I was finally able to persuade two people in my Thursday group to learn Age of Renaissance. Both Karl and Greg are quick studies at picking up new games, so it took only minutes to explain the basics.
I beleive that the best way to teach the game is to limit play to the first epoch only. Although this limits the events that occur over the course of playing out the entire game, it is an excellent way to introduce the game in a 2 hour time frame. My belief is that 6 hours is a long time to play a game that you misplayed (and lost) in the first hour.
I explained only the bare basics before diving in. To explain all of the advances ahead of time would be too abstract to new-comers without knowledge of the basic mechanics, so I explained the important ones that would actually come into play in a single epoch game (the first two of each catagory). I explained the rest of the advances later.
Karl won the capitol bid and, with my advisement, chose Barcelona, Greg chose Venice, and that left me with Genoa. We played the house rule of Burying the crusades over 6 cards deep so it wouldn't come into play on the opening turn.
Karl was off to the typical real estate grab as Barcelona, and Venice and Genoa took the real estate south and northwest.
After Greg hit Karl with the first hate card, and also in the same turn picking a war with me, Karl retaliated with Alchemists gold, even though I had the most written cash. I pointed this out, but Karl felt that revenge was too tasty a dish to pass up. The war between Greg and I lasted two turns and he won it and took one of my cities.
Karl got the early lead of advances with a few key leaders, and I was able to use a few of them myself.
With knowledge of the heavens, I was able to take an early jump to area VI, fearing only the crusades. Finally I drew the crusades and entrenched further.
Greg in the meantime, had aquired overland east and colonized area V uncontested until I took his spice source (my 3rd).
Finally the last turn of epoch I concluded and Karl was forced to play his held spice card, I followed up by playing the combo of Enlightened Ruler, and Mystisism, to push my opponents into greater misery! This turn of events was enough to give me to a 200 pt victory. Although this was played as a lighter learning game.
Both Karl and Greg seemed to enjoy AoR very much, and think they are ready to give the full game a try.