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Subject: Why I cannot teach game rules!!! rss

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Blake Lipman
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I have been giving this much thought. Why do I cringe at the thought of teaching a game? I am a reasonably intelligent person. I have reasonably good communication skills. I am not shy. Why do I dread teaching game rules? I have taught games before (out of necessity), but I really would rather someone else teach the game. Does anyone else have this problem?
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Kees
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I've been having the same problem also. But I've improved my explaining skills by setting up a guideline for explaning games for myself:
0. Make sure that all players in the game are interrested in learning a new game;
0. Explain why you like the game and what it's strong points and weaknesses are.
1. Explain the object of a game;
2. Explain the rest of the rules;
3. Play an ' open' game and explain your own moves.

This helped me improve my explainingskills. I hope this will help you also.
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Blake Lipman
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Quote:
0. Make sure that all players in the game are interrested in learning a new game;
0. Explain why you like the game and what it's strong points and weaknesses are.
1. Explain the object of a game;
2. Explain the rest of the rules;
3. Play an ' open' game and explain your own moves.


I can/have done all of the above, I just loath doing it. I like to play, not explain rules. It is a character flaw I admit it.
 
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Thomas Eastside, Esq.
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Well, as my family games group official explainer, I know why you hate it. 1. People don't pay attention. 2. People then complain that you missed a rule or didn't explain something properly. At least, that's my experience, and it's annoying. But yet, I soldier on because I control what gets played, which is nice recompense.
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Vaughn Sandor
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I've been on the fence about getting a rules teacher/rules lawyer microbadge for a while now.

 
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Charles Chen
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Here are several reasons for me where teaching game rules may be an issue:

1. The level of complexity your game group enjoys may not match up with the game. Nothing worse than explaining a game and people's eyes start glazing over. Luckily my group is able to handle games like Age of Steam and Die Macher and they are appreciative of me showing new games. Printing up the game summary player aids for many games do help with the flow of teaching.

2. If you're the one expected to teach 80+% of the games, you can find yourself burning out. Even a moderate complex game can still take several hours of your time to read and grasp the rules so you can competently explain it. Let's face it, it is usually easier if someone else does it.

3. How well rulebooks are written certainly do make a difference! Sometimes I cringe at the thought of reviewing rules hoping no ambiguities, errors, or vagueness are present. Also so many games now have expansions which add more rules to keep track. Mare Nostrum is one game we once enjoyed but I now hesitate to bring back with its expansion. Mare Nostrum: Mythology Expansion revises some rules to balance out certain countries but after reading the forums on BGG, there appears to be additional errata from the designer that you have to find and print out. Then you have to sort out which are the official vs user contributed.

4. Looking at your list of games, it almost doubles mine. I find it increasingly difficult to retain rules for several hundred games while learning several new games a month. You can stick to teaching 5-10 games but what's the fun in that? Good board games to me are like good books where each one tells a story, but unlike books, every episode (gameplay) is unique and can be shared with friends.

In summary, it definitely takes less effort to have someone else teach but how many games will you be exposed to if that happens? Hopefully, your friends will be appreciative of the effort and create fun and lasting memories.
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Blake Lipman
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Quote:
Well, as my family games group official explainer, I know why you hate it. 1. People don't pay attention. 2. People then complain that you missed a rule or didn't explain something properly. At least, that's my experience, and it's annoying. But yet, I soldier on because I control what gets played, which is nice recompense.


and

Quote:
4. Looking at your list of games, it almost doubles mine. I find it increasingly difficult to retain rules for several hundred games while learning several new games a month. You can stick to teaching 5-10 games but what's the fun in that? Good board games to me are like good books where each one tells a story, but unlike books, every episode (gameplay) is unique and can be shared with friends.


Exactly my sentiments, you both hit the nail on the head. I love games, BUT I hate explaining the rules.
 
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Russ Williams
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I never used to dread teaching game rules, until I started living in a country whose language I suck at.
 
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Gabe Alvaro
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People don't pay attention?! People don't want to learn a new game?!

That is the total opposite of my game group. Our people pay attention because they really want to learn a new game. If I was in the company of people who really didn't want to learn the game I wouldn't even attempt to teach. What would be the point?

All that said, I do occasionally dread teaching game rules, but its usually from the pressure of having to teach a new game that I barely know that everybody is really interested in playing. I dread the thought of becoming flustered and incoherent and then having to read from the rulebook. Blech, no fun for anyone.
 
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Dan Becker
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Dreadnaut wrote:
1. People don't pay attention. 2. People then complain that you missed a rule or didn't explain something properly.


So very true in my experience with casual gamers. Or a slight variation of that: 1) People say "let's just start playing, and let's learn as we play". 2) Then they get competitive and they've missed a typical Reiner Knizia last place rule e.g. "the person with the lowest amount of cash cannot win the game."
 
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