the game. All in all, Flamme Rouge makes for a great experience for your non-board game friends, providing a wealth of friendly competition and position jostling that’s both easy and fun.


It’s cliché to say a game is “limited only by your imagination”, but if any game gets close to this lofty tagline, it’s Dixit. In Dixit, you and all the other players receive 6 cards, all of which contain a unique and fantastical artwork. Players then take turns being the ‘storyteller’, picking one of their 6 cards secretly and making a sentence which in their mind describes the card. Each other player will then pick one of their own cards that they think matches the sentence, and the cards are then secretly arranged around the board, before players pick what they think the storytellers card is. The trick is, that if everyone or no one guesses the storytellers card correctly, the storyteller gets no points; thus they need to come up with a sentence that is specific enough for some players to get it, but not too broad that everyone gets it.

While Dixit is great to play with anyone, it is most fun when playing with people that you know well, making it a great introductory game for friends. Under these conditions, it turns from a simple, light, interpretive game into one of pure psychoanalytics; where you will delve into the psyche of all your friends and stare into their soul, all to figure out what card could possibly mean “Remy from Ratatouille”.


All the games I’ve covered thus far have had a BoardGameGeek complexity of less than two. With 7 Wonders we turn this up a bit but, despite that, I still think this is a great introductory game because of how snappy this game is.

In 7 Wonders, you and the other players are competing to build the most prosperous city in the world by researching science, strengthening your armies, building temples, theatres and other cultural sites or constructing your city’s primary wonder over the three ages of the game. These advancements are represented by cards and, with each turn, players have the opportunity to either play these cards into their city, sell them for money or use them to construct part of your wonder. All of these cards cost different amounts of resources to play, meaning players will have to invest in cards that generate these resources, or earn enough money to buy them off your neighbours.

This may seem like quite a lot to handle for an introductory game, but somewhat ironically this game does not take an age to play, in fact you can often go through several games in just half an hour. This snappiness means that even if your non-board game friends struggle during their first game, the time passes so quickly they will still be up to try a second and utilise their new found knowledge to fight, trade, and connive to make sure their city is the greatest the world’s ever seen.


You would not think that the person responsible for Magic the Gathering would make a game that would fit on this list, and yet King of Tokyo sits proud as one of the most enjoyable and accessible board games out there.

In King of Tokyo, you and your friends all play as cartoon monsters aiming to be top dog and conquer Tokyo, either by gaining 20 victory points or being the last monster standing. On a given turn, players will roll six dice with the results giving you victory points, healing your monster, energy to buy items for your monster or damage for attacking. If a player attacks when no one is occupying Tokyo, that player moves into Tokyo city and gains victory points. From this position, the player gains victory points for starting their turn inside Tokyo and any attacks they do affect every player outside of Tokyo. “Great, I’ll just stay in Tokyo and rack up victory points” you’ll say, and the game replies “If only it were so simple”. While any damage you do affects everyone, the inverse is true: with any damage done outside of Tokyo hitting you. If that wasn’t dangerous enough, you also can’t heal in Tokyo and the only way to leave Tokyo is for someone else to deal you damage and yield your position to them.

Randomness is a great way to level the playing field between players and it’s part of what makes King of Tokyo such a great introductory game, but to add a bit of crunchy strategy, King of Tokyo allows players to keep or reroll any of their dice; to a maximum of three rolls. This loop of strategically rerolling your dice and choosing when to enter and exit Tokyo is the true heart of this game as it makes everyone’s turn a nailbiter, not just your own. You have never known true fear until you sit in Tokyo, beaten down to 2 health points, watching someone else roll their dice and hoping to god that they don’t grab you by your lizardy tail and toss you into the middle of the Pacific.