I have mentioned it on this blog before, but my favourite way of being taught a new game is by diving right in. Teach me only the absolute minimum, just so I roughly know what sort of game we’re playing and get an outline of what I’m trying to achieve and then let me start taking my turn. It’s the sort of style of teaching that Paul Grogan of Gaming Rules advocates and it’s probably the best option for demoing a game at a convention as well.
I want to continue my series on how to teach board games to others by talking about how you can learn the game yourself or ask others to learn it for themselves. After all, you can’t teach others until you know how to play it yourself and you’re a better teacher if you’ve actually played the game yourself. Also, sometimes it’s actually fun to learn a game and not always a big onus to expect others to learn a new game for themselves before you all meet up to play it.
Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year. We all somehow made it into 2022, probably a little worse for wear, but we made it nonetheless. The world has changed a lot, but there are still many moments of positivity and hope. I don’t want to make predictions about what might happen to us all in the future, but instead, I want to focus on the Tabletop Games Blog and maybe talk about a couple of things that I hope for in our hobby.
Like probably everyone else does at the end of another calendar year, it’s time for me to look back on 2021 and share with you what I’ve been up to. In fact, this year I want to share with you some more detail, so that you can see what is involved in doing what I do in the name of the Tabletop Games Blog.
In my third article about teaching games, I want to talk about light games. The advantage of these games is, that they are easy to teach and quick to learn – and often also quick to play. So, this article should be rather short, but as we know, the easier something is, the better you have to execute it and given that lighter games are usually the sort of games new people to the hobby will come in contact with first, we need to do a good job teaching these types of games or we may miss a chance to grow our hobby. So, no pressure.
Continuing in my series of articles about how to teach games to others, I want to talk about maybe the best approach – and that is getting your games group to learn a game together. After all, for many of us, playing board games is a social activity and at the very least, it’s a hobby we share. So it makes sense to also share the burden of teaching, or rather learning, how to play a new game.
Teaching someone the rules to a board game is never easy. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert when it comes to teaching, but over time I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to become a better teacher. I found that different types of games require different types of teaching. So I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned so far and maybe you pick up some ideas that help you with teaching new games to people.
There are so-called “race” games, where the first player to fulfil certain winning conditions takes the victory and the game ends immediately. These games differ from other games where you play so many rounds and whoever has the most points at the end wins. Most race games are highly competitive and it’s every player for themselves, but in some of these types of games, the situation is a bit more complicated. In this article, I want to look at race games where positive player interaction is a thing.
I think something that many of us in the hobby feel very bad about, are the many board games that are set against historic events, but that make no attempt to respectfully represent what happened and often sweep under the carpet the atrocities that were committed during the time that the games are set. So it’s very refreshing to see people come together to create an award that tries to redress the situation and encourages the creation of historical games designed by people from marginalized groups. The hope is that these games will be much more representative, respectful and diverse. That’s the Zenobia Award.
Someone once said that board games are basically just a framework to arbitrate a victor. Even though that sounds quite cold, at its heart, it describes how many of us, especially competitive players, feel about board games. There needs to be someone at the end of the game who has won. The emphasis here is on the singular victor rather than winning as a team. In this article, I want to look at what it means not to have a single victor.