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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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Teaching Dos and Doníts?

I recently moved multiple time zones and country too, and I had to leave my Heroscape collection behind. Moving also meant that I moved from the usual group of friends that I used to play with. Teaching them how to play Heroscape was no problem at all. They had experience with strategy war games and lots of miniature games, and in fact I would say they picked up Heroscape faster than I did.

After my move, I wanted to get playing Heroscape again. I took RotV with me, and was able to pick up a tiny used collection, of about 1.5 SotM, a Castle and a few heroes.

But hereís where the theme of the thread comes in. The people (group of 3) I am attempting to teach and play with here is a much different group of people than before. They are more used to party games like Apples to Apples or Taboo for example. Their experience with strategy games is Risk, and thatís about it. They are open to playing Heroscape, but I really want it to be a pleasant, fun an enjoyable experience for them. Something they would want to pick up and play again and again. The way it was for me when I first played

So I come to you requesting advice from your collective wisdom and experience: Whatís the best way to teach Heroscape to people without any exposure to games like this? My concern is I donít want to make it so complicated right off the bat, and scare them away with ďnumerous rulesĒ, or make it unpleasant for any reason.

Would you recommend starting off with the Basic Game? The Advanced Game? Some mix in between, like should I leave out particular rules (eg. omitting things like Order Markers or Glyphs)?

Advice on map design? Iím thinking of making the game a 2 vs.2, so everyone can play at once (no one left sitting on the sides watching), but donít want to make it so big it looks too scary either. Are there particular things I should definitely include on map design or definitely leave out (eg. water, terrain high points, castle pieces)?

What about in terms of units and armies? Iím thinking armies of 100-200 point range (donít want to give too large number of units to manage). Similar to the map terrain, is there anything I should definitely include or units I should definitely leave out? Mix of heroes and squads, or only one type?
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  #2  
Old February 5th, 2013, 06:05 PM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

My first piece of advice would be to skip the basic game entirely. The advanced rules set is simple enough to be understood by just about anybody. If you have the terrain available, try setting up two smaller maps to play on and have multiple games going simultaneously. That way there will be less down time between turns and it will keep the games going at a faster pace. I would leave out terrain with special rules with the exception of water. Definitely include the ruins so you can teach the players about line of sight and hiding behind cover.

I like your idea of using small armies, but IMO 100 points per army is too low. Try somewhere around 200-300 points. That way games will be short without ending in 5 minutes. The only figures I may exclude from the sets you mentioned would be Tor-Kul-Na and the Nagrubs. I've found that new players find the concept of bonding confusing at first. Other than that, you should be ready to go. Good luck!
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Old February 6th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The CEE View Post
My first piece of advice would be to skip the basic game entirely. The advanced rules set is simple enough to be understood by just about anybody. If you have the terrain available, try setting up two smaller maps to play on and have multiple games going simultaneously. That way there will be less down time between turns and it will keep the games going at a faster pace. I would leave out terrain with special rules with the exception of water. Definitely include the ruins so you can teach the players about line of sight and hiding behind cover.
I agree with all of this, however if they like party games and if you are going for a "fun" time, don't worry about balance or anything like it. Make "pretty" maps with cool themes and lots of glyphs, when they want to become more balanced let them shift towards it. I find competitive scape is an acquired taste and if you try and shove everything at them at once, they will mostly likely not have the greatest time. IMO, castle sieges are the best way to pull people into the game, they are aesthetically and thematically pleasing to our minds + they can easily be made into 2v2's if you don't have the terrain for 2 separate maps + armies are usually prepicked to avoid complete pwnage and the hassle of picking units.

On a side note, if you go with good old classic scape, let your group find their favorite units and then help them build armies around them. I find that the huge unit selection is overwhelming at first, so helping them build decent armies is a big factor in keeping them hooked.

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Old February 6th, 2013, 01:46 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

1) Like everyone before, I think basic is boring. Really boring, and I play it with my 5 yr old. Why? Because basically you move your figures next to the opponent's figures and slug it out. The only "strategy" is choosing who to attack first. Not fun at all, just a bunch of dice rolling.

2) 4 player games? You spend so much time waiting for other people to move it gets boring really fast. I've done it a lot, and no matter how you set up the rules it always ends up being a snore. Two small maps is better, among other things you can have fun watching the other game if yours is dragging at the moment. You can also then have a tournament, which is fun too.

3) There is advice out there on how to teach to kids, but the bottom line is avoid units with complex strategies. For example no bonding, bonding is cool but beginning players always forget to move the bonded unit. Or you can go with all bonding, and then give the instruction "put all your order markers on this unit and when you move it be sure to move this other unit first." In general just look at the unit, do you have to think a while before you can figure out how to use it? Then don't give it to someone--and still be prepared to offer friendly advice on using all of a units abilities.

4) 200-300 is good. I've done that a lot. Honestly though the size of the army (if you construct it with beginners in mind) is not nearly as important as the simplicity. You could give me a thousand points of Venoc Vipers and I'd be able to play that army with ease. (I know you don't have them.) The big thing you're controlling with the size of the army is the length of the game. Beginners are slow.

And, like shafizele said, don't worry too much about balance. A great example of this is unbalanced glyphs. In competitive play you don't want to include them, but with beginners the more the merrier. That way someone who's losing can get the right glyph and smash the opponents. It's a lot of fun when it goes your way.

And have fun, if you're not having fun they won't have fun.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

Agreed on "dodging the draft". Make some fun, pre-made, theme-based armies for them to choose from. (I like "good" vs "evil" armies.)

The dice matchup is similar to Risk so you can use that as a reference.

For the first game, you might consider all-melee armies (so you can bring LOS rules in later), all Hero armies (the Squad thing can be hard to get initially) or skip the X markers.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old February 6th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

I was recently teaching a couple of friends how to play Scape. They had played D&D and board games like Settlers of Catan so they were no strangers to dice, but there aren't too many games like scape out there and I don't think they had played anything real similar.

I had 560 point armies. I thought about 300 points with mainly heroes but thought an army with squads would look cooler so:

Nilf, GSW x3, Mezzodemons x3
Tor-kul-na, Su-bak-na, nagrubs x5
Hydra x3, Rhogar, Heirloom
Death chasers x5, Me-burq-sa, ogre warhulk, ice troll

I let them build most of the map - they randomly decided where to put height after I did the base. I took the hydra army cause I figured they'd have fun chopping off heads and trying to prevent heals. Plus this army was not built well for taking advantage of the glyphs so I figured I'd take on that disadvantage.

We used the attack, defense, move, and initiative glyphs and I put them all near the center of the board.

Game went quickly enough. I was there to remind them about bonding and I pretty much explained the rules as we played. Nilfy won with a 7 skull attack from height on a full-life Tor-kul-na.

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Old February 6th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

I actually think starting beginners off with the Basic version is a good idea (1 or 2 games max) I did that when teaching my son. And I felt it was important to get the concepts of LOS, moving, attacking, defending, range and order markers down first before moving to advanced rules and abiliites.

After we played a couple of basic games and my son was comfortable with how those initial mechanics worked I moved on the the advanced version. I started with 400-500 point games. I let him pick out a few units that he thought looked cool and tried to work with him explaining what additional units would complement them well. Then it was a matter of slowly easing him into the abilities from there. Before the start of the game, we talk through each unit and what their ability is and how it can be used. That's how I go about it anyway.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

A super fun thing that I have done in the past to play HS with a large group of unexperienced people, is to take order markers out of the game. This is sort of a mix between Basic adn Advanced play. You can simply activate a unit on your turn, it doesn't matter which one. You take your turn using the advanced game rules, and you may use special attacks and powers. The hiccup comes in when you try to use units like Red Skull or Kato Katsuro, who's main point cost comes from being able to control OMs. In addition to trying to avoid them if at all possible, I've aso found that it works well if you just give them full bonding with the figures they would normally control.

It might sound a bit iffy, but it's still fun to play, and without the Order Markers to confuse people with, it makes it much simpler.
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Old February 6th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

I know I have 20+ 500 point thematic armies that can be made from my collection, with small additions from 1-2 of my friends. This way, when we get a big group together, you pick whatever army you like the best, and first come first serve, so it encourages people not to be late (us high schoolers are notoriously unreliable).

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Old February 6th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

Honestly I think the best way to introduce people to Heroscape is to simply have them play it. I don't think you have to do anything too special to win them over. It's a fun game they should have fun playing it.

Maybe just build basic ROTV maps and some not too complicated units to the mix. I find that new players tend to choose units they think look cool more than anything else, which is fine, it gets them used to how the game works. So there is no need to worry about making the armies competitive at first.

Bottom line I think you should start off with advanced rules and just let your friends play the game. If they like it they like it if not don't try and force it on them. But odds are they'll have fun with it. It is Heroscape after all.

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Old February 6th, 2013, 03:24 PM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

A good way to hook new players from the Apples to Apples/Taboo world is through the Marvel set. Most people are familiar with these super heros and easily understand their abilities. I reccommend that you pre-build armies or pick dodgeball style.

From there, introduce them to new units/factions through themes:
Marvel VS Aliens(marro)
Heros VS Robots
Timetravel Battles

Eventually, they won't even realize that they are no longer playing Marvel Heros and they will be playing heroscape.
Good luck!
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Old February 6th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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Re: Teaching Dos and Doníts?

speaking of taboo...nothing makes my wife angrier than playing taboo with my buddy as a partner and using Heroscape clues to get each other to an answer

(sorry off topic!)
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