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Subject: How to teach Dune effectively? rss

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Hugues Paradis
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I plan to bring my copy of Dune to the gamenight of my local store. I was trying to find a way to explain the rules quickly and easily.

Most games I can easily find a good way to do it, but for this one i'm very perplexed about where to start....

Also, I was wondering if I should use the optional player power rules (i'm mostly thinking about the Bene Geserit here) or just go with the basics one. I can I won't be using the alliance rules. Disparity in player strenght would probably make the game too short and mostly anti-climatic.

Any suggestions?
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Matt Davis
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My explanation scheme would be:

1. Explain basic idea. Here it's pretty easy as the goal of conquering important territory is pretty clear.

2. Go through the turn structure. Importantly, I would not mention anything about player powers here unless you have to - maybe mention that the Guild and Emperor get paid when they do, but I'd just stay away from player powers at all, though I'd mention at the start of it that basically every rule gets broken by someone or other in the game.

3. Explain faction powers. I'd do this last so that you don't have to explain factions not in the game (if there are any), and also people have a better idea of how the game actually goes before they hear about special powers. This will highlight how each factions' powers affect the game.

This does benefit that most rules are fairly thematic, especially to people familiar with the books. Of course the Harkonnens are treacherous jerks, of course the Fremen wander around the desert however they feel like (more or less). It's still not an easy game to teach, in my mind.
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Dan Owsen
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Just remember rule #1:

The SPICE must flow!

Beyond that, I don't really have too much advice.... I think it's good that you aren't allowing alliances-- they can definitely make the game anti-climactic and end too soon. Running folks through the cards, how to acquire them, movement basics and a sample combat will be good to get started. Explain each factions powers and how they interact with a few examples. If you know the rules and how to play pretty well, it shouldn't be too hard to explain. There are some tricky things going on with some of the timing but I doubt those will come up with beginners (famous last words!).

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Morgan Dontanville
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Ken
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If it's a bunch of first time players, I wouldn't let anyone take the BG in the first place. They're just too damned hard for someone learning the game to cope with and take too long to build up strength.

But I wonder why you'd play without alliances. If you use the option where allies need one additional stronghold to win per person beyond the first, they aren't overwhelming. And they really add to the flavor of the game.

Personally, I'd use both the advanced rules (not the optional ones) and alliances. That's when the game really shines for flavor and play.
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Roy Stephens
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mummykitty wrote:
Just remember rule #1:

The SPICE must flow!




Rule # 2: He who controls the Spice, controls the universe!

Rule # 3 Don't be afraid to teach the game to new people. You must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. You will face your fear. You will permit it to pass over you and through you. And when your fear is gone you will turn and face fear's path, and only you will remain.


Basically, when I teach the game and no one is familiar with at LEAST the movie, then, I give a very brief explanation of the universe and the basic conflicts of the game: Harkonnens are treacherous villains, Atreides are noble heroes, Guild, Emperor, and BG are all behind the scenes manipulators (who do, in the game at least, still get directly involved in the fighting) with very interesting abilities. Fremen are a native people caught in the middle but know the planet better than anyone. Then, I go over the general rules of the game and usually do a practice/sample bid for treachery cards and a sample battle. Once that is explained, I let everyone pick their faction and then I briefly go over each factions' rulebreaking ability individually, but publicly, so that EVERYONE gets how everyone else breaks the rules. The easy way to describe it for folks who want to know prior to choosing is: Harkonnen get lots of treachery cards and traitors, Atreides get to use telepathy to peek at cards, Emperor gets rich quick, Guild gets rich quick too, Fremen are masters of the terrain and never have to deal with the Guild, BG can hitch free rides and co-exist, thus not allowing others to attack them. Once players have chosen their faction, then I tell them to read the info shield and I explain each one in detail.

Honestly, it is not a difficult game to play, learn, or teach. I think a lot of non-Dune-familiar folks are intimidated by it due to how tightly the theme is married to the gameplay. But in reality, all you need to know is how the factions relate and operate, and the basic rules of the game. The actual gameplay is a snap.


And I agree with the post above this; if playing with less than 6, don't use the BG for a training game. If there are 6, take the BG yourself.
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Anthony
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mormeguil wrote:

I plan to bring my copy of Dune to the gamenight of my local store.


What store are you planning on taking it to? Your profile doesn't list where your are, 'cuz if it was near me I'd try to make it out.

As a side note, be aware that the game will run at minimum 4 hours.
 
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Hugues Paradis
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Quote:
What store are you planning on taking it to? Your profile doesn't list where your are, 'cuz if it was near me I'd try to make it out.


It's at Le Griffon, the only game shop in Sherbrooke (province of Quebec). Feel free to come every third friday of the month.

Now first of all thanks a lot for all the suggestions. I think you are right about the alliance. Since I will probably have 4 players I think having 4 stronghold for an alliance to win would probably solve the problem.

Going over the theme first and making a small exampe of a basic turn whitout any player power seems like the best options. Then have people choose the player they want (I will just leave out the Bene Geserit I think) and go over the special powers of each of them.

Any other suggestions? Rules that people always forget, important things to stress?

Edit: I have the french Descartes edition by the way. Don't think it really changes anything but ...
 
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Roy Stephens
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mormeguil wrote:
Quote:
What store are you planning on taking it to? Your profile doesn't list where your are, 'cuz if it was near me I'd try to make it out.


It's at Le Griffon, the only game shop in Sherbrooke (province of Quebec). Feel free to come every third friday of the month.

Now first of all thanks a lot for all the suggestions. I think you are right about the alliance. Since I will probably have 4 players I think having 4 stronghold for an alliance to win would probably solve the problem.

Going over the theme first and making a small exampe of a basic turn whitout any player power seems like the best options. Then have people choose the player they want (I will just leave out the Bene Geserit I think) and go over the special powers of each of them.

Any other suggestions? Rules that people always forget, important things to stress?

Edit: I have the french Descartes edition by the way. Don't think it really changes anything but ...



I have both versions and I actually prefer the Descartes version as it has the expansions included and I like the artwork better. The language issue is the only problem I have with it, as I do not speak French, but, my copy comes with translations for everything anyway. Leave the expansions out for your training game. Honestly, it is nice having them, but, i think i prefer the game without them. Your mileage may vary.

Rules that get forgotten tend to be individual powers of the different factions. That, and the adding of spice to strengthen fighting units. Other than that, after a turn or two, they should pick it up pretty fast. Especially as I assume they are all gamers already.
 
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Simon Harris
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perfalbion wrote:
Personally, I'd use both the advanced rules (not the optional ones) and alliances. That's when the game really shines for flavor and play.

'Different strokes' and all that jazz - I would have said the exact opposite. Optional rules but NOT advanced.

My group has never liked sharing victory in anything (with the exception of *true* co-op games) so alliances never appealed.


Simon
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Anthony
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mormeguil wrote:
Quote:
What store are you planning on taking it to? Your profile doesn't list where your are, 'cuz if it was near me I'd try to make it out.


It's at Le Griffon, the only game shop in Sherbrooke (province of Quebec). Feel free to come every third friday of the month.


It would be a long commute from Vancouver. Crap. Oh well.
 
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Ken
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harris_family wrote:
'Different strokes' and all that jazz - I would have said the exact opposite. Optional rules but NOT advanced.


Maybe I'm remembering them wrong. I'd play with the rules that added the powers to the different houses, but not the ones that did things like require spice expenditure to get full strength out of tokens. I may be calling what's actually "advanced" "optional" and getting it wrong.

Then again, I don't get this on the table often enough.
 
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Roy Stephens
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perfalbion wrote:


Then again, I don't get this on the table often enough.



And that is the same problem I have.... tragic, as it is easily one of the best games ever.
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Zsolt Nagy
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mormeguil wrote:
Quote:
What store are you planning on taking it to? Your profile doesn't list where your are, 'cuz if it was near me I'd try to make it out.



Any other suggestions? Rules that people always forget, important things to stress?

..


Winner of the battles is also loosing the troops he sent (dialed) into the battle. This is such a different approach to the the usual in boardgames that people tend to forget this.

Especially when the first battle was won with betrayal, so the winner actually didn't loose anything than he can be very surprised and frustrated in the next battle -as happened in our group. laugh
 
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Glenn McMaster
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Most games I can easily find a good way to do it, but for this one i'm very perplexed about where to start....


Teach on the fly as much as you can. Don’t get bogged down with pre-instructions so that you finally start to play an hour later. Give a brief overview, set up and go, and as each phase comes up, teach the rules as the situation arises.
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Hugues Paradis
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So i'm just back from the game night. The game was a blast with a treacherous win from the Atreide and a bit too much Guild bashing due to a large stash of spice.

Overall, a great succes people even asked me to set up another night so we can play it again (first time this ever happened as far as I know).

I did manage to effectvely teach the game just by going trought teaching a step by step turn with a few exemple for combat. No special powers involved.

Then explained the overall story behind each faction and had them choose. Whent around with each people placing the starting troops and explaining special powers.

The gamers aid are nicely done and nobody had trouble with what each cards did.

The whole game and explanations went in around 3 hours.
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