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Subject: Difficulty Learning/Teaching Space Alert rss

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Ryan Farrell
United States
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After much research and debate, I just picked up Space Alert. I have never played it before, bought it simply off of reviews and recommendation. I was super stoked when I got it home and couldn't wait to punch out all the pieces and get the box organized.

I always teach myself a game before I introduce it to my gaming groups just to give them a good impression of the game right off the bat. Started reading through the rule book and setting up the board like I normally would. But I get to a point where I'm just stuck. I don't know how I'm going to fully explain the game to friends because I don't think I fully understand it myself. Then I feel like I'd have to role play the part of the teacher and explain every facet of the game to them before we started. Which probably wouldn't go well with either game group.

How did you best learn how to play Space Alert and how did you best teach others how to play? I really want to explain things well so people are excited about playing. Help me!
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Chris Ferejohn
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I don't understand what's wrong with your normal approach. Play one of the trial missions by yourself without a timer on - just lay out the actions for each player at your leisure. That way you can practice the resolution, which is the hard party anyway.
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Kai Günster
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Use the training missions from the other included book, play them one by one. Even with experienced players there, it's all but impossible to teach Space Alert to a new player in one go. The training missions introduce new elements slowly - iirc, the first one only has movement, A and B actions and no internal threats. No maintenance or stumbling, either. The other training missions introduce more things, but at a manageable pace.

Don't be put of by the label "training mission", they're a lot of fun to play already and success on your first try is not guaranteed.
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Ryan Farrell
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I'm just nervous that they won't want to learn things in that time amount. I'm guessing they will all want to learn all the mechanics and play the missions that way. But at the same time I'm worried about overwhelming people.

Maybe this is all irrational and I just need to take the plunge and make them do every tutorial mission...
 
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Steven
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lostfanatic6 wrote:
I'm just nervous that they won't want to learn things in that time amount. I'm guessing they will all want to learn all the mechanics and play the missions that way. But at the same time I'm worried about overwhelming people.

Maybe this is all irrational and I just need to take the plunge and make them do every tutorial mission...

The tutorial missions are pretty fun, esp since the game is so novel. I've actually had entire game sessions composed solely of the first few tutorials. My bigger problem with the game is that people learn it and then get too tired to play more - it's an energetic but exhausting game.

Also, it is ok not to fully understand everything that's going on during the real-time portion of the game. Then you get to watch it all fall apart.
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Kai Günster
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celiborn wrote:
Then you get to watch it all fall apart.

That's the best part whistle
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manus trium
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Also, the game doesn't last very long. 10 min laying down cards followed by around 20 min of seeing how the crew did. So you can probably play it a few times through on any given night. They may not thoroughly get what's going on the first time through but because it's a quick play they can go again with more knowledge under their belts.
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Josh Bodah
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I just picked it up as well. I read through the first tutorial mission and am planning to play that with my group (not going to go through it solo). I can already see some of the parts that make the game confusing from the rules (can play actions for X amounts of turns and threats can come at any time, tracking threats can be difficult, etc).

The rules are pretty straight forward. The hardest part is tracking everything on the board which I think you (the game owner) should do the first few times. You can do the resolution at the end of the game too.
 
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Ryan Farrell
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These are all valid points that I'll have to keep in mind. I'm going to try and go through the tutorial by myself again, but this time without the CD playing. Just so I can get a grip on what exactly needs to happen and, more importantly, HOW everything works.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and your encouragement! I'll have to let everyone know how it goes for the first couple run throughs!
 
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Liam
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Moved to Space Alert : General
 
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Ben Crane
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koboldskind wrote:
Use the training missions from the other included book, play them one by one. Even with experienced players there, it's all but impossible to teach Space Alert to a new player in one go. The training missions introduce new elements slowly - iirc, the first one only has movement, A and B actions and no internal threats. No maintenance or stumbling, either. The other training missions introduce more things, but at a manageable pace.

Don't be put of by the label "training mission", they're a lot of fun to play already and success on your first try is not guaranteed.


This is the way to do it. Use the "How to be a Space Explorer in 7 Easy Lessons" or whatever it is called book and go through the missions one at a time. They are just the right balance of hard and manageable to introduce the game concepts slowly, and the fact that you can get through each in about 30 minutes (10 minutes to explain the new rules being introduced, 10 minutes to run the mission, 10 minutes to do the "replay") means you can get through them pretty quickly.

Just grabbed a copy myself 2 weeks ago and have been working through the training missions with my group. Like your players, I am typically the sort of person who says, "screw the easy game, give me the full one. I've played games before; I can handle it." With Space Alert, you can't. I don't care how many board games you've played, there is just too much going on that is unlike any game you've ever seen before. Take it slow, and you'll have a better time. The training missions will each feel like a full and complete game, because there is enough new and interesting stuff to try and comprehend that you won't miss the even more complicated things that aren't there yet.
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Ryan Farrell
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Bascaria wrote:
koboldskind wrote:
Use the training missions from the other included book, play them one by one. Even with experienced players there, it's all but impossible to teach Space Alert to a new player in one go. The training missions introduce new elements slowly - iirc, the first one only has movement, A and B actions and no internal threats. No maintenance or stumbling, either. The other training missions introduce more things, but at a manageable pace.

Don't be put of by the label "training mission", they're a lot of fun to play already and success on your first try is not guaranteed.


This is the way to do it. Use the "How to be a Space Explorer in 7 Easy Lessons" or whatever it is called book and go through the missions one at a time. They are just the right balance of hard and manageable to introduce the game concepts slowly, and the fact that you can get through each in about 30 minutes (10 minutes to explain the new rules being introduced, 10 minutes to run the mission, 10 minutes to do the "replay") means you can get through them pretty quickly.

Just grabbed a copy myself 2 weeks ago and have been working through the training missions with my group. Like your players, I am typically the sort of person who says, "screw the easy game, give me the full one. I've played games before; I can handle it." With Space Alert, you can't. I don't care how many board games you've played, there is just too much going on that is unlike any game you've ever seen before. Take it slow, and you'll have a better time. The training missions will each feel like a full and complete game, because there is enough new and interesting stuff to try and comprehend that you won't miss the even more complicated things that aren't there yet.


How long has it been taking to just teach the mechanics of the first tutorial mission? I want to be able to give people a time frame of how long it will all take put together.
 
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Cameron Chien
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It should take mere minutes to teach the mechanics of the first tutorial mission, since you only need to cover moving, the A button, the B button and the anatomy of a threat's card and how they move.

I'd say 25 minutes to teach the rules they need, do the first tutorial, then go through the resolution phase step by step.

I'd skip the second tutorial mission and move to the one that introduces rockets and wiggling the mouse. Then do a third one with internal threats. All told it should be about an hour to an hour and a half.

Cameron
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Dr. snowMan
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When I taught a few people recently, we didn't even cover how threats actually worked. I taught them move, A, B, general rules for cards, and then said:

"Next the book wants me to tell you how to do math when you shoot at things. Do you want to practice math, or shoot at things?"

They said let's get 'em!, and off we went. They learned how shields worked while we were playing. Loads of fun.

As you introduce new rules between tutorials, I always like to ask: do you want to learn another rule, or play a mission now? This helps them learn at their own pace.

Also, +1 to the recommended number of missions. I've always played one simple sim, one sim with C buttons active, and one full sim with internal threats. Never had to play more than 1 of each.
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