Both the terms Filler and Gateway imply a lower value of a game, which is definitely part of my problem. Ticket to Ride is considered one of the classic Gateway games but is has never been a game I’ve outgrown or grown tired of. The Gateway label does it a disservice. Well, okay. I think it does any game that gets slapped with it a disservice.
I also may be reacting strongly due to experiences with game snobs. Liking longer and more complicated games doesn’t mean you are better or smarter than everyone else :P
One of the things that really brought me home to the idea that casual games can be lifestyle games was the Pairs system. It’s not in my top five game systems but it is flexible and easy to introduce to people. It does the job that it was meant to. It is the epitome of a gateway game since you can teach many of its games to drunk people. It is the opposite of so many complex games in many genres. But it is still good and very replayable.
This actually started out as me writing about Tokaido but things got a little out of control. Labeling games can be dangerous because it can make us look for something in a game other than ‘do I want to play it?’ It’s a useful tool and a necessary tool but it can be a dangerous tool.