You have gone through the process of getting some friends together and you want to introduce them to a new game. The good news is that they are not looking to you as a master of this new game. They really want a guide to get them past the rules and get to the gaming goodness - the reason they came to the event to begin with.Be Familiar with Your GamesWhat's the worst thing you can do with a new game? Read the rules in front of your gaming group. Some of these games come with Rule Guides of over 35 pages. It is not practical to read that as you go. Chances are you won't have anyone at your next gaming event if this is how you plan to handle it.The important part of this process is not complete mastery. It is maintaining control long enough for everyone to get the hang of the game themselves. What your friends want from the situation is to play the game with the correct set of rules.They want to know:
How do they win?
What do I do when it is my turn?
How do I interact with others?
These are the points you need to cover at the very beginning, so they understand where all the explanation is leading.If you forget certain rules, it is alright to add them later. You're goal here is to get past the basic explanation so everyone can enjoy the game. You lose control of the situation and your friends' attention the minute you go to look up a set of rules in the rule book.Set Up the Game Before You StartThis is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your success in teaching new people a game. Good speakers use props to enhance their presentations. You certainly don't need PowerPoint for this, but having the game as a reference is a great tool.This allows for two things.
You can use the game bits and cards to explain points.
People can play the game immediately after you are done.
Introduce the GoalEvery game has a goal. Some are simple goals, like "If you have the most points by turn 10, you win". Other games have more complex, and really don't make sense until you review the rules of the game. Make sure you explain these goals up front and make sure you repeat them often.Whatever the goal, people like to know what they need to accomplish. This is what drags them through the process of hearing the rules. With the "end" in mind, they can get through and understand the "means".If you don't do this, your audience will constantly be wondering "how does this help me win?" This is distracting to the learner and you want to eliminate it. If you can't explain it well at the beginning, give them keywords or something to latch onto, so they understand it when it shows up.
Choice 1, 2, and 3. When you are done, you say something like "OK, that's the first part of your turn. That was X. Now, let's take a look at Y." While doing this, rephrase the rules you just offered, rather than repeating them again the same way. This will help some of your group "get it" if they had not already.Introducing Game Terms Lots of games have common things, but they go by different names. Make these associations for your group and then introduce them to the correct terms for the game you are trying to teach them. A good example of this type of item is money. If you can get away without using the game jargon, that will help your group grasp concepts better. For example, if you are introducing Settlers of Catan, there is no money in the game. But, there are resources. You can equate these to money and talk about how you buy things with combinations of money, or "resources". This allows you to add your own flair to the instruction and bring people into the game quicker.Talk to MeTeaching new gamers a game should be a conversation, not a boring lecture. People want to have fun, not watch you give a fancy presentation. Watch to make sure your fellow gamers are getting what you are saying and don't be afraid to go back and reiterate something you already mentioned - even if you have to new games revisit a concept several times.Don't single out people that are having trouble grasping the rules. One of the worst things you can do is set them up to look slow. They won't want to ask questions after that. It is also possible that they may not return for another gaming session.Here's A Personal Experience For You I got a new game, Starcraft the Board Game, about two months ago. I was sure my wife would be interested in checking it out, so she could kick my intersteller butt. This game had a 45 page rule guide. I did not follow any of these suggestions for myself and suggested we go through the guide and try to teach ourselves. Well, four hours later, we had gotten to the point where we actually started to understand what the rules were saying and we attempted to play. This was possibly one of the worst gaming experiences for her. To this day, she refuses to really try to play that game.We had a better experience this last weekend with Shadows Over Camelot. I introduced it to her and her mother. I watched a few videos on about the game and was a little more familiar with how the game played.

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