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Subject: Introducing this game rss

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Take Walker
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I have two gaming groups, and we play things like Sentinels of the Multiverse, Spirit Island and Betrayal at House on the Hill. We've also tried Dice Forge (it was dull), and struggled with running Arkham Horror despite two of us knowing how to play it.

I've got a rented copy of Gaia Project at the moment, and after reading through the instructions (I'm basically the designated 'game-knower' in both groups), I was ready to give up. Discussing them with the other players, I was advised to just take it back and get a different game.

But I feel like we ought to try it at least once. So my question is, what's the best way to introduce the game to new players when you're also new? How best to explain the rules? Because there are a lot of rules, they are massively complex, and literally no one is going to remember them all, possibly not even after a full play-through. I've only got one group that will be playing this (the other has moved on to RPGs for the moment), so my workload is halved, but I'll take any advice anyone has to offer.
 
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mortego
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I tried it, it was okay. I wouldn't mind trying it again but most likely it will never be in my collection.

I know it's a great game, in fact, it's just better if everyone would just accept that. It's okay not to like it but it's still a great game.

I hope you enjoy it.
 
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Jack Spirio
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It is a pretty complex game, so it isn't for everybody. But if you take the time to learn it, it's just great.
Try to learn the rules, and play a solo party to understand how everything works and then read the rules again. Then teach it to your group
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Chad Weaver
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Gaia is one of the best board games ever. But based on the games your group plays, I don't think they are ready for it. It is like a 400-level course in Euros and you may not have the prerequisites.
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Big Tom Casual
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chadw09 wrote:
Gaia is one of the best board games ever. But based on the games your group plays, I don't think they are ready for it. It is like a 400-level course in Euros and you may not have the prerequisites.


Curious where you would place Spirit Island on complexity then! I’ve been holding off on that because of heaviness but sounds like maybe that’s been overblown in what I’ve read?
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Ellis Roach
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Spirit Island is probably medium-heavy complexity and definitely has the potential to be extremely AP inducing. I think playing the game is relatively straightforward, but it is a deep thinky game that can be very punishing.
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Chad Weaver
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CasualToast wrote:
chadw09 wrote:
Gaia is one of the best board games ever. But based on the games your group plays, I don't think they are ready for it. It is like a 400-level course in Euros and you may not have the prerequisites.


Curious where you would place Spirit Island on complexity then! I’ve been holding off on that because of heaviness but sounds like maybe that’s been overblown in what I’ve read?


This may be a fair criticism of my response. I don't know Spirit Island, but I know the other two, and Gaia is nothing like those two.

Gaia has a BGG Complexity Rating of 4.30, and Spirit Island is 3.93 so you may have a good point.
 
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Leigh - 1onthebox
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Easy, this game is one of the best solo games on the market. Play a couple of games solo and suddenly it wont seem so complex and you’ll find it easier to teach.
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Oedipussy Rex
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It's too bad they don't have any familiarity with Terra Mystica. Not that it really made any difference when I tried teaching Gaia Project to a friend who considers TM the greatest game ever made. I started by telling him that Gaia Project plays just Terra Mystica with some differences. I told him that I was going to teach him just the differences between the two. I then proceeded to teach him just the differences between the two, making a point of saying things like, "Unlike Terra Mystica, in Gaia Project ...." What happened? Throughout the entire game he'd ask me how something works. Basic crap. Like cycling power.
 
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Take Walker
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We tend to play Spirit Island on low difficulties, and I in particular play it like a toddler whacking a toy car with a hammer: inelegantly. :B

I'll have to give solo play a shot, I guess. Are the rules for automated play in the actual rulebook, or do I have to use the post here on the forums? (I saw it earlier while looking through.)
 
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Jack Spirio
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There is an extra rulebook just for the automa
 
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Je Nas
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I feel you. My group (of three) is mostly on Terraforming Mars, like a hundred gameplays already. Then we acquired Gaia Project four months ago, none of us had any Terra Mystica experience. And I’m also the ‘game-knower’. Man it was hard! Hard for me to grasp the rules, hard for them to stop forgetting all sort of little details every single turn. We stoically tried it three times, over two weeks, and it just felt too heavy and hardly fun. The prospect of trying it again felt stressful.

We provisionally gave up. We considered to sell the game. But of course I kept hearing, here and elsewhere, that the learning curve is really slow and yet totally pays off. Maybe five gameplays needed, even seven so that the game rules would begin to feel second nature. And from then on it would be just more and more fun. Well, I believed it. And it turns out it was really true for my group.

We tried it again in the last month, and sure enough, by the third gameplay (6th in total), we finally began to want to play more. Now it is obvious to all of us that we will take turns between Terraforming Mars and Gaia Project — as originally intended. We are even more excited about Gaia, right now, and that’s no little thing, as the great Colonies expansion for Terraforming just arrived!

With that said, you can see why it would seem to me that for your group to try Gaia just once, maybe it is better not trying it at all.
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Take Walker
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Jack Spirio wrote:
There is an extra rulebook just for the automa

Oh, I didn't see it because it was further down in the box XD
 
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Ethan Towne
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There are multiple rule teach and playthrough videos on YouTube. I would recommend watching them and then do a double handed solo playthrough to learn the rules.

I would avoid introducing the automa until you understand the rules for players.
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Take Walker
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Well, I got a game in. I feel like I understand the basics now, and I did actually have fun, but oh boy, I definitely don't understand everything. The AI kicked my butt and I lost 94-69. D:

Gotta say, the method for determining AI actions is elegant as heck.
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James Ataei
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Break down the game by using the reference cards.

PART 1
0. These are the resources to spend on the actions: Ore, Credits, Knowledge, QIC, and Power Tokens which give you power to spend when charged, kind of like a battery.

1. "Terraform and Build Mine" on a planet type. This round board shows the terraform wheel. This is the terraform tech track it tells how much 1 terraform costs you, except currently existing green Gaia planets, those cost 1 QIC and with the next action you can make personal Gaia planets.

2. Place a Gaiaformer on a purple Transdim planet to make it your personal Gaia Planet in the NEXT round. This is the Gaiaforming tech track. It shows you how many power tokens to move into the Gaia Bowl.

3. Upgrade a building. Every building shows the costs here on your faction board. These 2 buildings give you a tech tile. Those are great! I'll talk about tech tiles later.

4... etc

PART 2
This is the tech board. Go through each track and show the difference between one time bonus (L1 Terraform, entire AI/QIC), income (Economy and Knowledge), and effects (Terraform, NAV, Gaiaform). Remember that tech tiles give you a free tech step (under track or wild card) and are different from spending knowledge to get a tech step. These advanced tech tiles and Level 5 require a green federation flip as shown by this icon here (which I suggested during playtesting ).

PART 3
This is scoring board. It shows how you score VP in each round and at the end of the game by doing the action depicted on it. The strategy of how to score many VP is the complex part of this game, not the actual mechanics and rules.


When you make it this simple you can usually get people going. Tell them this game has very deep strategy like Chess and Go and you are not going to get it until after many games so just worry about learning the process of playing for the first couple of games.

Also if you have a question during the game that the rulebook doesn't answer easily enough just get on BGG and use the forum search with just a few keywords and you'll usually find that someone has asked and answered the question already.
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Jack Spirio
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I normally skip 2 and 4 and explain the other actions
I only explain 2, when I come to the tech board and explain Gaiaforming

Also you need to explain passive charging at some point
 
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Jason Lewis
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Gaiaforming is confusing to new players and rightly so. There are small little rules that go with it, also the cost in terms of sacrificing power is so high that it seems like a poor play to a new player. I would explain that ruleset last. And without planning, it probably is a poor play. Throwing away 2/3 of your power as most races in the first or second turn of the game might be horrible, and a new player may do just that because they dont realize how much they need power. When you go through tech paths, save the gaiaforming tech path til last and then explain that all in a lump as the last thing you go over before play starts imo.

my 2 cents
 
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Jack Spirio
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you are not throwing it away, you get it back next round
but apart from that I fully agree
 
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Jason Lewis
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Jack Spirio wrote:
you are not throwing it away, you get it back next round
but apart from that I fully agree


good clarification, I worded that poorly. I also have a hard time with the gaia step of the game because i just want to get that power back BEFORE gaining power in the income phase. Idk why but it feels so counter intuitive to me.

So, not thrown away, but it can feel like that for the next turn unless you have a lot of power gain in round two for some reason.
 
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Bokken B
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GP is an interesting study in gaming, and probably why it's loved so much by the people who play it more than a few times.

But there are a few hurdles to over come in order to add this game to a beloved favorite, and it can be difficult to lead new players into jumping these hurdles and enjoy doing them. here are my tips as to how I handle each hurdle.

1: Rules

Problem:
I'd say the rules are one of the biggest stop gaps to getting new players interested. There are alot of them, and there are MANY situations that come up that need clarification in how they work, or what to do. When you're trying to teach the game, even if you know the rules very well, it can be ALOT of information to absorb, and as you try to plow ahead to get them all said, people start zoning out and getting more and more anxious as they keep piling on.

Solution:
First and formost, know the rules yourself. there is nothing worse for a new player (or new group) trying to learn this game than having to check and recheck the rulebook 50 times. You'll probably STILL need to do this after the person teaching (likely you) learns the rules, but it will be alot less often if you know them beforehand.

The best way to do this would be to play the online version a couple of times. BUUUT since the digital rights are being handled in a manner I'm unsatisfied with (and i'm being salty on purpose here..) you can't.
SO the next best thing is to play the automa in a solo game at least twice. Keep in mind a couple of the rules are going to be different, but you'll get a much better grip on the game that way than trying to muddle though your first multiplayer game.

If you dont have time or the solo game seems unappealing, then watch a few guide videos. I dont have any I want to recommend yet because it seems so many get a few of the minor rules wrong (I think making a video guide will be my next project) But they will give you the basics of the rules and help you understand what you like and dont like about how it was taught to you.

If you want some common clarifications to the rules. Please check out my FAQ guide:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2140995/frequently-asked-qu...

Keep in mind, it's currently incomplete, but it will definitely get you started.

I'd also recommend that the first game will be a learning game with your game group. Tell them it's ok if they dont know or understand all of the rules at first, you'll learn them as you go along, with the expectation that you will be playing another game immedatly after learning. Play a few rounds (i'd say 3) so that they get the hang of it. Expect to have 4-5 hours of game time to learn, you probably wont need them all, but It will be worth having the extra time. You could even break it up with a 3 round game for learning, and then meet up to play the real thing another time.

It's also been SUPER helpful (but not mandatory) to me to have them watch a video before-hand. I've even, once, played a 15 minute clip of a video while I cleaned up another game and used the restroom/got everyone drinks. i still wound up having to explain/clarify, but it saved alot of time.


2. Strategy

Problem:
Once you get past the rules, and how everything works. The game is actually rather simple. Doing a thing costs a number of resources. Resources are gained at the beginning of each round, these things get you points.
In retrospect, getting points in this game is actually alot more straight forward than alot of other games often categorized as "heavy" But where the complexity REALLY comes in, is WHY you might do things. The strategy of what to do when and why is REALLY where the game takes off, and becomes alot more thinky and plan intensive than it may otherwise seem.
I expect an experianced player to hit 140 consistently, and 180-220 in about 20% of their games. New players on the other-hand, I expect to hit 80-100, with spikes of 130 by games end.

The variance in score from an experienced player, to a new player, even one who has played the game a few times, is probably in the neighborhood of 100 points, which is fairly massive on a game that "caps" out in the early 200s.

While the rules act as a fairly significant hurdle for players that like simple games, Not knowing why you might do or make moves can be rather frustrating for gamers whom like to play out strategy succinctly and understand why they're making the decisions they are. There's few things worse to a Terraforming mars or Scythe veteran that gets halfway though a 3-4 hour game and realizes they've dug themselves into a strategic pit there's no hope of climbing out of.

Solution:
You have to judge your game group for This, some people wnat to not just know the rules, but UNDERSTAND them in order to enjoy a game. Most times, the best thing to do for this is either have them watch videos/learn the game in their freetime first, or to play a few early rounds and reset. These gamers will turn off on the game as soon as they start to understand the strategy and how behind they truly are. I've even had players walk away from a table in round 5 due to this.
There are also some gaming groups who dont really care how well they do, especially in the first game, and enjoy the extra time in learning the game, and just want to see the game to it's conclusion.

In either case, playing an early round or 3 is a good option, but I'd leave it to you to decide which works best.

As for the deeper level of strategy that gets the high scoring points? That takes alot of games, I'd say at least 8 before you really start to lock in a strategy, and is probably not worth diving into when you're first learning the game. But the info is there, and it's all over the strategy forums
There's a ton of information, but for the short and dirty version: Try to end turn 1 with a Research Lab and either 4 mines, or 2 mines and a Trading station. OR try to end turn 1 with an academy. There are all kinds of caveats and exceptions I wont get into, but if you manage to do one of those things, you'll fair alot better than you might otherwise.


3. Art/Theme

Problem:
There's no way around this one, some players just care far more about the theme of a game, and how pretty it is, than they do about the gameplay. This is why games with fancy miniatures are so very popular among new players.
One of the main places that GP is weak in is the art and theme. I mean, it's space themed, but alot of people get caught up on the fact that power is never fully fictionalized, the races have no backstories, and the art and pieces are fairly low on the eye popping scale

Solution:
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do here. The art is what it is, and this type of game appeals to those who like gameplay and strategy, rather than theme and art. I've helped some of these gamer by explaining the power system to be like partially and fully charged batteries (or fuel cells) but even that is a stretch.
If your gamers are like this, theres a good chance GP might not be something your group enjoys.


Lastly i'll say GP is not a good game for a CotN crowd. The game excels in replay-ability, and variance in how every game gets played. If your group is one of those that doesn't mind a new game here and then, but often wind up playing beloved favorites, GP is a good thing to teach your group.

But if you find your group gets far more excited to play a new game, or whatever is "hot" right now, theres a really good chance that GP will be a waste of time for your group, as it will likely not hit the table more than twice.


I hope this helps.



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