Here is another article in my series about teaching games. Last time I spoke about the responsibilities the person has who teaches the game. This time I want to cover what is expected of the people learning the game. After all, the teacher will not get anywhere if no one is willing to actually learn the game. So, as a learner there are certain things you have to try and do to make the rules teach easier for everyone.
Continuing my series of articles about teaching games, in this article I want to talk about what responsibilities the teacher has. It's not always obvious, but when you teach a game, you're not done after explaining the rules to the group. You have to continue to keep an eye on things, to make sure everyone plays correctly. You also have to be ready to answer questions during the game. That's a lot of responsibility to shoulder.
I have now spoken quite a bit about how to teach board games to people. Those articles were about teaching games that you have already played yourself and therefore know relatively well. However, when you buy a game, you will be faced with the difficult task of teaching the rules for the first time, before having played it yourself even once.
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.
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.