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Subject: How best to Introduce to a gaming group? rss

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Scott Roberts
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I received RFG recently and am looking forward to trying it out. A few questions:

(1) What kind of first impression does this game make? The reason I am asking is that I am a bit concerned that if my group does not like it right away it, it may not see more playing time.

(2) Any things to do to make this game well received? Assuming the rules are well explained, I expectthe biggest complaint might be that they feel lost tactically or strategically. In other words, they might feel a bit lost. I know that my first play of Agricola was helped quite a bit by the simple advice that I should try and diversify and should avoid getting begging cards. That simple advice helped my focus a lot. Anything similar for RFG?

Thanks!
 
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Kester J
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I've never had a bad response to Race, and I've probably introduced it to ~10 different people so far. I have had a couple of indifferent responses, but even they warmed to it after a couple of games.

As regards teaching, the best advice I can give is to use the preset hands: they really do help give a bit of direction at the start of the game. The hardest part of the game to teach is the consume phase. It's hard enough for people to grasp that a) nothing happens unless they have powers, b) what each power does and c) how goods and powers interact (particularly that each good and each power is only used once), even before everything is complicated by trade. I taught three players yesterday, and after four games, they still hadn't got it properly. (They did still enjoy the game, though.) By contrast, they got the other four phases the first time they came up.

Strategy advice might not be necessary. When you explain how military works, their faces may well light up as they think "That sounds fun!" Letting them chase the military strategy for the first game or two is not a bad move, especially as it avoids the potentially confusing consume phase coming up too often. If that doesn't happen, then the advice I'd give is i) to play and trade a windfall early if possible, so they realise the importance of getting cardflow and ii) to try to match each production world with a consume power (and vice versa), so they're getting the most out of their goods every consume phase.

Finally, try to get more than one game in. As I say, I've had those who were indifferent after one game be enthusiastic after three, and your best chance of getting to play again is probably right away (rather than having to force the game on them again later).
 
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Jeff Wells
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The biggest thing for me when I taught my wife was all the icons. Make sure they have a reference card handy, and let them know that some of the cards have special powers that are explained on the card itself. After our fist game, she wanted to play again. By our third game, we understood the icons fairly well, and we enjoy playing this a lot.
 
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Wei-Hwa Huang
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scottandkimr wrote:
(2) Any things to do to make this game well received? Assuming the rules are well explained, I expectthe biggest complaint might be that they feel lost tactically or strategically. In other words, they might feel a bit lost. I know that my first play of Agricola was helped quite a bit by the simple advice that I should try and diversify and should avoid getting begging cards. That simple advice helped my focus a lot. Anything similar for RFG?


The simple strategy advice I tend to give to beginners is:

The average card costs 3 to play, which means that for every four cards you have in your hand, only one of them will make it into your tableau. This means that, unlike other card games where you'll end up playing every card you get, in RftG you'll only be "playing" 25% of your cards. So, it's not that important to understand and obsess over every card in your hand; just play the cards you already understand and pay with the ones that are too complicated. Knowing when and how to play the complicated cards comes best with the experience that comes from multiple games.
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Wei Jen Seah
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The good news is that my whole gaming group has taken favourably to this game, and it looks like it will have quite the lasting appeal. I think the best message you can get across to new players is that they should not worry too much about winning or losing in their first 10-20 games, get to know the cards and the icons, then the game will click for them naturally.
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Galen
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You need to have a lot of patience to teach this game.
 
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Justin Moore
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I would play it once yourself to get a feel for it, then teach it as a 2 player game to one other player in your group. This is a GREAT 2 player game, perhaps better then the 3-4 player games. I personally think it's better as a 2 because 3-4 tends to drag on too long for my taste.

But, once you have one other player enjoying it, BOTH of you play a game with the rest so that more than one of you has to answer all the "What does this icon do again?" questions.
 
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Goran Topic
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From my experience:


Learn the game well yourself - if possible, with one reliable friend.

Commit the newbies to play more than one game. Make sure they understand it's complex, and thus they will not "get it" all in one game. Point out that two or three games of Race take as much as one game of Agricola, so couple of learning games is not unreasonable. Impress upon them that they shouldn't obsess about winning those first couple of games.

Explain the game thoroughly. Give out tutorial hands. Explain the main thrust of each tutorial hand ("New Sparta's tutorial hand goes well with military").

Do not play the first game yourself. Circle the table and offer help where needed.
 
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(1) I introduced this game to a group of mine that prefers parlor games, dice games, party games, and those that take under an hour. There were alot of questions, but they ended up liking it. Not enough to want to play it over and over again, but enough that they weren't disguisted by it and weren't opposed to playing it again.


Although it takes time to fish out preset hands, fish them out and use them. It sets up some synergy and helps for newbies to see the powers in action.

May wanna do open hand. It's helpful for them to ask questions and get answers right away rather than having to hunt down the answer in the rulebook/reference sheet.
 
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