When trying to convert a non-gaming friend to the wonderful world of board games, it’s important to never lose sight of the idea that you are trying to convince your wouldbe gamer that games are a FUN way to spend time.
To that end, when taking your friend on their journey from Uno to Agricola, be sure to take a few side trips into party town. Some hobby gamers dislike party games, or think of them as lesser games, but there is no denying that they are games, and MANY modern party games have been nominated or even won the Spiel des Jahres award. Party games may not be your favourite type of game but when the objective is to show a friend how much fun modern games can be, they are an important aspect of the hobby.
Most people will have played some sort of party game in their past, be it Charades, Taboo, or the like. Just as Marrakech has similarities to Monopoly that make it a good early step into strategy games, there are a number of modern party games that use a spin on the “limited communication” concept that made Taboo such a mainstream phenomenon in the ‘80s. My favourites are the Spiel-des-Jahres-winning Just One from Repos Productions and designers Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter, and Banned Words, by the design collective known as Prospero Hall, and published by Wonder Forge.
Banned Words is a team game, like taboo, but instead of the game providing the list of forbidden words, you create a list of banned words for the opposing team after you’ve seen the list of words that team is going to have to guess.
Just One is a co-operative game where one player is the guesser and the other players must each secretly submit a single word clue, but before the guesser sees the clues, the clues are compared to eliminate any dupllicate clues. So while the most obvious clue might have the best chance of eliciting a correct guess from the guesser, it also has the highest chance of being duplicated by another player, and thus eliminated.