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Subject: Learn from other players or the manual? rss

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Braden Adam
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In general I prefer to learn how to play a game by playing it with veterans, but those are not always around (especially with new games).

But I find manuals are often very tricky to understand. Vague wording or just poorly written all around. And more complicated games plagued with bad manuals can be a chore to learn.

For example I really want to get my little gaming group into Eldritch Horror, but I am seriously intimidated by how complex it apparently is, and not only havin to learn it myself, but well enough to teach it out.

How do you guys prefer to learn? And are there any particularly great YouTube channels/videos you go to?

I'm really enjoying the Shut Up and Sit Down series.
 
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George Louie
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in order of preference (most preferred first):

1. Have an expert teach me and my group (example: at a convention).
2. Have another player teach me.
3. Watching a tutorial online (SUSD, Rahdo, Dice Tower)
4. Teaching myself by reading manual and setting up a mock game
5. Playing while reading the manual for the first time learning/playing

In practice, its usually a combination of 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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Annemarie Post
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I like to learn from the rulebook more than from other players, because people tend to forget things A look at the BGG rules forums often helps with any questions I may have. Also, if there is a video from Rahdo or The Dice Tower, I will watch those.
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I like reading through the rule book, often with the game set up to mock play what the book says. Or to have a learning game with one or more family members (my usual gaming group). If something still isn't clear, then it's a search on the BGG forums for info.
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Kevin Anderson
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Learning from the rulebook is most often a necessity for me. Almost every game in my small group is mine so I end up teaching the most. I should say two of us since a friend of mine works in an office with access to a printer and can run off copies of the pdfs for himself.

There are some games where the rules have been off-putting enough that we just haven't wanted to put the time in to learn them. We would welcome someone to teach it to us. I've been sitting on a game I bought on eBay now for around three years for this very reason.

Mage Knight Board Game
 
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Claudio Coppini
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If I have to play somebody's game I don't own, the first videos I look for are Rahdo. and Watch It Played.

For games I own I never had a problem with rulebooks except for Neanderthal...for that one I had to go through every rules thread in its BGG forum.
 
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Matthew Vantries
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RARELY do I prefer learning from another player. People generally aren't near as thorough as I like.

Now, reading while having the game set out before me is FAR better than just reading the rulebook by itself (which is why I never read a rulebook for a game I don't have for the sake of determining if I want to buy it, because I know it won't give me a good feel for the game).
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Joe Salamone
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I prefer to read the manual and then do one or two solo walkthroughs of the game where I play as all players in order to get comfortable with the rules. I watch instructional videos, but I never rely on them exclusively. I still read the manual. If someone teaches me a game and then I end up buying it . . . I still read the manual.
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Doug Hook
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I prefer learning how to play from players who have previously played the game. Shortly after that, I like to read the rulebook etc.
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Andrew J.
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Because I host our game group and am the most experienced gamer here, I tend to do the teaching 99% of the time. I'll always read the rulebook well ahead of time, often touching the components to make sure that I'm understanding what's what. I also find it very helpful to lay out the initial setup just so I can see how things work.

I always try to avoid playing right after I read the rules -- I read and internalize them, then teach the game the next game night. If Rahdo or Tom Vasel or Wil Wheaton has done a review of the game, I'll watch what they have to say and hear a quick rules explanation from them.

At that point, I'm generally good to explain the game. I tend to follow Wil Wheaton's explanations: focus first on the theme (always the hook), then on how you can win, then on what you'll be doing to win. This is almost always successful except with the most complicated games.

Hope this helps!
 
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Jason King
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I prefer to learn from an experienced player or a video playthrough. If possible, a practice round or short version of the game is best. Regardless, I will often consult the rulebook because I have been burned in the past. Some examples:

1 "Oh, did I not mention that if you kill the sheriff before killing everyone else that the renegade loses?"

2 "You can't build two buildings of the same type in a single city! Oh, I didn't mention that rule? Sorry, I guess you'll know next time, but you can't build anything this turn."

3 "Oops guys, turns out we can't trade cards unless we are in the same city. I guess that makes this game a lot harder, huh? Hyuk Hyuk."

I mean, I goof up the rules in my new games all the time, but when you've owned a game for 3 years and it's your favorite game, how can you have such a poor grasp of the rules? yuk
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April W
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For games I purchase I read the rules cover-to-cover after familiarizing myself with the game's components. Sometimes I actually set the game up as I read the rules- this can be extremely helpful. Then I sit down for a playthrough with my husband, give him a brief and vague explanation of the rules that I myself barely understand, then we jump in and consult the manual when we hit snags.

If I'm really confused I will seek out a Watch it Played or Rhado Runs Through video.

If it is a game owned by somebody else, I listen to a brief explanation then jump in and ask questions as I play. If it's very complex then I try to do some research ahead of time so I at least have a general idea of what I'm heading into.

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James Arias
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For me it's watch a playthru video, read rulebook, find a community-authored cheatsheet, write my own cheatsheet, play a solo game.

Still isn't foolproof but helps me learn.
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I live by the phrase `Learning by doing`. But to get the best learning curve, I like it most to learn from other gamers, because I often struggle to read the manual on my own.
 
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Ole Richard Tuft
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I teach the games in our group, and it's usually reading the manual multiple times and solo play. After 3-4 solo games, I am usually able to teach the game without referring to the rulebook (assuming the game isn't too heavy or rule-intensive). I have no patience for videos that focus on explaining the rules, but might watch a playthrough to get some basic concepts and the flow of the game. I usually track down the FAQ and any errata to have it on hand for game night.

Eldritch Horror is brilliant for solo play.
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Chris Graves
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When I buy a game, I like to set it up and bust out the rule book. We all learn differently, but I find I can read the rules, then instantly reinforce it by seeing it on the laid out board.
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J Devery
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I usually teach the games in our groups. So I end up reading the rule books.

Of course, I enjoy reading rule books, and read them for games I don't own but am curious about. But I usually will also watch a Dice Tower or Rhado video on the game along with it.

Several times I have been taught a game, confused by something, and later found out a rule was left out. So I usually take the time to read the rules to avoid that frustration.

It helps to have the game out in front of you when reading the rules, to "test" out how actions can play.
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I much prefer reading rules. Before I got into the hobby and bought/learned my own games I hated board games because nobody could ever explain the rules to me in a way that I understood. I need to read something to understand (different types of learners and what not). I found out it wasn't the games themselves I disliked but the way people tried to teach them to me.
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A3RKev wrote:
Learning from the rulebook is most often a necessity for me. Almost every game in my small group is mine so I end up teaching the most. I should say two of us since a friend of mine works in an office with access to a printer and can run off copies of the pdfs for himself.

There are some games where the rules have been off-putting enough that we just haven't wanted to put the time in to learn them. We would welcome someone to teach it to us. I've been sitting on a game I bought on eBay now for around three years for this very reason.

Mage Knight Board Game


See Mage Knight's weird, because I can teach that in a few minutes, but the rules are very hard for a lot of people to digest. I mean once the game's set-up Mage Knight boils down to: "On your turn, you play the cards from your hand vertically for what they say on the card, or horizontally for +1 to anything you're trying to do". After a few turns of "strategic direction" or whatever, people usually get it. I never barrage people with rules and prefer to get them playing as quickly as possibly, and usually handicap myself for a few turns in some way or another until they get the hang of things. It's also good to let people do "take-backs" or whatever, and is even encouraged in Mage Knight.

But you should sit down solo with Mage Knight and read the "Learn to Play" booklet. It'll take a few hours (5-6 for first game with the rules) but it's an amazing game and it walks you through each step.
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Monica Elida Forssell
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voodoochyl wrote:
When I buy a game, I like to set it up and bust out the rule book. We all learn differently, but I find I can read the rules, then instantly reinforce it by seeing it on the laid out board.


I like doing it like this as well. However; I suck at it. So more brains can help eachother learn, in my case.
 
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Elida wrote:
voodoochyl wrote:
When I buy a game, I like to set it up and bust out the rule book. We all learn differently, but I find I can read the rules, then instantly reinforce it by seeing it on the laid out board.


I like doing it like this as well. However; I suck at it. So more brains can help eachother learn, in my case.


A lot of people I know get a new game, and try to play it without reading the rules and will stubbornly sludge through their odd interpretation of the game. I'll never understand that.
 
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Chris Graves
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Here's another thing that helps...I like reading the rule books. Some people don't while others do. There are games, however, like Scythe that will sit on my table because I know it will take a large investment of time to get through it, and I have to kind of psyche myself up for it. I also like teaching games, and get a little charge out of being efficient at it. That directly correlates to how well I learned the rules in the first place. First time play throughs result in a lot of questions, and it is nice to have many of the answers without having to spend a ton of time thumbing through the rules.
 
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Martin Larouche
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Hang around BGG for a while and you'll quickly learn that the amount of "bad" rulebooks is directly proportional to the amount of complex games there is out at any given point.

In short, if the game is complex... people will complain that their inability to understand the game is a direct result of poor writing of the rules. This is irrelevant of the fact that the rulebook may or may not actually be poorly written.

I have never, ever found a video that taught me properly how to play a game. At best, they make reading the actual rulebook a bit easier afterwards. Rodney Smith is the best at those, but even his videos have the same problem as all the other ones i've seen: you can't process the information as fast as the presenter is giving his info. He doesn't have a direct interaction to you and can't adjust himself to your understanding, nor can you ask him questions if you didn't understand something the way it was explained.

Learning from someone else is hit or miss. I found way more people who can't teach properly than people who can. As in: learning a game should never, ever, take a full hour. There are no games on the planet that take this long to learn. Not even Twilight Imperium 3 with the rules from both expansions thrown in... (i did this in 30 minutes).
If you are incapable of making someone learn a game in less than an hour, then this person is not yet at the level to understand the game you are trying to teach him... or you are unable to present the rules in a brief and succinct manner, making the process way harder than it should be.

As such, I have a hard time learning from most other people, because most will insist on making me learn "everything", even though i played tons of games of these types they are trying to make me learn. In short, they can't adjust to their listener. For example:
- "in this game, you will place your characters on tiles to do the actions printed on the board".
- "ok, it's a worker placement game."
- "the actions will allow you to gather resources..."
- "i see there's wood, clay and stone... so you can use them later on to build these buildings there?"
- "eh... <pause>... if you put a worker here, for example, you will gain the resource shown here, which is wood. This space here will give you stone..."
- "and this one clay... used to purchase these buildings?"
- "yes. this last one is clay <pause>. You can afterward spend those resources by doing a purchase action here. Doing so will allow you to get one of these tiles here. These tiles represent buildings. Their cost in resources you need to spend is printed on the top right".
- *sigh*

Get me the rulebook anytime...
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Braden Adam
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Tufturk wrote:
I teach the games in our group, and it's usually reading the manual multiple times and solo play. After 3-4 solo games, I am usually able to teach the game without referring to the rulebook (assuming the game isn't too heavy or rule-intensive). I have no patience for videos that focus on explaining the rules, but might watch a playthrough to get some basic concepts and the flow of the game. I usually track down the FAQ and any errata to have it on hand for game night.

Eldritch Horror is brilliant for solo play.


I honestly had no idea that Eldritch could be played solo. I thought it was for larger group sizes (3+).
 
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Martin Larouche
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bradenandpichi wrote:
Tufturk wrote:
I teach the games in our group, and it's usually reading the manual multiple times and solo play. After 3-4 solo games, I am usually able to teach the game without referring to the rulebook (assuming the game isn't too heavy or rule-intensive). I have no patience for videos that focus on explaining the rules, but might watch a playthrough to get some basic concepts and the flow of the game. I usually track down the FAQ and any errata to have it on hand for game night.

Eldritch Horror is brilliant for solo play.


I honestly had no idea that Eldritch could be played solo. I thought it was for larger group sizes (3+).


Most coop games can be played solo.

Mansions of Madness 2, eldritch horror, arkham horror, elder sign, pandemic, apocalypse chaos, ghost Stories, pandemic the cure, xcom the boardgame, gears of war the boardgame, space hulk death angel, Time stories, and so on and so forth...
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