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Subject: What I've Learned #1 rss

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Jason Boyd
United Kingdom
Newtownards
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Having fallen into this board gaming malarky just over a year ago it has grown at a remarkable rate, with friends and family joining in, starting up gaming groups and making new friends through the hobby. As you would expect, there have been a number of surprises along the way, but what has interested me are those little epiphanies, often away from the table. And the first one is this:

I'm really not as good at explaining rules as I thought I was.

I'm a journalist and can generally communicate well, but here's where I realised I need some work.
Before buying a game I geek up on it for quite a while. I'll watch the reviews (usually starting with Tom Vasel and working my way out), I'll watch any gameplay videos (Rahdo, Gamesnight and Tabletop step in here) and read the BGG forums associated with that game.
So, by the time I buy it and have it gloriously set up on my table ready to be played I don't really need the rule book … well, maybe to double check a few things.
But, deep down I would really like all the others at the table to have watched those videos or read up on the rules beforehand as well. To me, the rules are obvious (because of those weeks of 'study' I've already put into it) and I get slightly exasperated (deep down inside, without showing it) that I have to start at the beginning and go through it aaalllllll again. So, what often happens is, I'll try and speedrun through it, which really doesn't help the situation.

Needles to say, these past failures are the harsh lessons I needed and I've since changed my delivery. Who'd have thought playing board games was such an eye opener?

On a side note, I'm not a manager in work, but I've wondered if 'board gaming managers' have used the skills they developed in explaining games and applied them to their workplace?
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Mark Wilson
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What I've Learned:
- Never get into a land war in Asia.
- Pooping is good times.

...

Seriousness aside, there's a great BGG thread on explaining rules that really helped me:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1079603/teaching-rules-...

It's got a lot of helpful ideas for explaining games to beginners and gamers alike.
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Jason Boyd
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It's been bookmarked and will be my 'go-to' page! Cheers.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I'm a fairly intelligent person who can usually communicate well... but somehow when it comes time to teach a game, it all goes out the window. I'm disorganized, scatterbrained and all over the place. My game explanations are barely coherent most of the time. I don't know what it is but my brain seems to work better at figuring games out than it does at passing along that information in any sort of useful format. And once I realize that I'm messing up, the pressure just gets worse.
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James Derbyshire
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Thunkd wrote:
I'm a fairly intelligent person who can usually communicate well... but somehow when it comes time to teach a game, it all goes out the window. I'm disorganized, scatterbrained and all over the place. My game explanations are barely coherent most of the time. I don't know what it is but my brain seems to work better at figuring games out than it does at passing along that information in any sort of useful format. And once I realize that I'm messing up, the pressure just gets worse.


I'm the most intolerant gamesplainer. I can't stand it when people ask questions (how dare they?!), or just plain don't listen whilst I'm explaining.

Yeah, I have issues and just not a natural teacher!!
 
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Heath Bauer
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Explaining rules really depends on the game and the audience. Generally speaking, my rules failures have been giving too much info up front. Gamers don't need that much and get irritated. Non gamers get overwhelmed and lost and irritated for those reasons. Now, I give the bird's eye view first--a summary statement about what we do followed by the win condition. Most people respond well to this simplicity. Then, depending on the crowd, I may give a few key details. Other times, with any given game, I've found it best to explain as we go in what I describe as a tutorial game...or a tutorial round before starting the real game. Hope that helps!
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Greg
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"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."
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I'm one of the strange ones who likes explaining rules. It's how I know I got my head wrapped around the system. When I'm learning a new game on my own, I'm actually explaining it to different people in my head as I go. When I feel I can explain it to a non-gamer, I'm ready to play.

Knowing the rules thoroughly makes a huge difference though. I tried explaining Space Cadets: Dice Duel for the first time after reading the rulebook once. Most people were still confused after a game of two. On the other hand, I had read through the rulebook for Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island well ahead of time and when I got to teaching it for the first time, everyone grokked it pretty quickly.

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Steve Erwin
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mawilson4 wrote:
What I've Learned:
- Never get into a land war in Asia.
- Pooping is good times.
...


- Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!
 
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Dennis Gadgaard
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Bauerheath wrote:
Explaining rules really depends on the game and the audience. Generally speaking, my rules failures have been giving too much info up front. Gamers don't need that much and get irritated. Non gamers get overwhelmed and lost and irritated for those reasons. Now, I give the bird's eye view first--a summary statement about what we do followed by the win condition. Most people respond well to this simplicity. Then, depending on the crowd, I may give a few key details. Other times, with any given game, I've found it best to explain as we go in what I describe as a tutorial game...or a tutorial round before starting the real game. Hope that helps!


My bane is players who expect to do well on their first play of a new game. If everything is explained up front, we might not get to play that day anyway, and if not - they may make sub-optimal plays and not win, and complain about it.
It's like they accept the idea of the learning game, in theory, but it doesn't really work out that way.
 
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Mindy Basi
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On the other hand, I find that there are some people who bring a game and teach it and then expect everyone playing it not only to get the rules first time out, but be competitive at it.
 
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Plaid Dragon
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Why bother explaining games to people when you can browbeat them into watching the appropriate vid here on bgg.
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bort
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Norbert666 wrote:
or just plain don't listen whilst I'm explaining.


I think its fair to get pissed off at this
 
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