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Subject: What are you playing this week? (May 28–June 3 Edition) rss

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Nick Shaw
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Hello Pegheads! This week is the UK Games Expo here in the UK, and I'll be there the whole time, running demos for Mighty Boards and Mind Clash Games. Gonna be an exhausting time, but hopefully a lot of fun too. Hoping to see some of the boardgaming celebs like Tom Vasel, Richard Ham and others.

As I'll be teaching potentially 7 different games at the expo, it got me thinking: how many of us Pegheads do the teaching for games in their group/with their significant other? And if so, what do you like about having that role in the group?

And any advice for how best to teach games to random people at conventions where you likely don't have time to teach *all* the rules?...

But of course what the Pegheads *really* want to know is: What are you playing this week?...
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John Kanost
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I love this question, Nick, because it hits right where I live. I've been a volunteer for Envoy, the games-promoting arm of Double Exposure, since 2015. They call us "Heralds", because our job is to be "out on the streets" promoting games chiefly by show and tell.

I am almost always the person teaching games at home, and more often than not the same is true when I'm out playing with my primary group or others. There are exceptions, but I've been the one teaching the majority of the games I've played for the past three years. What I enjoy the most about teaching game is getting to share something I love with others, especially when the game is done and they want to play it again.

I've been in that situation. It helps to know up front if you're teaching for a full play, a shortened demo, or just doing an elevator pitch. But even if you don't know you won't have time to teach everything, I feel like there are some general rules of thumb that can help you no matter what sort of teach you're doing.

1. Get right to the fun. If you've played the game, you know what you like about it. Start off with that. You'll be genuinely enthusiastic about what you're "selling" and that will come across.

2. Avoid gamer jargon. It's okay if you know your audience to say things like, "this game has a cool set collection mechanic combined with action selection and tile-laying", but if you're at a convention, you likely have no idea what other games someone has been exposed to, or how "deep" into the hobby they are.

3. Show, don't tell. If you're short on time and can only get into a basic overview of how the game plays, try to walk them through how a turn plays out using the game's pieces. If it has any particularly impressive components, be sure to show them off. If they're going to walk away after a 2-5 minute encounter, you want them to remember it.

4. Skip to the End. How do you win this game; what are you trying to accomplish? Connect it to the theme if it has one (if it doesn't, you can probably teach all the rules in less than five minutes). If they're not playing right now, they don't need to know what pieces go where to set up a game, and that should have this context first anyway.
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Steve O'Rourke
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Looking forward to seeing the answers to this question... I have not taught at conventions, but I do teach to family and friends. It's not always successful. I like getting into the details, but they like getting into the game. If what I'm doing turns them off, I need to tailor it to them and do it better. It's in my long-term interest if I want them to keep coming back as play-partners.

As for what I'm playing this week, not a ton planned. I have two more search committee meetings tomorrow and Wednesday. After that, I'll be working in NYC for the World Science Festival. (WSF runs through Sunday 6/3.) Apps for the train rides might be all I play (Onirim, Jaipur, Splendor, etc.). Still looking forward to a first game of Seikatsu, too.
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Meghan Naxer
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My first time working at a booth was Origins last year and I did several shifts for Capstone Games. I am a huge fan of The Climbers, so I primarily ran demos at the front table of that game, as well as answering questions and handling purchase transactions. I also ended up answering questions and doing brief overviews of Lignum (second edition) and Three Kingdoms Redux. My #1 Rule: Drink LOTS of water and pack Ricola/cough drops and use them about every hour or 2 as a PREEMPTIVE measure. I worked 3 4-hour shifts for Capstone last year and never once lost my voice or had a sore throat. Tea in the mornings also helped.

As far as actually teaching these games, I usually always started with theme (or in the case of Climbers, joked about the fact that it looked like a dexterity game but definitely isn't). Once people were excited about the game (or decided it wasn't for them and moved on), I talked end-game goals and win conditions, and then went step-through-step on how to play the game in order to meet the victory conditions. Having a goal in mind and teaching the rules with enough strategic hints as you go gives people a better idea of how it will "feel" to play the game and the type of decisions they'll be making during the game if they're not going to have a chance to play it. If I taught a group how to play for an entire play through, then I taught them the same way I'd teach my regular game group and then commentated for people spectating so they could get an idea of what the game was about and what made it fun. I was doing lots of different things at the booth, so I had to be flexible about going back and forth. I hope that helps!!!

Today is the Memorial Day holiday in the US, so Paul and I have off work in a bonus weekend day! Since yesterday was our day out, today is our day-in for gaming! Hoping to get some bigger games to the table, so we'll see what strikes our fancy!
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j s
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I generally do the teaching. I think most people here have covered the big tips.

My wife and I have been playing the mind and imperial settlers a bunch recently so I imagine that trend will continue. I just picked up decrypto so that might get some play. I would like to see Elysium hit the table since it is on the chopping block and I want to see if it makes the cut or not.

My buddies birthday is this weekend so I imagine lots of social deduction games: triple agent, 2 rooms & a boom, deception MiH, that kind of stuff.

Enjoy your week everyone,
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Chris Graves
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I am generally the teacher of games in my world. I think there is a great list of suggestions so far. The only thing I would add is, I often like to practice how I will present the rules explanation, especially if I haven't taught the game before and/or if I am also new to the game.

P.S. John taught me GWT...he is a really good teacherer.

This week should be completely up in the air for gameplay. We'll see how it unfolds. I'd like to at least try to get a Sunday session in, and if I'm lucky, my Friday night Gloomhaven session.

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Jennifer Stearns
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Started the week with Charterstone last night. My Mom is coming for a multi-week visit tonight, and she usually will indulge me in some games while she's here.

Weekly game night this week is Railways of Nippon, hoping that Mom will be interested to join me for the night or part of it. It's an advanced version of Ticket to Ride, right?

As far as teaching goes, I try to follow the same script each teach.

Goal (points/money/etc.)

How do you achieve that goal (icons for points, broad description of how points work)

Specifics on achieving goal (more details on where points come from, light strategy)

What a turn looks like/actions you can take on your turn

Anything else crucial before game start
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Meghan Naxer
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Got in lots of games while we avoided going outside in the heat yesterday during our holiday! I had a pitiful excuse for defense in Stronghold (2nd edition) and will need a grudge match soon. After lunch we cut some wood in Lignum (second edition), and after dinner we learned the expansion to Dokmus and added a Peloton team and a Muscle team in our game of Flamme Rouge! Everyone crossed the finish line, but Peloton team took first place YET AGAIN! Aside from Flamme Rouge, Paul swept the day with wins!
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Kevin Farrell
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Memorial Day game night meant GWT, Tower of Babel, and 2 games of Azul.
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John Kanost
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So our Memorial Day gaming is now in the past. After taking the family to (finally) see the new super people movie that morning (no spoilers) we needed a pick-up-up and went to the comic shop early at 3:30 to start.

We got in a lengthy play of Great Western Trail while a second game of it was played on the table behind us. I tried my hand at a Craftsman strategy for the first time and it tanked miserably; I came in last, but it was still fun to try.

Followed that up with a few rounds of a new-to-me Love Letter clone, Lost Legacy: The Starship.

Finished the evening out with a game of Century: Golem Edition.
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Nick Shaw
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Thanks everyone for the super advice so far! I'll be taking lots of water and cough drops (and snacks, as I don't know how often I'll get off the stand). And the game-teaching advice is very useful too. Was what I was leaning towards doing, so glad I was thinking along the right lines.

Gaming so far this week: Monday was playtest meetup night; we played 3 games; Mark's domino-pyramid game, which is coming along very well, just needs scoring balancing for the higher player count; Chris' Evil Genius game, which I consider ready for pitching to publishers now - flowed very well indeed [helped that I was in the lead]; and finally my newly updated multiplayer rules for my game Snakey Dice (been on a bit of a roll & write frenzy of recent!), which also went very well, especially considering the untested rules changes I'd made. I just need to get more powerups on the board so players can power up their tech trees faster.

Last night was more Trickerion: Academy testing. Going well, although I still haven't completed a whole game with the Academy rules added in, as I keep having to look up the mechanics of those new bits, and add to that the AI rules that are still a little in flux, and it's taking me 30 minutes per round currently (it should take 15-20 minutes per round, as the game should only take 2 hours total for 7 rounds). That'll obviously speed up once I get all the rules in my head! Glad I'm not [necessarily] teaching this one at the Expo!

Tonight I have an old friend from my old game group (who's in town for work) coming over for some games; not sure what we'll play, but he's happy with anything from silly fillers to complex eurogames, so it'll be good whatever we play.

Then tomorrow I'm off to the Expo in Birmingham, with a 4-5 hour drive to get there [so I've stocked up on plenty of podcasts for the journey], then helping set up the stand, ready for the mass of crowds on Friday-Sunday! I'm thinking of taking Happy Salmon as a fun little 'group bonding' game to kick things off...
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Brendan Riley
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Last night I got to try Blood Rage for the first time. I can see why everyone likes it, but boy am I not very good at it. ;D

We also tested out a party game for the first time as proof of concept, and it proved, so that was nice.

And then I got to try both Santorini and King of New York. I liked both, and could see enjoying Santorini in my collection if I didn't already have plenty of two player games. King of New York was a little too fiddly for my tast, but as I don't play King of Tokyo that often, perhaps I'm not the best judge.
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Douglas Klipfel
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I have been much more selective in buying games over the last year. Before buying a game I will wait to see more reviews and also just to see if over time my excitement fades for the game. I had Azul on my wish list for a long time. I had a feeling that my wife would enjoy it.

Azul showed up from coolstuff on Yesturday and we played it last night. Super big hit for my wife. She said she loved it as soon as she saw it. The components alone sold my wife on the game. Homerun for our family.

One other area I have been targeting is 2 player games that will work with my Father. So I purchased.

Pyramid Poker
The Fox in the Forest

I also grabbed Tournament at Camelot as it seems to be a hard one to catch in stock.
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Scott Sexton
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Last week I managed to win my group's Charterstone campaign and boy do I feel ambivalent about it. I'm pretty sure that means that my group is required to call me "your highness" from now on.

On Sunday my son and I attended our local Shadespire Championship Tournament. I beat my son in the final. soblue

Earlier this week the kiddos and I got in another session of Folklore.

Last night I taught my son Import-Export.

Yesterday I received my advance copies of the 5 CYOA Graphic Novels from Van Rider Games. I've been pouring over Captive so far. I don't think I'll be letting the kids read this one yet, but I'm quite pleased so far with the quality of the game book. It plays a bit more like Legacy of Dragonholt then your traditional 80's game book.

This Friday my son and I are trekking up to Omaha to play in the Bugeater (which is the closest thing we have to a local Grand Clash - its run as a fundraiser for a local debate/forensics high school team) Shadespire tournament.

Saturday is gameday at the library, so I'm hoping to try out Champions of Midgard (with expansions), Fate of the Elder Gods (Istanbul in Arkham), or maybe even some more Legacy of Dragonholt.
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Joe Pilkus
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Hello, Pegs!

Great question, Nick and I'm really impressed with John's answer. I'm going to live by those words in a few weeks when I'm teaching for both Rio Grande Games and Academy Games.

As for this week I taught my girlfriend Splendor but haven't really gotten any other games in, as I've been in Tampa. I did post that fact, but I had no one from the 1-Player Guild or anywhere else respond, so that area Florida must be pretty quiet for gamers.

Tomorrow, my daughter returns to me from college and I'm going to host a game night with some of her friends, as well.

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Christopher Hayashida
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I think I'm too late to give teaching hints. My advice would be to know the games beforehand, and have good notes. I usually read the BGG rules forums in addition to the rulebook before I teach a game. Sometimes I watch a playthrough and make comments (or notes to myself) to figure out what questions arise during gameplay.

But, my favorite thing this week is that I finally got Sidereal Confluence to the table! I'm really happy about this - I've been trying to organize a group to play it at the different meetups I've been going to for the past month or so. I finally was able to get a four-player game in on Thursday. It was a lot of fun, and I'm hoping that the other players would be open to play again later.

Good luck at UKGE. Hope the teaching goes well!
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John Kanost
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Weekend Update

Got a couple games in with the family during the week. Tuesday night we broke out the DC Deck-Building Game, and my wife smashed us all to pieces. Then on Thursday, I asked if we could play Whistle Stop again since I'll be certifying to teach it soon, and my wife smashed us all to pieces.

Friday, I joined some friends at the board game cafe after work, and we started things off with a play of



This is a very silly game that I'd only played once before, nearly two years ago. It is fun, but I think I'm quite happy just playing it once every two years.

Afterwards, we played a game of Shadows over Camelot, which I'd also not played in a long time (nearly three years). We lost because Lee is a dirty rotten no-good scoundrel TRAITOR. Well-played, Lee, well-played.

Today my boys and I traveled up to Marysville to play some games with my CabinCon buddy Chris, who had his home to himself all day with his wife and daughters away. Our friend Doug also joined us, and we started out with a game of classic BSG. I was a Cylon from the start, but I didn't have to lift a finger; the game was simply brutal and I was very glad I wasn't a human. They eventually lost the game when the Population track hit 0. Chris then revealed that he was also a Cylon--from the start; we never even made it to the Turn.

After that we played a game of Scythe, using the "Deja Vu" alternate game-end condition from the Wind Gambit expansion. The game couldn't end until all the Encounters were taken; then they reset and the game could either end normally with any player's sixth star or when all the Encounters were taken a second time. Chris timed his sixth star to come out on the same turn that he grabbed the last of the first Encounters, and won (but only by 5 points over me!)

We finished off the evening with Chris teaching us how to play Drakon. We played two games; I wasn't very good at it, but Matthew really seemed to like it.

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Nick Shaw
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Thanks everyone for all the great advice! UKGE is now over, and it all went very well. Meghan's advice was spot on - I drank small sips of water almost constantly, and took throat-sweets as a preventative measure, and my voice was fine all weekend. And all the other advice was great too, and helped a lot.

I think the one thing I'd do differently, in retrospect, is ask people outright if they want a quick 5 minute overview, a more detailed rules overview, or a full rules breakdown and play a few sample turns. It was usually obvious what kind of demo people wanted, but one group were clearly flagging midway through my rules explanation at one point, and probably would have been happy with a 5 minute overview.



Here's a quick summary of how things went:

Thursday was setup day. Not much to say about this; it was just us unloading stuff and setting up the booth. The evening involved a giant-fishfinger-sandwich at the hotel bar (SO tasty), then I got to watch David Turczi and the guys from Mind Clash Games playtest the forthcoming new Anachrony expansion [I only didn't play too because I don't know how to play it, and we wouldn't have had time to teach me AND play the new stuff too].

Friday was a nice, calm, but still busy introduction to the weekend, and I demoed Posthuman Saga about a gazillion times, and Petrichor a few times. Had some nice breaks between demos most of the time, so did some wondering around some of the other convention booths to see what stuff was being shown off (and how THEY demoed things, too). We had the Bezier Games booth just opposite us, so I got to see [from afar] their demo guy showing off One Week Ultimate Werewolf over and over and over and over. He seemed never to flag in energy the entire weekend. Impressive stuff. Rahdo came by the stand to learn and then film a rundown of the Trickerion: Academy expansion, so that was great fun to watch. That evening we all went out for some great food, but whilst waiting 45 minutes for a table, David Chircop (designer of Petrichor) broke out a new game he's designing that was it's first ever playtest [outside of his own], and seeing all the creative ideas flying around from the other designers & publishers around the table was great to witness and be involved with.

Saturday was insanely busy, as we'd expected. We sold out of Days of Ire, Petrichor and Anachrony by mid afternoon! I demoed more Posthuman Saga, a lot more Petrichor, one game of Cerebria, one quick overview of Nights of Fire, and a quick overview of the Trickerion: Academy expansion. I had 3 breaks the entire day, 2 of which were merely quick comfort and coffee-acquisition stops (the other was lunch, yum!). Met a LOT of great people, and some of my game group from Plymouth who'd come up to the expo also popped by to say hi. And I got to help playtest the new Petrichor: Honeybee expansion with the designer and others in the design team, which was super fun. The evening involved going to Paul Grogan's charity auction, with Rahdo there for some of it, and Isaac Childres there for all of it (looking quite jetlagged!), and one of the guys from Heavy Cardboard helping out too. Later on we sampled the food stands outside the hotel, and I had a very tasty pulled-pork burrito. YUM YUM.

Sunday was much quieter, although we still had a lot of people coming to demo games; the quietness meant that people wanted to play the games more than just have them demoed, so a lot of the time they'd play an entire game of Petrichor or Anachrony in one sitting. I started early too; we were all running a bit late leaving the accommodation so I went ahead to 'open up' the booth while the rest of them were sorting out parking. No sooner than I'd taken the cover off Cerebria than some of the guys from CGE pounced in asking for a play before the convention opened and they had to go run their own booth. So I got to play a decent few turns of Cerebria (first time I've actually played IN a multiplayer game of Cerebria). Rest of the day was more Posthuman Saga and Petrichor demoing for me, and got at least 3 groups say they'd go and back Posthuman Saga on kickstarter after demoing it, so huzzah! I know I made at least SOME sales!

Finally headed home at around 2pm (I was allowed to leave a bit early so it didn't take me forever to get home). And today, I feel surprisingly still with it!

As a thankyou for my time on the booth, and for the playtesting help, I got a free copy of Anachrony, plus the expansion with the minis, and Vengeance with all the expansions. So I now have a large pile of enormous boxes to open and play with! Huzzah!
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Joe Pilkus
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UPDATE: My daughter, Kat, returned to me yesterday from college and we immediately hosted a Game Night. Several of her friends came over and we enjoyed...

4 x Codenames
3 x SPACETEAM
2 x Secret Hitler
1 x Shadows Over Camelot

Great night!



Cheers,
Joe
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Brendan Riley
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My wife was out of town this weekend and my son had a sleepover, so my daughter and I played a bunch of games. Then, Sunday night as we were moving into the evening, we busted out a bunch of short games.

Here's the list from the weekend:

Ravenous River x2
Roll for the Galaxy x2
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Mottainai
Unreal Estate
Sushi Go!
Love Letter
Wok on Fire
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Nick Shaw
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The Professor wrote:
UPDATE: My daughter, Kat, returned to me yesterday from college and we immediately hosted a Game Night. Several of her friends came over and we enjoyed...

4 x Codenames
3 x SPACETEAM
2 x Secret Hitler
1 x Shadows Over Camelot

Great night!

Nice! How did SpaceTeam go? I've played the app version before it was a boardgame, and that was insane crazy fun; how did the boardgame (or probably more accurately "cardgame") feel?
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Meghan Naxer
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I spent my weekend at this year's Engaging Students in Music Unconference, which of course meant I filled half of my car with games. I introduced NMBR 9 and Avenue to my friends who I was staying with the first night, and both games were really fun with them! Saturday we had a con game night after dinner and we played Camel Up (NEVER bet on orange!), and it was a sneak win by the blue camel that no one saw coming, making for a very exciting game! Next we played a round of Codenames, and we ended with 2 games of Deep Sea Adventure, which showed us how greedy some of our colleagues really are... It was a great game night overall!

Unofficially, we also led a conference session on games for the music theory classroom and introduced participants to some simple dice games using some sweet musical d20s, a musical version of Dixit/Wise and Otherwise (involving some model composition to complete a musical phrase), and a musical version of Spyfall (instead of a list of locations, there is a list of melodies and students ask analytic questions about the melody on their cards). It went really well and during the weekend we also thought about a musical version of Telestrations, with alternating singing melodies and dictating the sung melodies. It was a great conference overall and everyone had a fun time!
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Nick Shaw
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cuteusagi wrote:
Unofficially, we also led a conference session on games for the music theory classroom and introduced participants to some simple dice games using some sweet musical d20s, a musical version of Dixit/Wise and Otherwise (involving some model composition to complete a musical phrase), and a musical version of Spyfall (instead of a list of locations, there is a list of melodies and students ask analytic questions about the melody on their cards). It went really well and during the weekend we also thought about a musical version of Telestrations, with alternating singing melodies and dictating the sung melodies. It was a great conference overall and everyone had a fun time!

Wow, that sounds amazing! Some great creative thinking to mix music theory with boardgames. Love it! Sung Telestrations I can imagine being pretty funny.
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Chris Graves
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I got my Gloomhaven fix in on Friday. There are so many times in this game where I feel like this is finally the time we are overwhelmed. That really keeps this game compelling; it's not a cakewalk.

Saturday, I got to play some minis games. Continued a campaign of Frostgrave. We play with a variant that gives objectives (sometimes secret) to each player. They basically give you side quests which give you experience points if you can complete them. Well, my objective ended up netting my opponent 100 XP (which is a level)...lame. Now he is two levels ahead of me...extra lame.

Also played a 500 point game of Warhammer. I stink at Warhammer, but I have a lot of laughs...and I love the hobby side of it, so it's worth the butt kickings I endure.
 
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Joe Pilkus
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Quote:


Nice! How did SpaceTeam go? I've played the app version before it was a boardgame, and that was insane crazy fun; how did the boardgame (or probably more accurately "cardgame") feel?

It was outstanding! I've taught this ga e to more than two dozen folks and played about 50 times in the past few months.
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