Date Posted: 2017-11-01
Gateway games are easy to learn, fun to play for the first time and does not take too long to complete. But you cannot randomly pick any of the community-chosen gateway games on Boardgamegeek and expect it to roll smoothly. There are various types:

1) Bluffing Games

Bluffing games typically have an over-arching objective for the whole table. However, a few of the players will be secretly chosen to do the opposite, and they have to do so without revealing themselves. I won't recommend playing this with strangers though!

- The Resistance (30 mins/session)
Players are secretly divided into two teams - Resistance operatives (Good) and the Spies (Bad). The Resistance is working to overthrow a malignant government by carrying out multiple missions while the Spies try to sabotage them.

- One Night Ultimate Werewolf (10 mins/session)
Players are secretly given roles with different objectives and everyone enters a 'night' phase. During the night and depending on the roles, players can reveal other players' roles and even switch them up. Everyone will 'wake up' and spend the next few minutes accusing each other of being the werewolf and whatnot.

2) Strategic Games

This might be a loose definition of 'strategic', but many non-gamers see 'strategy' as having to control particular resources such as fuel and land and having to observe what other players are doing. If you have friends that love to exercise their minds, try these.

- Carcassonne (30-45 mins/session)
Players fight to complete land features such as roads, cities, and rivers. They score by placing 'Meeples' and 'completing' the feature, for example, by closing off both sides of a road. Players must balance the risk of getting their limited Meeples stuck in unfinished features versus the reward of victory points while making sure that their friends are always getting less.

- Settlers of Catan (60-120 mins/session)
Players build settlements along resource tiles and they will get resources based on the roll of dices. Since there will always be a mismatch of what they have and what they want to build, players will be forced to trade resources between them.

- Ticket to Ride (30-60 mins/session)
Players race to complete routes between cities, however, they can only build routes based on the cards they have. Players have to balance between drawing more train cards, placing trains on routes or getting Destination Tickets - cards that will reward players for connecting distance cities.

3) Cooperative Games

If your friends are not looking at lying or competing with one another, perhaps cooperative games will work best.

- Pandemic
Players go around the world helping to eradicate 4 different infections while also trying to find their cures. There will be intense discussions on what best to do next while hoping that the next card will not cause an Epidemic.

- Codenames
'Spymasters' attempt to give 1-word clues to their friends to guess a few selected words out of 25. The challenge is for the Spymasters to give words that link the most number of words together and for their teammates to guess the correct ones. To up the challenge a notch, they have to avoid guessing a few forbidden words!

4) Games for Two

Maybe you just want to play it with your SO or maybe you only have 1 friend. Either way, these few games are great for these more personal occasions.

- Codenames Duet
Similar to Codenames but instead of pitting two teams together, the 2 players cooperatively give clues to one another. Have fun asking one another 'Why didn't you think of that!' or 'How are these two linked?!'

- Pandemic
The same game as above and with a slight difference in the starting hand size, this game is as fun and intense.