Since we have started hosting an almost monthly game night I have expanded my collection at a faster pace than I had planned. This led me to some purchases I regretted but a lot that have made stepping into gaming far easier than when I was a youngster in the eighties. So in no order here are the gateway games that have really gone over well for my group.
Ticket to Ride -- This was one of the first games I played with Angela and her sister. It is pretty easy to grasp the rulse and the difference between the two base sets make it tilted towards a more take that play style or With the addition of stations in Ticket to Ride: Europe lets you play in a more friendly style. I think the 1910 expansion for the original and the 1912 expansion for Europe adds enough to the game that they should be an auto include when purchasing one of the base sets.
Lords of Waterdeep -- This worker placement game sees the table often, it feels far more epic than it should but I have never been disappointed by playing it. The expansion does a lot to break the sometimes forced nature of the game and once you start to tire of the original it is definitely worth picking up.
Sushi Go -- Hasn't even hit the table yet and I already had three people ask when the next game night was so they could play. Now I have played the game and it is a nice little filler that I hope gears everyone up to play 7 Wonders.
Dominion -- As long as you handle the set up it is a really good tool for showing that a board isn't necessary, it was the first game I tried when I decided to get back into board games and it was the right choice for me. Coming from CCGs after a childhood of Dungeons and Dragons and my uncles Avalon Hill collection let me jump into the scene with confidence in being able learn any game I wanted. Starting in a familiar medium really helped shore up my confidence. Now we have Ascension, Trains and several other deck builders that can serve this purpose but I would still choose Dominion.
Those are the games that I usually open up for people and now others in our group feel comfortable teaching. I hope to get Firenze to the group table as it is a solid gateway in my opinion.