EDIT: NEW TITLE- THIS GEEKLIST HAS BEEN TRUMPED AND THE FOLLOWING IS THE FUTILE ATTEMPT TO SAVE IT FROM THE GEEKLIST ABYSS! Old Title- Are You Geek Enough? Game Explainers and Newbies Beware!
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EDIT: Wow! The feelings of watching my new GeekList child go off into the world, thinking this one shall be fruitful and exciting to watch. Like a proud parent I was, but then several hours later in my attempt to check up on my new child I was horrified to notice victoryzine had already submitted the almost exact same idea a few days earlier. surprisehttp://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/32480

To give some background here.... Before starting my new idea, I checked several pages of GeekLists to ensure no one had created something similar. I was thrilled! I have a good idea, so I got my GeekList started but low and behold my OLD computer's mother board took a dump so I recently had to purchase a new tower... angry Due to my absence here on BGG and my current drive to complete the below GeekList, I did not check to see if anyone had submitted something similar. So the following EDITED additions are my feelings about my trumped GeekList cry and my futile attempt to save this young GeekList child from a thumbless tragedy.


Are you a game explainer? Well I am. When it comes to my main game group I'm the buyer, the reader of instructions, and most importantly the game explainer.

Now I have come to value and enjoy the game explainer role; and I am always aiming to perfect this art. In my honest opinion, I believe the game explainer can make or break yuk a gaming experience for a group. It is an important job that can not be underestimated or taken for granted. I'm always asking myself was my explaining done effectively and understandably? As many know, the explainer can not bog down into the game minutia because it becomes a snooze time snore for the listeners, so the game explainer must teach the rules concisely, yet get the main points across while also interjecting a bit of strategy commentary. It is truly a high wire act and I am by no means a Michelangelo at this fine art, but I try.

Now as any frequent game explainer understands, there are games which are easier to explain while other games are truly challenging. I've begun a short list of games I have found difficult to explain and why. I will attempt to impart some advice at times. I ask all here on BGG to add games they have found difficult to explain or understand the first time out. Any advice or hints on how to improve said issues will be meet with a plethora of thumbs and thanks!

As they always say hindsight is 20/20! laugh

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1. Board Game: Trump: The Game [Average Rating:4.40 Overall Rank:15265]
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EDIT: Geeklist Trumped!

I got home after submitting my new child and I checked BGG thinking I should have had some response by now. When I hit the GeekList button, my eye caught victoryzine's GeekList. My eyes bugged and it was like Donald Trump's finger being poked through my monitor and saying "Your fired."
 
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2. Board Game: I Doubt It [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
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EDIT: Doubt

Next, the feeling of doubt hit me. "Come on, no way, this was MY idea." My eyes must be playing tricks on me.
 
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3. Board Game: Proud Monster: The Barbarossa Campaign [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:4341]
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EDIT: PRIDE.

The next feeling was pride. Like a parent, who watches his 95 pound son play football for the first time, despite the majority of his opponents averaging about 140 pounds each.... I told myself, "That is fine, my Geeklist is superior."
 
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4. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame – The Burning Crusade [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
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EDIT: Burning Frustration!

I closed BGG and walked away from my computer with the feelings of pride still lingering... Unfortunately, pride did not last long before it turned into frustration. A burning frustration inside me. I mumbled "Jeez, I just wasted how much time typing that GeekList and it will go completely unnoticed because most will assume I'm copying victoryzine's idea. So no one will read it. Very few will respond and I know there will be responses because it is a good idea for a GeekList. Hence, victoryzine's high activity.
 
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5. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:806]
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EDIT: DOOM!

As in most situations frustration leads to the feeling of impending doom. "Oh No, my GeekList will be lost forever to the BGG's thumbless abyss. It will take its seat right next to my first two GeekLists... I want a shoulder to cry on.." cry
 
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6. Board Game: Save Doctor Lucky [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:4957]
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EDIT: MUST SAVE MY GEEKLIST!

So my feelings at this moment are "I must save this promising youngster from the BGG thumbless GeekList abyss." and here is my attempt to do that. One must be creative and think outside the box to garner attention and thumbs. I invite all BGGers to add to this list and share any stories they have when they were struck with the proverbial "A day late and a dollar short." laugh

Lastly, I want to issue a disclaimer that this is only in jest and I'm thrilled that victoryzine's GeekList is doing great. I will ensure I stop by and comment.
 
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7. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
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Talk about abstract... The first conundrum is trying to get non-gamers excited about the theme of E&T. Trying to communicate that your a civilization vying for power in the ancient Mesopotamia area when all you do is lay little colored tiles on the board is somewhat problematic. I typically get the reaction of "OK." Thankfully, this first issue is not detrimental, and one can get past the pasted on theme.

The next aspect of E&T I struggle with is explaining the difference of "internal" and "external" conflict. To overcome this, I generally explain, which is obvious to most, that "internal conflict" is revolution and "external conflict" is the act of war on someone else.

The last and biggest difficulty to explain, and for newbies to understand, is visualizing the external conflict on the board. The question of "So how much power do I have in this maze of tiles?" is a regular occurrence. Only an example to show and the actual playing of E&T can this visualization be mastered. Even an example can be weak because it generally amounts to just a few tiles and not monster external conflicts that can arise in E&T.

Now, E&T is one of my favorite games to play. I love the ups and downs and the constant tension in Tigris and Euphrates; but this game is difficult to explain and worse yet for non-gamers such as my wife to understand...
 
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8. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
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I would rate the teaching of this game as moderately difficult. Through experience, I generally give a quick overview of PR's roles, role selection, buildings, shipping, etc. I try to be quick and concise, because PR is best learned by just playing some mock rounds before beginning a game. Newbies start to see the flow of the game and most pick it up quickly and this also gives me an opportunity to share a bit of PR strategy.

However, I believe the hardest aspect to explain well and for newbies to grasp with a single explanation is the buildings in PR. They are constantly asking "OK, what does this one do?" I have not developed a better way to explain the buildings , because experience with PR is the best teacher... Yet, I know there is a more effective way.
 
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9. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
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Overall, I can explain RRT well and rank it as moderately difficult to explain. Fortunately, I have found newbies generally enjoy RRT. There is something about the big board, production value(despite the board and color issue), physically laying your track, among other mechanics that creates enjoyment.

Overall not many issues arise in RRT, but it is very important to relay that a "link" is the connection of one city to another despite the distance. One can build up to four hexes of track during a build action, but once you build into a city you must stop.

Also a big aspect I can forget at times is to remind the new players that they can deliver on opponent's tracks as long as the first track link is in their possession. I have forgotten to inform people of that important information in the past, and in mid-game I tell them finally and they go "OOOHH! You can?"

Oops. blush
 
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10. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
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In my opinion, Carc is easy to grasp for newbies and overall explain. It is very friendly to non-gamers. If I have a new group of people I'm playing with, I generally lean towards Carc to play.

However, Carcassonne contains a mechanic that is quite difficult to example and for newbies to understand. Now, I'm sure most BGGers know what I'm talking about as they are reading this. But I have found that the farms is very difficult to grasp and to explain. To help explain the concept, I generally use the pictures provided in the instructions, but that strategy still falls short.

Now, I realize not all new players struggle, but I have found many non-gamers do. Frustration of a non-gamer after a Carc veteran scores some 50 point farm and wins; tends to create a sour feeling for the game, which is very unfortunate. I know one can play without the farms, but farms are such a huge part of Carc, that is not an option in my opinion. So my struggle with farm explanation continues...
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11. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
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The Game of Thrones is the game I've had the most. Consequently, I have had more experience with explaining this game. Ultimately though, I do believe GoT is a difficult game to explain. There is just so much information and mechanics to teach. I have gotten much better, but it still remains a challenge.

One concept that is quite difficult to relay is how the turn order and the player's orders go hand in hand. For example, the first player does one raid order, than the second player does his, etc.. I have found most people catch on quickly once a turn progresses but there is a learning curve here.

The second concept which is VITALLY IMPORTANT to the success of a new player enjoying the GoT experience is to explain how ships in GoT act as "Land Bridges" across water. I have two gamer friends that refuse to play GoT due to my failure of explaining how the ships work in GoT effectively enough. soblue They were burned by being blind sided with an attack across ships that they were not expecting or even fearing.... New players must understand even if that enemy army is far away, all that opponent needs is a continuous connection with ships and they can attack you. Be wary!
 
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12. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
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I haven't had many issues arise with the explanation of Power Grid. I do believe it takes about a turn to really grasp and then most people can play effectively at least. However there are still a few nuisances that spring up that one must remember to explain well.

The first is to ensure that the turn order is explained clearly in PG. It is a clever mechanic that allows the first player to select power plants during the auction first, but than it is reversed and the last player on the turn order gets to buy resources. This can be quite a surprise when that commodities market is bought up for the lead player and they are paying out the nose for something... surprise The turn order is quite counter intuitive and needs to be explained well.

The second aspect of PG that gets many questions as the game is played is the victory condition. The winner of PG is the player who powers the most cities, not so much the person with the most connected cities. There been close games where one person wins even though they don't have the most connected cities, they can just power more.

Also remember to remind the new players that in a tie of powered cities, the person with the most money WINS! I have been on the losing end here many times.. angry laugh
 
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