Gateway Island packs 21 board games into a tiny box

With 21 different minigames, each one introducing a distinct modern board game mechanic, this could be the ultimate gateway board game.

Cover art for Gateway Island - a collection of 21 minigames with a huge swath of board game mechanics - a cartoon seagull flying above an island

Gateway Island has an intriguing premise; it’s a sampling platter of 21 distinct board games, each based on a different board game mechanic, crammed into a very modestly sized box. Van Ryder Games will publish the English language edition of the game in Summer 2024.

Long-time board game collectors know that the best board games aren’t always the most complicated, innovative, or flashy-looking. ‘Gateway’ board games, which offer a solid gameplay experience without requiring lots of prior knowledge to enjoy, are really important for introducing newcomers to the hobby.

The contents of Gateway Island - a collection of 21 minigames with a huge swath of board game mechanics

Gateway Island is set up like a tasting menu for game designs. Each of the micro-games – or ‘islands’ – is totally different, introducing players to a wide spread of play styles and game feels. Then, based on which of the games the players have enjoyed, there are recommendations for different gateway games that build on those mechanics in a fuller experience.

Gateway Island is actually the English language edition of ‘21 Giochi Minuti’ (21 Tiny Games), published in 2022 by the Italian Postscriptum Games. That has a healthy 7.7 rating on board game community site Board Game Geek, and was something of a smash hit at Italy’s premier board game fair, Modena Play, selling through all its stock in two days. Italian YouTubers Al4oPiù seem to be having a great time with it in the video below:

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While Van Ryder hasn’t specified a price point for this game yet, one of Postscriptum’s blog posts about 21 Giochi Minuti notes that it has been specifically designed with the family games market in mind, which means simpler components and a lower price point.

It’s not often that we see quite so many different games crammed into a single box. Prolific designer Friedeman Friese’s 504 is similar, but much less welcoming to newcomers – a box packed with components and rules modules, which can be arbitrarily combined to create 504 possible games. We’d only really recommend 504 for would-be game designers, as it’s more like a museum of mechanics than a working game.

If you’d like some more welcoming games to play with newcomers to the hobby, we have some great recommendations of family board games you should consider.