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Author Topic: How to teach rules better?  (Read 1645 times)
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Chaz
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« on: September 22, 2005, 01:16:46 AM »

So my girlfriend and I have been getting more into board games over the past month, and we're dragging our friends in with us.  We get together with a bunch of people a few times a week usually, which is good.

The problem is that I'd like to be able to play games when it's just me and her.  Thing is, I'm not a great teacher, since I'm just learning how to teach rules, and she's a terrible student.  If there's something she doesn't understand, she gets angry about it, and no amount of explaining makes her understand.  Usually, she just has to read it out of the rulebook.  Of course, this is magnified since most times, I haven't played the game myself, so my understanding of the rules is very limited as well.

I've tried getting her to read the rules on her own, but she doesn't because she doesn't like to.  I've also tried just explaining the very basics, and then starting a game and explaining the rest as we go.  What always seems to happen is that we come across a ruling that I have to consult the manual for, and upon clarifying the rule, she gets huffy saying that I should have explained that better and that knowing that would have made her play differently.

What's frustrating is that none of this is a problem when we're playing with other people.  I suspect the problem is that she's very competitive, and doesn't want to lose a one on one game to me under any circumstances, but the result is that I'm extremely reluctant to play anything with just her, let alone try a new game with her.  

Anyone else run into this?  How about any ideas of how to teach rules better?
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Doopri
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2005, 01:32:45 AM »

i would play pretty crazy games and what i would always do was read the rulebook, go through each section giving the short and abridged yet complete version of what it said (you know what i mean - a rule book can take a full page to explain that to hit something with armor class 8 you must roll your fire value plus the die result better, minus x for cover etc etc etc - when it really takes 2 seconds to explain).  dont leave anything out - when youre both learning together its even better because its not like youre trying to "screw her over" with technicalities.  if youre the one with a somewhat better idea of the rules because you read them in a non-shorthand form, go first and since its a learning experience for both of you go through what youre doing piece by piece, then do the same on her turn - ie take the first couple of turns together because youll both learn that much better!  remember the point of a game is to have fun.  if you screw up a rule or arent sure, then either take moves back or ignore the rule for the rest of the game or play the way youve been playing - youll have more fun, and youll be able to play correctly the NEXT time, which is a lot more likely to happen if you both have fun and get it down together.  i loved playing mechwarrior dark age, mutant chronicles and a bunch of other - we both had a blast!  i WOULDNT recommend axis and allies, as most seem to hate the game smile
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the Nightbreeze
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2005, 02:58:24 AM »

I suggest several things.  I preface my remarks by saying that  I'm sure your girlfriend is a fine humanitarian, frend to all creatures great and small, and a paragon of manners and several  other innumerable good  traits.

Find a store that allows games to be demonstrated or previewed before purchasing.  Try to find the rules online before you buy the game even.  You will be able to avoid some disasters that way, and some people just learn better when the gameplay is live and right in front of them.

Allow her some uhmm... rather... all input in which game you purchase, and in the fare for the evening.  She might not find the game of the night as appealing as you did, but acquieced to it when she saw how happy or excited getting the game seemed to make you.  She might be happy to play Monopoly for the 7.586,574.28 th time. because she is comfrotable with it.  Why learn this new game to just kill the three hours of ennui when she already knows the way to Park Place?

I wish I could think of a less demeaning way to say stick to games with simpler rules, but simpler rules need less explination, and it seems it is those moments of explination where she tenses up.  

I would find her behavior regarding not reading the rules and then becoming upset when she doesn't understand the rules as perplexing and irrational as you seem to do.  I, however, am marrried, and through that, I have learned awhile back that you will see things that are a greater volume and a greater degree more perplexing and irrational, which will appear as you go.  Prepare yourself for the notion that perhaps games are just not going to work out sans company to maintain the decorum.

And don't be afriad, either of you, to spend time in hobbies that might not include the other person.  Heck, it might one day save both of your sanity to have such harbors while you collect your thoughts and recompose yourself.

If the idea was to find a hobby or activity to do together, there are options beyond books, movies, theater, meals, sports, games, and the usual socitial trappings.

Figure out what the real goal of your efforts truly is, and  I bet the problem solves itself.
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