Gisli Sigtryggsson
Canada
Amherst
Nova Scotia
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Here is the situation. I just moved to a small town in Nova Scotia and a part of my settlement strategy was to find a group to game with. Sooner than I anticipated I received an invitation to game with 5 - 6 30-40ish upper-middle class professionals. And that is just about all I know about them. I spoke with the host of the evening and my impression is that none of them have done any "regular" gaming or had experience beyond Risk, Axis and Allies and Diplomacy. If we got a big group he was thinking about playing Diplomacy and if we had fewer people show up then we'd play Axis and Allies: Europe.

I suggested GoT with the 6 player expansion as an alternative or Struggle of Empires in the case we had 7 players. I've played the basic GoT 3 times before with 3 different groups and enjoyed each session immensely. I've never played Struggle of Empires but I'm itching to give it a try. Both games seem to me a right fit with people who enjoy Axis and Diplo. I've played GoT with "non-gamers" before and they've all had no problem learning it and all enjoyed the experience. But the people I've played with before were all much younger than this set and almost all of them were favorably disposed towards fantasy. I'm not sure that is the case with this group and I'm not sure that is even an issue. Also, most importantly, I've never taught GoT before.

Hence this post. My questions are:

1. Is GoT a good choice for this group?
2. Are there issues with theme or mechanics in GoT that I should keep in mind while teaching GoT to this particular group? Or in clearer terms, how best to teach GoT to this group.
3. What do you think of Struggle as a back up choice? Am I mad? Other suggestions?
 
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eryn roston
United States
San Diego
California
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Hey Zap,

I don't know if I can say for sure if your group will take to GoT, but I do find that teaching the game to new players can sometimes be difficult.

Usually I like to take a sort of "video game approach", starting with basic moves and incrementaly add more complexity. After describing the basic goal of taking castles, I will set up a game in progress but limit the combat cards and order tokens each player has.

Initially I take out boats completely, I ignore all the voting stuff, and concentrate on the order tokens -- Usually just marching and defensive.

Usually when people approach this game the first thing they want to know how to do is move pieces around and attack other players.

After that I introduce the westeros phase by way of supply and mustering. I dont go into the random card element yet I just try and answer what is usually the second question: "How do I get more pieces?"

Finally I bring in boats, the remaining order tokens, and the bidding stuff. I just feel like the rest of the game is easier to understand once basic movement and mustering issues are down.

-E
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
Canada
Amherst
Nova Scotia
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
Thank you for your reply Eryn. I like your approach and I will try and implement it. In my groups, and there have been many and quite varied, I, usually, am the one teaching the new game. I've had mostly good results with a varity of games. Teaching Tigris and Euphrates and Puerto Rico to non-gamers being notable exceptions (shudder). Normally I try and keep the explanation to a minimum and just play a trial round or a phase first so that what explanations there are make more sense.

I've no experience with this particular group dynamic and I'm quite certain that the majority of the guys who will show up are coming to socialize first and "play some game" second, or third. Since I'm the one instigating a change in the program towards a more gamer's game I'm feeling the pressure to perform.

 
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Wojtek Wojcik
Poland
Kraków(Cracow)
Malopolska
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
One thing I would like to point out is that your group knows how to play Diplomacy. This a GREAT help in teaching them AGOT. In such case I would concentrate on explaining differences ... I don't think that they should have any problems about move/attack or defense orders. So I would go over this quickly and go to more Agot specific things (power tokens, voting, muster supply etc.).

As for the fantasy theme ... well fantasy elements are not to overwhelming in the game. But you should try to get the feel if they are into it and if not - try stressing the similarity to war of roses in England. If they are into it ... you are out of trouble anyway.

Age thing should not be a problem as they are already into the borad games (maybe only quite main stream ones ... but come on, they are not playing monopoly so give them some credit)

I guess that you will have a blast with them and AGOT but nevertheless you should prepare yourself for teaching them as first experience with the game is often crucial if you want to have it played more often in the future.
 
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Jim Patching
United Kingdom
Newport, Wales
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As the previous poster said, if they already know how to play Diplomacy they should have no problem in getting their heads around the order system (which I find is normally the most tricky thing to explain in A Game Of Thrones). I don't think the Fantasy setting should prove too much of a turn off either - it's not like there's elves and dragons roaming around. I've always thought of A Game Of Thrones as something of a fantasy historical setting.
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
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Amherst
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
I don't think all of them have played Diplomacy before. Actually I only know that 2 of them have and then only a couple of times. As far as I know there may be guys there who have played an occasional hand of poker and nothing else.

I'm going to try and sell the setting as an alternative version of King Arthur's Britain but, faries or no faries, there is no disguising the fantasy flavour of the board and character cards. But wheather that is even an issue I have no way of knowing.

And that is my main concern; I don't have any experience teaching to this target audience.
 
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Nate
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Pennsylvania
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
If I may make a suggestion the second expansion included these really handy cards that explain what each of the order tokens do and how each turn plays out on the other side. I would reccomend making up a few of these because they're are really helpful mini-references for the games basic ideas.
 
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Ryan Newell
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Regina
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
Maybe you should just join in on a game of Axis & Allies or Diplomacy before attempting to teach them a new game. Then you may be a better judge of their ability to learn a new game or willingness to play something with a fantasy theme. Just bring A Game of Thrones with you and show off the box and components at the end of the night to gauge their interest level.
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
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Re: Teaching Game of Thrones to 5 middle aged newbies - issu
Just an update. There ended up being only four of us and all of them had working knowledge of Diplomacy. I simply explained the object and how to get more units and the order tokens and off we went. We decided to do a round and then evaluate wheather we wanted to start over and play it for real. It went great. By second round everyone was comfortable with most of the rules and the game played better with four than I remembered.

Thanks for all the suggestions.
 
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