Teaching Games (edited)

Teaching. I enjoy teaching others how to do, play, and so on. This weekend has been a lot of teaching. In this case teaching other people about games. I guess there is a certain teaching them how to play games, but to me that implies that I am teaching them how I play a game. I would preference that they learn the rules and that they learn how to play each game in their own way, thus not playing the game like I do. Thus, I spent a lot of time demonstrating and eplaining how to do things in the games.

Our kids like playing Minecraft, but they are horrible at teaching Minecraft to other people. So horrible, that adults have stopped playing altogether because of the horrible instruction. It was no surprise when a friend of theirs no longer wanted to play with them. After four or five game of Minecraft, the friend only knew to do what our kids did, which was fly and place blocks. The friend did not know how to craft, how to mine, or even what tools did what. That irked me, because I have spent a good chunk of my life teaching others how to play games and thought that they were learning how to teach games to people from watching me. Nope.

I spent about two hours with the friend, showing him the basics. The very basics. Here is how to craft. Here is why you need a lot of wood. Here is what happens when you use the wrong tool on a block. Here is how you mine in a successful, non-my kids way. And here is how you can tell what each block is just by looking at them. This was all beginner stuff and despite having been pulled through the tutorial by our kids, the friend wasn’t able to learn anything. How could the friend learn anything, when our kids are giving him the “express toutorial” consisting of “look here” and “see this” and “this does this?” Today, post Minecraft, his mother who had been watching me teach the friend, sat down to play for a while. Which lead to more lessons.

Rise of the Runelords has returned, we have a fifth player. With a new player comes teaching them how to play. Minecraft is easy to teach compared to Pathfinder Advenure Card Game. The first thing was picking out a character. Then explaining the character card. Then the cards that form the character deck. Then the game. Then the pieces of the game: locations, monsters, boons, and so on. Teaching a person about Pathfinder Adventure Card Game takes longer than showing them, but showing them leads to all sorts of questions and problems that are out of context. This is why I chose explanation first, then play.

The first game went better than expected. We won, which is always good, but more importantly the friend got to see all of the explanation in play and how the game works. There are plans to play another scenario tonight and that is always a sign that teaching went well.

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