After having played at least 8 games I would suggest that new players be introduced to the game using the original strategy cards. The only exception to this is if the new players are introduced by using the scenario game from Shards. After having played the scenario on Sunday, my opinion is that it is the best way to introduce new players. The first and probably best benefit to the scenario for new players is the preset maps. This allows the host to set the board before the players even get there. The second benefit to using the scenario is the lack of confusion over optional rules and objectives for scoring points. In the scenario each player has a single objective they are trying to achieve to win the game. The third benefit to this is the limited turn frame, as the scenario ends at the start of turn 8. All of these things will help ease players into the game and the potentially confusing nuances of the games three phases.
To further expand upon my views here regarding the scenario game for the fall of the empire.
The reason I find this superior to the base game without expansions is that it eliminates many of the more complex parts of the game. It almost exclusively focuses on the mechanics of the game and flow of the game through the phases. The phases in my experience are where most of the players have the most trouble with comprehension. Once the new players have grasped the flow of the game with the phases and the mechanics of activating systems and so on, then I would move on to the base game with the original strategy card set and play with that until the new players are comfortable with the parts implemented in that setup. After that I would go free reign and allow players to suggest and explore the game with me and other experienced players as guides to help them.
To the experienced players I would like to say this. Remember we were all at one point staring at the rule book for this game scratching our heads saying "What?" If you view new players with this perspective in mind and take a compassionate and encouraging approach, rather then a dominating and superior approach you will be looked upon more kindly. Take things slow with new players, ease them into the game, rather then bombard them with all kinds of rules and complex parts of the game.
Edited by adamwehn, 05 March 2014 - 06:47 AM.