I've now had the pleasure of introducing Eldritch Horror to a new player probably five or six times. I just wanted to share what I've learned about the best way to do this, in the hope that it might help you, should you have the chance to introduce someone to this great game.
The first time I explained Eldritch Horror to someone, I spent about fifteen minutes talking about the game before we started playing. I explained each action in some detail (I showed exactly how an Acquire Assets action works, for example), went through all the types of encounters, talked about omens and the Doom track, and explained combat. I tried to make the explanation as lively and engaging as I could, and my partner was a good sport about this, but it must have been quite boring for her. When we actually started playing, I discovered she had not retained much of it.
So the lesson here: do not explain the game in detail! Rather, very briefly sketch out how the game works, and then jump right in. The last time I introduced the game to two new players, I talked for about three minutes before we started playing. I said that the point of the game is that we are a team of investigators working to stop some horrible entity from another dimension from destroying the world. Then I ran through each of the six common actions (moving, preparing to move, resting, focusing, shopping, and your special action) in a sentence or two each. (E.g.: "You can also shop, which means you use your Influence value to buy items for your character.") I then gave about two sentences each to the Encounter phase and Mythos phase. (E.g. "The Mythos phase is when the Ancient One attacks. We draw a card from this deck which will cause unpleasant things to happen.") I didn't even mention stuff like the Expedition Encounter--if it comes up during the game, or if one of the new players asks what this token is, you can explain it then. Until that happens, don't bother. I concluded by saying we win the game by doing whatever the Mystery cards say, and then we jumped in.
This works so much better! You can then explain stuff in more detail when it actually comes up in game. You can explain how tests work as soon as the new player actually needs to do a test. When their characters decide to shop, or need to fight a monster, that is the time to explain how Acquire Assets and combat works. They will be far more likely to retain the information, because it is presented in a much less abstract and much more significant situation.
When a person tries to do something illegal (e.g., resting when on the same space as a monster), you can just jump in and explain that that's not allowed. This is much better than explaining these intricacies and exceptions ahead of time and expecting a new player to remember them.
I apologize if what I've posted here is obvious to you (it may well be), but this change in approach really did make the process of introducing people to Eldritch Horror smoother and more enjoyable for everyone, so I wanted to share. It probably applies just as well to other games, too. Learn by doing!
Sergio de Souza Vieira
Thanks for sharing.
I do the same and it works very well. At most, in the second round are already understanding the game. I force the cards to be read by all the players if I am the chief investigator and the immersion becomes strong.
Normally in this and other games, I initially prioritize the goal, I value the art, a brief history of the theme. I make the players feel the textures by touching the cards (I remove some of the sleeves) and in the box. All very fast.
Everyone who participated in the games, even horrified, defeated, want to play again.
I'm terrible at showing/explaining the game to new players, so tend to
point them in the direction of the many uTube vids that are out there a
week or two before playing and point them towards the rulebooks ...
... Then, when it comes to games day, do an even briefer explanation of
the Quick Reference guide on the back page of the rulebook. This gives
players a more enjoyable first time experience! ... Walts
I didn't even mention stuff like the Expedition Encounter--if it comes up during the game, or if one of the new players asks what this token is, you can explain it then.
When a person tries to do something illegal (e.g., resting when on the same space as a monster), you can just jump in and explain that that's not allowed.
Let me disagree on this. Eldritch horror is a game that actually requires planning and those two are in fact very important information. I know that it could be too much for a new player, but being such a thematic game you can easily mix the rules with the story (eg: there is no rest or shopping with a monster chasing you!).
The encounter phase is also easy to explain: go for the clues or the rumors. If you are too far away, you can (actually, must!) always have a local encounter on you space or go for an expedition for really cool artifacts.
The gates open randomly (no need to explain it now, like you said, I just say that there will always be a mythos phase where s*** happens) but need to keep them under control, because... doom
I then explain the tests and how they work with the dice and then a quick explanation of the monster fighting (you see a monster, it scares you; you lose sanity. Then you fight and both lose health)
And pretty much, that's it. I keep the mythos phase and the conditions as a surprise. I have tought this game a couple of times this way and everyone got it really easy
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
This works so much better! You can then explain stuff in more detail when it actually comes up in game.
This is why I adore co-op. So easy to teach people when you are all working on the same goal together. Try this in a competitive game and it's nearly cheating. Have you ever heard "oh so you bring up this rule when it benefits you!"
I really dislike teaching people competitive games because of this. Only way around it I have found is playing open handed or the equivalent, and calling it a practice game and revealing my strategy to everyone. I have seen many others just give half an explanation of rules and just go all secretive when the game starts so they can steamroll everyone.
None the less, this is great to keep in mind when teaching people a game as complex as eldritch. I will likely bookmark this and glance over it again quick next time I teach someone.