3 Board Games that will save you from a Life of Mediocre Gaming 

So you are trying to convince your scrabble, monopoly, UNO playing friends that there is more to board games so you start by showing them how impressive scythe looks or show off games like Terraforming Mars or Cosmic encounters only to get blank stares looking back at you with comments like “that’s nice” “it’s great you have a hobby” or “oh that’s a bit too complicated for me do you want to play Uno?” 

Don’t worry I can feel your frustration though the computer screen this is something I have faced over and over again until I learnt a simple truth. 

Not all board games are created equal and if you find any passionate tabletop gamer they will likely agree that in the realm of classic gateway games there are three board games that stand above all the rest. 

Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne & Settlers of Catan

These three games have been coined the ultimate gateway games and in our home, we describe them as the holy trinity of gateway game saving the world one person at a time from a life of meaningless mediocre gaming and bringing them a life full of great board games. 

This is because once you play all three of this games you won’t want to go back to your old ways of gaming say goodbye to the terrible games of your youth and say hello to a new life full of fantastic games. 

Ok, enough of the religious symbolism for a moment and let’s take a good look at these games and talk about why they are the perfect group of games for you to introduce to new gamers. 

But first what about them is similar see these games all have one thing in common they are easy to teach but difficult to master you can play these games without a lot of effort but you will find yourself every time thinking about how you should have built your train track there should have tried to get the longest road or placed more farmers. 

Each game is different with different mechanics and full of strategy, problem-solving and luck but they are all simple and that is what makes them so addictive because nobody wants to spend more time learning the rules than playing the game and that is the key with gateway games. 

So back to the games what about them as individuals make them great and what makes them worthy to be included apart of this trinity? 

The Father – Settlers of Catan

Players: 2 – 4 (5 – 6 Player Expansion can also be Purchased)

Settlers of Catan or as it’s been shorted to in its latest releases Catan is a powerhouse of a game Being published first in 1999 its the oldest of the three games on this list and because of that probably the most notable being highlighted by icons such as Kristen Bell and the Green Bay Packers this island-based settlement builder has gained quite a reputation for itself over the last few years.

Catan is well known by many as a gateway game, more importantly, it is the father of all gateway games being the first game out of the three on this list to be released and one of the board games credited with starting the modern board game movement. It is a worker placement game designed by Klaus Teuber which was first released in 1995 but has had over 6 reprints and is not known simply as “CATAN” you know like madonna only needs one name.

The game itself is a simple game where players earn victory points by building roads and settlements and collecting development cards as resources are allocated to every player each round depending on the results of there dice roll. It’s simplistic and there is always something happening for every player and that has been a catalyst for the success of the game. It keeps players engaged and keeps everything moving at a steady pace leaving players asking the question is it over already! rather than when will be finished how many rounds to go, because they have lost interest.

Overall its the Father of Gateway Games and lead to the creation of many more games to follow it.

Do you want to know more check out the boardgame geek description of the game below.

Board Game Geek Description

In Catan (formerly The Settlers of Catan), players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. On each turn, dice are rolled to determine what resources the island produces. Players collect these resources (cards)—wood, grain, brick, sheep, or stone—to build up their civilizations to get to 10 victory points and win the game.

Setup includes randomly placing large hexagonal tiles (each showing a resource or the desert) in a honeycomb shape and surrounding them with water tiles, some of which contain ports of exchange. Number disks, which will correspond to die rolls (two 6-sided dice are used), are placed on each resource tile. Each player is given two settlements (think: houses) and roads (sticks) which are, in turn, placed on intersections and borders of the resource tiles. Players collect a hand of resource cards based on which hex tiles their last-placed house is adjacent to. A robber pawn is placed on the desert tile.

A turn consists of possibly playing a development card, rolling the dice, everyone (perhaps) collecting resource cards based on the roll and position of houses (or upgraded cities—think: hotels) unless a 7 is rolled, turning in resource cards (if possible and desired) for improvements, trading cards at a port, and trading resource cards with other players. If a 7 is rolled, the active player moves the robber to a new hex tile and steals resource cards from other players who have built structures adjacent to that tile.

Points are accumulated by building settlements and cities, having the longest road and the largest army (from some of the development cards), and gathering certain development cards that simply award victory points. When a player has gathered 10 points (some of which may be held in secret), he announces his total and claims the win.

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The Son – Ticket to Ride 

Players: 2 – 5

Oh, Ticket to ride the game most responsible for saving us from a lifetime of lame mediocre gaming and monopoly sessions with the siblings that only end in tears. This Train themed board game from the box look ordinary and basic but behind that is a game that will transform your understanding of what a board game should be. This game is the perfect game for anybody looking for something new in there life to save them for the ordinary games we find ourselves playing and it does not disappoint.

Do you want to know more check out the boardgame geek description of the game below.

Board Game Geek Description

With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfil Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

“The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets,” says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. “The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.”

Ticket to Ride continues in the tradition of Days of Wonder’s big format board games featuring high-quality illustrations and components including an oversize board map of North America, 225 custom-moulded train cars, 144 illustrated cards, and wooden scoring markers.

Since its introduction and numerous subsequent awards, Ticket to Ride has become the BoardGameGeek epitome of a “gateway game” — simple enough to be taught in a few minutes, and with enough action and tension to keep new players involved and in the game for the duration.

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The Spirit – Carcassonne

Players: 2 – 5

Carcassonne the last one of the list this game is perfect for introducing the spirit of more complex gaming (i still don’t know how farmers really work) But that’s ok because it introduces you to a brave new world. You don’t fully understand it but that is ok because you are on a journery now and that’s what it’s all about.

This game is simple and complex at the same time but that’s ok and trust me you will enjoy every single moment of it.

Do you want to know more check out the boardgame geek description of the game below.

Board Game Geek Description

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of his meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores point for its owner.

During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: “Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?” or “Should I use this tile to expand my city, or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving him a hard time to complete his project and score points?” Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one meeple on it, turns to proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.

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