What is a gateway game?
A game with simple rules that is easy to teach to non-gamers in order to attract new players into Wargaming as a hobby.
Gateway Games must have at least these qualities:
· Simple (so you can explain the rules to them quickly).
· Fun (fun games will attract repeat plays).
· Short (can be played in under an hour so that, if having fun, can be played multiple times in an afternoon).
If your goal is to attract new players to Wargaming as a hobby, the focus should be on the player. There is no go to with a Gateway Game. The game needs to click with the player that you are trying to get into the hobby. If you know the new player or can get to know them, you can make better decisions about what games they might be interested in.
Are you trying to convert a brand new player who has never played any games?
This kind of player doesn’t have any background in any sort of game mechanics, so It would be best to introduce them to a game that has only a small amount of game mechanics, so they don’t have to learn too many new rules all at once.
I would recommend a game like Warhammer 40,000 Recruit Edition for a brand new player. It has a simplified ruleset and cards which contain all the rules and stats for your units. It even tells you what number on the die you need to roll to hit.
Are you trying to introduce a Chess or board game player?
This person is already a gamer, so you are half way there. They know how to play by the rules and they probably have a good grasp on board position.
For this type of player, I would recommend a game like Warcry.
The rules are still simple enough to learn quickly but it takes time to master. The game contains easy to read cards that give you all the information on what your units do and what die rolls they need to hit etc but Warcry also introduces a randomly rolled skills element, which can change the abilities and actions that your units can perform from turn to turn.
As to the question ‘What is a gateway game?’, it normally comes down to if said game can be fit to suit the prospective new player in the categories above.
You are not going to find a definitive definition of what is or isn’t a Gateway Game. The idea behind it, is to find a game, theme, or mechanic, that the new gamer might be interested in so, they become interested in the multitude of games that are available within the hobby.