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Subject: How many games must a man try to teach... rss

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D P
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I've played Nightfall with two different groups of people so far (one was 2 players, the other 4) and neither group liked it.

Both groups are more than just casual gamers, but they didn't find the game intuitive.

There continued to be confusion regarding the chaining ("so I can play a little red moon?" "no, a big red moon follows a little red moon"), and it didn't help that the starting shared archive was not condusive to kickers.

Maybe it's the way I taught the game. Maybe it's that the group is more into boardgames than deck builders (though we played 3 games of 7 Wonders the same night)

I love the thematics and the engine, but seem to have no one to play it with.

Has anyone had any luck teaching this game in a certain way that may help me get this onto the table more often?

Thanks
 
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I guess it's just different horses for different courses. I've had no trouble getting people to like and even to purchase the game after teaching them to play. I didn't do anything special other than point out the features of Nightfall that makes it unique to all other deck building games.
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Nick PA
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If people are used to "stacks" from other games such as Magic this should be relatively easy to teach. However if people are confused on the concept of "last in, first out" then you should definitely try to limit the information you give them for their first game of Nightfall. I would suspect that if you teach it without the kickers you will have an easier time for 2 reasons.
1. First of all new players dont know that in certain card combinations it can be a lot easier to get kickers, whereas in others it can be easily accomplished.
2. Their buying phase will stall as they will try to get kickers in their combinations. As a fact of point 1. they can feel that the game is very badly designed because they cannot get that kicker into play! But this is a wrong conception. It is SUPPOSED to be designed that way. When new players play games where the gameplay is stalled they can loose interest.

I always say, we will play this game in the speedy way. If you can play, then you have to play. After a couple of rounds they will easily feel what they can do to twist the game in their direction! After all a game takes not that long time.
When the chain is runned you can describe the effect of cards, as well as give some hints on strategies...

But the most important thing is to leave out kickers...

Also i usually describe the small moons as "giving you the option of playing a card with those colors".
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Matt Gordon
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For first time play, I highly suggest playing either Nightfall or Nightfall:Martial Law, but not both. Mixing the 2 sets makes the possibility of kickers (and even circular links) a lot less likely.
 
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Jeff Kayati
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I've taught this game to many, many players. The two things I always do are use the Quick Start set up private archives and then show any cards in the commons that might be useful to the new players to purchase.

I then emphasis, and repeat during gameplay, that new players should concentrate on buying the cards in their private archives and/or the one or two cards I've pointed out to them in the commons.

The sheer number of combos and choices just overwhelms new players and makes the game drag, so I do what I can to limit them.

Finally, when I explain the game, I go phase by phase with my explanation using the quide on the back of the rulebook. Then, the first round through I walk them them through the turn.

Seems to work for understanding the game.
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One way to help people see/remember how the moons work is to verbalize the key idea of what colors can chain to it. If I play Alton Hickman, I would say "Alton Hickman, allows red or green", or "Alton Hickman, red and green, from white", then follow with a similar description for any other cards I play into the chain - i.e. "Blood Rage, white and green, from red".

I also agree that de-emphasizing (or even leaving out) the kickers when playing with first timers is a good idea. Getting cards into your deck (and therefore into your hand) that can chain effectively is the meat and potatoes of the game. Getting cards to "kick" is a bonus.
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paul Engle
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one problem I had was the drafting of private archives phase, so I started using the variant where the common cards are put out first, once the common cards are out it is easier to explain kickers and moon links because I explain it with the cards that are there.
It's pretty confusing to explain it with the starting deck as they all have the same color and if you explain it with the current set of cards for purchase it is easier to remember. also it makes drafting the private archive easier especially for new players.
I also try to "underplay" the kicker aspect for 1st timers because some players get mesmerized about wanting the kicker and forget that a longer chain can be more beneficial then a kicker.
SO I say work on getting long chains with alot of orders to damage and if you can get a kicker it's a bonus. Most of the time my 1st time players don't even know they have the kicker till I point it out to them when they resolve the chain and then they get it.
 
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Christopher Paul
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I have had this problem too, teaching to my regular group and to a more casual group at game meetups around town. Some people get it right away, they understand the chaining, the phases, the "stack", etc. Other people, after two and half hours (?) of playing are like, "so, how do I chain this part together?" And I can't figure out how they've played the last two hours without knowing that!

I also always use the suggested setups instead of drafting for new players, I go through each phase, and I usually play first to show each phase, and then on their turn I remind them of each phase. But I do think the array of card choices can distract people and make them forget about the core rules.
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Matt Evans
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It was really a hit or miss with my group as well. A lot of the people in my group enjoyed Dominion so I compare pretty much everything to that game. Any time I go to explain a mechanic I explain it "sort of like you would in Dominion but ____" It seemed to work so far. If you can find another deck builder or even similar game mechanic to compare to, it can help a lot.
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Chris Sabol
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With new players, I always end my chain with "[color 1] or [color 2]to you" and have the other players do the same.
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Jeff Kayati
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Big Bear wrote:
With new players, I always end my chain with "[color 1] or [color 2]to you" and have the other players do the same.


Actually, I always do that, new players or not, once sleeved those colors can be hard to see across the table.
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Jared Voshall
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What I tend to do when teaching this game to new players (thus far, 9 players in 2 groups over the course of 5 games) is set up the shared commons (the commons that nobody gets to have a choice in), distribute all the draft cards, and then pull 2-3 cards from the remaining draft cards to demonstrate all the aspects of the game (two cards that chain into each other, one that gets it's kicker off, a minion, and an order). After a 10 minute demonstration showing how everything plays together (and letting them play with the cards I pulled out to make sure they have the idea down), people tend to understand how things work in my experience.
I've also found that (as mentioned in above posts) saying "X or Y to you" tends to streamline gameplay quite a bit, no matter the level of experience of the players.
Magius out.
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Vince Lupo
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bacchus68 wrote:
one problem I had was the drafting of private archives phase, so I started using the variant where the common cards are put out first, once the common cards are out it is easier to explain kickers and moon links because I explain it with the cards that are there.
It's pretty confusing to explain it with the starting deck as they all have the same color and if you explain it with the current set of cards for purchase it is easier to remember. also it makes drafting the private archive easier especially for new players.
I also try to "underplay" the kicker aspect for 1st timers because some players get mesmerized about wanting the kicker and forget that a longer chain can be more beneficial then a kicker.
SO I say work on getting long chains with alot of orders to damage and if you can get a kicker it's a bonus. Most of the time my 1st time players don't even know they have the kicker till I point it out to them when they resolve the chain and then they get it.



For our first game we didn't draft at all. We used the recommended private archive combos from the rulebook. Also our commons were just random.

For new players I think handing them their private archives this way is easily the best thing to do.

Also in our first game I explained the 4 phases a little like so. "Combat - where your minions have to fight, chain - when you play cards from your hand, claim - buy cards like in dominion if they know that, and cleanup - where you draw up until you have 5 cards." Then I said, let's just get started. I translated some of the basic ideas like influence is money and wounds are a little like curses. And as I played out the phases I explained things in more detail. I also started the game to make it even easier.


It's easier to teach this game if they have played dominion.


I don't think we'll draft our stuff until we have 2 more plays under our belt.
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Vince Lupo
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Magius wrote:
What I tend to do when teaching this game to new players (thus far, 9 players in 2 groups over the course of 5 games) is set up the shared commons (the commons that nobody gets to have a choice in), distribute all the draft cards, and then pull 2-3 cards from the remaining draft cards to demonstrate all the aspects of the game (two cards that chain into each other, one that gets it's kicker off, a minion, and an order). After a 10 minute demonstration showing how everything plays together (and letting them play with the cards I pulled out to make sure they have the idea down), people tend to understand how things work in my experience.
I've also found that (as mentioned in above posts) saying "X or Y to you" tends to streamline gameplay quite a bit, no matter the level of experience of the players.
Magius out.



I also considered that it would easier to demonstrate all 4 phases of your turn if you setup a possible mid-game turn. You'd have a minion in play, a wound on top of your deck and a couple cards in your hand that chain well enough. Possibly even handing a couple cards to them for their hands would help as well.

And Kickers I explained as "it's something you can sometimes get to trigger. dont worry about them your first game that much." The picture in the book is pretty useful to show the kicker trigger but also showing it with two real cards could work.
 
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