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Subject: A Call to Game Explainers rss

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leftfield
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I've been meaning to suggest this for a while, but never got around to it. But after, in a single week, a forum thread was started by darlok (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/147623) and a geeklist was created by compman (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/19198) regarding providing a good experience of learning a game, I thought I'd throw out this proposal and see if there is any interest.

In Jahota's post on the geeklist, she said she wishes there were more 'how to teach' threads or files for specific games. I've also thought that these would be great resources to have available here. They would help me stick to the plan and keep me from forgetting that one rule that I always forget to mention (ok, it's two or three). I've made a couple of stabs at creating them myself, starting with Power Grid and Reef Encounter, but I lack the perseverance and focus.

But we've got this great wiki that is intended for collective content development and we've got a few folks around that seem pretty enthusiastic about the games and all.

Roughly, here is how I envision things working. Suggestions please!

1. Create a wiki page Titled 'Course Outline: #gamename#' or 'Teacher's Aid: #gamename#' ...you get the idea. This is where the content is developed.

2. Create a forum thread with the same name as the wiki page where contributers can discuss what should stay, what should go, etc. This is the way that things worked when the gift guide was being put together. Having this can be necessary if there are several people working on a document at once to keep them from stomping on each other's changes on the wiki page.

3. When folks are happy with the state of the content, a document can be made for printing purposes and uploaded to the file section for the game. Preferably, this file would be in an open format that is editable so that the user can make changes to suit their needs if desired.

For my personal attempts, I tried using a consistent outline as a template that would guide me through steps 2-5 of 'The Incremental Approach' (see: http://www.thegamesjournal.com/articles/TeachingRules.shtml). So the document would be an outline that would have these major sections:

* Distill the game down to a few sentences. (e.g. theme & goal of game)
* Paint an overview for the whole game. (high level of what happens during a turn/round etc.)
* Expand the overview using details—the finer points. (specific mechanics, detailing turn phases etc)
* Cover the exceptions, if any. (corner cases or rules that are extraneous as far as learning the core game is concerned -- left for end of teaching session or in-game discussion, explainer's discretion)

The intended audience of these documents are folks that are already familiar with the rules, but would like some notes to work with (not just the rule book). So they would contain an outline with concise text that is:

* organized in way that has a good flow for teaching (this is not always the same organization that makes sense for reference material i.e. the rulebook)
* keeps the explainer focused on the outline when distracted
* acts as reminders for those details that a distracted explainer is likely to forget to mention. (like the two shrimples per board rule in reef encounter that I learned to remember the hard way)

If you are one of those people that can keep all your thoughts ordered in your head and never forget to mention any rules, move along! Nothing to see here!

So, there is my proposal. Anyone interested?

I'm verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.
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Brian Poe
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Well... I play a lot of games with people who own none of them, so I end up doing a lot of the explination of the games myself. I really LOVE teaching games to people. I kinda consider it a strength of mine. One of my favorite pastimes is teaching Go to new players at our club. I can think of one or two games that I think needed to be put in any different order than the rulebook and could do with this kind of treatment.

It would be good to find easier ways to explain games and minimize confusion since it's so easy to miss something critical in the explination.
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JessA
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I think this would be great! Thanks for getting the ball rolling.
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leftfield
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Golux wrote:
I can think of one or two games that I think needed to be put in any different order than the rulebook and could do with this kind of treatment.


which games are you thinking of?
 
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leftfield
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Jatoha wrote:
I think this would be great! Thanks for getting the ball rolling.


well, hopefully, all I'll have to do is nudge that ball into motion. truthfully, I'm not much of an organizer. but maybe the idea will catch and it'll run itself.

sometime soon, I'll toss up a template (if it's even necessary), a wiki page to aggregate all the guides, and maybe what I've got for Power Grid and Reef Encounter (if I can find them on my hard drive )
 
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james napoli
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hi,

i certainly would like to get behind you on this. obviously, i'm a strong proponent of filling this need.

i think like anything some incentive would be helpful. That being said, reviews/sessions reap GG, so i would love to see these additions act similiarly.

leftfield, i would say though of course...to please lead by example.

i honestly have never experiement with the wiki's on this site and am not too familiar with them.

i know that marvel heroes seemed to leave a lot of people reeling when it comes to the rules...so that would be on the short list of titles needing a teaching scenario...
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leftfield
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darlok wrote:
hi,

i certainly would like to get behind you on this. obviously, i'm a strong proponent of filling this need.

i think like anything some incentive would be helpful. That being said, reviews/sessions reap GG, so i would love to see these additions act similiarly.


unfortunately, there's no systematic mechanism for awarding geekgold for contributions to a wiki page (and I don't see a way to do it equitably). If a document is 'versioned' (i.e. put into a file and uploaded), whoever performs that task could get some geekgold. there is no way to control who does that, even if the user is just being parasitic. fwiw, I have some extra geek gold that I've squirreled away that I'd be happy to give to contributers that require it as a motivation. that's obviously not a sustainable solution so folks can always hold out their hats...it's been done before.

darlok wrote:

leftfield, i would say though of course...to please lead by example.

i honestly have never experiement with the wiki's on this site and am not too familiar with them.



just type some stuff and leave the formatting to others, which is where the complexity (what little there is) comes in. You can pick up the rest on the fly. You can't mess up very easily...the system keeps a history of the changes to a document, and with enough eyes, it's a self-healing system.

darlok wrote:

i know that marvel heroes seemed to leave a lot of people reeling when it comes to the rules...so that would be on the short list of titles needing a teaching scenario...


I'll add it to the list but I'm not familiar with it myself.

cool

(EDIT - pesky careless errors)
 
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leftfield
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does anyone have any ideas for the names for these guides?

or prefer either of these?
Course Outline: Uncle Wiggly
Teacher's Guide: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Card Game
 
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JessA
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I think How to Teach: Candyland may be the most clear.
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james napoli
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as for naming, i guess it really depends on what it ends up being.

as noted in my post regarding teaching games, there is a 'script' on how to teach powergrid, under powergrid...and it is literally a script.

but i agree that 'how to teach: x' would make sense.
 
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Andy Schuster
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This seems like an excellent idea.

I really have yet to check out the wiki section of BGG, and I've never been a contributor to a wiki, but this could get me started!
 
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leftfield
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Jahota,

In the geeklist your post mentioned a couple of games that have how to teach guides. Do you remember what they are? I'd like to check them out.
 
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leftfield
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Here's a humble beginning: How_To_Teach_Guides

I've only created a wiki page and discussion thread for Power Grid for now. Please add some games to the list.
 
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JessA
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gtatters wrote:
Jahota,

In the geeklist your post mentioned a couple of games that have how to teach guides. Do you remember what they are? I'd like to check them out.


Wits & Wagers has one by the designer! Here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/94028


Then, the other one I remember was for Tigris & Euphrates. Fawkes had a geeklist where relating the gameplay to the theme can really help with learning the game. He had a good theme to gameplay description for T&E. that list is here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/5229

T&E also has a couple How to Teach files, but I haven't looked at either of these by Jgrundy & sodaklady
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=17571
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=10040
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I'm mostly done with the first one. How To Teach: Reef Encounter

I'd like some feedback from anyone familiar with the game. The best feedback would be from someone that's actually tried to use the guide while teaching the game.

I added a section at the top for info about the guide (complete/incomplete, link to a file if one has been created, link to discussion thread). Also, I started putting the names of components in bold-italicized text as a reminder to the explainer to visually indicate the piece whenever it's mentioned.
 
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T.W. Man
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I may be necromancing this thread, but I like this. To add some impulse, a Caylus-guide How_To_Teach:_Caylus.
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TeeWee wrote:
I may be necromancing this thread, but I like this. To add some impulse, a Caylus-guide How_To_Teach:_Caylus.


The Way is Shut.

...oh wait, thanks waking the dead. glad to see another entry!
 
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