One thing I noticed straight away, people who aren’t necessarily in the know about games, pick games that look good. Which is fine right? As humans, we do it all the time. What we see visually, has an impact on our choices throughout life.
In some cases this is fine, but a first-time board gamer may find that they have bitten off more than they can chew.
As gamers, we want to welcome people into the hobby and try to give them the best experience of board gaming possible. For me, this includes setting a gaming level. There is nothing wrong with starting somewhere; it’s the getting started that counts and a rules-heavy game, picked up purely on box art or theme could severely discourage a new gamer. No one likes to struggle when it comes to understanding something especially when you are meant to be having fun.
So I came up with the 3-6-9 gaming scale, each with 3 games suitable for their respective level.
Levels 0 to 3
The games I have picked for this level are rules light and an introduction to some more modern board games.
Fluxx (2-6 players)
Labyrinth (2-4 players) Review
Forbidden Island (a cooperative game for 2-4 players)
Levels 4 to 6
The games I have picked for this level are slightly more complex and containing a core mechanic.
Between Two Cities (3-7 players)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig (1-4 players)
Seasons (2-4 players) Review
Levels 7 to 9
The games I have picked for this level are rules heavy and not ideal for a first-time gamer. Games at this level tend not to be reliant on a theme and more focused on game mechanics or even multiple mechanics per game. One term you may hear when describing these games is “eurogame”.
Agricola (1-5 players)
Istanbul (2-5 players)
Kanban: Automotive Revolution (2-4 players)
Hopefully, this will help you establish a baseline for different levels and complexity of games.