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Subject: [POLL] How do you best learn a game? rss

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C B
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It always amazes me how many people say, "Make sure to read the rulebook before you come to the meetup." or people who recommend to watch Wacth-It-Played videos.

Personally, just reading the rulebook does next to nothing for me. And watching a video is only slightly better. I need to have a game in front of me.

So my curiosity has gotten the better of me, hence this poll.

Poll
The intention is to have one of each 1, 2, 3, 4.
Rank how you best learn a new to you game.
  1 2 3 4
Just hand me the rulebook.
Watch It Played videos for me, please!
Teach it to me right before we play.
I solo my precious with it all laid out in front of me.
      280 answers
Poll created by ampoliros


1 is best.
4 is worst.
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Brad Johnson
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Crystal Lake
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I've been taught way too many games slowly, badly, and/or incorrectly to really trust anything but my own reading of the rulebook. And I actually honestly love reading rulebooks. Watching videos makes me want to jump off a cliff.
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Joe Martineau
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Maybe I'll just stay home and play KDM.
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99% just reading the rules, but I prefer to have the pieces more or less set up so that I can refer to them as needed.
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Adria D
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I learn it best by muddling through it, solo or with a friend who is fully on board with muddling through.

Then the rulebook, then a teacher, then videos. I find that even when someone who knows the game well is teaching it to me, the rulebook often finds its way into my hands at some point throughout the game. It's at the point that some friends will pass me the rulebook as part of the setting up process.
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Shawn Harriman
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I like to read the rules then play.
After that first game I reread the rules confirming and checking we played right and I got it right.

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C B
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tempus42 wrote:
I've been taught way too many games slowly, badly, and/or incorrectly to really trust anything but my own reading of the rulebook. And I actually honestly love reading rulebooks. Watching videos makes me want to jump off a cliff.

I have only been taught one game wrong. It was Villages of Valeria, before my copy arrived. Ultimately the wrong rules were too cemented in my head and I couldn't get used to the correct rules. It didn't help that to me, the wrong rules made more thematic sense. Ultimately I traded it away.

I've never been a (strictly) book learner. I need the physical game in front of me to reinforce what I just read. But I agree, I'd rather teach myself than be taught.
 
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Joe Salamone
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With the exception of very simple games, I always set up the game, read the rulebook, do at least one solo playthrough, and check the BGG rules forum to see what types of questions people have asked. Only then will I spring a game on anyone else.
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Kevin Jonas

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I am a visual person, I need to see it played. Reading the rule book only gets me so far. I have to experience it. The Watch It Played instructional videos help, but playthroughs are better. On a more complicated games when someone is telling me the rules it usually goes over my head. I would rather get a quick start guide, start playing, ask questions and learn as I play.

The hardest part I have with listening to rules being explained is if the goal, end game, or win condition are not explained first. If you tell me a rule before I know that I usually don't remember the rule. I need to know why I can do something, how it helps get to the end game, not just that it is a rule in the game.
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Noelle R.
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I like to just clumsily trip my way through the first (or second) play through of a game to understand the mechanics. Sure handing me a rule book or reading one for myself is helpful, and I will do that, but I best learn by doing. It helps take the edge off of knowing i'm going to lose the first couple of games to chalk it up to a practice run.

If the game is interesting enough, and there is an interesting enough video of it online, I will watch a tutorial or maybe even a full playthrough of the game on my off time just for fun.
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Sobhi Youssef
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I learn best by watching a how-it's-played, followed by a playthrough (love rahdo's). Then I'll read the rulebook and probably watch again.

Depends on difficulty level. Simple games (complexity <2.5) I will just read the rulebook and start.
 
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Rick
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I have to read the rulebook. That said, my preferred method is someone knowledgeable teaches me and preferably right before I get to play. I'm OK with that being a video or in person, but tell me the rules and then I need to do it. And if that means I need to "play" a round or 2 by myself, that's fine.

After I learn a game and play it, though, I read the rules. Even a good game teacher will forget something. And most will miss vital rules.
 
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Ben Locke
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I voted in the poll, but really, it depends on the game. Some games I'm like - "let's just learn as we play". Others, I'm interested in knowing just about everything prior to playing - and will often want to read the rulebook as it's being explained to me.

I think what's relevant here is also who is doing the teaching. I've had some people who are excellent at teaching games (Chris Bock comes to mind) and others who could use some practice or a manual on "how to teach".

But again, it all depends on the game. I like games that do a good job of giving player aids when needed, or the games that have the "really important parts" on the side of the rules explanation. Easily searchable rulebooks are also a blessing.

OTOH, I've spent countless hours pouring through rule books for some games, and watching videos, and reading FAQ's and can still mess up rules, and have that ruin the gaming experience. I always feel that if I miss that and I was the one teaching that it's on me. It's one of my biggest beefs with Star Wars Imperial Assault, as the Imperial Player, I've had to explain some rules, and they aren't always well written - leaving it up for lots of impromptu bgg searches during the session, or just making a call and moving on. In either way, it makes me frustrated as a player, and I imagine it's tough for the Rebel players too.

So while I answered your poll - my real answer is "it depends".
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Cool User
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Step 1. Video. I've never seen a "Watch It Played" video, but I checked that answer as I watch other "brands." Chances are, I won't have a copy of the game to investigate unless I've already watched a video giving a fairly comprehensive idea of how a game plays.

Step 2. Read the rulebook. Now that I have an outline in my head from the video, going through the rules becomes a breeze. It's almost a question of just looking for any discrepancies between the picture I've already formed and the actual rules.

Step 3. Set it up and run through it at least once solo before unleashing it on my victims other players. This really cements it in my mind.

Step 4. ???

Step 5. Profit. If it weren't for that darned Step 4, I'd be rolling in dough from my awesome teaching abilities.


I almost never rely on another player to teach me a game from scratch. If I know beforehand it's going to be played, I at least watch a video. I've had a couple of horrendously bad experiences lately where other people have tried to teach a game and either had no clue how to play or else were totally unable to communicate what they supposedly knew. It's getting so bad that if I see someone I don't know well walking up with a game offering to "teach", I run the other direction.
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Steve C
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When I'm taught a game at my local group, we pretty much get at least one rule wrong every time. It's a tradition, at this point.

That aside, it is a great opportunity to disregard the first play as a learning game, and see who's interested in the game enough to search out the rules clarifications and play it again.

Sure, it would be "ideal" to play 100% correctly, but as long as we're having fun, no one really minds a couple inaccuracies. Just gives us something to talk about next time.

So, I prefer being taught the game, since it means I'm able to show up and play games, and I don't mind a couple missed rules.

When I'm teaching, though, I read through the rulebook and look for some video playthroughs / Watch It Played. Different standards, you see.
 
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Bill Solt
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If it's my own game, I skim though the rulebook and try to find a playthrough video. Not the Rahdo's though. Not a fan of his style. If it's someone else's game, I expect them to tell me how to play and at least the victory conditions. I'll pick up the rest as I go along.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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The quality of explanation when people explain rules varies wildly. My preference for learning rules is for someone to explain, but only for folks who can actually do it well. Otherwise I'll just read the rules. Never by video, which I don't trust to cover the rules 100%.
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Eric Clason
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For me, any of these methods works adequately. I considered best, the method I would most often prefer. Not because I know how to play game better after using the 'best' method, but because it requires the least effort and time on my part.

The best method for me is: Teach it to me right before we play. It requires the least effort on my part and has the added benefit that I am fairly sure I will get to play the game before I forget what I learned.
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John Smith
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My favourite way:

Watch Rahdo, read the rules, play.

I like Watch It Played too though find Rodney runs through it a little too quickly for me. The info is all there but I have to rewind multiple times.
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Richard Pomeroy
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Read the rules.
Play the game.
Read the rules again.
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HenningK
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1. I prefer being taught by another person if s/he is a good explainer. Unfortunately, many people don't explain games very well.
2. I'm totally fine with reading a rulebook.
3. I don't think I ever played a non-solo game solo after the age of 11.
4. I just can't pay attention to a video explanation, I need the pieces in front of me.
 
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Zachary Pickel

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I don't like teaching a new game, so my preference is for someone else to teach while I review the rulebook for myself. It makes more sense to me that way. I also like to set up the game while I'm reading a rulebook and playing a few rounds to get a feel for gameplay.
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mortego
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I learn a game best by watching video run through and then having the game in front of me, alone.
 
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Tim Freerksen
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runthroughs, rulebook then the other two I made a mistake so I'm posting this as well.
 
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Cool User
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copcopps wrote:
runthroughs, rulebook then the other two I made a mistake so I'm posting this as well.


If you mean you marked your answers wrong in the poll, go back and click "questions" then click "clear" to start over.
 
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Robert Foster
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rjpomeroy wrote:
Read the rules.
Play the game.
Read the rules again.


Rinse and Repeat!
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