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Subject: Who Else Hates Rules, or What To Do About It? rss

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IrishFire Herself
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Oh hi!

I came into gaming on a pathway familiar to many: There was this fellow who knew a guy, and this guy played games. He had a whole wall of boardgaming! I was invited along, and played, and delighted. The fellow and the guy fell away, and here I am, still playing games. I don't have a wall of them, but I have some nice ones. I play them with new people, and it's mostly fun and lovely.

The trouble is, with the gaming wall and its owner gone, I seem to be accidentally in charge now. Now whose brilliant idea was THAT? It has become something of an identity, which is odd but I suppose I can adapt. "Oh, this is IrishFire. She has a delightful obsession with board games. No, don't laugh. If you're lucky, you'll play them sometime." Identity shift within two years of finding a new hobby. Fascinating!

Being in charge is a mixed curse. I could write a thesis on the differences in gaming when they're your own and you're automagically in charge. I've mostly adapted, but then there's these RULES things. I can handle providing the space, dealing with crabby people with cell phones, winning too often, and even being in charge of whether or not people enjoy themselves, but the RULES! Ack! Help!

I coped for a little while by playing with lawyers and engineers. No, really! I told my other friends, mere repair people, linguists, graphic designers . . .and thus not rule-aficionados . . . that we can only play Goldbrau when there's an engineer around. So sorry! Them's the rules. My rules. I'm far too busy playing to keep track of the time rules, and am always pleasantly surprised when payday comes around. Oh, Pay Day already? Well alright then, how did I do?

But the engineers are all graduated and moving on, and now it's just me, my games, and my rules. I have three new ones I kind of glare at from time to time because no happy overzealous game owner is going to call me up and say, "I have a new game and you have to come over and play it with me. C'mon, I'll teach you!" That's my job now. Eww.

I opened the "rules" for Tsuro and Ingenious and delighted in the single page of rules: my favorite! Short ones! I judged games by their length of rules even when I was a mere participant, not lord and owner. But really, what's a girl to do when she loves games and hates rules? I have NetRunner, Nuns on the Run, and Ogre Castle that I haven't even played yet because eww, I'd have to sit down all by myself and teach myself the rules.

I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules? Is it worth it? Do you leave new games on the shelf until you get to play it at a con somewhere? What's a rule-hating game owner to do?
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Steve Duff
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I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Yes, I know what you mean. My family has a few games (most notably Illuminati: New World Order) that don't hit the table precisely because of the rules; the rulebooks are long, confusing and/or incomplete.

I have had success reading rulebooks through and then playing a solo round (or more) of the game, to see how it fits together. Sometimes, it really helps to see all the pieces and the board together, so the rules make more sense.

It also sometimes helps to look on BGG for rules summaries or player aids. These can really help make the game smoother, particularly on the first few plays.

I have also noticed that some people are creating rules explanation videos for games. A lot of these are on YouTube, and they can really help with understanding rules, if there's no one else to help you learn a game in person.
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Chris Ferejohn
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.


So the answer is:

1. Drive to Canada.
2. Seduce and kidnap Steven.
3. Profit!
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Ron Parker
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.


Just for that, I think you should read these.
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IrishFire Herself
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bwingrave wrote:


I have had success reading rulebooks through and then playing a solo round (or more) of the game, to see how it fits together. Sometimes, it really helps to see all the pieces and the board together, so the rules make more sense.


This, for me, feels like studying. I'll reluctantly engage in study for school and for jobs, but for my leisure activity? Ewww!

Maybe I'm just not cut out to be an alpha gamer. Maybe I need to find a eurogamer who likes game ownership and rules!
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Ron Parker
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Now for the serious post: while I haven't found a solution to the real problem of having to learn and teach the rules once, I've found that a handy way to avoid having to teach them more than once is to teach them once to whoever's playing with me the first time, then make sure that at least one of those people is present the next time so they can teach the rules to the next person (with guidance as needed.)

If you're lucky, you might even find someone else in your group who's more excited about the new game than you; when I bought the Brood War expansion for Starcraft I didn't have to read the rules because Dave grabbed them from me and started reading them eagerly while I was still checking out the bits.
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David C
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IrishFire wrote:

I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules? Is it worth it? Do you leave new games on the shelf until you get to play it at a con somewhere? What's a rule-hating game owner to do?


1.) Buy games the wife is excited about, and have her teach you.
2.) 99% of the games here on the geek have rules summaries. Print those out. They help you learn, and they help someone else explain the game to you.
Brian Stevenson
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Taught me Masons, basically, with two pages of reference. Ok, some credit to myself here, I did read the rules and basically do a couple of sample rounds... but definitely helped with the first play.
3.) Video reviews.
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Travis Cooper
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I love to read rules. I frequently do so before buying a game to help me decide if I'll like it. If it was left up to my wife, on the other hand, we'd never play a new game again. She would never sit down to read rules, even if it was just a page. People just learn differently and enjoy different things. If you are the one that is expected to learn rules and hate reading them, that can be a problem and there isn't a good solution to it.
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McDog
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I download player aids, then setup and run a game solo which allows me to work out the flow and develop rules questions which I can look up on BGG.


I can take all the time I want and end up with a pretty good understanding before anyone sits down to play.

It isn't a perfect solution but it helps.
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McDog
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bippi wrote:
IrishFire wrote:

I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules? Is it worth it? Do you leave new games on the shelf until you get to play it at a con somewhere? What's a rule-hating game owner to do?


1.) Buy games the wife is excited about, and have her teach you.
2.) 99% of the games here on the geek have rules summaries. Print those out. They help you learn, and they help someone else explain the game to you.
Brian Stevenson
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Taught me Masons, basically, with two pages of reference. Ok, some credit to myself here, I did read the rules and basically do a couple of sample rounds... but definitely helped with the first play.
3.) Video reviews.



Does she have a wife?
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Chris Schenck
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bippi wrote:
Video reviews

Aye! I'll second that.

Watching an accurate and detailed video review a couple of times will get you 90% of the way there. Then you have a solid foundation of understanding which makes going through the rulebook much faster and easier.
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Gregory Kikola
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IrishFire wrote:
I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules?

Not me, I love learning new games and I hate having other people teach me, because they often get things wrong. Reading the rules in order to learn how to play a new game is usually very pleasant.

IrishFire wrote:
This, for me, feels like studying. I'll reluctantly engage in study for school and for jobs, but for my leisure activity? Ewww!

Maybe this is a problem. I love learning new things, and I spend a large portion of my leisure time educating myself in a variety of subjects. I find it rather thrilling.

But if learning is just a means to an end for you (and I'm not saying that's wrong--we all have passions for different things), then it does make your job more difficult. You just have to decide if the effort is worth the gain. If you are happy playing only the games you already know, then you can stick with those. Otherwise, invest an hour or two and learn a new one.
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EGG Head
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lol, when I first started, my group would give me all kinds of crap about forgetting rules or getting them wrong. I tried sending out files of the rules to the games I planned on playing next and suggested if they didn't read the rules ahead of time and volunteer to teach, they couldn't complain about my teaching. Well needless to say, no one took me up on this. You could try this with other people encouraging them to take turns learning the rules and teach them. Most companies post the rules to games these days. The more games you read and learn the rules to the easier it is to digest them in a short period of time. Hang in there!
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Daniel Geuss
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I'm guessing that its just a matter of time before all new games have video introductions and verbally explained rules. I don't think PC games have had much of a manual for 10 years or more. The same thing is bound to happen to board games.
 
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Sicaria Occaeco
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Rastak wrote:
bippi wrote:
IrishFire wrote:

I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules? Is it worth it? Do you leave new games on the shelf until you get to play it at a con somewhere? What's a rule-hating game owner to do?


1.) Buy games the wife is excited about, and have her teach you.
2.) 99% of the games here on the geek have rules summaries. Print those out. They help you learn, and they help someone else explain the game to you.
Brian Stevenson
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Taught me Masons, basically, with two pages of reference. Ok, some credit to myself here, I did read the rules and basically do a couple of sample rounds... but definitely helped with the first play.
3.) Video reviews.



Does she have a wife?


I'll be her wife.
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Kelley E.
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I find that I'd rather be playing than reading rules, but since many of the new games I've been playing lately have been mine it falls squarely on me. I guess it's not that big of a deal except it has gone like this:

1) mention that I have a new game (for which I haven't read the rules).
2) friends want to play new game immediately.
3) I start reading rules and trying to understand them but friends get impatient that I'm taking too long. (they don't want to read them however )
4) I cave and we start a learning game together where I try to teach as we go since I don't know the rules that well myself.
5) friends are frustrated because I haven't prepared a concise upfront rules explanation (even though I just learned myself).

Actually now that I think about it this has been mostly the GF being exasperated with my teaching method. The rest of our group has been more forgiving. Oh well.

I guess I need to learn to keep new games under my hat until I've had a chance to learn them. I just get excited and want to share when I get a new toy.
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Aloha!
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I'm lousy at explaining rules and yet I love trying new games. Last weekend I had the abysmal chore of trying to explain a game that is still technically in the testing phase.

I don't want to explain anything for a while.
 
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Dave Sinclair
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.


shake
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Stephen Tassie
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IrishFire wrote:
you're automagically in charge.


I don't know if that's typo or not (the T and G keys are one on top of the other on a keyboard) but it's my new favourite word! When something happens organically without your knowledge or necessarilly your consent, it happens automagically.

I'm lucky in that, many of my friends are hard core gamers and will happily explain games to new players, but if I'm nearby I pretty much get roped in to help with the teaching. Some of my friends own games that they refuse to play without me around to explain the rules (Specifically Funny Friends, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'm getting it right, but I'm consistent)!
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p55carroll
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IrishFire wrote:

I ask again: who else hates teaching themselves long and complicated rules?

Certainly not wargamers. For some, that can be 90 percent of the wargaming hobby.
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Stephen Brian
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.


Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one.
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Ted Groth
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IrishFire wrote:
bwingrave wrote:


I have had success reading rulebooks through and then playing a solo round (or more) of the game, to see how it fits together. Sometimes, it really helps to see all the pieces and the board together, so the rules make more sense.


This, for me, feels like studying. I'll reluctantly engage in study for school and for jobs, but for my leisure activity? Ewww!

Maybe I'm just not cut out to be an alpha gamer. Maybe I need to find a eurogamer who likes game ownership and rules!

I'm guessing you don't play many solo games, even if you already know the rules.
After you try puzzling out rules yourself a few times it gets easier. But definitely better playing a turn or two solo than just trying to study the rulebook.

But....I just happened to find this thread immediately after reading the entire online rulebook of a game I'm considering purchasing, so I'm finding it tough to relate to not liking to read a rule book!

You guessed it. I'm an Engineer.
 
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Chris Dr
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Quote:
I read rules of games I don't even own. For entertainment.

Whew, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Rule printouts from the web are my nightly bedtime reading these days.

Being relatively new to this hobby, and thus far only being able to buy and play what the family is willing to play, I've been rule-reading my way through much of the top 50 on BGG. Doing so I've confirmed my hunches of what should go on my future wishlist (Princes of Florence), found games I'd earlier shrugged off that need to go on my wishlist (Pandemic, El Grande), discovered that some games aren't quite as dry as they first sounded (Power Grid), and shaken my head at the crazy ideas game designers get (Bohnanza).

The next microbadge I'm going to get is the Rules Explainer-- sounds like there needs to be an opposite badge for the original poster of this thread!
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dave
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Yes, it's a problem without a good solution. That first game without a good knowledge of the rules is always a bit painful if you're not in the right frame of mind and playing with the same. If one of your gaming friends is willing, you could give the new game to them to figure out. Otherwise, I suggest just slogging through the game for the first time. If there's more than one copy of the rules, then when a rules question comes up, you have more than one pair of eyes looking for the answer (and you're right, abunch of lawyers and engineers are the best for discussing the rules!). This way the other people playing can't complain too much as they should be looking for the answer as well. Playing solo for me is unappealing. The best is having one other person willing to slog through a learning game with you. Unfortunately, learning new rules is the only way to experience new games--always good in the long run even if it's a bit painful in the short run.



Gotta love automagically!
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