As an experienced gamer, it will often fall to you to instruct others on how to play, particularly if your selection of games have been padded by the fun offerings of UnboxBoardom 🙂 . Yet, not every player sits at attention and understands the rules upon first pass, regardless of how accomplished a teacher you may be. Here are some types of people to watch out for:
You tried, you really did. You started at the beginning, included a compelling hook for the game you are teaching and made every point to clarify any complication. Yet something isn’t quite sinking in. Maybe the overall objective isn’t quite clear, or turns sound like they are going to take too long. But regardless, you’re now faced with a disappointed stare. They thought you were so cool, with your encyclopedic game knowledge and colorful collection of meeples. It may be smart to just cut your losses and start from scratch with something a bit more digestible.
On the other end of the spectrum you have the Jumper-Aheader. They’ve played a lot of games, it’s true, and therefore can anticipate rules before they’re announced. They could beat you, the instructor and de facto expert, and ensure you know it by inserting nitpicky corrections into your explanation. You’ll get to that, you tell them, but those words do little to deter their unfounded arrogance in the upcoming game. Did you know they’ve played a lot of games? They’ll remind you. If only they’d be quiet for a minute and listen to you, all their questions would be answered and the game could begin. They likely wear short sleeve concert T-shirts in the middle of winter and power through their day with a single earbud dangling from their ear.
The Attention-Deficit Gamer
Visual aids are clutch additions to board game instruction, yet none will land the intended effect if your student isn’t paying attention. Perhaps they’re messing around on their phone or holding a side conversation with the other players. How could they avert their gaze as you properly navigate the board? They had better not come to you begging for guidance when it’s their turn!
The Eager Beaver
Why do you need to take so long explaining the rules? This person wants to get going and stumble through the game once or twice. Great suggestion, you say, however the rest of the group is still confused and might benefit from a bit more exposition, albeit brief. No thanks, they say, let everyone else figure things out as they go. You have no choice but to watch it happen, meekly interjecting important game rules whenever possible. This kind of player will surely lose and blame it on your shoddy instruction.
The Card Shark
This gamer is experienced in the ways of poker, blackjack and other card games but lacks any credentials when it comes to games of the board variety. They find board game pieces cumbersome and easy to lose, and the boards themselves never quite seem to fit on the table provided. They might ask the other players if they want to “make things a bit more interesting” as they slip off their Rolex and toss some abandoned casino chips onto the table. Caution: Cannot safely roll dice.
What other types of game learners have you come across while teaching board games? Let us know in the comments who else we should be on the lookout for!