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Subject: Teaching to new players rss

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M. S.
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Hey guys

I will hopefully play this game on Tuesday with new players
I just want to ask how you teach the game? Because the rulebook says you should go through the combat first with all 4 training dungeons...

In the past when I taught it to new players I always explained the worker placement mechanic first, and after that the combat, but without the training dungeons. (Even when I taught it to myself I dont think I looked through the training dungeons)
I think if you would go throgh all training dungeons first, it would drag tooo longsnore

So how do you do it?

edit:
They are all avid gamers, no newcomers in boardgaming --> so I dont ask because I want to start game early cause they get bored or sth. like that.
I aask cause I want to know whats the best method to explain all of these rules, by staying clear and doing a nice rule explanation job.
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Pedro Pereira
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I agree with you, training dungeons are boring

I myself usually explain the game the best I can and have them play the game. Just make sure they don't feel too bothered about the very likely outcome of the game (losing it).

It's always best to let them discover the consequences of their actions on their own, especially if they understood the rules. Most of the times, the reactions will be: "Oooooh! I see, so if I would have done that instead, now this would have happened! Nice!"

Something like that. I think that's the best way to teach.
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M. S.
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and do you explain combat or building phase first?
 
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David Tolin
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I would say it's a good idea to avoid discussing the combat until that part of the game arrives. Just explain the worker placement and start playing, with a general note to the new players that they'll want at least two monsters and one trap going into the combat phase. As long as they're not fussed about winning, you'll be saving everyone a bunch of time and headache trying to learn every aspect of the game before you even start.
 
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DavidT wrote:
I would say it's a good idea to avoid discussing the combat until that part of the game arrives. Just explain the worker placement and start playing, with a general note to the new players that they'll want at least two monsters and one trap going into the combat phase. As long as they're not fussed about winning, you'll be saving everyone a bunch of time and headache trying to learn every aspect of the game before you even start.


no that would be much to less, they are all "serious" gamers, its not that I want to get them into gaming, or keep rules at a minimum cause it would be too much for them.
My aim is to tell them all rules, but want to make sure that the rules explanations are well done, and in the right order.
 
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Paul Grogan
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DavidT wrote:
I would say it's a good idea to avoid discussing the combat until that part of the game arrives. Just explain the worker placement and start playing, with a general note to the new players that they'll want at least two monsters and one trap going into the combat phase. As long as they're not fussed about winning, you'll be saving everyone a bunch of time and headache trying to learn every aspect of the game before you even start.


I've taught this game a lot to new players in the last couple of years, and more recently, 2 weeks ago.

My advice.

1. Tell them this is a learning game. Tell them that you are not going to explain how the combat works until the end of the first year. As such, people will be at a disadvatage because they dont know what they are doing to prepare. So....
2. Tell them traps are good, monsters are good and to get these if they can. Also....
3. Give them advice on where to build tunnels and rooms. Explain at least where the adventurers go, and not to put a room over the first tunnel tile. Help them out during building wherever you can.
4. Allow them to look at the combat cards, but tell them it wont mean anything. Remember though who looked at what, and then allow them to look at them again AFTER you have explained combat, but before the actual combat.
5. Play the first year....
6. Then, at the end of the first year, explain combat, allow people to look again at the cards they have looked at, and then jump in.
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PaulGrogan wrote:
DavidT wrote:
I would say it's a good idea to avoid discussing the combat until that part of the game arrives. Just explain the worker placement and start playing, with a general note to the new players that they'll want at least two monsters and one trap going into the combat phase. As long as they're not fussed about winning, you'll be saving everyone a bunch of time and headache trying to learn every aspect of the game before you even start.


I've taught this game a lot to new players in the last couple of years, and more recently, 2 weeks ago.

My advice.

1. Tell them this is a learning game. Tell them that you are not going to explain how the combat works until the end of the first year. As such, people will be at a disadvatage because they dont know what they are doing to prepare. So....
2. Tell them traps are good, monsters are good and to get these if they can. Also....
3. Give them advice on where to build tunnels and rooms. Explain at least where the adventurers go, and not to put a room over the first tunnel tile. Help them out during building wherever you can.
4. Allow them to look at the combat cards, but tell them it wont mean anything. Remember though who looked at what, and then allow them to look at them again AFTER you have explained combat, but before the actual combat.
5. Play the first year....
6. Then, at the end of the first year, explain combat, allow people to look again at the cards they have looked at, and then jump in.


Same suggestion as DavidT, look at my answer.

What I am wondering now.
Why don`t you explain all rules?
ok perjaps not all, but leaving half of the game out, seems a bit much to me....

Matter of explanation time?
Matter of new people in boardgaming --> cant ge as many rules at once?
Matter of "fun" --> lets get played and skip the boring explanations?
Or what else?
 
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Adam Smiles
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I'd stick with the rule book. If they are experienced gamers than they are probably familiar with the worker placement mechanic. Treat the training dungeons as the "learning game".

Scenario 1. You spend an extra 15-20 minutes on the training dungeons. Then you play a real game, where everyone understands what they are trying to do and makes meaningful decisions about what they are trying to do during worker placement.

Scenario 2. You skip the training, spend 45-60 minutes on a meaningless random worker placement phase. Have everyone but you get creamed by the monsters. Have people grumble that they would have done x, y and z differently during worker placement if they knew how combat worked. trudge through year 2. Then call 2-3 hour experience a learning and see who wants more.
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David Tolin
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My experience, even with experienced gamers, is that Dungeon Lords is a tough nut to crack. It all seems very straightforward once you know how to play it, and even the small rules exceptions have nice thematic triggers, but it's a lot of information starting out.

The training dungeons, while helpful, are (IMO) completely unrealistic as a teaching aid for most groups. It will take a long time to get through them, and the time spent will be considerably less than exciting. So, that leaves you with the only remaining option of just teaching the combat phase verbally, which has it's own set of issues. Learning it should come first in sequence, since all of the worker placement and dungeon building is leading up to it, but it happens on the back half of the game round and is kind of hard to understand until you actually get there (hence, the inclusion of the training dungeons).

YMMV if you have really serious gamers willing to sit and learn for an hour before playing, but the act of simply playing is sometimes the best method to learning and enjoying a new game--even for seasoned gamers. Guiding them through worker placement and dungeon building, with plenty of tips and advice as you go, is more than sufficient for DL, and is going to take enough time as it is. Telling them that they should aim to buy two monsters and a trap, at least, before the first combat round is also more than sufficient--it is a rare gamer that will do much better than that the first time out in DL, anyway, given the limited amount of strategic understanding it's possible to have at the beginning of the learning curve.

One thing I've come to understand over the years is that my goal in teaching a new game is really twofold: (1) make sure the players have fun, and (2) make sure I lay the groundwork to have people play this game with me again. Too often I have looked at my role as a mandate to ensure that new players have all of the information they need to win against experienced players, and I think that is just the wrong starting point, for me. I'd much rather the new guys have a lot of fun, not get glazed looks during a one-hour rules briefing, and finish the game with an understanding they've gained by exploring the system without the pressure of being experts before they start. To complement this method, I take these first sessions as an opportunity to try really wacky or risky strategies, partly as a handicap but also as a chance to get a better understanding of the game myself.
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Benjamin Grey
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asmiles wrote:
Scenario 2. You skip the training, spend 45-60 minutes on a meaningless random worker placement phase. Have everyone but you get creamed by the monsters. Have people grumble that they would have done x, y and z differently during worker placement if they knew how combat worked. trudge through year 2. Then call 2-3 hour experience a learning and see who wants more.


My experience is everyone gets crushed in a game with 2 or more new players. I'm fairly experienced, but if the people I'm playing with aren't then it's hard for me to predict what they'll pick during worker placement. I end up getting shafted way more frequently with new players than with experienced ones, and my scores usually show it. (The fact that my regular group is 3 players and games with new players tend to be 4 player is a factor too, but I frequently get caught off guard with new players making picks that I wasn't expecting.)

On the bright side, watching the experienced players get stomped too cuts down on the new player bitterness you describe.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I teach the worker placement part first, then an explanation of combat after. I'm very willing to give suggestions on what to do when we get to first year combat, 2nd year they're on their own. Finally I mention at the beginning that there are special rules for 2nd year, but I save the explanation for them until the first year is over unless the players insist. (This has not been a problem so far.)
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Noble Knave
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I've had pretty good results with my method:

1) Explain to everyone that we're going to do a mini-practice run that doesn't count and then reset the game to start fresh once people "get it."
2) Set up the game as normal, having each player get two randomly inaccessible orders.
3) Tell the players to pick first round orders (I suggest randomly, or without worrying about the consequences).
4) Show how the worker placement round works and then run through each action in order, having those who selected it take the action.
5) Do a second practice round (Spring Year 1) with the players actually choosing their orders.
6) Run through Spring Year 1, emphasizing who gets which adventurer.

Now at this point, everyone will likely grasp the basics of the worker placement/dungeon building section. Ask for questions, then say it's time to warp ahead to combat.

7) Dole out two more adventurers randomly to each player, plus one more trap and one more monster. This will be in addition to the one adventurer they picked up in practice Spring and whatever monsters and traps they've bought.
8) Run through the "hows" of combat quickly, then let everyone play through and take your time, explaining each step for each player.
9) Once everyone has finished, ask for any final questions. Give a quick run-down of the special events that will come up (Payday, Taxes, and Special Event if you're using it) and mention that Year 2 is similar but with moar awesomer stuff.
10) Reset the game state to the start of game. Have each player do the "Randomly Pick 3, Then Make 2 Inaccessible" orders, and then you're all off the races!


The benefits I've noticed of this method is that people get a feel for how both sections of the game work in a real scenario without being overwhelmed with information. It's still worth pointing out that the first game will likely be a learning experience, but they'll be able to make meaningful decisions and already have a framework by which to judge what better or worse strategies for the game are. Of course, it's still unrealistic to think they'll do well against an experienced player, so the person teaching could opt out and be an impartial advisor for a game of newbies... if you're a nice Dungeon Lord. devil

Chances are that by Year 2 most of them will grok, and be able to fight for position among one another and realize how much they f'ed up in Year 1.
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Brian Schroth
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Last time I explained I used the approach suggested by the rulebook with the training dungeons. It seemed OK. The training dungeons took a LONG time but that was fine because we had a long time before our 3rd was going to arrive anyway, and the newbie enjoyed trying to solve them.

For future explanations, I will follow the same format (combat, then training dungeons, then WP mechanics then all the other rules). However, rather than just explaining combat and then giving them the training dungeons, I will simply go over the solutions to the training dungeons. Specifically, I will go over one or two failed approaches to each one before going over the solution. They generally have some approach that people will try first, and then realize doesn't work. So I'll immediately explain that common first guess, why it doesn't work, and then the correct choice and why it does.

I think combat-first is a good way to do things, because it helps to know your goals and combat is what everything else in the game is building towards. But the training dungeons are excessive on time, and I think people will get almost as much out of simply being told the answer as they would in working it out themselves, in a lot less time.
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David Jones
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I seem to be in the minority with the "teach combat first" method, although I never use the dungeons in the manual. They are great for teaching yourself, but too long for teaching others. Personally, I don't think the worker placement section makes sense unless you know why you need monsters or traps.

Usually I will setup a simple combat with a fighter, a healer, two random monsters, and a trap. I'll then walk them through the combat once and then do the same combat again putting the monsters/trap in different orders so they can see the importance of how you order them. After that, I explain what rogues and wizards do without actually going through a whole combat and also the differences between tunnels and rooms. This usually takes about 10 minutes (more or less depending on the acumen of the players). I also find that explaining the worker placement goes a little faster because I then avoid questions like "why do I want to do X?"

I do agree with other comments though that it is important to stress that the first game is always a learning game. The goal is to survive, not to get a good score. Usually after the first game, I can take off the kid gloves.
 
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Gustav Åkerfelt
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Go with the training dungeons first. If the players are experienced, they just might have some fun with it, and it's a good way to show off the fun of the game, and the beautiful artwork.

Sure it takes a bit of extra time, but all games do the first time around. At least this way people wont feel they wasted the entire evening because you saved 30 minutes in the start.

There is after all a reason Vlaada (who is the MAN by the way) strongly suggests this approach.
 
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BagelManB wrote:


For future explanations, I will follow the same format (combat, then training dungeons, then WP mechanics then all the other rules). However, rather than just explaining combat and then giving them the training dungeons, I will simply go over the solutions to the training dungeons. Specifically, I will go over one or two failed approaches to each one before going over the solution. They generally have some approach that people will try first, and then realize doesn't work. So I'll immediately explain that common first guess, why it doesn't work, and then the correct choice and why it does.

I think combat-first is a good way to do things, because it helps to know your goals and combat is what everything else in the game is building towards. But the training dungeons are excessive on time, and I think people will get almost as much out of simply being told the answer as they would in working it out themselves, in a lot less time.


Yeah I think I will try it this way.

Thanks to all for your suggestions
 
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I've always found the best way to teach a game is to give a brief overview then explain concepts as I go. Then after a while we reset the game or play on. People do not grasp rules out of context which is what happens when you get a long, tedious explanation of all the rules before you start. The results of the game do not matter as whatever happens they are learning. The best way to learn is to actually play the game.
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Jason Rupp
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I disagree pretty strongly with the people saying that you should not explain the combat rules until the end of the first year. The BIGGEST part of the game is preparing for the combat. You can't do that if you don't know what to expect. It's not that hard to explain the combat rules, they aren't complex.

I explain the different types heroes and the order of the combat round (be sure to note that it's displayed on their player board via icons at the top in case they forget the order). It's good to go over a sample fight to make sure that they understand it. Show them that you can use a trap and a monster and that the monster is knocked out.

I've taught this game to both gamers and non-gamers and I haven't had a problem yet. Make sure you let them know ahead of time that there are a lot of rules but they make sense so it's easy to remember them.
 
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rrrrupp wrote:
I disagree pretty strongly with the people saying that you should not explain the combat rules until the end of the first year. The BIGGEST part of the game is preparing for the combat. You can't do that if you don't know what to expect. It's not that hard to explain the combat rules, they aren't complex.

I explain the different types heroes and the order of the combat round (be sure to note that it's displayed on their player board via icons at the top in case they forget the order). It's good to go over a sample fight to make sure that they understand it. Show them that you can use a trap and a monster and that the monster is knocked out.

I've taught this game to both gamers and non-gamers and I haven't had a problem yet. Make sure you let them know ahead of time that there are a lot of rules but they make sense so it's easy to remember them.


The Op was talking about using the training boards or not. Combat is simple and can be explained briefly before the game and then as you play. I always see our first game as tutorials anyway.

If players are that concerned about winning or losing they should read the rules for themselves before they arrive, it only takes 20 mins or so.

In any event things should be adjusted according to the player group. There is no correct way to do it. Common sense applies, that's all. The only thing I do know is that some methods of teaching are so laborious and long winded they may as well not bother as people forget. Playing the game as soon as possible is the way to learn. This is true of everything in life as it is with games (which is why on the job training is seen as crucial to any professional training no matter how complex that profession is)
 
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Halfinger wrote:


The Op was talking about using the training boards or not.


I was responding to the people that suggested he doesn't explain combat until it occurs in the game.
 
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rrrrupp wrote:
Halfinger wrote:


The Op was talking about using the training boards or not.


I was responding to the people that suggested he doesn't explain combat until it occurs in the game.


Ignoring combat altogether would be silly I agree. The whole game is geared towards achieving the best combat results. I think a brief overview along with explanations as you play is best. But it really depends on the style and expectations of the group. Some players freak out if they lose or get a bad score in their first game (then promptly write a bad review of it), others realise it is just a learning game.
 
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I thaught the game to three new players yesterday. I didn't go through the tutorial, but I first showed them how combat worked using a couple of examples before explaining the worker placement part. It seemed to work very well and didn't take a ton of time...
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1) Run through the rules
2) Something I haven't seen, actually include the thematic descriptions of why each mechanic is, what it is. They're fun, the game's supposed to be fun and slightly silly, why not set the tone accordingly?
3) You can show the example dungeons, but if people aren't getting them in the first few seconds, they're better to be used as examples to get people thinking about different ways to defend their dungeons.
4) Only play 1 year the first game. After 1 year, everyone should get the game, and every new player is going to realize 13 different things s/he should have done differently and year 2 is just going to be an hour-long reminder of all those mistakes.
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