Handicapping for new players
David Spitzley
United States
Belleville
Michigan
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I run a regular Wednesday gaming session at lunch where I work, and as a result I teach a lot of people how to play different games. Much of the time people can do relatively well on the first run at a game, but there are others where it can be rather helpful to provide a leg-up for the new players. What are the best simple tweaks that you've used for new players (or experienced for your first game)?
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1. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:72] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
David Spitzley
United States
Belleville
Michigan
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This is the game that inspired this list. I've found that simply substituting a silver for one of the starting coppers in the new player's deck is sufficient to make them competitive in their first game. Aside from being simple, it doesn't seem to produce teach bad habits, since in practice it's just getting the benefit of a Moneylender prior to the first turn. Nevertheless, it gives the new player easier access to the more expensive cards earlier so they can get a feel for what to shoot for in later games.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
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Each inexperienced player gets to place one camel with each caravan leader.
 
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3. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:281] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
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New players get a settlement and a city instead of two settlements.
 
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4. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:418]
'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
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This game comes with four handicapping cards (two good and two dark). One use for them is to allow a less-experienced player to have one or both for his color, and the more-experienced player not to use them.

I may not be all that good with this game, because I have lost to newbies who didn't even need their handicap cards.
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