Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10 March 2009 Session Report: The One Where I Tried To Convert 2 Non-Gamers

2 game sessions in consecutive days...I must be dreaming. Anyway, Sarah came over for a visit today while Van had Siew Min over to bake with her. After letting Sarah have a go at Wii Sports, we proceeded to try our first 'real' game. Considering that she hadn't been exposed to the world of Eurogames, I figured the first experience was key - it could either make it or break it. The other factor was that there were only 2 of us as the other 2 gals were busy in the kitchen. My initial plan was to go with Stone Age but fearing that it might be overly heavy as a first game, I decided to ease the process by opting for a shorter, simpler game. I went with Battleline which was one of my favourite 2-player games, hoping that the short yet surprisingly tactical game would make a good first impression. I would typically be concerned about starting someone on a Knizia due to its abstract nature but since Sarah was a chess player, I figured I might just be able to pull it off.

I naturally opted to play without the Tactic cards to avoid overwhelming her, which turned out to be a good decision. She got the hang of the game relatively quickly, the only blimp being she took awhile to familiarize herself with the various card combinations as she had never been exposed to Poker hands. I took the first game 5-1 but she came back with a vengeance in the second, and pipped me to the victory with a score of 5-3 - an impressive game played on her part indeed.

She seemed to enjoy herself so I took the risk of pulling out Stone Age next. I would have gone with Settlers but unfortunately it was not an option with 2. I was looking for a game of similar weight which scaled well with 2 and the choice was obvious. She was slightly overwhelmed during the explanation of the rules but quickly got into her stride after playing a couple of rounds. I made it a point to highlight to her some of the more important spots and she acquitted herself well. The game ended 249-212 in my favour but only because I was more intentional in collecting advantageous civilization cards.

Van and Siew Min finally finished baking and I was able to persuade them to join us in a game of Settlers. Siew Min was a hard sell but we finally managed to get her to give it a go. Apparently, her last attempt at Galaxy Trucker still left her somewhat scarred, hah. Van and I went easy on the 2 newbies, trading generously with them, and tried to steal from each other whenever possible. Settlers can be a somewhat confrontational game and mean play can really spoil the experience for those new to such games. We were all neck-to-neck for most of the game but the breakthrough came when Siew Min connected her longest road. Coupled with her sheep port, she took the win while I was stuck on 7 VPs with the other 2 at 6 VPs. 

Well done Siew Min! This seemed a much more palatable experience for her and hopefully this would encourage her to give other games a try. Sarah on the other hand did find playing 3 games in a row somewhat brain taxing but commented she especially enjoyed Stone Age and Battleline. Looking forward to introducing other games in my collection.

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