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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Computer Based Board Gaming

Subject: Fail/Win beginner guides rss

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Matthew Webster
New Zealand
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This is a post about how a good beginner guide makes or breaks a game for me. If this has already been discussed at length somewhere here on the forums point me in the right direction.

I've often thought that mobile/computer games had an advantage over board games simply due to the ability to walk you through a sample part of the game before you begin.

Video game makers seem to understand how crucial this is to the overall experience (and sometimes make it painfully clear what to do).

But then I recently downloaded Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Star Realms and SolForge (all on iOS), and found I could only grasp Hearthstone's gameplay. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about free titles, they're awesome. But wow should it be really hard to play a round of cards?

And my wife has zero tolerance for this stuff. If she can't play straight away she drops the game on the spot.

YouTube is great. So many people are doing lengthy 'how to play' guides to help the rest of us get going. But I'd prefer to learn as I play. Lengthy rule books really put me off.

And I think that when a card or board game is hard to learn, it actually makes them inaccessible to a lot of people. It seems to boil down to the complexity of the game and the experience of the user. The Lord of the Rings card game is going to be great for someone who knows their stuff, or wants to sit through a 'lets play' guide on YouTube, but shouldn't it also be good for someone with less experience?

What is the solution to making deep, complex card or board games beginner friendly? And don't tell me it's to 'not be dumb' (first post, couldn't work out how to use the emojis).
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Pelle Nilsson
Sweden
Linköping
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Welcome to the bgg forums!

I have no problem with tutorials being external to the game. For instance to learn Star Realms you can try this page (and I am sure as you say that there are some excellent videos as well for those who prefer that):

http://www.starrealms.com/learn-to-play/

Also the campaigns in the application start out rather easy as I remember them so it should be possible to figure it out in a few attempts even with not much prior knowledge. Might help to have some experience with deck-builders.
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Matthew Webster
New Zealand
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I'm just reading through that tutorial link now, and it has helped a lot.

And thanks for the welcome!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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I know this is in the Computer Based Gaming forum, but It seems relevant to point out a couple cardboard games that have included tutorials (or similar) in cardboard form. Presumably if app game users could benefit from an easier entry point, cardboard users could as well.

Legends of Andor is famous for including video-game style tutorials in the box. First you play the very basic intro scenario part 1, followed by a part 2 that adds more mechanisms. Then there is Legend 1, which adds more. Each subsequent legend adds something new, although you have almost all the rules by legend 2. Generally people like this approach, although many have complained that they wanted a comprehensive rulebook, rather than just a quick reference.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle takes a similar approach, splitting the full game into 7 "games". The first one is a total gateway co-op deckbuilder, with very few rules, and pretty easy victory conditions (at least for gamers). With each box/game after that, more cards are added to the mix, along with a few new rules, and perhaps other components. By the time you get to game 7, it is apparently a full-blown, gamer-compatible co-op deckbuilder.
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Matthew Webster
New Zealand
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I really like the description of the Harry Potter game you mentioned here, as:

It enables people to learn by playing instead of reading rules

It doesn't assume what the player's level of experience is at the beginning

Which are two things I think computer based games are sometimes more considerate of (not in all cases).

It had never occurred to me that some players prefer diving into a rulebook/having a rulebook as a larger part of the gameplay itself which is interesting.
 
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