Best Ways to Learn A New Game

Playing new games can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be! Two Spartans share their tricks for learning new games.

With the end of the holiday season, we fortuitously find ourselves with a handful of new board games. These games deserve a shot in the spotlight but it’s hard with limited time to sit at the table to play them when our favorite games are calling our names. We would rather play multiple rounds of our favorite games than devote our evening to learning a new one. However, we have been challenging ourselves to get out of our board game routine and play something new. Here are a few ways we try to hop that hurdle:

Read The Rules Beforehand:

The obvious answer to save time when wanting to play a new game is to pre-read the rules. They always say the most obvious answer is not the best one and that is certainly true in this case. We would recommend having the rulebook open during setup but do not worry about the fine print at first. Pro tip: there is usually a small paragraph summarizing the plot of the game that helps it to be more immersive.

Watch A Youtube Video:

In our technological age we are fortunate to be connected to many board game resources. Video tutorials are by far the best aid in learning a new game. This format involves a board game expert walking you through setup, basic rules, how to take a turn, and how a person wins the game. The one downside is that it requires the group’s full attention which can be a struggle, especially in a party setting. This combined with the rulebook pulled out for reference make learning a breeze. A good channel to check out is Watch it Played (https://www.youtube.com/@WatchItPlayed) or some game producers have channels dedicated to teaching their own games (this is how we demystified parks).

Have Someone In The Group That Played It Before:

Drew’s preferred method of learning a game. A guide makes a play-through for new players so much easier as they can direct early rounds and help correct any mistakes made without the need of digging through the rulebook. This saves tons of time and helps get right into the thick of a game. Provided the knowledge of the guide it also gives a good foundation for play in the future. This can prove faulty if a person plays by house rules so the game is not actually played correctly.

Play A Practice Round:

Similarly to reading the rulebook in advance, one can also do a small playthrough to learn the basics of the game before teaching the group. It can also be done when everyone is at the table. This gives players a live how-to-play. We typically teach a game by doing an open-hand round of the game to soft launch the rules for the group. Practicing a round keeps things moving while also teaching, hopefully saving some time, and allowing more games to be used in the session.

Some Games we Recently Learned How To Play:

  • Noctiluca
  • Mansions of Madness
  • Dune: Imperium
  • Reign of the Dragoness

1 comment

  1. great article! I love receiving and playing new games, but am bad at learning rules and teaching them to others. Thanks for the tips!

    Like

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