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Subject: how to teach it rss

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mario p.
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I bought the game something like a year ago. I love it. It has only a problem, it's too innovative and without precedents: so the usual lack of opponents here becomes even worse.

Have my gamebuddies, tried to make them trying the game with FtF plays but I couldn't really get them involved. Then I bought Agricola and things worsened. Well, became better for the chance to get along togheter playing a boardgame (which was a step ahead beyond the easiest party-cardgames I make them start with) but worse for NT who did keep on staying on the shelf, excpet for some solitary rounds.

Have enough to see it on the shelf. So last night while I was having a round of solitaire with NT I finally got the idea: I should make them tryin it all togeheter, taking advantage of the improved ability (and now better known pleasure) to play a boardgame togheter.

So now the question: I have to teach them the game (one of the guys already played with me a couple of times but the other 2-4 just took a look at the game - they just played with me CG Lib and CR), which is the best way to do it? I don't want to make them pass 2/3 hours in explanations/examples so they just get bored (please don't start with the polemique "wargaming means sweat").

how do I do? should I "cut" some rules just for sake of an introduction to the basics mechanics which still makes the game fun, and in this case: which ones to cut? I know cutting the rules seems a kind of aposthasia but...any other ideas? other fast ways to teach it proved well?
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I think your best bet is to fly Kuhrusty in as a consultant, and have him do the teaching. He may not be able to bring his teaching utensils on the plane, so you'll need to have a stockyard grade cattle prod and a couple of cases of Heineken ready when he arrives.
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Jim Cote
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If they are ok with a short version of the rules, with details filled in as you go (and won't get all "You never told me that!" when they lose an important battle), then you can do a 10-15 minute rules explanation:

Map: locales, reserve, approaches, roads
Units: inf, cav, art, guard, commanders
Orders: corp move, corp detach move, corp attach, unit move
Attack: show a simple attack sequence, then a complex one with counter attack

Set up and go!
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mario p.
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sphere I was sure as soon as I wrote about cutting the rules you would have start in this way. the problem IS deadly serious cry anyways if Kuhrusty has a good idea I'm here.

ps. becks is actually one the devices usually on the table when gaming. it helps but it's not enough. the stockyard grade cattle prod caught my attention. It would be nice if my poor english could also let me understand more precisely what it is (more than something about cows...)

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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I know it's serious, Mario, and I wish I could help, but I don't have much experience teaching NT. Actually I don't have any experience teaching it.

I was fooling around, of course, but I do suspect Rusty would be a good teacher. Especially if he was armed with a cattle prod, which delivers a high-voltage electric shock. devil

In English, we use the idiom 'carrot and stick' to represent 'reward and punishment'. I'm weird, so that came out as 'beer and cattle prod'.
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mario p.
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Sphere wrote:
In English, we use the idiom 'carrot and stick' to represent 'reward and punishment'. I'm weird, so that came out as 'beer and cattle prod'.


then the problem with them is I use just too much carrots (beer) and no stick at all...!
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Garry Haggerty
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I don't recommend abridging the rules. You don't want players to adopt and then have to "unlearn" illegal habits.

I suggest trying a brief teaching session that uses a few blocks (of mixed types) for both sides. Arrange and "play" the blocks (face-up) in various ways over a very few locales to demonstrate the fundamental rule points.

Once the basics are sketched in, consider showing them:

- a corps that gets pulled apart by multiple threats and then shattered by a threat it can't meet;

- a head-to-head attrition battle (with and without artillery; defender in the approach versus defender in reserve);

- a multi-unit corps moving by road (and one prevented from moving by road).

Another suggestion is to adapt Rod Bauer's excellent solo variant (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/249378/solitaire-variant...) as a quick, multi-player learning game.

Rod's variant uses only a few formations on a limited portion of the board, so pregame explanations can be kept to a minimum (and full-game deployment overload avoided).

The scenario's narrow scope will allow the players to quickly see the fundamentals in action. You might consider having your group play it "open" (units face-up), with you acting as moderator.

(edited to remove an absurd amount of blank space at the bottom of the post.)
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Justus Pendleton
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I've taught the game to two people and didn't find it to be appreciably harder than any other complicated boardgame I've played. The only two areas of any complication are road moves and attacking. With road moves you can gloss them a simplification suggested by Bowen at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4424353#4424353

For attacking you could try looking at any of the numerous play-aids, though in my most recent teaching game we didn't use any of them.

But if you haven't played the game yet then what you're really after is "learning the game", not "teaching it".
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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When I teach gamers who are unfamiliar with either Bowen's games or with block games in general (or both), I play with my units turned 'face up'. I do this because Napoleon's Triumph is a game with qualities similar to Poker (as Bowen has stated elsewhere): bluffing, setting traps, avoiding your opponent's traps and trying to successfully call his bluffs.

But NT can indeed be an intimidating game for new players (although the rules and game-mechanics are actually not intimidating once you learn them, which generally happens quickly) because of the aforementioned aspects of NT. Thus removing any bad surprises a new player might (read _will_) encounter here will help him focus on learning the mechanics and systems (commands, movement, combat, morale, etc.). Without a thorough knowledge of these, you cannot develop effective tactics that are necessary to win in Napoleon's Triumph.

Only when both of you agree that the new player is ready and understands the game & rules, should you proceed and turn your units to face toward you and play the game normally.

I still enjoy playing new players with my units exposed because it allows them to learn the game much more quickly (in my experience), but with their own units hidden, they get to appreciate how the mutual bluffing and trap setting / avoiding can work as they slowly & carefully learn how to do these against you, the experienced player. It also allows me to challenge myself more and develop tactics for dealing with a canny opponent who can otherwise discern where your strong and weak units are (and their types). I find it good practice for this.

Hope this helps!

David
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Greg Schmittgens
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I recommend:

- A summary of the victory conditions in your own words

- The following three rules (I printed them out on a sheet that I hand out):

1. COMMAND OPTIONS

a. Corps move (corps) – Commander and all units move (may detach units prior to the move)

b. Detach move (corps) – Commander detaches one or more units from the corps and moves them together (commander and remaining units cannot move; cannot move by road)

c. Attach command (corps) – Commander attaches a single unit to a corps. Must be in same position. May be given to detached unit or unit in corps (includes detachment from old corps)

d. Units move (independent) – A single detached unit is moved (can be detached as part of command)

2. MOVEMENT OPTIONS

a. A piece in reserve may move:

i. Into reserve in an adjacent locale

ii. To block an approach of the locale it occupies

b. A piece blocking an approach may move:

i. Into reserve in the locale it occupies

ii. Into reserve in the locale on the other side of the approach it is blocking

3. ROAD MOVEMENT RESTRICTIONS

a. The corps cannot enter a locale if the reserve area of that locale contains units that moved into it earlier that turn

b. After the corps enters a locale (even if just to pass through it), no other units can move into or through the reserve area of the locale for the rest of the turn

c. The corps must stop its move on entering a locale if there is an adjacent locale that contains an enemy corps of two or more units

- I use the Alternate NT Attack Summary Version 2 pdf file found here on the Geek to capture combat flow.

I have successfully taught the game using these three things. They capture most of the game. (Things like heavy cavalry and guards can be worked in during play.)
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Scipio O.
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This is a very helpful thread. I just taught the game for the first time and it is a challenging but hardly insurmountable task. I didn't go with face-up blocks, although I can see how that could be a useful method.
 
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