The Distinguished Gamers Top 10 Games for People Who Hate Games



Greetings friends. We’re back once again to bring you another entry in the Distinguished Gamer series. Our Fearless Leader, Josh, put forth a topic during our last virtual round table. What are games that would be entertaining to people who hate games. You know, those rare folks who hate the game and not the player, as the kids say.

As always we approached this with our usual mix of research, inquiry, human testing, and spirited debate. What we’ve come up with is a list of 10 games that you should try on game haters and why they just might convert these misguided souls to game playing aficionados.

With that, I’ve put on my newest smoking jacket, a lovely crimson and black piece. I’ve poured myself a brandy and lit my pipe. Let’s sit back and have a look at the list.

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10: Monopoly

I know what you’re thinking, “How is Monopoly on this list?” Honestly, it’s here because non-gamers seem to think this is an appropriately acceptable game to play. If you’re just looking to play a game with a non-gamer and not introduce them to further games or deepen their love of the hobby then this game is a perfect choice for several hours of play. Yes, there are better games, more entertaining options, and far superior experiences, but those exist on the rest of this list, so without too much time here…
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8: Horrified

Horrified is a cooperative family game featuring the Universal Monsters. As a cooperative game you won’t put off anyone by being better than them. You can choose how many and which monsters you’ll be facing off against so you can adjust the experience to the individual player. Are they a huge fan of Frankenstein then you can make him a focus of the game. Are they one of those pedantic know-it-alls that would keep correcting you to call it Frankenstein’s Monster even though they know exactly who you’re talking about then you can leave Frankenstein in the box and avoid wanting to strangle them every time they cough politely and correct you.
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6: Call to Adventure

Doubling down on the story element of the previous entry is Call to Adventure. In this game you’ll each be playing cards to expand the story of your character and telling your own tales of adventure and excitement. This game should go over well with anyone who loves reading and storytelling but wants to avoid gaming for some reason. This can be even further enticing if they are a fan of the Name of the Wind series by Patrick Rothfuss as there is a stand-alone expansion that based on his books that will allow you to tell stories in that setting.
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4: Mint Works

Mint Works is a quick and easy resource management game. The pieces are excellent, the game fits into a little mint container, and even the advanced rules are easy to teach. With this game you build an engine and use the pieces to construct your neighborhood that gives you points. People who enjoy math puzzles such as Sudoku might enjoy playing this for the various steps towards victory and the way you have to plan your solutions. Through that the game is pretty fast and works well with new players. This is providing you can keep them from eating the mint shaped pieces.
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2: Splendor

Splendor is an economic game where you’ll gather gems, trade them for better cards, and then gather more gems. The game is quick, requires thinking ahead, and the use of planning to be successful. As with other games on this list we’re using bright colorful pieces to distract the player from realizing they are playing a game until it’s too late. This works well with Splendor since the pieces are so very nice. The art is beautiful, the chips are good quality and who doesn’t like stacking really nice chips? The tactile nature of this should distract them long enough for the hobby to sink its hooks in.
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9: New York 1901

New York 1901 is a lovely city building game. The game is fast and easy to follow. Players get their own collection of Tetris style building pieces to fill the city with. Like Monopoly, you’ll be competing for property and building new buildings, but you won’t need to worry about roll and move, take that, or any of the other less than desirable features.
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7: Above and Below

Above and Below is a fun family weight game about building your own towns. The game focuses on expanding you area and building a town while also exploring caves for resources. One of the things that might attract non-gamers is the exploration aspect of the game. When exploring you’ll get read snippets from a story book that will involve making decisions. This story aspect of the game can be an attractive feature for people who may not enjoy the abstract nature of some games giving them a narrative to dig into and enjoy.
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5: Fluxx

Fluxx is a simple game of draw a card and play a card. If you can do that then you should have no problem getting in a game of Fluxx. The power of the game for non-gamers is the theming of the set you use. By my unofficial count there are roughly two million different Fluxx expansion each with its own theme. These range from Firefly to the Wizard of Oz. Find a property or theme your non-gamer enjoys and immerse them in a game of Fluxx with all of its in jokes, references, and sly gameplay that should distract them long enough to actually enjoy the game.
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3: Dungeon Roll

Dungeon Roll is a quick fun game where you roll dice to delve a dungeon, defeat monsters, gather treasure, and fight dragons. The dice are all brightly colored, treasure tokens are claimed from a chest shaped box, and each player gets fun powers they can use. The overall game is a puzzle of when to use your powers and characters balanced against how far to push your luck. For some players this will keep them engaged while letting them ease into a quick player friendly game.
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1: Twilight Imperium 4th Edition

Finally we look at the number 1 game to play with people who hate games, Twilight Imperium 4th Edition. This is a wonderful game of expanding your own galactic empire through exploration, negotiation, warfare, and technological advancement. This game creates a fun experience for all involved and lends itself to grand stories. Plus, once the eight hour game is finally completed Stockholm syndrome should have kicked in and really drawn them into gaming. Which is why TI4 is the best game to play with people who hate games.


There you have it folks. Just in time as I’ve reached the end of my brandy and my pipe is on its last embers. Let me ask you, is there any game I’ve missed that could have been on this list? If we get enough suggestions we’ll put together a commenter’s list later on.

Thank you for joining me and until next time, stay safe and be well.


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