If you ever wanted to bring your love of board gaming to your friends and family then finding a good gateway game is the best way to do it. These games are all simple enough on the surface but fun enough to make people want to play again and again.

If you’ve already played some of these gateway board games or used them to introduce friends to the hobby, it’s time to take that next step… so we’ve also included six recommendations of what to play next if you enjoyed any of their gateway precursors.

Gateway: Ticket To Ride

  • Players: 2-5
  • Type Of Game: Route Planning
  • Time: 60 Minutes
  • Where to buy Ticket To Ride: Amazon

Ticket To Ride is a route planning game that is fun for all ages. It’s easy to play and doesn’t push a ton of deep strategy which is perfect for people who just want to sit down and have some fun.

Ticket to Ride is also one of the best travel board games.

The frustrations of seeing someone you know and love steal a route that you desperately needed to complete your train track is a feeling most of us will never forget. Simple planning can be the difference between victory and defeat, making this a great game to teach new players.

After Ticket to Ride, try Power Grid

  • Players: 2-6
  • Type Of Game: Strategy and Resource Management
  • Time: 120 Minutes
  • Where to buy Power Grid: Amazon

Power Grid takes a lot of the planning aspects of Ticket To Ride and adds in a lot of complex strategy. Instead of train routes you’ll be building power networks.

image credit: garret evans/flickr

Players must try to maximize the efficiency of their power plants while also maintaining enough wealth to jump on new technologies as they become available.

Gateway: Munchkins

  • Players: 3-6
  • Type Of Game: Adventure Card Game
  • Time: 60 Minutes
  • Where to buy Munchkin: Amazon

When talking about simplicity and pure uncut joy, Munchkin comes to mind. This silly card game has adventurers knocking down doors and fighting the beasts that lay in wait.

All in the name of sweet sweet treasures. It does a great job of engaging all those who play it with the fun art design and hectic randomness.

If you want a game like Munchkin that takes itself more seriously, you might want to try out Cosmic Encounter:

  • Players: 3-5
  • Type Of Game: Strategy
  • Time: 60-120 Minutes
  • Where to buy Cosmic Encounter: Amazon

Through a series of randomized encounters, players try to manage their ships in clever ways to come out on top.

image credit: herefordshire boardgamers/flickr

Enemies are made, alliances are broken, and long lasting friendships are put to the test. Decide when to attack, when to defend, and when to simply let bygones be bygones.

Gateway: Settlers Of Catan

  • Players: 3-4
  • Type Of Game: Simple Strategy, Colonization
  • Time: 60 Minutes
  • Where to buy Catan: Amazon

Settlers is probably the most popular game that appeals to casual and competitive board game enthusiasts. In Catan players race to become the dominant culture on the island.

Rapid expansion and smart settlement building is the name of the game. The great balance of luck and strategy is what makes this game a welcome addition to anyone’s collection.

For those that want to sink their teeth into something deeper there’s always Eclipse:

  • Players: 2-6
  • Type Of Game: Complex Strategy
  • Time: 120-180 Minutes
  • Where to buy Eclipse: Amazon

Eclipse is best described as Catan meets Risk… in space. Rather than being in command of a small settlement, you’ll be in charge of an entire civilization.

image credit: sampo sikiö/flickr

Eclipse has you Colonizing planets, researching futuristic technologies, building spaceships and waging war on all those who stand in your way. All in the name of ruling the galaxy.

Gateway: Pandemic

  • Players: 2-4
  • Type Of Game: Co-Op
  • Time: 40-60 Minutes
  • Where to buy Pandemic: Amazon

Pandemic is many people’s first foray into the world of co-operative board gaming. In this game players work together towards a common goal; stopping the spread of disease .

See also: A few more board games like Pandemic .

Everyone tries to use their characters unique tools to eradicate as many of the viruses as they can before one of them becomes a global epidemic.

For an incredibly rich Co-Op experience try Gloomhaven

  • Players: 1-4
  • Type Of Game: Dungeon Crawler
  • Time: 120-180 Minutes
  • Where to buy Gloomhaven: Amazon

Gloomhaven is a unique blend of Co-Op and individual gameplay. Players control their mercenary to perform tasks to up their skills in the city of Gloomhaven. Once everyone is ready it’s time to band together and embark on an adventure that will push everyone to their limits.

image credit: brian j. matis/flickr

With endless meaningful interactions, this is one of the deepest board games you will ever find.

Gateway: King Of Tokyo

  • Players: 3-6
  • Type Of Game: Family
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Where to buy King of Tokyo: Amazon

King of Tokyo is one of the best games for kids and adults alike. In this game everyone grabs their favorite giant monster in a ruthless quest to destroy Tokyo and destroy anyone who stands in your way. This game uses a lot of dice rolling which makes it a great blend of luck and strategy.

If you want a bit more strategy in your monster-smashing-madness try Smash Up

  • Players: 2-4
  • Type Of Game: Deck Building
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Where to buy Smash Up: Amazon

In this hectic gateway card game everyone picks their two favorite factions and mashes them together to create a force to be reckoned with.

image credit: meoplesmagazine/flickr

Build wacky deck combinations like Robots and Dragons, or Astro Knights and Disco Dancers. Players prove their superiority by smashing bases and earning enough victory points to win the game.

Gateway: Carcassonne

  • Players: 2-5
  • Type Of Game: Tile Placement
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Where to buy Carcassonne: Amazon

In this Midieval city building game each player tries to earn points by claiming different sections of the city. Carcassonne is the perfect example of “easy to play, hard to master”. A great gateway board game.

Each turn the active player places another tile on the board to form the cityscape. As the world expands, players place meeples on the map and claim connected areas and gain victory points. With 10+ main expansions this game will never get old.

For a different type of citybuilding experience, try Alhambra.

  • Players: 2-6
  • Type Of Game: City Building
  • Time: 45-60 Minutes
  • Where to buy Alhambra: Amazon

In Alhambra each person takes on the roll of a coordinator of elite builders. The new Spanish city is just being built and everyone must manage each builder in their employ to craft the perfect city.

image credit: steve fagg/flickr

Acquire buildings, erect walls and make sure your workers get paid in the race to build Alhambra. Keeping your workers happy while still maximizing their productivity can prove to be a daunting task.

6 Gateway Board Games (And What To Play Next)