How To Teach Board Games

Posted by Ramon Macutay on

Board Gaming is truly a booming hobby these days. For me, and my board gaming pals, we feel that this is a better alternative to online games because you get to keep the "socializing" aspect and play/relate with your friends and fellow players face-to-face. There's nothing like "real time" and "real games" with your friends versus social or online games. 

At any rate, part of having a fun and perfect evening session of board games is teaching the games to your friends. They can either be casual gamers or hard core gamer nerds (like me and my pals lols). But if you don't get your act together in teaching the game, you might ruin the experience before it even starts. So, I made this short article to give you some tips on how to do it.

Without further ado,

  1. Start with the name of the game and a short background - for example, "This game is called The Resistance, imagine a world like in the Terminator movies where we try to fight the dominant robots for survival. We are all Resistance fighters. However, a few of us may be traitorous spies!"
  2. Tell them the objectives of the game and how to win - Going back to The Resistance example "In this game there will be two teams, the members of the Resistance and the spies. We don't know who the spies are but they know who they are. I will explain later. There will be 5 missions, which I will also explain the mechanics later. The team that wins 3 out of 5 missions wins the game!"
  3. Go to further details - But remember that you DON'T have to tell them every mechanic of the game. A lot of players get bored with "info-overload". Teach them the rudiments of the game and just enough to get them excited. You can explain the finer points of the rules as they encounter it. Going back to our example above, now that you got their attention about the 2 groups and the missions, perhaps you can now teach them how the spies will know each other and what goes on in a mission. Remember, you can describe more details as your group experiences the actual gameplay. You should keep a "balance" here. Not too much info for "overload" but enough that you do not miss out on "game breaking" mechanics or tips that they fail to grasp the entire game concept. (example, not telling your Resistance players that spies ARE NOT obliged to "fail" every mission they are in. Deception is key.).
  4. Ask them if they "get it so far" - Every once in a while, ask your group if they are following you and your instructions and if you're making yourself clear. Encourage them to ask questions. If someone in your playgroup is already familiar with the game, you can ask him to assist you in teaching - perhaps making examples or showing the game pieces, etc.
  5. The first game is the "learning game" - in our group, we call the first game the "learning game" and we tell everyone, especially the new guys, that it's "ok to miss out on a few rules or make mistakes on this game". Basically, you want them to experience an entire game first - they say experience is the greatest teacher and that holds true for board games too. Once they grasp the fundamentals of the first game and get to play out strategies in their mind, they will be excited for another round. This is where you can ask "Learning game over. How about another one?".

That's it.

I hope these tips help you in your next gaming session!

To buy The Resistance, click here.

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Mon M.


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