Boxed Culture: Gamers Teaching Gaming – The Little Things

Gamers Teaching Gaming

The Gamers Teaching Gaming segment is about teaching games. This is part two you can read them in any order but the other parts are here!

The Little Things

This is the ever awaited second part of the Gamers teaching Gaming segment. This segment is not going to be a outline for how to teach a game but rather a helpful tips on what to do and what no to do. Today I want to focus on the little things that people sometimes forget during a rules explanation. I have had some interesting conversations on teaching board game over the past few months and a few very important things have come to light when choosing where to start explaining a game. So lets just dive right in!

How do I win this game?!



Unfortunately for this gentlemen there is no winning the game of white collar fraud…. well barring government bail outs…or stealing from the pension…or well i guess there are a few ways…guess that is why you start there.

Traditionally the best place to start teaching a game is explaining how to win the game. This is different than how the game ends. In order for people to fully grasp everything you are about to tell them about a game they must first understand how they win. Selecting a player power, placing you first piece, choosing your first action and a number of other important aspect of the games mechanics won’t mean diddly until the players know how they can win the game. This is also one of the things that is far easier to say than to do and I still find myself explaining what I like best about a game as opposed to how to win when I start to explain but thankfully the solution leads right into the next big aspect of teaching a new game.

Don’t leave me hanging bro!

No body wants to be the Hans Gruber of board game teaching. Which I assume means you have a really good plan and then fail at it by underestimating one of the players who happens to be in town almost specially to get sidetracked on a rules explanation.


Unless you have the rules memorized you will never explain the game the same way twice. Perhaps someday if you teach the same game a lot this may happen but typically it does not. The most important part of of the flow of a rules explanation is to not leave something hanging. As soon as you say,”I’ll get back to that later” you have allowed someone to focus on a mechanic that you have not explain and probably caused them to think about why it is important as opposed to listen to you for the rest of the rules. Also as an expert game teacher you are by now you probably mentioned that aspect of the game for a reason, because it makes sense to you.  Take the time to explain it a bit and then get back on track! Rule overviews tend to be more easy to listen to when they don’t seem like you are being talked to by a salesperson, which conveniently segues right into my final topic I want to cover today.

Fear the Salesman

Don’t be fooled! This ummm…dood is just as distracting to teaching a board game as exploding about your love for a mechanical interaction mid rules explanation or going for the sales pitch before you explain components.

When people have chosen to play a game they have already agreed to give it a chance. Regardless if you are just explaining the rules to your friends or actually trying to sell a game, no further amount of selling is going to get people to want the game before they play it. Consider them sitting down at the table the point at which you need to be a better teacher than salesman. I know it is hard for both of those kinds of people to not want to sell their friends or customers on the game but you can severely hurt you rules explanation if you devolve back into the 5 minute pitch. Make sure everyone understand the rules before you start to explain strategy, your undying love for an aspect of the game, or pricing plans for the game and its expansions.

Those are three really big ones I have. Do you have any others you think I left out? Let me know in the comments. See ya next time!


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