Top 10 Games for Newbies

On episode 2 Alex and Ben discussed their top 5 games for new board gamers, this is the combined list (with a couple of additions from myself to make it up to 10 because they had 2 crossovers). – James

10. Colt Express


I’ve found great success teaching this to a variety of people, some as young as 8 some as old as 80 (my parents, they aren’t actually 80 but it had a nice ring to it). The theme makes people interested and it is simple to play, you lay cards to choose your actions. It is also chaotically hard to plan, so even experienced players will not necessarily beat new players (I’ve never won).

9. Carcassonne


A tile laying game that is easy to pick up. You lay a tile that you draw at random and then place a meeple worker on that tile should you wish, either on the road, the city, the monastery or laying down in the field. Points are scored based on how big the structures are when they finish, although field scoring is where it gets harder to grasp it’s still an easy to pick up game with next to no set up.

8. Bohnanza


A simple card game of bean themed set collection by the man who would go on to design heavyweight games such as Agricola and Caverna.

7. Catan


(Formerly) Settlers of Catan is one of the pillars of modern board gaming. You roll a dice and collect resources if you have a settlement on the appropriate numbered hexes. You then trade with other players. Finally you build by paying the resources to make the building you want to.

6. K2


A race game to the top of the real world mountain of the same name. Cards are played to move or to acclimatise your climbers. “Race games are great, people can see on the board I need to get from here to here and this is how I do it” – Alex.

5. Hanabi


A co-operative card game where you need to play cards in numerical order to put on the best Japanese firework show. “We’ve had lots of success teaching new players… you don’t ever see your hand of cards only the other players see your hand” – Ben.

4. 7 Wonders


Card drafting civilization building that after you play a round you will understand. Everyone has 8 cards you choose one to keep and pass the rest on, then you get a new hand and choose another and so on. Easy to learn, hard to master. Amazing expansions. “You can never make a wrong decision in this game just less good ones”. At the end of the game it can look very busy (pictured) but that only makes it more enjoyable. It can be played by 7 players!

3. Resistance


A hidden role traitor game that is very easy to play with a lot of players, gamers or not. The game is based on lying and deceit, which everyone can do right?

2. Ticket to Ride: Europe

ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride: Europe or the original Ticket to Ride, if you want to build train routes in the USA ,  is another set collection game only there is a board that you then place your trains on, so it may be a more rewarding experience for new players, as you witness the progress of your game-play.

1. Pandemic


THE co-op game, that has defined co-op games, has brought a lot of people into the hobby. The premise is that you are trying to cure the world of 4 diseases, experienced players can help new players (not tell them what to do) and everyone plays together vs. the game itself. The actions available are simple, move or remove disease cubes, it’s a classically brilliant board that looks like a map of the Earth.

If you are on Twitter tweet us your essential games for new gamers @ShufflePPodcast or if you use Facebook tell us at the Shuffle & Play Facebook group, if you don’t have either just shout them at us next time you see us!


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