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Subject: Ramping noobs up to Here I Stand rss

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Erik Johnson
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I have been singing the praises of Here I Stand to some friends of mine (two couples). Today when I shared my excitement about the reprint and finally getting a copy myself, I asked if they wanted to play. To my surprise, both of the wives enthusiastically agreed. I have mentioned in the past that this game takes a good while to play, but they are undeterred. So including my wife, I have 6 people not only willing but excited to play.

How do I prepare them for it?

My wife will kick my butt in Twilight Struggle, so I'm not too worried about her. But the other 2 couples have much more limited game experience - mostly gateway Euros. One of the women doesn't even have that much experience.

What can I play with them to get them ready for Here I Stand?
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John Weber
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My suggestion is you get all the players to select a side to play in advance. Then give them something to think about, such as the victory conditions and/or strategy tips for that side -- I believe there may be something posted to help here on BGG, perhaps also it's included in the game rules. Not everyone needs to know all the rules, just those that would mainly affect their side. The Ottoman player needs to know about Piracy and how that works, the Papal players needs to know about burning debaters, making deals in exchange for more cards by threatening excommunication, while the English, Hapsburgs and French all need to know about exploring the New World, etc. You probably want to have the person who is most familiar and experienced with the game to be the Hapsburgs, since they have to deal with more rules (combat, religious strife, exploration, etc) than anyone else. If you are planning on starting from the beginning, I find it's helpful to pick a set number of turns as your objective to play (at least four, hopefully five, is a good target), and then make sure whoever is the Protestants is a fairly strong and aggressive player because they have the burden of attack at the start since they start with like ZERO VPs on turn one. That way you should have a fairly close game, as the game mechanism with alliances and such make the game somewhat self-balancing.
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Chester
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Wow, interesting dilemma.

I'd definitely get them copies of the C3i 18 article about learning HIS in 20 minutes. You could either have them read it, or explain it to them. Its not necessary for all players to know how all factions work. Don't let them try to read the rulebook themselves though, it will scare them away!

As for 'intro' games....hmmmm. I really can't think of a light multiplayer game that uses cards. I think you may be best off just jumping in with a teaching game where you agree to play only one turn, before the 'real game'. I think diplomacy has to be the hook, so be sure to play a turn from the later scenario so you can have a full diplomacy phase.

There are lots of other games they COULD play, but I really see nothing that is particularly preparatory.

One of my first Euros was die Macher. No intro. It was the enthusiasm of my teacher which carried it. I had no idea I should have ramped up to it, or that it was "long" or "heavy". I just had fun and wanted to play it again. I think if you're well-prepared, patient, have good player aids for people, keep the first session more limited (not a full game) and allow breaks for food, etc, completely away from the game it will go better.
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Erik Johnson
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Quote:
Don't let them try to read the rulebook themselves though, it will scare them away!


I think this is spot on. The game is much easier than the rules make it look. They look complicated because they spend so much time with special cases and exceptions, but most things are really pretty simple on the face of it.

Quote:
One of my first Euros was die Macher. No intro. It was the enthusiasm of my teacher which carried it. I had no idea I should have ramped up to it, or that it was "long" or "heavy". I just had fun and wanted to play it again. I think if you're well-prepared, patient, have good player aids for people, keep the first session more limited (not a full game) and allow breaks for food, etc, completely away from the game it will go better.


I tried to get my wife and a (different) couple to play Die Macher, but I had made such a big deal about how it was this Grand Daddy Euro that was so intricate. I think I accidentally made it intimidating. I don't want to repeat that mistake. I'm planning on lots of player aids, and we always break for food.

I was thinking about trying it over a weekend. A rules explanation and a turn from the later scenario on Friday night to get their feet wet, and then a reset with the same powers to start the game on Saturday, playing for the evening only. After 5 hours or so, calling it before everyone gets too tired of the game, and coming back to finish on Sunday. Luckily, we all live in the same neighborhood, so this should be very doable.

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Erik Johnson
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Quote:
My suggestion is you get all the players to select a side to play in advance. Then give them something to think about, such as the victory conditions and/or strategy tips for that side


I want to do this, but don't want to intimidate them with the rulebook. How can I get them to learn about their own powers easily? Can someone point me to a good file or aid for this?

I figure I will play the Hapsburgs, as I have played before and read all the rules, etc. Is there a good hierarchy of sides that I can correlate with player's skill? For example, my wife is a more skilled gamer than the other four players. What side should she play? What about the woman with the least experience?
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Erik Johnson
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One last question. Should I even try to ramp them up with other games, or just do as Cornjob did, and jump right in?
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Chester
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What about setting up the board and using a play example (I think there is one in the scenario book) to teach the basic rules. Maybe even already have people assigned to a faction...and then they see the game unfold a bit, with pieces moving on the board. They can pay attention to the things their side can do.

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Will DeMorris
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The designer has some tips and strategy articles on his website that you might find useful for teaching.

http://home.comcast.net/~ebeach/


-Will
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John R
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The two players who have the least experience with games like this should play the Ottomans and the French, the easiest two sides with the least rules attached to them.
 
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Mark Buetow
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You just help them see how each power has something girls just love and husbands would want to do for or share with their wives!

Hapsburgs: They get shiny gold!
France: Build pretty palaces.
England: Having babies!
Turks: Traveling to Europe!
Protestants: Arguing!
Papacy: Purple!
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Chris R.
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BeatGuy wrote:
The two players who have the least experience with games like this should play the Ottomans and the French, the easiest two sides with the least rules attached to them.


I think the Ottomans are rather confusing.

I think the easiest sides to play would be the Protestants and the Catholics with the Protestants being the easiest. To me it sometimes feels like they are playing a game of Twilight Struggle while everyone else is playing something like Napoleonic Wars.

I think the third easiest side would probably be the French and the toughest would be the Habsburgs.

If you are going to play with three couples, you could divide them up between natural allies by having one couple play the Protestants-England, another play Habsburgs-Catholics, and the third France-Ottomans under either the three or six-player rules. You could start out under the three-player rules and move into the six-player rules after a turn or two...

You could also start with a shorter tournament-type scenario, if you think that a longer session could scare them away.
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erik2point0 wrote:
I have been singing the praises of Here I Stand to some friends of mine (two couples). Today when I shared my excitement about the reprint and finally getting a copy myself, I asked if they wanted to play. To my surprise, both of the wives enthusiastically agreed. I have mentioned in the past that this game takes a good while to play, but they are undeterred. So including my wife, I have 6 people not only willing but excited to play.

How do I prepare them for it?

My wife will kick my butt in Twilight Struggle, so I'm not too worried about her. But the other 2 couples have much more limited game experience - mostly gateway Euros. One of the women doesn't even have that much experience.

What can I play with them to get them ready for Here I Stand?


I had a similar situation teaching my family to play Here I Stand, when my son was 10, my daughter 12, my other daughter 13, and my daughter 15. My wife and I played. They were all similarly gamers of lite games, and I a bit more 'hard-core'. Here was what we did:

1) Get the designer's notes and make a set for each country. Give an overview of each one before you start.

2) Simplify or walk-through the tougher rules, notably interception, naval movement and combat, debates, and diplomacy phases. This takes quite a bit more time, but is easier on the brain. Don't sweat it if everyone makes a few gimmes or mistakes. I didn't even tell my family that the land interception rules existed until after we had played for a few times. Not much of a loss there.

3) You should play the Hapsburgs, to let you get picked on by everyone. Your wife should either be the Protestants or the Catholics, so that she can walk the other one through the debate rules. Give the Ottomans to the most bloodthirsty, and the English and French to the least experienced gamers.

4) Spend time with the theme, Since the game is oozing with history theme, talk about the events mentioned in the guide. Brag when you add someone to your harem or father a healthy heir or burn Luther at the stake.

5) On progressive games keep the same countries for the same people. This allows some level of mastery. If a person feels comfortable with that country, switch them out with a country that is close in rules sets. (FREX: France, Hapsburgs, and England both use naval and New World rules. Protestants and Papacy both use debate rules. Ottomans and Hapsburgs both use extensive land combat. And so on...)

6) Don't expect or aim to get through a game the first time. We did one turn the first time, two turns the second, and progressively more each time. It was probably not until our fifth or sixth time through that we even saw a Counter-Reformation to speak of!

If you are looking for a good precursor, try Dune. It is six-player, with asymmetrical sides, negotiation, and some card effects and alliances. It is hard to get but the closest precursor I could think of.

Good luck!
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