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Subject: Teaching games rss

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Steram Shaw
United Kingdom
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Hi, we have some friends coming over at the weekend, they have been wanting to try out some of our board games for a while now, I'm just after some tips on the best way to teach them games, the only person I have really tried to teach is my wife, who always says she hasn't a clue what I'm trying to explain but when we play the game a few times she does understand it and says its nothing like my explanation,I don't want to confuse our friends too much, trying to explain the rules and what the game is about, any tips will be appreciated,
Games we will be playing are, wits and wagers should fairly simple to teach, love letters, libertalia, the mascarade, I'm worried about mascarade as we have never played it before, can't really have a few dummy runs either as there's only 2 of us,
Thanks
 
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Nathan
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Love Letter

Explain that you will be playing cards in rounds and that each round someone will win the red cube/heart. After someone has won enough ounds they have won the game.

Then explain each start with a hand of one card and your turn is take a card and play a card. Explain that the cards have various powers and you will be trying to work out what other people have and take advantage of this. Explain that the round will go on until each player bar one is out or until the deck runs out and then the player with the highest card wins.

Then explain that the cards have various powers and play a dummy round showing people how it works. I would also help during the first game by reminding what knowledge is available in the game - especially when someone plays a guard, remind them of what cards have already been revealed etc.

After one round they should be good to go. I taught this to some colleagues on my lunch hour today and they got is quickly enough, and they have trouble with most games (I only teach them filler, anything more would be too complicated).

But basically the format is, explain the goal/how you win, then break down how the game plays.

Hope that helps.
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Bill Eldard
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Burke
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Visualization is the key.

I find that when teaching games to non- or new-gamers, it pays to play a full turn (or two if the turns are short) as a demo before starting again for the actual game. If hands of cards are involved, deal out the cards normally and have all the players lay their hands open on the table so you can explain choices. It should work for Masquerade as well as other games.
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Michael Wong
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Check the video section for those games. Watch the videos with the most thumbs, those will typically be reviews that explain the main rules.
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Kevin Green
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I'd go with Ticket to Ride, personally.
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Enrico Viglino
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The Sneak wrote:
Check the video section for those games. Watch the videos with the most thumbs, those will typically be reviews that explain the main rules.


They tend to be unboxing videos when the game first comes out.

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Barry Hood
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I second the idea of playing a couple of rounds of the card-based games with open hands. As you play, explain why you're playing the card you are, and make it an open discussion, ask other people what they'd play and why. Love Letter in particular is so quick you can play a couple of dummy rounds in five minutes and everyone should at least have a solid grasp of the rules (if not the strategies).
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Andi Hub
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When teaching a game, I start with a "flavor" sentence what the game in general is about as a small introduction to theme in mechanics. Then I tell the goal of the game (gaining VPs; reaching a certain limit; common goal in a coop). I follow with the general turn-layout ("game has 5 phases, with 4 rounds each" or "we play round after round till the end"). After that you can go into detail, i.e. how a round is played. Very often I try to do so by playing dummy rounds. It is also very helpful, if the state of the game at beginning is realized (initial ressources are already dealt to players and initial board position is set).
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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The Sneak wrote:
Check the video section for those games. Watch the videos with the most thumbs, those will typically be reviews that explain the main rules.


yep, send them links to the game's entry and they can prep a little before they arrive.

Often, it's a good idea to begin an explanation of scoring, then a brief idea of how gameplay progresses, then hints about strategies or pitfalls to watch out for. try to choose a game that doesn't involve secret cards or other stuff, that is, a game where everyone's assets are displayed. Easier to offer opinions like; "If I were you, I'd consider XYZ because...."
 
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Thomas Lang
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The Sneak wrote:
Check the video section for those games. Watch the videos with the most thumbs, those will typically be reviews that explain the main rules.


Ideally there should be a review by Rahdo who usually does a great job giving you a feeling of how it would be to play a game.

Other than that, while explaining, always start with "how to win" and then tell them, how to achieve that goal. This always works for me.
 
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james napoli
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a lot of help above.

a few keys for when i teach:

'we can do a practice round' this puts people at ease.

get the components in there hands, show some examples.

explain the victory conditions as well as this what u do on your turn.

don't worry about strategies, those will be logical once the games start.

good luck, seems the party style games you choose should be straight forward to get through.

-
James
 
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Jin Juku
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Check out these podcast episodes:

Episode 40 - Those Who Can't, Teach

The HTP Method for Teaching Games
 
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M Hellyer
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Aurora
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Every game's rules instructions has a paragraph that explains the general overview of the game. Read this verbatim before starting the rules.

Explain the objective to win.

Don't take too long setting up the board. If it does take awhile, try to do as much ahead of time so you don't lose their interest while shuffling, putting out pieces, etc.

Explain what each player needs to do on each of their turns. Don't get over-detailed with this in advance, which might scare them off. Just tell them enough to get them going.

Maybe play a couple practice turns to give them the hang of it before starting over when it really counts.

Speak enthusiastically. Appeal to their imagination. Make it seem fun!

I agree that Ticket to Ride is a wonderful game to get most adults interested in playing. But, try to know ahead of time what game themes and mechanics (role dice, play cards, get rich, attack others, railroads, sci-fi, knowledge games), they might like.

I usually start novice adults off with Ticket to Ride or Transamerica, or for a party game, Consensus.

 
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1 Lucky Texan
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Check for player aids/mats at the game's entry. You may not need them, but they can help new players. Indeed, assuming you've played the game before, if there are several player aids available, you should be able to judge the most appropriate one to help you teach and for your friends to rely on.

as an example, I saw this under 'file' at Love Letter; http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/86451/rules-formatted-to-f...
 
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Nathan
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Junkfoot wrote:
The Sneak wrote:
Check the video section for those games. Watch the videos with the most thumbs, those will typically be reviews that explain the main rules.


Ideally there should be a review by Rahdo who usually does a great job giving you a feeling of how it would be to play a game.


Rahdo's run throughs are excellent, I find them very helpful when choosing games to buy and learning game rules, because I like playing medium weight Euros with my wife. But that is because he focusses on medium/heavy Euros that are good with 2 players.

But, he will do a good job of giving you an idea of how to teach, but I doubt he has run through anything light enough for your immediate purposes.

For a really good idiot's guide style rules explanation consider Tabletop - the explanations there are designed for people with zero gaming experience as his shows are for introducing people to gaming, rather than reviews for gamers.
 
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Josh Morgan
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I would suggest that you leave out Mascarade. Since you have never played it trying to sort through the rules and teaching it to non-gamers will likely not be a pleasant experience for them. An established game group can handle learning a game that is brand new to everyone, but that isn't how you want to introduce board games to newbies.

The other 3 you mentioned are great, and hopefully they'll enjoy them and you'll be able to introduce Mascarade soon. I know it's frustrating and you really want to get your new game to the table, but in the long run I think it will be better for everybody if you waited.
 
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