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Subject: Learn Time & Teach Time rss

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Jens Schmidt
Sweden
Sundsvall
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Dear fellow boardgamers,
I would like to propose two new game attributes for the games in the BBG database and a change to an existing attribute. Let me first explain why I think this would be of value to us.

Last week I opened one of the many games I have laying around waiting to be played; Black Beard. Eager to read the rules get into the game I ripped of the shrinkwrap and opened the box...WOW...are these the rules. I felt the hope of playing this game the next day fading away as I flipped through the 30-ish pages of smallprint text. We ended up playing Tikal, which in contrast have short, easy and very well written rules(I'm NOT saying that the rules for BB were badly written as I never read them)

If I would have done a little research I might have been prepared but as most games don't have this ridiculous amount of rules you don't feel the need to investigate stuff like that.

Would it not be nice to be able to select a game when you know how much effort/time you need before you can start playing.

So what I suggest is that the BBG database would include two new attributes to games:
* Learn Time - The time it takes to learn the game by reading the rules.
* Teach Time - The time it takes to teach the game to a new gamer.

These two attributes are of course individual in the same manner as game grades are and could therefore work in the same way, we submit the approximate number of minutes it took us to learn/teach the game. The attribute value can then show a median value(or some other statistically credited measure). There could also be a (continous)graph g=gamers(minutes) similar to the one we can see for game grades to give an even clearer picture of the games complexity/rule quality.

As a final note I also think that an upgrade of 'playing time' would be very neat. Let us submit our playing times...per number of players.

Please let me know what you think about these ideas.

/Jens
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Robert Wesley
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Aberdeen
Washington
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This would be highly subjective for anyone specifically "involved" on that aspect, since some folks shall be able and "catch on fast" while others, then NOT so much, or even at ALL! As you've stated, then having the AVERAGE on these would assist plenty of people in making a much better determination with regard for their own 'Group', and their success with just about any with that in mind.
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Russell Grieshop
United States
Temple Terrace
Florida
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Wow - I like this idea a lot. And I like all three stats:
Learn Time:
Teach Time:
Play Time:

Record a play already has a play time (in minutes) option - so in theory, some of that data is already being gathered. I'm not sure if it is displayed, but it is out there in the database somewhere.

Play Time would be appropriate for all plays, but in theory, Learn Time would only occur the first time for whomever is the 'splainer, and Teach Time would only be applicable for a first play.

Now, I know many players learn games by having the rules read to them. I don't teach games that way, and can't really learn that way, but I know some people do. In that case, in theory, Learn Time and Teach Time would be the same. If you crack the shrinkwrap on a game and immediately sit down to play, there wasn't any external Learn Time.

I do agree that this information is highly variable, and very subject to interpretation. Every play of a game might be very different. That game of Age of Steam that was played with a bottle of Glenlivet is likely to go much more slowly than the one played with no refreshments. And let's not even discuss those drunken games of Diplomacy.

It also assumes that people would track their plays. I don't right now, but I do journal my games, so could start tracking them here, too. I know there is an iPhone app to do this - if it worked on a Blackberry, I'd be set, I guess.

Definitions might need to be created, and would probably result in some flurry of discussion, interest and argument. I taught Power Grid the other night to 6 people. Pretty much the entire game was a teaching game, since I quickly covered everything, and then reinforced the entire game for them. But I could track the teaching time.

I like this idea, and I do think it would help the community. I'd always assumed that Settlers was a 60-90 minute (more or less) exercise, until I played with some Speed Settlers players who clocked a game at just under 25 minutes, including setup. It would be interesting to see the spread/distribution of the times.

Thanks for the very cool suggestion!

Russell
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Wendell
United States
temporarily Arlington VA
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To second Grogs in spirit (if not in typographical style!), it really does depend. For example, somebody coming into a moderately complex hex-and-CRT wargame for example who has played plenty of other similar games will pick it up quicker (all things being equal) than an equally smart, interested, enthusiastic player who is making his/her first effort at this kind of game.

It might be interesting to have as a statistic on the game page the length of the rulebook as a rough indication of the game's complexity. Actually I think "game weight" is supposed to do that, but we all know that system is badly broken!
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David Peacock
Canada
Montréal
quebec
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It took me more than a year to learn Here I Stand and I'm still unsure of most rules, as for Blackbeard (great game btw) it took me a few hours to get the rules and it took me 20minutes to explain the basics to new players the following day.

I'm not sure you would agree on the learning curve of BB?
as they said, learning time is really subjective, for example if your not used to wargames, even the simplest one will be a challenge. And if your used to Wallace games, his rules will be easy to understand, but for a newcomer it might be out of reach (see my unplayed copy of Struggle of Empire, I dig the rule but can't manage to teach it properly so we end up playing something else).

The best solution is to find the rules online and read them first.
(All of GMT games are available online)

P.S I'm not saying its a bad idea, I'm just not sure how we could define the learning curve of a game objectively.

P.P.S Game Weight? I thought it was used to know how many games we could put on a shelf without it coming down
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Scott Alden
United States
Dallas
Texas
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These are things that could be placed into a poll for each game. There's a lot of subjective things that can be measured this way.
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