One of the benefits of having a regular group to play board games with is that there are board games available to me even though i don’t own them. Board games that i actually enjoy a lot (Caylus, Endeavor, Tigris & Euphrates) but which i don’t need to purchase as i would still only play them with the board game group anyway.
The only exception to this has been Kingsburg, a dice rolling worker placement game. Even though one of my board game buddies owns it and also its expansion I still bought it because i believed i could get some more people to play with. People outside the core group.
I was not disappointed. I played with 3 friends last Friday and it was a great success. It seemed a bit daunting at first when they saw the main board and also the player’s building boards but once i went through the rules and we played 1 year of the game they were completely sucked into it. Thinking over their strategies (defense or resources and dice), and even blocking another player’s dice.
The friends i played with, although familiar with one another, don’t know each other that well. Kingsburg offers just the right amount of interaction for such a group. It is quite on the solitaire side but you can still affect other people when using your dice. So there is not enough direct confrontation that can lead to bad feelings or misunderstandings.
Another advantage of Kingsburg is that the games are usually quite close to call. Everyone is still in the race to win it until the final 1-2 seasons which keeps people’s interest throughout the game.
I found Kingsburg to be the best gateway game i have introduced so far. I consider Survive, Code 777 and High Society more family than gateway games. I have also played the family version of Agricola which was again a success and although i consider Agricola to be a superior, deeper game i believe that as a gateway game Kingsburg is much better. It will be my main gateway game from now on. The game which will help people to make the transition from family games to more complicated and ultimately satisfying experiences.