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Subject: Unhappy first-timers rss

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Brian White
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Do you ever feel responsible for people having fun with a game you've taught? Maybe it's just me, but whenever I teach someone a new game and I see that they're obviously not having fun with it, I feel guilty, especially if they're new to the gaming hobby. Does anyone have any similar feelings, or am I just being too much of a bleeding heart?
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CJ
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If you are teaching a game then you are the host. As a host I always feel obligated to ensure my guests (as it were) are enjoying themselves. To that end, if whilst teaching it was clear to me that the game was failing the fun test then I'd cut my losses and move to something else. That might mean a new game or it might mean a completely different activity. You're not a bleeding heart for concerning yourself with the enjoyment of others, though.
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Victoria Osborne
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definetly, like all teachers you need to engage the people you are teaching. If they are not having fun, I take a moment to focus on them and ask them what they are having problems with.

On the flip side, i have dragged my 75 year old mother kicking and screaming, almost literally, into moder day board gaming, now she is ASKING to play games like Quarriors and Dominion, in addition to ticket to ride, settlers etc....her memory is improving and she is having better logic. So it is paying off.
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Doug Click
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Yes, one that comes to mind was playing a teaching game of Cosmic Encounters... I didn't include any aliens, because I wanted to teach mechanics the first game and thought it would be quick. I planned on showing off Aliens after the first game.

So, I showed how to attack, how to ask for help, how to defend and ask for defensive help. I even told them that sometimes the game end in ties if two people agree to it.

I kept hearing one person saying, "I don't get it", "I don't get it", "I don't get it". I would talk to that person one-on-one and even other players where trying to help... but the phrase was repeated over and over, "I don't get it".

So, I felt bad that the game was not going over well, even those who did "get it" and were having a spark of fun were not enjoying it because of this person's confusion... so, I said, "you know what, never mind about this one"

Because of everyone's state of mind, I didn't want a game where anyone had to think... so I put that game up and broke out "Pass the Pigs"... soon everyone was laughing, shouting, and just having a grand time. The ice was broke and we later played... shoot, I don't remember now, but the game night went on.

Still, I felt bad for the time wasted in the middle of the evening, I felt like I failed the group. Still havn't broken that game back out to try it again...
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Sayburr wrote:
So, I felt bad that the game was not going over well, even those who did "get it" and were having a spark of fun were not enjoying it because of this person's confusion... so, I said, "you know what, never mind about this one"

I'd say nobody was having fun because you left out the aliens. The game would be brain dead without the aliens. If I were playing, I wouldn't get it either. I mean, I'd understand the mechanics, but I wouldn't spend another minute on it if I could politely avoid doing so.
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Doug Click
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Sphere wrote:
Sayburr wrote:
So, I felt bad that the game was not going over well, even those who did "get it" and were having a spark of fun were not enjoying it because of this person's confusion... so, I said, "you know what, never mind about this one"

I'd say nobody was having fun because you left out the aliens. The game would be brain dead without the aliens. If I were playing, I wouldn't get it either. I mean, I'd understand the mechanics, but I wouldn't spend another minute on it if I could politely avoid doing so.
As confused as that one player was with just the mechanics, the aliens breaking the rules of the game would have really made it bad... What I was expecting to be a five to ten minute lession in game mechanics before pulling out the mechanic breaking aliens ended up being 15-20 minutes of frustration... shrug... still, what ever the reason, it was my bad.
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いい竹やぶだ!

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No, I also regret seeing people not having fun with a game I really like—especially if they're new to our game group.

Here's something a little different but along the same lines: Just this week, we had just started a game of Flash Point: Fire Rescue with two brand new players, and I had to abandon everyone to go watch the transit of Venus. I had a couple of solar viewers along, so it was just a matter of strolling outside, but when I found out that Venus was clearly visible against the Sun, even without magnification, I managed to get quite a few people to come out and look. (Two of them even called home to get their families to drop in for a peek.) We didn't reconvene Flash Point for over an hour, and when we did we needed to substitute two of the original players, who had gone off to play other games. Felt bad about that, but in my defense, we're unlikely to be interrupted again by that sort of thing for some time.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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Agreed, no aliens makes Cosmic Encounter just an...Encounter. You'd get more entertainment going up and down in an elevator (and encountering people).

Back to the OP's comment, of course you're responsible for the entertainment. I would go so far as to feel as host that I'm responsible for snacks, beverages and hygenic restroom access as well (although if you want a specific snack or beverage you're SOL).
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That situation is why I hate Carcassonne. The original was taught to me and I lost. I realized at the end that I didn't get points I thought I was going to get because of a tiny fact left out I was not taught. Maybe I wasn't taught that only majority farmers get the points. I forget what it was at this point but still...

Now, I have given the game a second chance with Carcassonne New world (maybe?) and a new round of other players. Again, something important about points is left out and not taught to me. So the last 5 rounds or so, I screw myself with my tile placements and do not know it. (think this time I wasn't told that I wouldn't be able to place tiles adjacent to those because they would go outside the framework)...and so all my meeple were hosed.

If they didn't have fun because they couldn't grasp how the game worked (after playing some of it), you did your job and tried your best. If they didn't have fun (like me) because you left stuff out and it screwed them from winning, then you didn't teach it well enough. If they didn't have fun because they didn't even start the game, then do not waste your time with someone who has already refused to learn the game.

And since the first time I played, I still view Carcassonne as Dominoes with a meeple expansion. yuck.
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Dave K
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I also try to make sure everyone has a good time and do feel bad if the game(s) don't turn out well.

It's worth keeping in mind though that some games won't suit some people (ie: some people won't enjoy highly complex/very cutthroat/ games) and some people simply aren't gamers. Don't invite someone out of obligation if they won't have fun and it will ruin the experience for the others.
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Brian White
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Valairia wrote:
definetly, like all teachers you need to engage the people you are teaching. If they are not having fun, I take a moment to focus on them and ask them what they are having problems with.


Well at least I know I'm choosing the right career path by going into teaching! Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Glad to see I'm not alone in this. I also wonder whether it's a bit of wounded pride I feel when someone doesn't enjoy a game that I obviously do (assuming I'm teaching a game I bought for myself). Do you think it has anything to do with your investment in your own games?
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Philip
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The worst part of teaching a game to someone, is then getting impossibly devastating hands one right after the other. You know, tournament winning hands non-stop. Game after game.

On the upside, it's about the only chance I get to win since I stink really bad at these games.
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Adam Skinner
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nocturnal_nerd wrote:
Do you ever feel responsible for people having fun with a game you've taught?


No.

Now, if it's also a game I've selected for a certain group of people to play, and they do not enjoy it, then I do bear some responsibility, because I failed to accurately predict what is appropriate for that group at that time. This responsibility is weighted according to my knowledge of the preferences and experience level of the players involved.

I suppose the only time I'd "feel responsible/guilty" for people not having fun on my watch is if it's as a direct result of my botching the teaching of the game. Some rule mistake that had significant impact on a player's position and they got bent out of shape because of it.

One of the things I try to impress upon new gamers is that each time they learn a game, they need to approach it as a "learning game". Their objective is not simply to dominate at the game, but rather to learn the system. Feel free to ask questions, reveal your hand and ask for advice, etc. Know that you are probably not going to win, and that's okay. We're here to enjoy playing (and learning!) the game, and while one goal is to win, it's not really what playing games is all about.
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Nathan
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If you want people to play games with you then you need to ensure they enjoy it. I am not sure responsibility is the right word (unless you are hosting the game night or you have been brought in especially to teach the game) but a good teach means a good investment in future opponents.

Oh, and Cosmic Encounter without the aliens is a bad idea. The mechanics take 3 minutes to explain and then you explain the aliens. Help them choose the alien the first time and then take them through the steps of each encounter, reminding of rules. The aliens are the whole point of the game so leaving them out is setting yourself up to disappoint players. Just play a round and they will get the feel for it, and all the cards are pretty self-explanatory but they can ask for explanations if necessary.
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Brian White
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Pippers wrote:
The worst part of teaching a game to someone, is then getting impossibly devastating hands one right after the other. You know, tournament winning hands non-stop. Game after game.


This is exactly what happened to me. I taught my girlfriend a game, and then she proceeded to get a monumentally crappy hand for the entire game. I felt really bad, especially since she was just opening up to the possibility of playing games other than party games. I probably should have ended the round right then. Live and learn, I suppose.

adam.skinner wrote:
One of the things I try to impress upon new gamers is that each time they learn a game, they need to approach it as a "learning game". Their objective is not simply to dominate at the game, but rather to learn the system. Feel free to ask questions, reveal your hand and ask for advice, etc. Know that you are probably not going to win, and that's okay. We're here to enjoy playing (and learning!) the game, and while one goal is to win, it's not really what playing games is all about.


I feel like this is good advice. I'll have to start stating that more explicitly when teaching a game. Thanks!
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