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Subject: First time play, looking for suggestions. rss

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Scott Sauer
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I have four people lined up for a week from now, eager and willing to learn the Chaos. No one at the table has played it before, including myself. I've read the rules several times, consumed as many primer videos as possible, and have delved into the cards and strategies offered in the back of the rules. I feel like I have a pretty solid grasp on the rules in general, to the point of only needing to reference it on [likely] a couple specific instances.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to proceed with teaching this game. It feels very much so like a "let's dive in and learn as we go," because the rules (omitting the card exceptions) seem awfully simple to apply as we play. I figure with some minimal effort, we can get the turn structure and components explanation out of the way quickly beforehand. The added information on the player cards seems to reinforce that well, and I figure after they've seen it a few times it'll move along quickly.

My question is, we're on a timetable for how long we can play, and realistically, getting exactly four players in the same room for this game is a limiting factor for how often it will get played among my group. The timetable in question is 4 or 5 hours. Ideally, I'd like to get as many "real" games underway in that time frame as possible (as opposed to "learning" games), because these instances don't come along real often.

What sort of suggestions might you have for optimizing "real" play. I'm not looking for amazing strategies, but I'm not sure how far into a game you need to play to get the general feel. I'm tempted to play a partial "learning" game to move onto "real" play faster. How long do you think you need before you opt out of the experience where players will start grasping strategies at a basic concept? Should I confine people to the same ruinous power for the duration of the night to help facilitate that? Does it make sense with that timetable to play one full "learning" game and then one "real" game, or can I get away with a few rounds of "learning" and then still fit in a couple full "real" games? Any hangups you've faced in teaching the game that I can try to anticipate? Am I wrong in assuming that a "learn as you go," approach is the right answer? Any suggestions to help with the process?

I would be indebted to anyone that can shed light on this. I'm relatively new to more serious board gaming (past 1.5-2 years), and I absolutely love trying to find the best results in teaching methods.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I'd recommend looking in the folder and seeing whether somebody had already asked this, and people had already answered it. Like in this thread for instance: Help me please make the first play a success
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Scott Sauer
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I've read that thread, and that user is asking a much different question than what I'm asking. "How do I sell this game to my friends?" is a lot different than "How do I maximize my time with the learning curve?"
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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There are lots of other threads. In my group, a couple of us read the rules and we gave those who hadn't done so a rundown and we dove in. That's what we do with pretty much any game, and it works fine for us.
 
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Jonathan Harrison
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thesau31 wrote:
I have four people lined up for a week from now, eager and willing to learn the Chaos. No one at the table has played it before, including myself. I've read the rules several times, consumed as many primer videos as possible, and have delved into the cards and strategies offered in the back of the rules. I feel like I have a pretty solid grasp on the rules in general, to the point of only needing to reference it on [likely] a couple specific instances.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to proceed with teaching this game. It feels very much so like a "let's dive in and learn as we go," because the rules (omitting the card exceptions) seem awfully simple to apply as we play. I figure with some minimal effort, we can get the turn structure and components explanation out of the way quickly beforehand. The added information on the player cards seems to reinforce that well, and I figure after they've seen it a few times it'll move along quickly.

My question is, we're on a timetable for how long we can play, and realistically, getting exactly four players in the same room for this game is a limiting factor for how often it will get played among my group. The timetable in question is 4 or 5 hours. Ideally, I'd like to get as many "real" games underway in that time frame as possible (as opposed to "learning" games), because these instances don't come along real often.

What sort of suggestions might you have for optimizing "real" play. I'm not looking for amazing strategies, but I'm not sure how far into a game you need to play to get the general feel. I'm tempted to play a partial "learning" game to move onto "real" play faster. How long do you think you need before you opt out of the experience where players will start grasping strategies at a basic concept? Should I confine people to the same ruinous power for the duration of the night to help facilitate that? Does it make sense with that timetable to play one full "learning" game and then one "real" game, or can I get away with a few rounds of "learning" and then still fit in a couple full "real" games? Any hangups you've faced in teaching the game that I can try to anticipate? Am I wrong in assuming that a "learn as you go," approach is the right answer? Any suggestions to help with the process?

I would be indebted to anyone that can shed light on this. I'm relatively new to more serious board gaming (past 1.5-2 years), and I absolutely love trying to find the best results in teaching methods.

I'd try, in this order:

(1) beforehand, a solo learning game, alternating between all powers until you feel comfortable;

(2) either (a) a short learning game, in which players play a power apiece; or, preferably, (b) a short demonstration, in which the players each help play each power as you demonstrate the rules;

(3) the full game
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James
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Actually, that specific thread has a lot of advice that would be useful to you. Though the OP asked a different question, the responses actually speak quite a bit to presenting the gameplay in as efficient a manner as possible which is what you were requesting. Have another look. I would also look at this thread, too, for information useful to you; it, too, is worth a read.

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/6073361#6073361

I'll be frank, though. You might only get one play in. Play time will go down significantly, but first plays with games such as these easily can creep up. My advice would be to do everything you can to make that first play not a just a throwaway session but an authentic experience. My advice in the thread I linked about being candid with your friends about Khorne's winning strategy is directed to that end, for example.

If you're able to get a second session in during your window, it will be even better.
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Joel Schuster
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Read the rules. Read them again and then again. And then once more. Also read the FAQ and have it nearby. You really need to be confident of how this game works. If a question comes up, you should be able to answer it off the top of your head.

This is really the best advice I can give you to optimize your (first) play.

I have been teaching alot of games to other players and the most awkward spot you can find yourself in is teaching a game to others that you dont know by heart.

If others feel you are shaky about how the game works, you'll have a shambled gaming experience. On the other hand if you can convey that you know how things are supposed to work in a game as complex as this, the cohesion of your group will be much improved. So you'll play much quicker and it will be a condensed experience for everybody involved.
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Gert Meyer
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4-5 hours playtime with a full table of noobs. I don't think you'll get 2 full games in, no matter how you cut it.

So... to maximize the value of the full game experience I'd recommend probably going with a test game. Maybe 2 full rounds. Let everyone get a sense of how the game flows. If things progress well, you can alternatively cap the learning game at the first Ruination to get through all facets of the game.

Then reboot, but don't reassign the gods unless the others really insist on doing that.
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Taught this game many, many times. Here's some tips off the top of my head.

- First, get these files:

Walkthrough

FAQ

- Play a solo game or two to familiarize yourself with the game (this is maybe the most important thing)

- I prefer to play a few learning rounds and just continue to game end. People will learn from their mistakes as you go. Big things to remember is to run from Khorne. The Khorne play wants to spread out as much as possible, Tzeentch and Slaanesh want to stay with their warpstone/nobles respectively, and Nurgle probably wants to stick to populous regions until he gets a better grasp of the game.

- I would not expect more than one game in 4 hours with new people. You are probably looking at around 3 hours for one play, depending on how AP prone your people are.

- Try to make sure everyone keeps a good attitude. People will screw up your plans in this game and they are meant to do so.


edit: Thanks for the help with the links
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Jonathan Harrison
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illrepute wrote:
no idea why my links are stupid, but I don't know how to change it.....sorry.


Do this:

[geekurl=/filepage/46491/universal-head-chaos-in-the-old-world-rules-summar]Walkthrough[/geekurl]

[geekurl=/filepage/53669/official-faq-formatted-to-fit-four-pages-no-graphi]FAQ[/geekurl]


to get this:

Walkthrough

FAQ

Essentially, for a custom URL, delete http://www.boardgamegeek.com from your BGG URL.
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Scott Sauer
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Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions. Tomorrow night is the big night, so I'm going to play solo tonight to prepare. Depending on how that goes, I'll adjust my plan of attack accordingly, but as of right now, I'm leaning towards the idea of "play a demo game until the first ruination and then start over with the same powers."

Really appreciate all of the suggestions, I'll let you know how it shakes out.
 
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James
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thesau31 wrote:
Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions. Tomorrow night is the big night, so I'm going to play solo tonight to prepare. Depending on how that goes, I'll adjust my plan of attack accordingly, but as of right now, I'm leaning towards the idea of "play a demo game until the first ruination and then start over with the same powers."

Really appreciate all of the suggestions, I'll let you know how it shakes out.

I think that's a really good plan. If players feel they have the game before then, you could even abandon the demo game before the first ruination. There's a good chance they'll understand the mechanics of play pretty well by the second round.

Have fun (and don't forget to print out the player aids; I'd argue they're pretty essential). Please consider reporting back how the first session went.

 
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Scott Sauer
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Brother Jim wrote:
(...) and don't forget to print out the player aids; I'd argue they're pretty essential). Please consider reporting back how the first session went.



Already done, and will do!
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The only important tip I can give you is the following:

Being attacked? Unsummon your guy and take him away. This is a central strategy of the game.
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Scott Sauer
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Everything went absolutely wonderful last night, and I have to give huge credit for that to the suggestions here.

The demo game was a spectacular way to introduce the mechanics. We ran 3 rounds total, completely ignoring cards (Chaos & Old World) for the first round. I really wanted to drive home the summoning, domination, corruption and threat dial concepts before people got distracted too much with specialty text on the cards. Introducing those items in the second round really allowed for me to use an "Oh, by the way, you can also do this," introduction of the cards, so it didn't seem nearly as overwhelming for options as it would've in the first round. We were also lucky enough to get a ruination at the end of the third round, so it really wrapped up all of the mechanics nicely.

After that, we kept the same gods and I distributed copies of the light strategy explanations available in the back of the rule book to everyone. Took a few minutes for the players to peruse the strategy suggestions as well as flip through their Chaos decks to see what all the tools they had at their disposal. We delved into a full game at that point, and I could not be happier with the results. I have never seen a first night of a game go so well. We might not have made all of the best decisions, but I am sure we were at least making informed and intentional ones.

The game ended in a victory point win for Nurgle, who benefited hugely from a first-round Old World card that allowed for no battles in Bretonia and the Empire. In addition, it *never* got removed from the OW Track due to every following card being a discard-from-play style OW card. Even with that anomaly, the other players kept up pretty well and everyone went away from it having had a blast. We're even chatting up the next time we can pull this out again.

Thank you so much everyone, this experience couldn't have been had without this discussion and community. I appreciate it.
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James
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Hey, Scott, that's terrific. It sounds like you guys did a great job with the game, too. I think it takes some imagination and insight for many players to see how this whole game holds together with all of the whirring mechanisms and asymmetric play. Congrats; as I mentioned, I'm sure subsequent plays will get even better as strategies and counterstrategies flesh out.
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jojo mcpharlen
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Running a game Saturday where all 5 of us are new, will be following your lead. Thanks for the thread all!
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