ENGN Episode 129 – How to Teach a Board Game in Easy Steps, pt. 2

We move on with our thirteen easy steps to teach a board game. Please check out the show notes for the Episode 126 to check out the first five steps to teach a board game. Most of those were about prep and proper introduction.

Now we’re starting to get into it. Steps Five, Six, and Seven all have to do with laying a proper foundation for players so that everything else about the game makes sense. They are:

5) “In this game, you are a _____ trying to do ____” (covered last episode)
6) Demonstrate general game flow
7) Describe the basic victory conditions.

Once players have that essential context, then we get get into the nitty gritty of teaching game mechanisms. That will vary wildly from game to game, but Anthony and Jason both agree in splitting up game elements into the following four areas:

8) Describe Basic Mechanisms and Player Actions
9) Describe Obstacles, Combat, and other Interactions
10) Describe the Endgame in Detail
11) Wrap up with Player Powers, Exceptions, etc.

After that, hopefully the teacher hangs out with the table and insures that folks are having a good time. That brings us to our final two steps:

12) Teaching etiquette during play
13) Debrief and prep for the next game!

In particular, we get into two critical questions that game teachers need to grapple with: how much do you try to win, and how much strategy help do you give players?

We hope that, by the end of these two episodes, we have provided a 360 degree view with lots of tips to improve your teaching game.

  • Anthony lives and plays games in Philadelphia, PA. A lover of complex strategy, two-player war games, and area control, Anthony is always eager to try a new game, even if he's on rule-reading duty.

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