Thursday, 3 May 2012

Demo Changes

Thursday Theories

You are the Rules Beast. Restrain the Rules beast. He poops on children.
Welcome once again to Thursday theories!
Today's topic for discussion (if anyone ever leaves a comment...) is the recruitment and the demo game. Or more specifically, how to run a demo game to increase recruitment.

Anyone, whether a died-in-the-wool WAAC/Fluff gamer, or a brand new kid who just bought their first pack of models, starts a game with a demo. It's all fine and good to read the rules backwards and forwards 300+ times before your first game, but the first game is always the true tell as to whether you play the game again or not. The Demo game is everyone's "toe-test" to see if they are going to keep on keeping on with this new system before them. But what exactly IS a good demo game?

A demo game is, ideally, a quick briefing on the rules of a game to learn the basic mechanics of how everything works. The key word here is BASIC. No Thermal-Optic Camouflage or Airborne Deployment. No Scouting Moves or Outflanking. No Doctor Skill or Blood Chalices.

Think about it. If your first introduction to a game was listening to some guy or gal explaining the nuances of some long winded super action to you for 45 minutes or more before you even touched your first little metal dude or made a little "pew-pew" noise, would you have stuck around? I'm willing to bet the answer would be  F*** you I'm going home  NO.
When someone starts out with a new gaming system for the first time, they don't NEED to just how mighty in A.R.O. that Sierro Dronbot is, or how wickedly mighty Abaddon's Drac'nyen is in hand to hand combat (if he passes a leadership roll to avoid stabbing himself in the groin). They don't CARE about what table quarters are or who can capture objectives and who can only contest them. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY INFORMATION FOR NEW PLAYERS.

There are only 4 things a starting player needs to know:
  1. When and how can a player activate the model(s)
  2. How far can the model(s) move
  3. How far can the model(s) shoot
  4. What dice do they roll to get the result that ends with them winning.
THAT IS IT. Simple as that.

Now I can already hear people out there whinging on about how when they learned to play such and such game that the person teaching them included all these awesome extra rules and blah blah blah. Some out there who know me are even pointing their fingers at me and yelling "HYPOCRITE!"

I admit, I've been guilty of going overboard when showing people how to play a game. I get swept up in all the awesome I forget that oft-times people don't know the basic rules, let alone what an A.R.O. is (A.R.O. = Automatic Reaction Order from the infinity game. It allows a player to react with an action, when an opponent spends an order within line of sight of one of your models). What seems simple and basic to many of us, just isn't so simple for a brand new player.
And that is the point of this article. To make sure that when we show off our beloved games, we give new players the basics to enjoy so they'll be around to try the cool stuff after.

Those who don't know me (and/or havn't read older posts... FOR SHAME!) are probably wondering where I get off telling people how to run a "Good" demo game. Well, it's from experience. I have literally run thousands of demo games. Mostly whilst running a Games Workshop store, where it was my JOB to recruit kids into the hobby. And I have seen many of their beady little eyes glaze over as I try to explain the most basic of rules ("These are your models, these are mine, you control those ones...oh god he's drooling..."). So I have some concept of what I say. Though feel free to ignore all of my advice... I am just some guy at a keyboard amongst thousands...

Anyways, to Wrap up this post, Keep the Demo's Simple, and we'll all have more people to play against in the near future.

Until next time,
Keep the Rules beast chained up,
Bean out~

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