7 Unique Ways to Convince Your Friends to Play Board Games


Something most board gamers face is a poor reception when their “strange” hobby gets brought up among friends, the general public, family, etc.  You went to a 5 day convention to play board games?

Here are some great and sometimes devious ways to convince some of these outsiders to join you in a glorious game of dragon slaying or pineapple shipping.

If only they could know the fun they were about to have.

1.Tell them they are like video games but with no lag

For those of you born before the year 1990, “lag” is a phrase used in video gaming to describe when the game isn’t running normally and the commands the user is inputting are not being executed immediately and the screen appears to move slowly.  This can be caused one of two ways

  • Video lag.  Which means your computer is not powerful enough to run the game or something went wrong.
  • Latency lag.  Which means your internet or connection to the other players is off.  Can be caused by data caps, other household members streaming, poor connection to the server, etc.

This can be a great bargaining chip with your friends who have slower internet at home.

Slow internet is becoming more and more rare these days as technology advances, but if you have any friends who are on slow college or shared internet or struggle to play online games at night because of congestion, kindly remind them board games require nothing but a tablet and chairs.  You will be surprised how effective it can be.

2.”No, I do not want to play Dungeons and Dragons, Monopoly, or Risk with you”

For whatever reason, I found have found that these are the three things that come to people’s mind whenever I mention board games.  Even though most D&D players and many other gamers know it is a technically a role playing game, to the layperson that distinct is lost on them.

The hard part about this prejudice is that it can be hard to tell whether those games bring back fond memories or horrors of childhoods past.  Do they like Risk when they ask you “is it like Risk?” or will they think it is a 4+ hour snooze fest of a game?

I have struggled to come up with an adequate response for such inquires and the millions of strategy threads on BGG have not been much help but have provided some laughs.

My suggestion?  If you think that they enjoyed those games as a kid, then say it is similar, but better.  If you have no idea or they think D&D is for basement dwelling witches, go with the vague standby response of “come over and I will show you”.

I have found explaining how building farms and harvesting peet moss to blow glass in the Bavarian forest sounds REALLY BORING when spoken out loud.  But when you get to play the game, it amazes you how much fun mundane themes or tasks can be.

convince friends to play board games
Gencon 2015 – random castle

3.Tangential Theme Relations or “Hey I heard you like dragons, well this game over here is about dragons…”

A wise man once(probably) said that people like what they like.  Sure, maybe you can show them something they new they will like, but why bother?

A lot of us are stubborn and close minded.  It is not a bad thing, it is one of the qualities that make us human.

So rather then putting on your weird gadget middle of the mall salesman presentation to your friends, simply acquire games that are related to what they are interested in.

I will give you some examples:

Friends’ played over 100+ hours of Fallout 4? -> Show them Posthuman, a cooperative post apocalyptic survival game.

Is watching NASCAR and drinking Coors Light their idea of a perfect Sunday afternoon? -> Thunder Ally

4. Leverage the current Kool Aid drinkers

Nothing works like peer pressure.  We all know it, hate it, and fear our kids will succumb to it on a daily basis.

Be a devious gamer and use it to grow your game group and get your favorite game to the table!

Do you have one friend who likes to game and 10 who don’t?

Well then the key to your success will be how well you can use that one friend to convince the others.  Use them like Coca Cola uses those cute polar bears.

They are now the champion of game night.  Defender of cardboard. Giver of credibility.

play board games
Gencon 2015

5. Get Them Drunk

We can all recall some things we have done after a few beers or a few too many glasses of wine that we rather not have done.

But sometimes you try stuff while intoxicated that you end up actually liking!  What better way to grow your game group then with using some of the most popular elixirs on Earth?

Maybe after a couple glasses of wine and a few episodes of American Horror Story, your wife will think chasing Dracula around, trying to stab him in the eye with an ice pick for 3 hours doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Ever seen grown men having a little too much fun playing kids games like Loopin Louie or Animal upon Animal?  Yep, that is why.

So give it a try.

Maybe your friends will wander around after visiting the restroom and stumble upon your copy of Rampage! set up and ask you what the heck that cool looking monster game is.


6. A Board Game Night By Any Other Name is….

Some gamers do not know how lucky they are.

They live within driving distance of 10+ awesome conventions.

Multiple weeknight game groups.  Massive shelf space.  Hand carved hickory and oak gaming table.

While others can barely find an opponent who has heard of a game besides Risk and Mahjong.  They look longingly at the group pictures of folks playing board games on BGG and sigh.

A great way to convince your friends, significant other, family, to play games is to pretend that you aren’t going to play games or, at least, that is not the central theme of the event.

Maybe it is really a “couples date”, “group date”, or “movie night”.

Maybe you are going out for coffee to discuss “politics” and love letter just so happens to get thrown down after everyone runs out of Donald Trump memes.

Sometimes non gamers or “regular people” do not want to think they are going to a game night, but if they are going to a party and just happened to get roped into a game, that is somehow different and more acceptable.

Hey, what can I say, I can’t explain it.  It is human psychology.  Use it to build your game group or perish waiting for your next move on Board Game Arena!

convince friends to play board games
Gencon 2015

7.Bribe or guilt them

Pizza and beer in exchange for helping you move?  That is fine, I guess, but so, how you say, boring.  Not to mention fattening.

This is 2016 where healthy is cool again.  Instead of reversing the weight loss you earned by moving heavy sofas around for a few hours, play board games!

Forcing someone to play a board game in exchange for a service does not sound so evil.  There are much worse things out there in the world.

The best part?  They might actually have FUN!  SHOCKER!

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