Friday, 20 August 2010

flattening the learning curve

This month's RPG Blog Carnival is courtesy of Evil Machinations where Jade has broached the subject of teaching others how to role play.  Articles on what is roleplaying, how to bring new players in, how to play a character, how to run a game.  Yet new players aren't the only ones.  Experienced gamers wanting to try something new can also need help wrapping their head around specific rule sets or game settings, particularly if the rules need duct tape,  The presence of books like Dungeons & Dragons for Dummies and D&D Player Strategy Guide suggest this learning curve may not be gentle - even with the incoming D&D Essentials line. 

Confidence is key.  As with many things involving confidence, use of judicious preparation can be your friend.  Not everyone starts out fully conversant and intimately familiar with a rule system like Athena springing from Zeus's brow.  Equally those demanding intimate knowledge of a game system (especially a new one) from their GM violate Wheaton's Fifth Rule (unsafe for work link), to summarise - don't be a dick, quit your bitching and have some fun.
  • Page Markers for the pages in your books that keep being referred to.  If you're not a collector, these save you plenty of time leafing through books.  If you are, you have a reference copy right?
  • Cheatsheets for commonly used rules and references and fitting things like movement & combat basics on one side of A4 forces you to trim excess baggage.  Making them look good helps, too much information can be distracting and difficult to use.  Some are blessed with so many options that they have to do this for each character.
  • Frequently Asked Questions don't have to be in web or electronic format.  If the same questions keep coming up, it's worth writing the answers down. It saves time and it keeps things consistent if you can't always remember the difference which combat actions are move and which are minor.
Creating and using these materials will help to familiarise you with the rules you invested in.  This will increase your familiarity with the rules and enable you to check spot rulings quickly.  This enables you to create better and more enjoyable games with fewer jarring breaks over rule calls and more importantly, reduces the time to achieve consensus around the table.  Got examples of cheat sheets or links to good FAQs, please post them in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Good tips. I frequently, as part of reading a new game, create a cheatsheet on an index card of something as you suggest for some of the more complicated rules elements.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Greatest Hits