Jason Schmidt
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Out of curiosity - how long does it take you to do a rules explanation for TI3 (with minimal/no optional rules)?

I've played three times and taught it twice now and I'm clocking around 30 minutes I believe give or take, though I definitely gloss over sections such as the combat and political voting (We'll cover that when we get there or it is needed is what I say). I've read some people do a super minimal explanation and just start playing, but that seems like it opens the possibility of people complaining "hey I didn't know about that rule and that messes up my plans".

Anyway, I'm teaching the game again on Saturday to a couple guys who are new, so I'm going to get more practice soon.

FYI what I usually cover is:
-General comment on theme / what the game is about
-Go over VPs, but not each objective yet
-Talk about the galaxy, Mecatol, red systems, worm holes, etc
-Talk about the races sheets briefly and activations, but don't go into each race in detail
-Talk about the strategy cards and what they do
-Give some movement examples
-Go over the tech sheets (I used pieces of paper and circle techs as acquired)
-Briefly mention each objective card if using Age of Empire, otherwise I give some examples of possible objectives that will be coming up
-Right before starting I have each player briefly summarize their race's abilities for everyone else, though I often have to clarify some things.
 
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Justin Rio
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45-60 minutes.

schmidtjas wrote:
-General comment on theme / what the game is about / how to get distracted from winning
-Go over VPs, but not each objective yet
-Talk about the galaxy, Mecatol, red systems, worm holes, etc
-Talk about the races sheets briefly and activations, but don't go into each race in detail
-Talk about the strategy cards and what they do
-Give some movement examples Emphasize movement rules
-Go over the tech sheets (I used pieces of paper and circle techs as acquired)
-Briefly mention each objective card if using Age of Empire, otherwise I give some examples of possible objectives that will be coming up
-Right before starting I have each player briefly summarize read aloud their race's abilities for everyone else, though I often have to clarify some things.


I tend to get interrupted with questions from impatient people.
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John Di Ponio
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For me, it depends on the group. I am usually in the 40 minute range.
 
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David F
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Really depends on your group. Try to teach it to people who don't mind not knowing all the procedural stuff beforehand, don't get frustrated if their long-term plan turns out to be illegal rules-wise, and treat the first game as super-casual (mistakes are a given and will happen); avoid people who literally think they can stomach the whole thing in one lecture (including weird rules boundary cases), need to know every single thing before they start, and are there to start a 100% record in the game.
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Jason McConnell
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The first game should always be a learning test game with no winners or losers. Explain all the need to know before starting, then explain more advanced concepts as they happen. Then when everyone feels they have a better understanding, do a quick reset and play for real.

I know I made a major mistake in my first explanation involving invasion combat and taking planets from other players. I also printed out about 5 pages of easily overlooked rules and tidbits of information so I don't have to go digging in the 3 different rulebooks.
 
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Adam Clausing
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Send them an electronic copy of the manual as a pre-read. They need to understand the commitment involved prior to jumping in. Or else you run the risk of people quitting mid game, which would ruin the experience for everyone.
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Jason Schmidt
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Cranium Junker wrote:
5 minutes. Seriously, only five minutes. I discuss the different actions available to players on their turns. Then tell them to ask me any questions as we play.


Doesn't that just turn into each player asking you 10 minutes worth of questions during their first couple actions? You need to make a youtube video or write up with your 5 minute intro. I find in 5 minutes I can barely explain a simple game like Settlers
 
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Starkiller
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This is from a different thread, but most of it applies.
You've got to have the rulebook studied. That's the most important thing.

Next, the players do know what they are getting into, right? Warn them this is probably a 10 hour game. They have to really know that!

Have some food, and if there are any smokers, take smoke breaks. Hungry crabby males is not a recipe for success!

Already have the map set up. A bunch of newbies don't know enough to negotiate through the setup, and it will just take forever with little payback.

You'll note I haven't mentioned the game yet....that's coming. The little non-game things are often the key to a successful game.

First, what not to do. Do NOT kill the mood by taking too long on the rules! This is a delicate, very tricky line to walk. Too little, they are frustrated because they don't know how to play. Too much, and everyone except the one persnickety fellow are fooling with their phones before you're done talking about possible actions.

Explaining the game...don't be afraid to not answer a question ("Sorry, I'll cover that in a bit, let me get the basics down first.") If you try and answer every little question, you will never get started!
Most guys are perfectly understanding if you say this up front. I would start by saying:

1)This is a learning game.
2)This is a huge game. I cannot possibly tell you every single rule without everyone getting bored.
3)I'm going to go over the basics and then we'll start.
4)Please ask questions, but I may give a very short unsatisfying answer in the interests of actually getting started.
(You will have to actually do this. They will ask lots of questions. Remind them of what you said at the beginning and explain you're trying to start. If that situation actually comes up, we'll cover it then!)

When you actually start on the rules;
1)Start with VP. Stress these, oftentimes new players get so excited about the ships and planets they loose track of winning....and then get bored with the game when they realize how far behind they are.

2)Next, start with the strategy phase, but don't actually explain what each SC does. They don't know enough about the game yet. Tell them you'll get back to them. This should be short!

3)Jump into action phase. Have some hexes and ships to illustrate rules. Spend 90% of your time covering the tactical action and how movement works. This is the most complicated ruleset they must know in order to play

4)Just mention AC that can be played as an action, and the transfer action. Explain the XFR action is rarely used, it allows the transfer of units between two systems, and does not allow fighting. If anyone really thinks they want to do this, you will cover the rules at that time.

5)Explain passing, that they must do SC before they can pass, and how that ends your actions that round...except the secondaries of SC.

6)Only NOW, that they have a little better understanding of the game, explain what all the different SCs do. Spend a little time here, and really play up the politics and trade discussions/bribery/threatening that can happen. This will hopefully get them excited, tell them they are almost ready.

7)Breeze right through the final cleanup phase. Quick overview is fine here, just let them know everything is reset and VP are scored.

8)Ask for final, quick questions. Stress you really want to start the game so they can learn properly. Probably, by this time, they are getting tired of you flapping your jaws and will let you get on with it!

9)Start the game. Remind them this is a learning game and there are a bunch of rules that will pop up. (There is always a jerk who wants to know why you didn't tell them about 'that rule' you'll just have to live with it.)

That should about cover it....

All that will take you 30-60 minutes, depending on interruptions err, questions.
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David Damerell
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selwyth wrote:
Avoid people who literally think they can stomach the whole thing in one lecture (including weird rules boundary cases), need to know every single thing before they start, and are there to start a 100% record in the game.


Tell people like that (like me, in fact) to read the rulebook and FAQ themselves before the game. We tend to be pretty good at holding rulebooks in our head.
 
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Scott Randolph
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selwyth wrote:
Really depends on your group. Try to teach it to people who don't mind not knowing all the procedural stuff beforehand, don't get frustrated if their long-term plan turns out to be illegal rules-wise, and treat the first game as super-casual (mistakes are a given and will happen)

Invite these types of players. We use "Mulligan Cards." Each player gets 2 for the entire game for "take backs" and "Do-overs" (there are some rules around this, but I won't list them unless someone wants me to) We also use 3-minute timers. New players are under the same requirements as experienced players.

selwyth wrote:
AVOID people who literally think they can stomach the whole thing in one lecture (including weird rules boundary cases), need to know every single thing before they start, and are there to start a 100% record in the game.

Do Not Invite these types of players.
 
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I'm kind of interested in how you put rules around "take backs". Seems like an interesting idea.
 
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Is it your first game, and not much which is too serious has happened? Have a take-back.
Are you an experienced player, and has nothing which is directly or indirectly affected by your action happened? Have a take back.
 
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Scott Randolph
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terivia wrote:
I'm kind of interested in how you put rules around "take backs". Seems like an interesting idea.


We have been playing with Mulligan Cards for over two years now. This is our system:

"12. We use "Mulligan Cards" (2 per player for the duration of the game, for "take backs" and "do-overs"), and timers (3 minute timers) - Mulligan Cards may only be used in the current Phase, and may not be applied to an action nor decision made in a previous Phase, and, may only be used regarding the most recently taken action or decision. Once a player's action-turn or decision point is reached again in rotation order, the previous action-turn or decision is FINAL. Also, ALL official die rolls must be made with your own colored dice, and must be rolled in a box lid {prevents pieces being scattered by thrown dice}. A "Mulligan Card" may also be used for additional time."

The 3-minute Timers apply to any decision that is individual, any player at the table may call "Timer" and simply take one of the 3-minute Timers on the table and start it. Under normal circumstances we can finish a [14] VP "TLW" 7-8 player game in 7 Game Rounds by 11:00pm, starting at around 11:00am.

Everyone, new or experienced, gets the same number of Mulligan Cards, [2], at the start of the game; everyone, new or experienced, is subject to the 3-minute Timer (though often no one calls it on a brand-new player, we are all too busy trying to help them!).

I have played with as many as 4 brand-new players in an 8-player game, the rules above were not an issue. I should point out though that we play with some variants that make the game easier to score in, and easier to play for new players: "AoE" - "Galactic Senate" - all players choose one Stage I and one Stage II PO to be used in the game.

*{Galactic Senate - all players get a hand of 10 PC's at game start, they choose 2 for the "Senate Floor" - these are the agendas that may be chosen for vote resolution during the game.}

 
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Ralf Muhlberger
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I've just started a thread on which I'm posting a set of bite-sized introductory texts that can be emailed out to participants in the week or so leading up to a game, tailored to your needs of course.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1178819/rules-explanation-se...

I figure sending a short note out regularly leading up both builds up the anticipation, and at least gets some terms of the game into the group-mind before the day.

Ralf
 
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JH
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I wrote this so I could send it out to people in advance of a game. I tell them to read the first two pages.
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Ralf Muhlberger
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
I wrote this so I could send it out to people in advance of a game. I tell them to read the first two pages.


This looks great (and I think it is pretty in its no-nonsense form follows function style :-) )
 
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Thanks! Mostly I just want to put in images of ships, CCs, etc., so players can recognize them at a glance.
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Ralf Muhlberger
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
Thanks! Mostly I just want to put in images of ships, CCs, etc., so players can recognize them at a glance.


That makes sense :-)

R
 
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Took me about 20-30 mins...was a bit more difficult to explain than most games I've taught (I didn't think that would be case actually) but everyone picked it up really quickly (I was surprised and impressed!).

Throughout the first and second round, we spent some more time going over some more specific details like how politics work, promissary notes, each strategy card, space dock limitations, transfer actions, what the public objectives actually are etc... I don't know how much extra time this added.
 
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