Legacy Of Fun

How to introduce euro style strategy games to a mixed group


European Strategy Game

For a few years now I’ve been hooked on all the great board games coming over from Europe. After cutting my teeth on Settlers of Catan, I was all in.

However, while they go over great when I get the guys together every other month or so, they just aren’t taking off at my extended family game night.

People aren’t paying attention, they keep getting up from the table, they miss basic concepts of the game… It’s SO frustrating! And they ASKED me to bring these games!

The problem is, I was so busy worrying about all the fun THEY were missing (ruining), that I was missing the point of family game day to begin with:


We were getting together as extended family. Hanging out together when we don’t normally do so. That time is as much about connecting with family as it is about games.

And it’s hard to connect when you’re trying to remember what rule 37 was and your little brother is yelling at you to take your turn!

See, it’s FAMILY game night for a reason… Family first, game second. And fun to flavor it all.

My advice is this: don’t introduce euro games to family game night.

Bring your family up to speed slowly in smaller groups…

Bring games on camping trips and holiday parties. Bring them to family gatherings that aren’t based around the games themselves.

Play them with that niece or nephew or aunt or uncle that is interested… And just them. Once they are hooked, they’ll try to get other family members interested.

Now, once the family sees how much fun you’re having, they will ask you to bring those games to family game day.


Family game day is about connecting, not deep strategy. If uncle jimmie is interested in playing, play with him another time.

But for family game night, bring games that won’t be ruined by deep conversation or trips to the kitchen.

Some I like are:
• Apples to Apples
• Taboo
• Scattergories
• Teams of enemies
• Balderdash
• Pictionary / cranium

If you’re going to bring euro games, make them quick and easy or be ready to lose players mid game. Carcassone and the like may be viable here.

Once the fam has learned a good euro strategy game in smaller groups away from family game night, THEN ask if there is interest in all playing it together.

When everyone already knows how the game works and what to expect, they can invest the focus needed to enjoy the game.

Until then, learning the rules and strategies of a complicated game ruin the connection and fun that launched family game day to begin with.

So share the love of those awesome games… Just do it gently and in stages.

Happy gaming!

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win Games

Feb 03,2013 @ 01:05PM

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Mike Mitrovich (author)

Feb 03,2013 @ 01:13PM

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the feedback!

Joyce Wheeler

Feb 10,2013 @ 09:01AM

In my observation, there are a few dynamics that affect the games we play at family game night. One is all the activity with so many people in one place. For some, it seems, it’s too chaotic to concentrate on a strategy game with lots of things to remember so they like simpler games. The age range also affects the game (currently ages 5-50). Even if we aren’t trying to get the younger ones into our particular game, they are running in and out, asking questions, wanting attention and distracting from the game making it harder to concentrate. Also, I think some people just prefer simpler, easy games. They just want to play and laugh without having to think too hard about it. Some games do seem a bit overwhelming in setup and explanation when you are learning them but flow pretty well once you’ve played them, it’s just getting there that seems to be the hurdle. Lastly, some people choose to have a few libations which greatly affects the concentration factor. I think we’ve accommodated these things pretty well by having more than one table set up so more than one game can be played at a time (sometimes several). My kids and I love all the new European games you’ve introduced us to so come play with us anytime!!

Mike Mitrovich (author)

Feb 11,2013 @ 08:12AM

Totally agree! And I think now that we’ve played some harder games, it’s gotten easier to introduce other ones.

One thing I get caught up in is wanting to try NEW games. True for family game night and my guys only gaming too.

It’s hard to really get into any one game when always playing something new. But there are so many great games out there now!

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