Learning a New Game
Have you ever seen a game that looks so cool but the size of it intimidates you? Then you open the box to find a 40-page rulebook! Unless you’re a hobby gamer this is when you might give up and go back to Cards Against Humanities or another easy to learn game. I’ve been guilty of this but have found ways to push through the intimidation to learn a fun new game!
I’m the person in my gaming group that owns all the games and teaches them to the other players during game night. It can be intimidating at times when someone asks a question you don’t remember reading in the rulebook. Plus, many rulebooks are poorly written or lack visual illustrations or good graphic design. I own close to 200 games and if I haven’t played one of them in a while, I need to brush up on the rules. I also buy new games often without having played it. Especially when I back Kickstarters. I don’t mind reading rulebooks but they can be dry and confusing depending on who writes them. I always prefer to be taught the rules but since that’s typically my job it doesn’t happen much.
Below are my steps to learning a game on my own:
Open the box and see what’s inside. Many times, there are things that need to be punched out and this can take a while. I normally get everything organized and out of the packaging, so I know what I’m dealing with.
Depending on the size of the rulebook and the complexity of the game I might just read the rulebook and teach it. But if I’ve already been warned that it’s a difficult game to learn I will watch a youtube reviewer first. I find that I learn better through listening and watching compared to reading. That way I have a reference to what I’m reading in the rulebook. There are some amazing tabletop youtubers out there that can give a synopsis in 5 minutes or less!
Read the rulebook! Have the game near you in case you need a visual representation of the game. It always helps me to try and set up a game before I teach it to other players.
If there are any clarifications on the rules read blogs like Board Game Geek to get any questions answered! Or watch a video of a game run through.
Don’t let a rulebook scare you out of learning a new game. I have played some great games recently that a year ago I wouldn’t have had had the patience to learn. I've learned to love learning new games but I know many people don't feel the same way. My fiance loves playing games she already knows but hates learning the rules to new ones. It has nothing to do with how she learns a new game but more the fact of how long the game can take when everyone is just learning. For this reason I don't buy games that are heavy Euros because she would never play them with me. They take too long to learn and play which makes her feel like it's a chore rather then a laid back experience. I had to promise to stop having her learn more then one game at a time. That way I don't overdose her with new rules. Every person has a different way of learning but if people aren't enjoying the experience stay open to playing something else. This week I will be tackling the rules for the new Kickstarter Edition of Hellboy to play with my friend Tommy, wish me luck!