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Subject: Easing new players into IS in 6 simple games rss

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Josh aka "Ossian Grr"
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I am the kind of gamer who buys a game and all of its expansions, even before trying to acclimate my playgroup to the game
I also love to overthink logistics!

So, now that I own literally everything that exists for Imperial Settlers (base game, all expansions through Aztecs, the Watch It Played card, and all of the promo tiles), here's my plan for getting my playgroup into the game without overwhelming them.
Assume a 4-player group. Myself and 3 people who are familiar with games but not this one.
Please tell me whether you'd agree.

Game 1: "Open Format" with just base game (B) + Why Can't We Be Friends (W) + 3 Is The Magic Number (3) cards.
Without worrying about the expansion factions, deckbuilding, or special tiles, this seems to be a relatively easy way to start teaching the game.
"Open Production" and "Sets/Colors" don't seem to be terribly hard to teach as concepts on top of the basic game, and a 50-card Faction Deck is not overwhelmingly big.
Make sure to explain the special Samurai rules for Japan. Preferable for the teacher to play Japan on the first game.
Also explain the 2 cards that don't look like locations; should not be shocking for people with any card game experience to see cards that are just "playable effects".

Game 2: "Open Format" with B W U and Atlanteans (A) cards, but not Atleantean faction.
Similarly to the above, introduce the Atlantean cards to all decks, including the Common Deck, and explain Technology as "just another resource". Do not allow anyone to play as Atlanteans, not even the teacher.
Also make sure to explain that there is one card in the entire deck that must be played when drawn. Ugh.

Game 3: "Old Standard Format" game with B,W,U and A
Now that players have 2 games under their belt, they might be comfortable with the deckbuilding concept.
Allow each player to choose one expansion to modify their deck, and the Common Deck's contents are dicated by their choices.
Allow one player to choose the Atlanteans at this point, or the "teacher" plays them. Explain the special function of Technology Tokens for Atlantis, and also make sure to point out that their faction locations aren't worth points!
(Note: Still no Aztecs!)

Game 4: "New Standard Format" game with B,W,U and A
Toss all of those extra Common cards (except for the Watch It Played promo) back in the box, and then play a standard game. Allow people to choose whatever they like, and/or rearchitect their decks.

Game 5: "New Standard Format" game with B,W,U and A, and Promo Tiles (P)
Explain all the promo tiles. By this point, the terminology should be clear, and we can put these all in the center of the table and try them out.

Game 6: "New Standard Format" game with B,W,U A, P, and (finally!) Aztecs (Z)
Blessings and Prayer are hard to wrap your head around, but by this point, they should be the only truly new thing that you need to learn about.
Also, after Game 5, the group should be able to pick and choose which of the Promo Tiles they actually think are necessary and just use those.
Probably still a good idea to not have both Atlanteans and Aztec factions on the table at this point, but in "Game 7 and Beyond" we'll all be experts.

From this point forward, I think we all get on the same page.

Your thoughts? Would you do it differently?
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Patrik Severinsson
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Just play the base game 6 times? After that you can probably start mixing in new things...
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Josh aka "Ossian Grr"
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Helikoputtrik wrote:
Just play the base game 6 times? After that you can probably start mixing in new things...


This is where the "overthinking logistics" part of me falls into place.
I'm trying to draw the progression between using all 6 of the available factions, the concept of deckbuilding, and the use of the promo tiles which can be quite wacky.

It is very possible that some of the "Games" in my progression are actually multiple games, or just a few intro game-turns to show a concept.
But it all balances out.. somehow...
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Konrad Borowiecki
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I see what you are doing here. Though I do not see that it has much benefit over what Patrik said of playing the base game 6 times then mixing whatever you like.

Personally, I always say that the best way to learn the game is from the base only but with the Open Production buildings. Important difference though that you focus your first game on building only without attacking opponents.

This way, with help of positive interaction between player, you learn the core of the game which is building your Victory Points engine. Once you learn that attack is not the key element of the game and that you should focus on the VPs you will perform better in your next game. In the final lesson (the next game) permit attacking and the game learning is complete.

Do not get me wrong thinking about attacking is part of the strategy though the most important is building lots, preferably buildings which skills link together.
 
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