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Subject: Game Teaching Guide (Feedback Wanted) rss

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Chris Kice
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I'm a horrible "game explainer" and am guilty of being one of those discombobulated guys fumbling through the rule book as I try to teach a game to new players.

Since I am always trying to suck my non-gamer friends into my hobby, this puts me at a serious disadvantage and more than once I've turned people off to a game due to my horrible introduction.

Since I'm a much better writer than speaker, I recently decided to create a series of teaching "scripts" that I could use to teach games. This would let me organize my thoughts well in advance and allow me to cover tricky rules the same way for different groups.

I just finished my first one for Tikal and my wife (who graciously volunteered as my initial test subject) picked up the game during the first playing and was playing like a pro by the end.

At this point, I'd like to get some unbiased feedback from the folks here. If it's well received and is seen as a worthwhile project, I'll start working my way through my game collection and post the results in each game's file section.

Tikal Teaching Guide:
http://www.nekurasplayground.com/guides/Tikal_Teaching_Guide...

Thanks!
 
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Jesper A
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When i am teaching a game the thin i miss the most are a bulleted list of all the rules and pointers. Before i teach the game i read the rules on maybe play a couple of turns solitare. When it comes to teaching the game i often find myself paging through the rulebook to make sure i havent missed something. I can understand that you need a script, but i just need a clear and to the point list of rules. My group are experienced enough to ask questions in the right places, and most of the games i haven't played before are playded with the group before anywhere else. I think taht most games could be boiled down to 1 page or 2 at the most. I could do that myself, but i'm way too laze to do that

Anyway... It usually turns out pretty well. I can sometimes speedread the rules while i explain in my own words but a condensed set of rules would be much easier to work with for me.

For your use i think your file looks pretty good. If i had to explain a game in english it would probably be very usefull to me, but i explain in danish, with some english mixed in for easier explanation (some things are just easier in english) and some german for flavor

if i was pressed to suggest improvements, i would make a blank line after each paragraph in the bulleted lists and color the important rules, pointerts etc.

That way it's easier to look up something fast.


Good luck with the project - only 229 games to go
 
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Dane Peacock
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Great job. This is very well done.

1. I like to set the atmosphere by explaining game rules with the theme in mind, mostly through the use of appropriate verbiage. For instance, we are not playing with cubes, pieces, and tiles, but rather explorers, jungles, and temples. Of course, overuse of theme during the explanation of mechanics can be confusing.

You have accomplished this extremely well here. Very impressive.

2. I like to begin nearly all game instruction with an emphasis on victory conditions, and keep that focus. Your intro has it in there, but maybe it should be highlighted a bit more. Also add: (point to the scoring track).

3. I am a big believer in a quick rules explanation and then diving right into the game. I think the actual explanation as you have it will be fairly quick and certainly comprehensive.

4. "having given their lives to protect their amazing find" What the??? I always imagined that the other workers ran inside the temple and were protecting it with their lives for the rest of the game...

 
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Play Games - Interact - Have Fun!
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I agree with Dane. Well done. I'm going to print this out and keep it in the game box for future reference.

Any more that you have made?
 
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Chris Kice
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Sky Knight X wrote:
I like to set the atmosphere by explaining game rules with the theme in mind, mostly through the use of appropriate verbiage.


This was a concious choice - I'm a big fan of themed games and try to get other players into the setting.

Sky Knight X wrote:
I like to begin nearly all game instruction with an emphasis on victory conditions, and keep that focus. Your intro has it in there, but maybe it should be highlighted a bit more. Also add: (point to the scoring track).


Great suggestion - giving people a clear view of the goal helps them start forumlating strategy as they learn the mechanics.

Sky Knight X wrote:
"having given their lives to protect their amazing find" What the??? I always imagined that the other workers ran inside the temple and were protecting it with their lives for the rest of the game...


LOL - that would be a much better explanation. Guess I automatically go for the darker explanation...

manowarplayer wrote:
Any more that you have made?


This is my first, but I'm planning to start a binder and work my way through my game collection. I'll post them as I finish them.

Thank you both for your kind comments!
 
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Ron K
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'80' maxlength='250'> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="15%" align="right"><b>Avatar OverText</b></td> <td width="85%"> <input type="text" name="overtext[avatar]" value="Train Game anyone?
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It would help folks who lose their place easily (me) if there was some sor of initial game situation mockup picture (to ready all the pieces you are going to reference in some sort of staging area). Then, you can provide a simple picture highlighting which component or interaction the next bit of info is associated with (think Vanna White).

In addition to that (and as someone else has suggested), use a different font and color for the first part of each explanation to make seperating which part or section is which easier as you work your way through. A check box and number wouldn't hurt either so the truly anal can check off each item as they go or remember that they're on item 12 (or better yet, suggest using a game bit to mark their place and supply a spot for it). I ALWAYS lose track of which rule paragraph I'm on as soon as I look up or someone asks a question about one of the sample game bits in my mock up situation.
 
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Ed
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Very nice. I taught several people to play Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride last night, but I have yet to teach Tikal. For that matter, I have yet to play Tikal, although I have a brand new copy just screaming to be played.

Reading off a script, for me at least, would only be a slight improvement over reading out of the rule book. I prefer to just wing it, but your script certainly gives me an idea of what I might want to say and how I might want to organize my presentation. I like how you incorporate theme into your explanation. It makes the rules so much easier to remember and understand. Nice job!

I would add a section at the end about strategy. When I teach Carcassonne, I tell new players: "New players often make the mistake of not having enough farmers." Even with that warning, new players inevitably focus on immediate scoring opportunities and neglect their farms. At least when I cash in big on my farms, they can't say I didn't give them fair warning. I would also point out major blunders in play and give new players an opportunity to redo their turn. When I'm learning a game and the other players exact a price out of me for my ignorance of the strategy or rules, it takes some of the fun out of the experience.

Anyway, nice job!

Ed
 
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Chris Kice
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ed95005 wrote:
I would add a section at the end about strategy.


That's a really great idea - I'll add some strategy tips at the end. Thanks!

Normally when I'm teaching a game, I'll give strategy tips as we play, pointing out bad moves and/or suggesting better moves. I do like the idea of a few strategy pointers since it sometimes takes a play or two to figure out the key strategy of a game. If I can give people that right up front, it will make the game more fun for everyone.
 
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Chris Kice
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RaDiKal wrote:
It would help folks who lose their place easily (me) if there was some sor of initial game situation mockup picture (to ready all the pieces you are going to reference in some sort of staging area). Then, you can provide a simple picture highlighting which component or interaction the next bit of info is associated with (think Vanna White).


I avoided pictures due to copyright issues. My ultimate goal was to host these guides here at the Geek and I know they are touchy about using scans of game components and/or graphics in player aids. The set up section and italicized notes on what to show were an attempt to do this without having to put pictures in the script. (Plus, not everyone has a color printer and I thought a black and white document would be more universally useful.)


RaDiKal wrote:
I ALWAYS lose track of which rule paragraph I'm on as soon as I look up or someone asks a question about one of the sample game bits in my mock up situation.


Funny enough, when I went through the script with my wife, I did lose my place a few times when I stopped to answer questions or perform my on-board demonstrations. I like the checkbox/number idea and am going to incorporate it. Thanks!
 
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