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gf_ripper

How to teach others?

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Hi all,

First let me say I love LOVE Arkham Horror. I have it and all the expansions, but have trouble explaining how to play the game to others since there are alot of rules to explain. Then they all complain it takes too long to set up and too long to play. So I was wondering how you guys recommend explaining the rules so that it will be quicker and clearer. Also is there any way to experience majority of the games components, when we play we hardly ever get to actually use all the components.

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Here's what I would do if I were you.   First, restrict yourself to only the base game.  The rest adds more junk that isn't nessecary and isn't attractive for noobs to try to remember.   Second, pick Azathoth as the Ancient One,  he's in general not to hard with a short doom track, and has only minimal impact on the game as it is being played.   Also, if he wakes up, that's it, no final combat to worry about.

 

Set up the game before hand as much as you possibly can, shuffle decks, place clues, etc. 

 

Run most things yourself, mythos phase, monster movement etc.   If someone asks how it works, tell them, but otherwise, one less thing for them to worry about.    Explain things in a simplified manner,  adding detail only when it is needed.    For example, just tell them that clues are good to get,  if you have 5 clues you can enter a gate and try to seal, getting one step closer to winning the game if you suceed.  If possible, initiate the first combat of the game yourself, fight a monster as soon as you can so that your players can learn what you're doing without endangering their own characters.

 

Also, if possible, try to encourage your players to play melee/fighty characters.   Discourage spellcasting on their first game, it adds a lot of extra rules that they don't need to worry about.   Good characters for Noobs are Darell Simmons, Bob Jenkins, Joe Diamond or Michael McGlenn.  Jenny Barnes, Gloria Goldberg, Amanda Sharpe and Ashcan Pete are also decent for starting, but the first two have some spellcasting which I would shy away from, and the second two have a lack of starting equipment, which might be discouraging for new players.

Don't worry too much about winning the game, just try to give them a good time and let them get to know the rules.  If you win, great, but don't make it priority #1. 

 

Hope that helps,  good luck on finding more players.

-awp

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awp832 said:

Here's what I would do if I were you.   First, restrict yourself to only the base game.  The rest adds more junk that isn't nessecary and isn't attractive for noobs to try to remember.   Second, pick Azathoth as the Ancient One,  he's in general not to hard with a short doom track, and has only minimal impact on the game as it is being played.   Also, if he wakes up, that's it, no final combat to worry about.

 

Set up the game before hand as much as you possibly can, shuffle decks, place clues, etc. 

 

Run most things yourself, mythos phase, monster movement etc.   If someone asks how it works, tell them, but otherwise, one less thing for them to worry about.    Explain things in a simplified manner,  adding detail only when it is needed.    For example, just tell them that clues are good to get,  if you have 5 clues you can enter a gate and try to seal, getting one step closer to winning the game if you suceed.  If possible, initiate the first combat of the game yourself, fight a monster as soon as you can so that your players can learn what you're doing without endangering their own characters.

 

Also, if possible, try to encourage your players to play melee/fighty characters.   Discourage spellcasting on their first game, it adds a lot of extra rules that they don't need to worry about.   Good characters for Noobs are Darell Simmons, Bob Jenkins, Joe Diamond or Michael McGlenn.  Jenny Barnes, Gloria Goldberg, Amanda Sharpe and Ashcan Pete are also decent for starting, but the first two have some spellcasting which I would shy away from, and the second two have a lack of starting equipment, which might be discouraging for new players.

Don't worry too much about winning the game, just try to give them a good time and let them get to know the rules.  If you win, great, but don't make it priority #1. 

 

Hope that helps,  good luck on finding more players.

-awp

That's pretty good advice, but I'm too selfish and anti-social to follow it ;') instead I will continue playing Arkham Solitaire.

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Good advise. my first run with a couple of friends I took care of all the mythos-cards, special rules and so on and let the other players handle the money and other tokens so that they still had to pay attention what the other players did.

 

A better but boring advice might be: Play another game with this group. AH is not for everybody and if they doesn't try to learn the game properly there are a lot of other games to play...

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samoan said:

 

Hi all,

First let me say I love LOVE Arkham Horror. I have it and all the expansions, but have trouble explaining how to play the game to others since there are alot of rules to explain. Then they all complain it takes too long to set up and too long to play. So I was wondering how you guys recommend explaining the rules so that it will be quicker and clearer. Also is there any way to experience majority of the games components, when we play we hardly ever get to actually use all the components.

 

 

I agree mostly with awp.  One thing I would disagree on is NOT do everything yourself.  I would consider dividing up roles - like Player A always reads encounters for everyone, Player B always sets up Mythos cards, Player C always moves monsters, etc.  That way they stay engaged and are more involved even when it is not their turn. (OR, you do everything yourself like a GM but don't actually play a character yourself; and you could draw 2 Mythos cards and pick the "easier" of the two to help them out a bit while diwscarding the other.)

As to general advice: learn this game inside and out by yourself so you don't have to look up every rule when you play.  And even if you don't know every rule, know enough of the feel of the game to make decisions on the fly to keep the game moving.  A few mistakes here and there is not going to kill the game.  And you can go back after and see if you can remember to do them right for next time.

The game is a pure co-op so you don't need to share all you know right away.  They can play follow the leader and you just tell them new things as they crop up.  I always like to present 2 or 3 options when it comes to a player's turn and let them decide what is the best route.  I also use the Upkeep Phase (in all games not just teaching ones) to pliot out the plan for the turn.  This helps everyone focus and see the part they need to play.

Arkham can be broken down into a series of mini-goals.  We need to close the gate here.  So Player B might want to go grab 2 more clues.  But there are monsters in the way so Player A might consider trying to kill them to clear her way.  Player B needs a weapon to help out but has no money.  So he can borrow some from Player C on his way to the store.  Break things down in those little steps and it may keep them more engaged.

Finally, Arkham is not a game you "get" after one play.  It is an experience, so players need to be committed to a long haul or learning more of the game before giving up on it. 

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again, i would stretch this out over the course of several games.   Let your players know the base game first, then add expansions.  Then add in one or at most two expansions in a time, preferably one.   Would probably go with Dunwich or Dark Pharoah first.   Then maybe Kingsport or KiY.   Black goat last, it's the hardest to keep track of with corrputions and etc.

 

KiY is  a very easy epansion to explain.   Just tell them each time the terror increases, you must either add a doom or add a blight, which will make the game a bit tougher.

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awp832 said:

again, i would stretch this out over the course of several games.   Let your players know the base game first, then add expansions.  Then add in one or at most two expansions in a time, preferably one.   Would probably go with Dunwich or Dark Pharoah first.   Then maybe Kingsport or KiY.   Black goat last, it's the hardest to keep track of with corrputions and etc.

 

KiY is  a very easy epansion to explain.   Just tell them each time the terror increases, you must either add a doom or add a blight, which will make the game a bit tougher.

That's just with the herald. I'm using each expansion by itself, one at a time, no heralds, until they've seen all the expansions. The one true thing you need to explain about the King in Yellow expansion is the wicked Three Acts deck.

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In very few, if any, games will you use most of the components.

Here is a suggestion for teaching new players: take an Investigator and a Weak Monster before the game, and demonstrate a Combat Situation.

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dkw said:

In very few, if any, games will you use most of the components.

Here is a suggestion for teaching new players: take an Investigator and a Weak Monster before the game, and demonstrate a Combat Situation.

That's a great idea.

 

Also, you may want to limit which investigators are available to the newbies, because some abilities require the players to have more intimate knowledge of the mechanics or cards to understand. Some investigators (Joe, Mandy) change core rules slightly, and it's not good getting a new player used to rolling 2 dice per clue, or that 4s count as successes.

You should limit the investigators to:

  • Jenny Barnes
  • Vincent Lee
  • Carolyn Fern
  • Michael McGlen
  • Kate Winthrop
  • Mandy Thompson (but make her lower priority than the above)

All of these characters have automatic or regularly occurring abilities except Mandy. Also all of these characters except Vince are light on starting spells.

For the AO may I recommend Azathoth for simplicity of ability and lower difficulty, or Nyarlathotep for Simplicity of ability, lower difficulty, and shorter game length (but there could be a final combat).

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Tibs said:

dkw said:

 

In very few, if any, games will you use most of the components.

Here is a suggestion for teaching new players: take an Investigator and a Weak Monster before the game, and demonstrate a Combat Situation.

 

 

That's a great idea.

 

Also, you may want to limit which investigators are available to the newbies, because some abilities require the players to have more intimate knowledge of the mechanics or cards to understand. Some investigators (Joe, Mandy) change core rules slightly, and it's not good getting a new player used to rolling 2 dice per clue, or that 4s count as successes.

You should limit the investigators to:

  • Jenny Barnes
  • Vincent Lee
  • Carolyn Fern
  • Michael McGlen
  • Kate Winthrop
  • Mandy Thompson (but make her lower priority than the above)

All of these characters have automatic or regularly occurring abilities except Mandy. Also all of these characters except Vince are light on starting spells.

For the AO may I recommend Azathoth for simplicity of ability and lower difficulty, or Nyarlathotep for Simplicity of ability, lower difficulty, and shorter game length (but there could be a final combat).

 

Hmmm, that's a pretty good idea— I usually give people a choice of the deck, but for teaching purposes, limiting character selection options might be a better idea :')

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Yes, exactly my point. New players who are randomly dealt Dexter Drake and Monterey Jack aren't going to know what the hell they're choosing between during startup and during the game. Nevermind if someone gets dealt Ashcan Pete!

And new players who get dealt Harvey Walters will quickly find out that:

  1. He can't get around town quickly
  2. He's not very good with monsters
  3. The rules regarding spells are some of the trickiest, and he starts with a couple
  4. His ability will likely be used in battles, and never with his spells, which will be frustrating because of points 2 and 3

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I'm going to introduce my monthly gaming group to the basic Arkham Horror game in a couple weeks. I've certainly hyped it enough, but other than I, no one else has played it yet; plus this group has limited experience with cooperative games. I think they'll like AH tremendously though.

I'm planning to use many of the suggestions listed in this thread, (i.e., do some of the clerical stuff myself -- but not too much and make sure the investigator pool is trimmed of the more complex characters). Thanks!

One other thing I'd like to do is to send out a teaser over e-mail to build some interest prior to game night. On BGG there is a very nice background compilation by Brian Hazard (someone here?), but it doesn't say much about the game itself. 

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/15532

Does anyone know if a brief overview for beginners exists that explains basic gameplay and (even better) sets up the flow from a storytelling angle? I have the flowcharts and rules summaries, but they really are overkill and probably useless to someone who has never seen the game.

If nothing exists, perhaps I'll just write something myself.

 

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One thing to consider that most people forget about is to make sure any new players are aware what kind of enviourment this game is played in. Tell them about Lovecraft and that they will face monsters with many tentacles so that this part of the game doesn't make them laugh at the pictures or loose interrest because thing seem to be overexaturated.

And most importantly remind your players that this game will play out as a novel that very often end in the destruction of the world. It may not always be logical and there may be a lot of gaps in the rules and strange situations occuring but make them see beyond this and embrace the mood and settings of the game and I promise they will enjoy it a whole lot more.

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We've played Arkham Horror for two of three years now and almost every time we play there's some new faces so again and again I have to do the explaining thing. So every time I try to be as breif as possible since I'm really bored of it.

First I shortly introduce Lovecraft and Mythos. Tell them about the Arkham city and Ancient ones and the aim of the game. It's rather simple. Then I move to the characters - explain the skill pairs, how they work and how dice rolling goes. After it's done they have pretty good idea how to use their own character. Then comes the turn order, encounters and gates... I also mention Mythos cards but rather briefly...

When combat occurs I go into details but not before... As we usually use only equipment and some other irrelevant stuff from all the expansions I skip that part entirely. I never tell about fighting with the Ancient one unless It wakes up - then I usually have to :)

Not that hard and people get the idea in couple of turns...

Good luck

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Base game and just start playing... let them do whatever they want... they will get the hang of it.

First game I was Jenny and just bought Whiskey in KH and ran around having no idea what to do after that! lol

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