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Subject: Gaming group - is it OK to ask to play a game I've never played before? rss

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Helen Slater
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I'm thinking of joining an established gaming group that meets once a week. However, as a complete newbie to this sort of thing I don't know what the gaming "etiquette" is. I've only played games with friends, family or solo. (And I'm often the one teaching games to my friends/family). So this gaming group will be people I've not met before.

So I'm wondering is it OK to ask to join a group playing game X if I've never played it before? Therefore I'd need someone to teach me the rules/how to play. This would slow the game play down and is that something that is frowned upon? Like the serious gamers just want to get on and have a good, competitive game? Or are people generally willing to explain games to newbies?
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Pasi Ojala
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Tell them that you have not played game X, but would like to try it, and let the others decide.

If you are only going to accept game X, then their decision has more consequencies for yourself.

(It depends on the group, their moods, previous agreements, the game, and how quick you are to learn, and how you play while learning, and how the game accommodates players with varying skill levels.)
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Tomello Visello
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Darla wrote:
However, as a complete newbie to this sort of thing I don't know what the gaming "etiquette" is.

If there is anything of merit to the group then that is just the sort of thing they will politely explain just as soon as you ask them.

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Marc Nelson Jr.
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People are generally happy to teach the rules to new players - after all, that's the only way to get people to play your new game!

My group tends to buy more games than is probably good for us, so sessions where everyone knows the rules to every game we play are fairly rare.

Good luck and have fun!
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Boaty McBoatface
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Yes it is OK, as long as you respect their decision.
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Erich Paul
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I think it is perfectly fine. I also joined a group last year with around 60 members (about 10-30 attendicies are there each week). And we play new games most of the time. I guess it depends on the group. If they play game X every week, it might not be able to join. But if they are open minded they will enjoy teaching you the game. Only one should know the rules of the game, otherwise it would be a pain to learn on the fly.

I also sometimes say that I don't know the Rules of game Y, but would like to try it. If all agree, we will play it.
Go there and look how the people behave.
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Helen Slater
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Great, thanks for your replies. At least I now know it's not a complete no-no!

I accept that maybe the group MIGHT say no to a newbie joining if they're experienced at game X and want a competitive game on that occasion. But I was hoping most people would be wiling to teach newbies. Sounds like this is the case.

I'm open to trying different games. I like Euros and Ameritrash so hopefully I'll find something to enjoy.

I've also found this helpful thread about general gaming etiquette: http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/69545/gaming-etiquette-gui...

Someone on BGG has usually asked the question before, it's just a case of finding it!
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Stephen Cooper
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Perfectly acceptable to ask, I suspect they'll be happy to teach their beloved game to a newcomer, if not, (and nobody offers to teach you outside of the established group so you can play at a later date) then that may not be the group you want to join.
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David Buckley
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My experience of public gaming groups is that a game without a rules explaination is the exception. A game where at least one person hasn't played before is the rule.
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kalvin connor
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I think the answer is yes. If they are starting the game and half the rules have already been explained then no. But otherwise, I think anyone should welcome someone in. Unless everyone else has played the game and they just want to start playing.
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Aaron Edwards
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I certainly don't think it is a breach of gaming etiquette to ask to play something you have never played before. Teaching rules to new people is generally understood to be a part of this hobby. My group plays so many different games that even the veterans sometimes need a refresher on games they haven't played in a while. Plus, if someone brings a game to the meetup, that means there is at least some part of them that wants to play it, so no harm in asking about it. Of course, you may find that nobody is in the mood for the particular game you are interested in, but no foul in asking.
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chinagirl geek
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The default assumption in our group (and any others I've attended) is that rules will be explained to new players.

On the rare occasions where we are going to play a game we DON'T want to teach to newbies (for example, because there is limited time or we are using a combination of expansions which would mean there are too many new rules for anyone to master all at once), I announce this ahead of time on our meetup page. I've also attended groups where someone will ask 'Are there any experienced players who want to join a game of X?'

Otherwise, the onus is on whoever brings/suggests playing the game to make sure that everyone understands it before you start.
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Helen Slater
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Not having joined a gaming group before I guess my assumption was that everyone would know the games they are playing. (I have no idea what I'm basing this on though!). From your responses it's reassuring to realise this is not the case.

I guess I hadn't appreciated that if enough games are brought to the group then I won't always be the only one who hasn't played a particular game before, and that explaining a game to newbies is generally accepted. Thanks for your comments.
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Andy Leighton
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Darla wrote:
I'm thinking of joining an established gaming group that meets once a week. However, as a complete newbie to this sort of thing I don't know what the gaming "etiquette" is. I've only played games with friends, family or solo. (And I'm often the one teaching games to my friends/family). So this gaming group will be people I've not met before.

So I'm wondering is it OK to ask to join a group playing game X if I've never played it before? Therefore I'd need someone to teach me the rules/how to play. This would slow the game play down and is that something that is frowned upon? Like the serious gamers just want to get on and have a good, competitive game? Or are people generally willing to explain games to newbies?


I would say that is perfectly fine.

We nearly always have to do a rules refresher in our group for people who HAVE played before. If there are people who haven't then we just take a little more time.

Apart from a certain number of specific cases, I would imagine that anyone who loved a game wouldn't mind explaining the rules as that would be another player that might choose to play the game in the future.
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Sean Conroy
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I don't see why not, the group I have gamed with recently usually tosses the latest Kickstarter onto the table so, I get an education no matter what
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Chuck Y
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I have been to only 2 groups, but people always say "Bring the games you want to play and we'll see if anybody wants to play them with you."

So, sure, why not?
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Steven Durst
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All the game groups I've ever been in had no problem whatsoever teaching the rules. There is usually at least one person in a game who has not played before or needs a refresher. We generally just assume rules explanations will be needed.

Plus I am always buying new games so it would be rather rubbish of me to deny those who don't know the rules because how could they?
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Derry Salewski
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Darla wrote:
Not having joined a gaming group before I guess my assumption was that everyone would know the games they are playing. (I have no idea what I'm basing this on though!). From your responses it's reassuring to realise this is not the case.

I guess I hadn't appreciated that if enough games are brought to the group then I won't always be the only one who hasn't played a particular game before, and that explaining a game to newbies is generally accepted. Thanks for your comments.


I'm sure there's multiple people there peddling the newest, greatest things every week
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My experience mirrors that which most people have said already - occasionally a group of people who know a game well will gather to play said game, and will specifically request that new people not join in, but it is much more common that one or more players are unfamiliar with the game and a rules explanation is required (and frequently welcomed by others at the table who know how to play but could use a refresher).

At some conventions this is even formalised to some extent. For example, at our local January convention (CanCon), there are signs at the board game library that you can borrow and stick at your table that boil down to "I want to play this game with fellow pros", "I want to teach this game to some newbies" and "I've never played this but I'd like to learn, either with other newbies or with someone who actually knows how to play". I've made use of the "Newbie looking to learn" sign a lot, as well as having joined quite a few games with the "Looking to teach newbies" signs, and always had a good experience.
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Jason Brown
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I frequently travel for business and I find game groups on Meetup and BGG. I usually ask what they're playing ahead of time and then look up the game on BGG and watch a play through video. I've never, not once, not found a play through or instructional video for a game they were playing.

Two weeks ago, a new group was having a 7 Wonders tournament. I watched Rodney Smith's Watch It Played video ahead of time and proceeded to come in 2nd in the tourney.
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John
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MAJBrown22 wrote:
I usually ask what they're playing ahead of time and then look up the game on BGG and watch a play through video. I've never, not once, not found a play through or instructional video for a game they were playing.


Yes, it's always a good plan to do some research into the game beforehand if you know what you are playing. Reviews, play through videos, downloading the rules - whatever works for you will make the learning process easier. I wouldn't consider that to be required but it's great if people do have some clue about the game beforehand...
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Donald Walsh
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If you watched a single video of a single game, you'd be miles ahead of the regulars in my group.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Given the current obsession with the "cult of the new", it's unlikely you're the only one who will have to learn the rules to some new game.
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Mindy Basi
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We pretty much learn a new game every week, and welcome new comers. I think we finally have two or three games that everyone knows. Last night we played Isle of Skye and no one knew how to play it. If you have any experience with games, you will pick up new ones quickly.
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Helen Slater
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So the first venture into the board gaming group was fairly successful and enjoyable. One guy had brought a load of games and consequently explained how to play them.

Learning 3 new games in 1 night is more than I've done before, so my brain was a bit fried. But I still enjoyed the evening despite coming last (out of 6 players) in 1 of the games!
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