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Reacting to Keith's post about buying Tigris, I just wanted to relate a recent experience I had on an interesting recurring topic on this board: teaching game rules.

Three weeks ago, I taught T&E to my dad and brother by just starting to play it. Literally. I just set up the board and said, "Your turn."

"What do I do?" one would say.

"You can either put a leader on the board or a tile on the board. Those are 'actions.' You actually get two actions a turn."

"OK, so I'll put this leader on the board."

"OK, that black one is your king. Now, if you place a tile in a way that traces a connection to your king, you'll score a block in that color."

"Why would I want that?"

"Because your colored blocks make up your score. It's how you score points in this game. The hook is, of the four colors you can collect, your final score will simply be the color you have least of." Etc.

Without spending virtually any downtime, I talked them through a whole game. They had the fun of playing the game and learning it throughout, and by the end I think they thoroughly understood all the rules (I would introduce treasures two-thirds of the way through, for instance). I prefer this way of teaching certain games for certain people. This often works much better for me than expecting my "audience" to sit there yawning for 25 minutes while I go over all the components and considerations. The way I figure, you can spend that 25 minutes talking, or you can spend that 25 minutes playing -- and both can accomplish the same thing. One is just much more interactive, even if they can't "pre-think" strategy (of course), etc. You just always call that first one a "learning game"!


David Gardner
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I like your technique of teaching while playing--I think it definitely would increase the fun that less experienced gamers have when everyone you are teaching is starting cold. I think you could call this the socratic method as it relates to introducing a game: the student learns by expressing verbally or through making a move, and the teacher provides the answer that relates to that expression.

I'll try this method with the next game I introduce--thanks for the idea!
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