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Mansions of Madness» Forums » General

Subject: What is the best way to teach new players? rss

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Matt Smith
Australia
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I am somewhat a new player myself but I am familiar with the rules. I will be the keeper versing two investigators in Story 1, but they don't really have enough knowledge of the rules yet. So I was wondering, what is the best way of teaching the game?
-Reading all of the rules to them?
-Let them watch videos on the gameplay and how to play?
-The old 'explain as you go' method?
-Or is there a custom made scenario out there that is used as a 'tutorial scenario'? (I think that'd be a really good idea if it existed. Does it?)

What do you think the best option is?

Any reply is appreciated! Thanks
 
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Chris J Davis
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Matt09 wrote:
I am somewhat a new player myself but I am familiar with the rules. I will be the keeper versing two investigators in Story 1, but they don't really have enough knowledge of the rules yet. So I was wondering, what is the best way of teaching the game?
-Reading all of the rules to them?



I usually just explain the rules before play (which, I might add, is different to reading the rules to the players - definitely don't do that).

You just need to cover:

- Investigator movement and actions
- Concept of "attribute tests" (inc. skill points, evade and horror tests)
- Health and sanity
- Brief overview of Keeper turn (but not in detail)

And that's it. Takes about 5-10 minutes. You don't need to explain anything else until it happens (including combat and puzzles).
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Roberta Yang
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The Fall of House Lynch is a fantastic scenario for introducing new players to the game. I recommend choosing 1B as the objective, since that provides the most climactic ending.

I'd explain the basic rules of the game - investigators get two moves and an action, Keeper gets Threat that can be spent on these Keeper Actions, here's how combat works, and each Clue points to the next (with emphasis that following the Clues is important). More specialized things - puzzles, spellcasting (unless someone really really wants an investigator who starts with a spell), the effects of darkness and fire and stun - can be saved for when they come up (when an investigator finds a puzzle, a tome, or the appropriate token respectively).
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Rodney "Watch It Played" Smith
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bleached_lizard wrote:
I usually just explain the rules before play (which, I might add, is different to reading the rules to the players - definitely don't do that).

You just need to cover:

- Investigator movement and actions
- Concept of "attribute tests" (inc. skill points, evade and horror tests)
- Health and sanity
- Brief overview of Keeper turn (but not in detail)

And that's it. Takes about 5-10 minutes. You don't need to explain anything else until it happens (including combat and puzzles).


I agree with Chris, and I would add: give them a couple tips. Warn them that they "should" usually move/work in pairs and should generally be focused on getting the next clue, not just exploring the house willy-nilly.

Also, to try to set their expectations, I usually tell them up front (in a good natured way): "My job will be to chase you down, gut you, drive you insane, spread your body parts all over the mansion, etc. I am NOT your friend. I am not your DM, I am your enemy".

That way it helps keep them from feeling like they are being picked on by the Keeper. They now know it is your JOB to harass them - not just facilitate a gaming expereince for them. Some people have trouble understanding that in a hybrid co-operative.

Good luck and have fun!
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Matt Smith
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Thank you for your answers!
I think I'll take your advice and explain the core rules at the start, and then the other rules when needed.
Thanks a lot!
 
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Roberta Yang
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Pelvidar wrote:
I agree with Chris, and I would add: give them a couple tips. Warn them that they "should" usually move/work in pairs and should generally be focused on getting the next clue, not just exploring the house willy-nilly.

I agree that giving tips is good, but the tip I'd advise giving is to try to get through the Clues as quickly as possible, framing it as something of a race.

Sticking together with only two Investigators means almost no exploring can be done. That's a bit of a problem when Uncontrollable Urges can create "lone" Investigators for Maniacs by splitting up the group anyhow, and the grouped Investigator team will find almost none of the good items, like the Shotgun, that would be quite useful to have. Even with more Investigators, I'm not sure sticking together is such a good idea. Why let the Keeper force multiple Horror and Evade checks with only a single monster?
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Chris J Davis
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Ah, yes - I forgot to mention that you should also stress that the investigators really need to chase the clue trail as quickly as possible, as it is the key to winning. If you don't do this, it is likely they will just explore the mansion aimlessly and come out of it feeling like they had no idea of what they were supposed to do. I say this from personal experience!
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Jen McTeague
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Spoiler for Fall of House Lynch below:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you're doing Fall of House Lynch, I wouldn't even tell them about the clue trail. The scenario seems balanced that even if the investigators stray off the clue trail for a little bit, then they don't necessarily lose. I consider Fall of House Lynch to be a learning scenario and the best way to learn is to see what happens if you fail. So I wouldn't tell them about the clue trail for their first game, but if they haven't figured it out at the end, you might want to let them know. Just my opinion though
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Chris J Davis
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Iammars wrote:
Spoiler for Fall of House Lynch below:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you're doing Fall of House Lynch, I wouldn't even tell them about the clue trail. The scenario seems balanced that even if the investigators stray off the clue trail for a little bit, then they don't necessarily lose. I consider Fall of House Lynch to be a learning scenario and the best way to learn is to see what happens if you fail. So I wouldn't tell them about the clue trail for their first game, but if they haven't figured it out at the end, you might want to let them know. Just my opinion though


I would advise against this if you ever want your players to play again.
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Roberta Yang
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Iammars wrote:
Spoiler for Fall of House Lynch below:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
If you're doing Fall of House Lynch, I wouldn't even tell them about the clue trail. The scenario seems balanced that even if the investigators stray off the clue trail for a little bit, then they don't necessarily lose. I consider Fall of House Lynch to be a learning scenario and the best way to learn is to see what happens if you fail. So I wouldn't tell them about the clue trail for their first game, but if they haven't figured it out at the end, you might want to let them know. Just my opinion though

It may be balanced in terms of the Investigators still having a decent chance of victory, but it will leave the Investigators feeling like they spent the game moving randomly. Even if they're not necessarily vital to win, the Clues do give the Investigators some direction - a goal so that they feel like they're accomplishing something throughout the game.

Also, if the objective is 1B, then one of the possible locations of Clue 1 can make the game almost impossible if the Investigators don't follow the clues, since the lock over Clue 1 will give the Investigators a window of only one turn in which to "fulfill their objective" before the Keeper declares victory.
 
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Chick Lewis
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McTeague, I am sorry to say, is WRONG in SPADES for a game with first time players. You want them to have a good time, not get smeared all over the mansion and feel confused and cheated.
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Jen McTeague
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Okay, I don't know about "wrong in spades", seeing as its been working for me so far, but if it the general experience seems to work the other way so far, then so be it.

To be fair, I rarely play a game nowadays where all the investigators are new, so that may be skewing the way I teach it these days. I do try to keep strategy out of my rules introductions however, since I tend to do weird strategies in a lot of different board games and I don't want skew people's perception.
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Jon Dennis
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If your players have the time and inclination, you could point them towards one of the many tutorial/review videos.
"Fall of House Lynch" is a great scenario to demo to friends and customers alike. It's a lot more straightforward than some of the others (esp. Classroom Curses).
I would definitely play it the way you would GM a role-platying session. Don't go for the throat, but don't pull your punches to the point where players feel bored or not challenged.
Teach them the rules and concept first. THEN destroy them
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