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Subject: Handicapping for new players? rss

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Blorb Plorbst
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We're going to be playing PG this weekend with a brand new player.

We've done this before and the results are predictable: the new player gets beaten. Badly.

We give advice during play; try to point out obvious errors and explain our reasoning. But we also try not to play their game for them and let them make their own decisions/mistakes and learn from them. But this only gets them so far and once you're out of synch with the pace of the game, you're a goner.

Any advice on leveling the playing field?

I think starting them with more cash would take some steps toward giving them a fighting chance and help cover some early errors. How much do you think would be appropriate? 20? 30?
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.308 Jake
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What's wrong with playing normal and letting the new guy lose? It's expected.
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Blorb Plorbst
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trippercook wrote:
What's wrong with playing normal and letting the new guy lose? It's expected.
A fair question which I meant to answer in the original post.

I want our new player to have fun and I've seen several people get their enthusiasm crushed by playing a game with the knowledge that they are losing and have no chance of even catching up.

We try to tell people who are about to play a game like this for the first time: "You are most likely going to lose." and give them the chance to choose some other game. Some people are fine with that idea and enjoy playing anyway. Others think they are fine with it but really aren't. Of course, one time, we got trounced by the new player in Power Grid. Absolutely, embarrassingly, slaughtered. Probably because we underestimated him and played against each other.
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Several options:
*Have the new player watch the first game or pair him up with someone.
*Play only 3 or 4 rounds then start over again.
*Have him show up early so you can explain the rules and strategy over a few turns.
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norman rule
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StevenE wrote:
*Play only 3 or 4 rounds then start over again.


This gets my vote.... And while playing, explain your reasons for buying/not buying, placing/not placing, powering/not powering.
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John Holder
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CrankyPants wrote:

We try to tell people who are about to play a game like this for the first time: "You are most likely going to lose." and give them the chance to lose at some other game.


Fixed that for you!
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Eric Brosius
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The first suggestion, since there's no secret info, is to offer "if at any time you want advice, just ask and we'll give you the best advice we can." That allows the new player to decide when he or she wants to get advice.
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Chun Ping
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mrorwell wrote:
StevenE wrote:
*Play only 3 or 4 rounds then start over again.


This gets my vote.... And while playing, explain your reasons for buying/not buying, placing/not placing, powering/not powering.


actually this was stated as in the rules for new players. anyway, i think a combination of playing shorter game, explaining and advice is better than giving a handicap. when u give an handicap, he'll understand the dynamics of the game wrongly and when u remove the handicap, he'll suffer.

"holy crap, i thought i always have enough money to buy 3 cities in the 1st turn? what happened now? i'm screwed"
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norman rule
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cpf86 wrote:
actually this was stated as in the rules for new players. anyway,


Shows how long it's been since I read the rules from start to finish!

Quote:
when u give an handicap, he'll understand the dynamics of the game wrongly and when u remove the handicap, he'll suffer.


That's a very good point.
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Blorb Plorbst
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Update: New player won with no handicap. Though we did give him a lot of advice.

Power Plants also came out very uneven. Got lots of 20s and low 30s early. A few people got game ending plants and then the teens came out and pushed the 5s and 6s back up to the futures market. We never made it to Step 3.

Game ended with 15 builds and 2 players powering 13. I could power 11 (5,4,2). Another player ended at 7! He hoarded his money and was holding out for a 5 or 6 to drop -- never did. In the last 3 auctions, nothing higher than a 3 made it into the current market and no one wanted to bid a 3 (to upgrade a 1 or 2) in fear that one would drop.

We still had a great time.
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