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Subject: Teaching the game: gamers/non-gamers? rss

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David Barlowe
United States
Clarks Summit
Pennsylvania
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My first impression of Impulse is really high - I love the minimalistic approach to the design, which really favors fast play over eye candy. My same feeling about Innovation.

Since we play Innovation a ton, I'm in the middle of a teaching game of Impulse with my son, and when I broke it down in my head, it seemed like it might be easiest for him to explain the various cards using Innovation mechanics (i.e. moving transports to a card is like activating a "dogma" in Innovation, using the Impulse is kind of like using "forecast" in Echoes, etc.).

Seemed to work well, but we got interrupted and will try our learning game again today.

How is everyone else teaching this game?
Have you had any success with non-gamers?
 
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Christian K
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I explain the overview first.

You have apace ships in space, fly around and fight and research etc.

Eplain transports vs cruisers overall

Explain each pf the actions including boosting.

Explain the impulse and plan.

Finally explain combat.
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Denise Lavely
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Carmel
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I explain it very similar to Christian K, except I explain the impulse & plan & boosting first, then the actions. Within the actions I explain the simple ones first (trade, command, etc.) & the difficult ones later (combat ).
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Justin Dugger

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I've done it twice now, and I think the next time, I'll use the following steps. Last time I did roughly 0, 1 2, 3, 4 and then tried explaining all ten actions, I think it works better to weave them into the turn structure.

0. Set aside a card of every action type for examples while explaining.
1. Have everyone pick a color, and deal out five cards, and their command center.
2. Give a one sentence game summary: 'this is a space exploration game where players will be racing to 20 space prestige, or as the sector locals translate it: points' Ask everyone to put a ship on the 0 space of the score tracker.
3. Set up the sector, and explain the nouns
3a. Sector cards
3b. Ships, cruisers and transports
3c. Fleets
4. Explain adjectives
4a. Sector card Action, Color, Size.
4b. Explored vs Unexplored, and the explore step
4c. Occupy vs Patrol; we will cover movement later
5. Explain the command center
5a. Minerals pile and boosting
5b. Plan area
5c. Technologies, and research. Have everyone read their unique tech
6. Dummy turn; grab an Execute, Draw, Plan, and Build card for the dummy hand
6a. Explain the impulse, and play an Execute card into the impulse
6b. Explain the importance of the build/move basic tech, and discard a draw tech to advance a cruiser to the sector core.
6c. Execute the impulse you just started
6d. Explain you cannot delay plans with 4+ actions
6e. Score points for every gate on the sector core you control. Point out that the hourglass shape is a subtle reminder that sector core points are the game clock, and that players need to be searching for faster means of victory.
6f. Draw step / trim impulse.
7. How to score prestige
7a. Sector core gates as above
7b. Trade action
7c. Refine action; then explain mine action and 'from the deck'.
7d. Sabotage action
7e. Winning battles, via the command action
8. The command action (the most complicated one in the game)
8a. Explain how enemy patrols restrict moves
8b. Explain how transports activate cards they end a move at, and boost
8c. Explain combat
8c1. 1 card from the deck per cruiser, plus any number of reinforcements from hand.
8c2. Cards you play in battle that match the impulse, your plan or your techs contribute one combat strength per gem.
8c3. Defense commits reinforcement cards first, but wins ties, and can bluff extras (these are returned to hand when revealed)
8c3. offense commits cards last, no bluffing (no need).
8c4. Losers ships are destroyed, winner gains 1 prestige for a courageous space battle, plus one prestige per ship destroyed
8c5. Bluffs are returned to defending players hand, all other reinforcements are discarded
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David Harding
Australia
Ashfield
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I've taught it twice aand simply gone through the turn as explained on the player mat. Then I explain all the card actions. When I talk about Command, the different ships come in, and so does battling and then I go tbrough the oder of this on tbe player mat.
But at the end of the day (as it was for my first game) I say "you just have to see it." Any new player goes last in turn order and by tbeir turn tbey have some idea.

...I had to read the rule book 5 times originally. I just couldn't "see" the game. Playing it it all became clear.
 
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Justin Dugger

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Well, if anyone wants to convert that to a 5-10 minute, well edited youtube video, that would be a sufficient reward personally
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RafaƂ Kruczek
Poland
Legnica
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Phuntom wrote:

Have you had any success with non-gamers?

I'm afraid that 10 different actions make this game too complicated to non-gamers.
Maybe some method would be - reducing deck for first games.

The only really nessesary actions are: Command and Build.
But they are mostly yellow nad blue. So there should be at least one red (Research or Mine)and one green action(Draw or Plan). And maybe one scoring Action (Trade is easier than Refine).

And maybe individual (the ones on the right) starting techs are also too complicated.

These cuts would probably halve complexity of the game.
And rest of actions can be introduced gradulally.

The problem is that Command is the action requiring the most of explanations.
Another problem is decksize , but I probably wouldn't introduce
new players in 4-6 player game anyway.
And finally even with cuts, I think difficulty is high and Impulse wouldn't be good gateway game. And I personally wouldn't risk it with inexperienced players.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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Arlington
Massachusetts
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I think as with any complex game, if you're going to teach it to a non-gamer or a light gamer, do it as a 2-player game.
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Bryan Doughty
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California
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I've now taught Impulse five times to a total of six people. I've found it interesting that lighter gamers seem to handle the rules better than heavier gamers. I think that the complexity of the game to some degree causes the more experienced gamers to overly focus on details in an effort to better understand it, where as the less experienced gamers just take it as is and let me worry about the details while they concentrate on just playing.

I've also found that it seems to be easier to teach over all if after I give an overview of the game that I dive right in to the Comand action. It is definately the most complex part of Impulse. If I tackle it first then most players seem to pay better attention to it. Comparatively every other action is simple and for the most part well enough explained on their own card texts. Command is a good place for explaining ships, fleets, home, boosting and plenty of other Impulse concepts.
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