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Subject: First Play - With Non-Gamers rss

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Marty Kane
United States
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They'll tell you black is really white The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk in golden halls You get to keep the gold that falls It's Heaven and Hell
I recently got Thunderstone in the mail and after opening it and reading through the rules I took it over to a friend's house. I myself am a long-time D&D player and so I was enjoying the hero-equipping, monster-slaying aspect of it. I've also played and enjoyed Dominion but grown tired of the dry combo-building. So I was excited to play "Dominion with Dungeon Crawling". My two friends, on the other hand, like games but are not what I'd call 'gamers'. They were willing to give it a whirl, so here's how we proceeded:

I explained the basic concept of the deck building game, highlighted that this is NOT Magic, and pointed out the icons for gold and cost. I explained the concept of drawing cards, buying something, and then discarding your whole hand and starting over with a fresh one next turn. We did a turn each of that to get the idea.

Next I flipped the three monsters over from the dungeon deck and talked about the choice between visiting the Village or the Dungeon. We looked at the icons on the monsters and looked at our hero cards to get the idea of attack power. We played a few more turns of village buying since none of us had anything close to enough power to take on the monsters showing. Eventually I had enough to attack a monster so I explained about light, and showed how entering the dungeon worked.

The game probably took us close to two hours to play, since we all took time to analyze what was possible on each of our turns. We took a very casual approach, talking through various options and pointing out things to each other. When nitty gritty detail questions came up (such as, is drawing the two cards for Town Guard obligatory?) I opted not to spend five minutes looking up the answer and we just agreed on one.

I myself enjoyed it quite a bit. Overall my friends enjoyed it, and said how surprised they were at how easy it played. They said from the initial rules explanation they were expecting amuch drier and slower game. We all left looking forward to future plays and to exploring the strategies of combining heroes and items.

Bottom line - when teaching this game to new people, especially those who don't fall under the "power gamer" category, taking a casual approach is probably a good idea. Don't get hung up on the details. Relax and enjoy the theme.
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