You're taking your worker and...so you can put it here to...the goal of the game is to win...so...you do that by...well here's how it works...
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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I suck at all things rules. Getting all the rules right to any kind of middle-weight strategy game is an exercise in futility for me. What's possibly worse, tho, is when I'm trying to explain a game to other people who have never played before. 8x-exploding-head-bonus when I haven't played the game either and am explaining it for the first time.

Looking in the rulebook when a question comes up and everyone is waiting on you is also the worst thing ever. You're not really seeing the rules, you're just frantically darting your eyes around every page, not reading a thing, hoping the answer will smack you in the face. It never does...

What games have you tried to explain, where the people listening somehow end up knowing less about the game than they did before they knew it existed, or maybe you left out valuable information, thus *ing the entire game?

Oh is it just me?

Probably...I suck.

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1. Board Game: Carson City [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:345]
 
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Played this for the first time last night with some friends. About three seconds into my rules explanation I realized I was drifting in the middle of the ocean, alone. I must have jumped around to different aspects of the game so many times that the other players were wishing their pistol tokens were able to inflict real suicidal damage.

The fifteen or so agonizing minutes won't be reiterated here, but here's a taste of what it was like...

"So welcome to Carson City! You're going to try and win the game. So how do you do that? Well...you see this point track around the board (shows the track for a while, obviously stalling while realizing I have no idea what I'm going to say next), you want to be the highest on that...obviously. So to get there, you have to...well let me show you how you place your...this is a worker placement game. So you're going to put your guys...you start with three...on...like this...oh shoot, I forgot to put buildings on here...(45 seconds of silence while tiles are drawn from the bag and placed on the spaces)..."

I read the rulebook three times beforehand, and thought I had a handle on it.

NOPE
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2. Board Game: Lifeboat [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1891]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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I was so excited for this freaking game. I had heard how awesome it was. How interactive it was. How cutthroat it was. I read the rule paper (there wasn't much to it) a few times and thought it was incredibly easy.

So I explained the game more awkwardly than a nerd at a frat party, but thought I at least covered everything.

We all hated it. It was so boring and awful.

Turns out I got 84/10 of the rules wrong. Yes I managed to get more rules wrong than there were rules.

We basically played Ryanboat. I don't know what the hell happened, other than extreme embarrassment and failure. I must have been high......is this a...what day is this?
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3. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (second edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:407]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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Sometimes I really think I'll be able to explain a game, and then when the time actually comes to play, I suddenly realize there's no flipping way.

Tried to play this one night while my rules guru friend wasn't there. I was feeling cocky or something.

Got it all out and setup, passed out player sheets, picked the Dracula player, sat down and realized...I have NO idea what I'm doing. I started to fumble over the alphabet and then just stopped talking, as the table had just morphed into one giant pair of glazed over eyes. I collected the player sheets and put the game away. It would have taken weeks to get through.
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4. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:131]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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So this one is more of..."I just suck at explaining everything."

There's a lot going on in this game right off the bat. Going through every tile to show what it does can take a while, and if everyone isn't paying attention, you'll get the, "WHAT DOES THIS ONE DO AGAIN?" thing during play. Well one of my biggest problems when explaining a game is that I tend to leave out valuable information. I've played/explained this game MULTIPLE times, and it never fails that at some point halfway through us playing the actual game, I'm like..."Oh! Right! You can take a couple pieces and put them in reserve to keep from being stolen if you don't want to use them immediately! Oopsie daisy!"

or

"Oh yeah...the player with the least exposed connectors was supposed to get paid........every round."

or

"Oops...you're not allowed to put tiles directly in front of a gun, or directly behind an engine..."

You'd think by now I would make a rules-explaining crib sheet!
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5. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:103]
Ryan James
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
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When someone asks a question that I don't know the answer to, in the middle of a rules explanation, my first impulse is to just immediately answer them, feigning knowledge. Attempting to not appear like you don't know what the hell you're talking about really bites you in the ass when it comes out that you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

I'm in the middle of explaining what happens when you lose a ship to the warp when someone asks, "Can you have more than four ships on a planet?"

I had NO idea. So I just confidently and adamantly said, "No. Absolutely not."

Well of course I looked it up on here after the fact and it turns out I was way wrong. So the next time we played, someone else asked that, and I said, "Yes!" and one of the guys who played with me the previous time was like...you're just changing rules at will! Last time you said we couldn't!!!

Busted.

I'm the worst.
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6. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:42]
Jason
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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Utter pain in the backside to try to teach (especially to new-gamer partners/family/etc).

Anything with hidden information is a bear to teach, I find. (I'd agree on Fury of Dracula too.)

When it came to Race for the Galaxy, I made us all sit down and watch a succinct youtube instructional video. It really was the only way.
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7. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:85]
Brandon Kempf
United States
Jefferson City
MO
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Let me preface by saying, I love reading instruction manuals for some weird sadistic reason, but I just am not a good rules explainer.

Played this one of the first game nights I hosted, 5 player game with 4 people that don't play heavy board games. It took me nearly an hour to get going after explaining and we still ended up consulting the rulebook and videos during the game. Took us 8 hours to play, it was a blast, don't get me wrong and everyone had their fill of drink and food and banter, but to see where I failed in explaining certain things was just painful to watch.

Can't wait till I try to get them to play Virgin Queen with me or something of that nature.
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8. Board Game: Keltis [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:1389]
Will Millar
United Kingdom
Edinburgh
Midlothian
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I am regularly the rules explainer amongst my friends and although I often miss out a small rule somewhere, generally I like to think I'm quite good at it. Apart from the time I taught people this.

Keltis is not a complicated game but I got everything wrong, so completely that the game we played was a random luckfest lasting about 5 minutes rather than the 30 minutes suggested on the box. It was only when teaching it to a second group of people that someone asked a question about the rules and i referred back to the rule book and discovered that it bore no relation to what I had been teaching. At all.
I have no idea where the rules I taught came from as there is nothing remotely like them in the book.
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9. Board Game: Body Language [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Ben Kyo
Japan
Osaka
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I usually pride myself on being a good teacher, especially of games.
I am fluent in Japanese.

However, when I have to explain a game I've only ever played in English entirely in Japanese my fluency and teaching skills go out the window and it's a wonder anyone perseveres long enough to get through a game with me!

So far:

Go
DungeonQuest
Hive
Mah Jong
Space Hulk

No real disasters yet, but a very low 'uptake' rate compared with my English explanations.
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10. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:95] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
David Minken
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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I cannot quite remember the correct terminology, but I believe you can ship a good as many 'links' as the power of your engine, where a 'link' is a city-to-city connection. The first time we played I thought a 'link' was one rail piece. So yeah, you needed a size 6 engine to ship something from New York to Boston (I'm not looking at the board right now...but the point is is that it was painful).

3.5 hours later and we decided flying model helicopters inside the house was more fun...until we accidentally flew one out the window, 6 floors up. Then we decided the only thing we were good at was drinking beer.
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11. Board Game: First Train to Nuremberg [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1390]
John Bandettini
United Kingdom
London
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I’m usually pretty good at teaching games. If it’s the first time I will read the rules a couple of times and set the game up and play at least a few turns solo to get an idea of how it plays.

This game taught me a valuable lesson though. Just because I had played and taught a game before and in this case even written a review, its’ still possible to get it wrong. I’d played the game about 6 months earlier and written a review at around the same time so I was pretty happy that I knew the game.

I got so many rules wrong we were playing a totally different game. Since then any game I think of playing that I have not played in the last couple of months gets a minimum of a rules read before even attempting to play it.
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12. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:92] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Scott Wheelock
Canada
Woodstock
New Brunswick
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Pretty easy game to explain, right?

The first time I taught someone, we were halfway through before I remembered to mention that if you didn't finish a ticket, you lost those points. blush
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13. Board Game: Blackbeard [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2449]
Marstov
United States
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I am a fiend for all things piratey. arrrh

I found a used copy of the original Blackbeard, read through the rules and convinced three of my friends to play it with me. Let's just say my enthusiasm outstripped my grasp of the rules.

I made mistakes; lots of mistakes. I forget all of the details now, but the crowning glory was realizing we'd mis-played the NPC pirate hunting ship on my friend's turn. Rather than triumphing for much glory, my friend had in fact been sunk. At this point, everyone kind of threw up their hands and decided to play something else.

This particular incident is so notorious in my gaming circle that to this day (10 years or more later) my friends still say "Sorry, your pirate ship is at the bottom of ocean" to describe rules mistakes that lead to harsh consequences. blush
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14. Board Game: Age of Industry [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:475]
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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"Ok guys, so you're putting down these counters, and these ones on the left can only go on the blank spaces while these on the right can only go on the spaces with the same symbol.... you want to flip them, so for example you can sell.... here, give me your counter, and you would first buy it by the price on the top...."

My sister still hates this wonderful game.
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15. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:103]
Luke
Australia
West Footscray
Victoria
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"Okay, so basically you need to get ships 5 planets to win the game. Not those five you're on now, though. Um, okay. So the game is broken up into encounters and we go round and each get one encounter, but sometimes you get two, but only two! Each encounter is broken into 8 parts... by the way, every rule I'm telling you can be broken by alien powers"

My own brain starts to fade by the time I get to the part where you play encounter cards.
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16. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:155]
Ien C.
United States
New York
New York
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I love this game. The first time I played, I had a gang over for an evening just for this and we played through the tutorial missions step by step, guided by my friend who was doing a great job learning and teaching the rest of us at the same time. But boy did it take a long time. It was a past-midnight affair.

The next time, I figured I had it down pat. I had a few people over to play, all of whom were new to the game. Wanting to get right down to it, I jumped into a full game and started explaining, without having reminded myself of the rules or planned the explanation.

I was all over the place. I got nervous. I was sweating. Folks were getting frustrated. My wife was one of the players, and she looked on in (I hope) loving embarrassment. Finally we started. It was terrible. Folks didn't know which cards were serious versus normal threats. We mixed up the meaning of some of the soundtrack notifications. And the real disaster: I said we lose if we take 6 damage total. Not per section. Total. One guess as to how we did.

It was so scarred that I promised myself I would learn how to teach this game properly and redeem myself. I've since taught it to several groups with success. But I still shudder with self-loathing to think of that evening. Ryan, no matter how bad you've explained rules, you don't suck. I suck.
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17. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:412]
Mrs Smith
Australia
Canberra
ACT
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When the owner of our FLGS returned from Essen with a bunch of demo copies of new games we were keen to try this one at the weekly game night. I had downloaded and skimmed the rules in advance so offered to 'teach' this...after struggling through a 4 player learning game, I came away with the impression that it was a poorly designed game with way too much going on, messy mechanics and opaque strategy...then I started hearing about what a great game it is, from reviewers I respect and friends I have similar tastes to... I think perhaps I need to give it another chance!
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18. Board Game: Android [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1042]
Bence Tamás
Hungary
Budapest
MAGYARORSZÁG
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"So basically, it's about solving a murder case right?"
"Yeah, at least that's the background story... but really there are a thousand ways to win besides that."
"Like what?"
"Well... you know there is the murder, the puzzle, the personal story, Jinteki and Haas tokens, those other unnamed tokens..."

Everything falls into place after the first play, it's not that hard really, but with all the rules, player powers, etc. It's a HUGE pain-in-the-ass to teachcry, the most frustrating part is to answer the question "How does one win?". Because there are almost a million ways to score.
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19. Board Game: Dominant Species: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:3364]
Oliver Kiley
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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So I attended a gameday event and knew there were a few players interested in playing this one. Wait ... rewind a few months. I picked up this up in a trade and was keen to try it out. I read the rules and solo'd most of a full game to get a handle on things. It was pretty smooth playing and straightforward.

Okay ... So I attended a gameday event and knew there were a few players interested in playing this one. So when the moment was right and we pried the players out from other games and aimless wandering around tables, we sat down to play.

I got everything out - and drew a total blank. I had no recollection of how this game played. How many cards do I deal out? What are these token tracks? When do you redraw cards? Nada, nothing.

I told the group if they coudl give me a couple moments ("go get a beverage now please") to scan the rules it would jog my memory and we'd be off to the races. How wrong I was!

The rulebook is the kind I loathe. Tiny text and nothing but paragraphs and paragraphs of text with way too much crammed in there. The rulebook is impossible to scan and refresh your memory because everything is buried in these paragraphs! Gah! Help!

I just told everyone - sorry, but I'm going to pass on teaching it because it's just too cumbersome to deal with right now.

I just ended up loaning the game to the person that really wanted to play it, so it worked out for them in the end anyway.
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20. Board Game: Marvel Heroes [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1858]
Bruno Lorentin
Finland
Espoo
Uusimaa
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This one is not a matter of being that hard to explain, it is a matter of HOW LONG it takes to explain. Especially to non-gamers that are more attracted by the Marvel universe than by boardgames.

It became such a pain for me to explain it that it almost prevents me from taking it out when people come at my place to play games. Even though I really like the game!
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21. Board Game: Glen More [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:258]
Matt Clark
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
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I am not a great game explainer and I know this. However, as one of the main organizers of my game group I am often the one who gets to learn and explain games. I think that Glen More plays very elegantly and the rule book isn't too bad, but there is something about the rondell that absolutely eludes my ability to explain things. My wife and I actually had to watch a video explaining it before we could wrap our brains around it and to this day neither of us do a very good job of explaining how it works to new players.

Luckily, after a turn or two of showing how it works, people catch on pretty quickly (and that's typically when I realize that I've forgotten to explain the road/river rules for the tile laying).
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22. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Henrik Forsberg
Sweden
Ludvika
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Me and two friends decided to spend a full summer day gaming, I had recently bought Arham Horror and they both wanted to play. Since we had plenty of time so I thought we could figure it out as we set up the game. Wrong. I don't remember if I had glanced through the rules or not the night before, but it didn't go well. At all. After about 3 hours one of them said: "I'm never going to play this again", and that was that game.

Me and the other guy want's to try it again, but it has never seen the table since...

Lesson learned: Play EVERY new game by yourself first and figure out the rules so you know them almost perfectly without referencing the rule book...
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23. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:211]
Kyle Mann
United States
Fontana
California
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So simple the rules are inside the box lid. I have screwed this one up twice by confidently and eloquently explaining the rules, giving physical examples on the board, being very clear and precise with my language...

... and completely forgetting to mention that you score not only when merges occur but also when the game ends. "Oh.. uh... not sure if I mentioned this, but now that the game is over, we all get to liquidate our stock and get shareholders' bonuses again..." Yeah, Kyle, that changes the strategy a touch. blush
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24. Board Game: At the Gates of Loyang [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:238]
Bruno Libonati Rocha
Brazil
Curitiba
Paraná
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I just had play it online.
So yesterday I put the physical game in the table, thinking I would know the rules without read the rulebook.
Shame! Shame! blush
I didn't know how the card and distribution phase occur and so I should read the rulebook with the board on the table and all players waiting the begin of the game!
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