Big news! We’ll be participating in Extra Life’s Tabletop Appreciation Weekendplaying D&D along with the official team, to raise money for children’s medical care and research.


Six hours of Roll20 gaming on our Twitch channel, and you can join us! More details are soon to come.


But let’s return to the strip now, since there’s an important issue to discuss here: explaining rules, How Not To.
Unlike in our Edge of the Empire rules summary strips, Rotem can’t seem to get the information out in a coherent manner. A few tips for her:

  • Start with the goal of the game. How do you win? And what do you need to do, in broad terms, to get there? Don’t start with the setup.
  • Be clear on the rules. It’s fine if you get confused a bit, but mixing player colours and card colours is a huge mistake in Ticket to Ride.
  • Don’t stop for every question. When Zilpa (yep, that’s her name) asks about the Destination Cards, Rotem should say “that’s a great question, I’ll get to it in a moment.” If it’s something you’re going to explain anyway, just let it come when it should. Please keep you questions until the end.
  • Explain the basics before suggesting strategy. How to claim a route is the most basic concept of the game. Using Destination Cards helps you win the game, but it’s a strategic decision, one that can only be done after you understand the basics of what you can do on your turn and how that affects the game’s board.
  • Focus on the actions, not the physical representation. While it’s true that when you claim a route you place tiny plastic train cars on the board, this is just a representation of the act of claiming. First explain what is required (discarding which and how many cards), any other limitations (it’s an action on your turn, you can do it anywhere on the map), and the consequences (no one else can claim it, you get points, you connect to cities).
  • Explain how you get things before you explain how to use them. It’s easier for our brains to understand a natural progression: first you gain X and then you spend it to get Y.

Many games also have fan-made explanation aids, some of which are quite excellent. Check out the files section of the game you’re teaching on Boardgamegeek, maybe there’s something there.


Read this storyline from the beginning: Self Reflection

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