Like That Game? Try This One! Great Gateway Games


We’ve all been in this position – our new acquaintance loves board games and wants to join us at game night but they’re only familiar with Sorry or Clue. Not to worry! With a few directly related suggestions you can bring them into the game renaissance!

Caveat, and I’m adding this early so I know you saw it. If your aunt and her mates all play Canasta and that’s the game she enjoys – YOU PLAY CANASTA WITH YOUR AUNT BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A MONSTER. This article is in no way intended to give anyone fuel to dunk on someone else’s game choices. Every game choice is valid, every gamer is valid, and gatekeeping or elitism is never, EVER welcome at the Girl’s Game Shelf game table.

Still with me? Great. The intent here is to help players that may have not had the opportunity to get to the table since the golden age of Milton Bradley, or who may not have seen the advances in board game-y goodness in the last couple decades. Big Box stores didn’t start expanding their game shelves until recently, so the renaissance is still super fresh for some players. Its FANTASTIC to get to introduce someone to modern gaming because it not only brings new players to our hobby, it gives more experienced players an opportunity to go back and play something akin to their own childhood games (evoking some nostalgia) or revisit a classic they haven’t played in ages. Choosing something with a similar mechanic to that of a beloved classic helps make that transition seamless.

Chess? Try Onitama
The ultimate abstract strategy game gets a fresh twist with changing move conditions and a smaller board.
Fire shared cards randomized at the start of the game dictate pawn motion. The first player to capture the other’s main piece or starting point wins.
2 players
20-25 mins

Mille Bornes? Formula D
All the chaos of the racing favorite, with no chance you’ll be stuck with a speed limit card for the entire game.
Roll and move race game with twists and turns with the goal of reaching the finish line first.
2-10 Players
45-90 mins

Monopoly? Acquire
Buying, selling, and acquisitions – no free parking.
Start a hotel, invest in chains, and takeover smaller ones to grow into the best scoring properties.
2-6 players
45-60 mins

Clue? Mystery Express
Twice the clue cards means keeping track of even more information in this card swapping, train stopping version.
Collect information based on the clue cards to determine the who, what, where, why, and when of the murder.
3-5 Players
45-60 mins

Sorry? King of Tokyo
The king of ‘take that’ meets the king of kaiju.
Roll dice to damage your opponents and score points as the King of Tokyo. Last monster standing wins.
2-6 Players
20-30 mins

Uno? LLAMA
Just as much drama, even more llama.
Attempt to get rid of your hand while laying cards in a particular order based on numerical order.
2-6 Players
15-20 mins

Life? Tokaido
Instead of an event filled life, you’ll complete to have the loveliest holiday on this journey along the East Sea Road.
Move along the game path visiting hot springs, buying souvenirs, and eating great meals in order to score the most points.
2-5 Players
30-45 Mins

Scrabble? Wordsy
Finally, you’ll never get stuck with a rack of all vowels…
Using a common set of randomized consonants , build the highest scoring words.
1-6 Players
15-20 mins

Yahtzee? That’s Pretty Clever
Roll the dice and see if you’re the cleverest at the table.
Choose rolled dice to fill in your score card full of chain scoring and multiplying opportunities.
1-4 Players
20-30 mins