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Learning The Game
Posted By Phil Vecchione On August 25, 2011 @ 4:00 am In GMing Advice | 6 Comments
Those who know me know that I am a polysystemist; a lover of multiple game systems (turns out poly-gam(e)-ist, means something else entirely). While I can remain faithful to a game system for about 6 months to a year, all games eventually are cast to the side for the “next game”. Those same friends also know that when it comes to game mechanics I am kind of lazy about learning them; relying much more on crafting a compelling story with the campaign setting, than memorizing combat mechanics. This has over the years produced some frustration in my players, who are often left picking up the slack and becoming the rules experts, while I spew stories and plots.
As my Corporation game is winding down (3 sessions remaining), I have picked my next RPG: Triple Ace Game’s All For One. My plan is not to start the campaign until October, after my Corporation game has wrapped up, so I have plenty of time to learn the rules and set the campaign up. As I started to think about what needed to be done, I realized that I don’t really have a good way to learn the rules.
Like much of my generation of gamers (Moldvay D&D), I learned the game at a young age from another GM, and really did not spend a lot of time reading the rules. I think that may be the root of my issues; as I tend to rely on someone to be the “rules master”. This turned out to be a great way to leverage a Rules Lawyer; making them my in-game resource (a topic for another day…).
Over the years, and many, many games later, I have evolved a general methodology to learning new games, and it looks like this:
This often results in a lot of page flipping, looking things up, and makes for a kind of slow and somewhat painful experience. It works and in a few more sessions I get the hang of the game, but I have to imagine that there are some other things I can be doing that would help flatten the learning curve.
So I started to think that there must be some tips to quickly learn a game. I put the word out on Google+, and got back some answers (thanks to those who answered):
I am incorporating many of those tips now, while I read All For One, starting by making my own character just to try out some of the mechanics.
I also have a few tips of my own, from some past experiences.
In the course of your RPG career, how do you learn a new game? Are there little tricks to learn a game quickly? What rules or systems are the most important for you to learn first?
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