Teaching a Board Game

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I created a new topic for everyone to link posts related to teaching board games! For the first post, I was thinking I could get everyone's tips on this art form :)

So, have at it and share helpful tips based on your past experience! What worked? What didn't? What is your process like? (No need to try and address every single one of these). Other threads I plan to open up for this Topic will be along the lines of "Hardest Games to Teach and Your Tips," "Your Favorite How To Play Videos," "Easy To Teach Board Games for Family Gatherings with Decent Amount of Strategy," etc.


Here's some of my quick tips:

  1. Learn the game yourself before the game session. It takes time, but there's nothing worse than fumbling through the rulebook while everyone is present and constantly interrupting the game flow.
  2. Use past games played as jumping points to explain mechanisms in a new game. Having a reference point always makes it less overwhelming and makes rules easier to digest.

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9 months ago

  • We typically choose the games we'll be playing on game day ahead of time so that we can read through the rules and prep ahead of time
  • Send links to rulebooks and HtP videos to the group so they can review those things, too (doesn't always happen, but we send them anyway)
  • Print out extra player aids if they exist (we LOVE Esoteric Order of Gamers for this) or make a copy of the turn review page in the rulebook so each person can have one if they want it (many people find it easier to follow along if they have an aid)
  • Start with the objective of the game, end of game trigger, win conditions
  • Then give an overview of the phases of a turn/round
  • Then go into each part of a turn/round in-depth
  • Go over scoring
  • Resolve any questions

-Rebecca

Supporter9 months ago

Never heard of the esoteric order of gamers. I'll need to check them out. Thanks for the heads up. 

9 months ago

Sure thing! They've got some of the best player aids out there.

Supporter9 months ago

They do look nice. 

9 months ago

I'm thinking of doing a video on my process on this in the near future. I've been teaching people game since i founded my first games club when i was 11 at school. 32 years later, i've taught a fair few of them. 

Supporter9 months ago

Some great suggestions in this thread so far. I typically start at the end of the game and work backwards from there. I almost always use the theme of the game as a crutch to help explain rules and mechanisms. I find that helps make the teaching and understanding much easier. 

Supporter9 months ago

I usually just do the two above mentioned.

I also try to allude to rules but like to always remember to say "we'll get to that in more detail later".  I also like to try to employ the, wait for question until later.

I'd love to give homework but I find it doesn't really get completed often enough or by everyone and I just have to explain it all out anyway.

I always put the pieces out on the board and move them as if the game was being played.  Even if it's repeated. (IE, I always place a worker in every spot in Viticulture as I teach each spot).

Premium User9 months ago

#1.  I always try to learn the ins ans outs of the game myself before teaching.  I'll usually self run a four player or two player game to get a good understanding of the game and work out the nuances or the rules or else I've played the game with others somewhere else.

#2. I ask myself, "can someone learn this game AS we play the game.  #PARKS is a good example of the game you can learn while playing without suffering too many consequences.  #Anachrony probably fits this profile as well.  #Trismegistus: The Ultimate Formula does not.

#3. I like to start with the final scoring and work backward.  For expample, to teach Scythe, I explain that all 'points' are turned into coin at the end of the game.  Then popularity as a multiplier, controlled hexs, resources, and stars...how to get stars.  What the different pieces do, and finally how the top and bottom actions work together.  Faction abilities and the factory and other rules I'll explain at the end. 

Supporter9 months ago

Oh yeah, I forgot about this.  I tend to refer to the "how to win" portion of the game throughout the teach.

Premium User9 months ago

learn how the person you are teaching likes to learn. Are the tactile and need to hold the meeples while you explain?  Are they visual and need to see the cards as you explain it? etc.

9 months ago

  • If the game is at all heavy, have people watch a how-to-play video before you plan to play. I've done this for #Dune, and it worked like a charm. I still cover the basics before we actually play, but if it's not the first time they've heard the rules, people understand it better and can ask clarifying questions.
  • Start with "how do you win?" or "what is the objective?" and work backwards from there. A simple example is #Century: Golem Edition - You win by scoring the most points, which come mainly from the Golem cards, which are puchased using the indicated crystals. You gain the crystals by doing XYZ, and your options for actions on your turn are ABC.
    Doing it this way helps give context for all of the other rules you're about to explain. This should work for a lot of games, but probably not all.

Supporter9 months ago

If teaching a new game to gamers... Give them homework. 

Supporter9 months ago

Yeah. I typically send out links to videos that reach the game we will be playing. 

Supporter9 months ago

The more complicated the game the more important it is. Which instruction videos are your favorite? 

Supporter9 months ago

Who do you recommend?

Supporter9 months ago

Rodney Smith it you can find it. 

Ricky Royal will teach you the rules and game flow in his walk through. 

Phasing player is really good. 

Supporter9 months ago

Rodney Smith “Watch it Played” no question. 

Supporter9 months ago

Yep. 

9 months ago

Exactly...basically what I said in the first bullet of my comment

Supporter9 months ago

Sorry. I started my reply, was interrupted, came back to it a few minutes later. Never saw your reply until now. You ssid it better than me. 

9 months ago

Oh no I was just agreeing with you. There's room for both of our comments haha. I'm pretty sure your comment was first.

Supporter9 months ago

No worries 

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