Bored Games

May 9, 2013
Bored Games

About this comic

I LOVE a good board game, and I always look forward to chances to play with friends or family. But, I always have this huge mental block about the rules. I’m terrible at taking it all in and remembering anything. Wish I could blame this on age. This was a problem when I was a kid, and it remains a problem today.

I get a hot new tabletop game, rip it open, pour over the rules, and fall asleep. Dunno how some of you do it. I guess I’ll find out in July at N13. 🙂

Oh, and a new Frogpants TV posted, playing Psychonauts for the first time ever.

25 Responses to Bored Games

  1. Jack says:

    I am the exact same way. I struggled to learn the rules for DnD 2.0 (in fact I don’t think I ever did).

    I sort of learned it for 3.0 and then 4.0… my friends told me only what I needed to know and that worked really well! So my solution to this all is… find someone who knows how to play the game and have them show it to you.

    Also the DM I was with had a rule about electronic devices. If you had a device out and were using it and it didn’t have a purpose in the game (such as a dice roller or calculator or something) all your rolls got a -5 penalty! (or +5, whichever is worse for the roll)

  2. Jonathan says:

    Best way to learn a new game is to watch this guys videos. He even lets the listeners play along from turn to turn after giving an overview of the rules.

  3. Bill Murphy says:

    Oddly, I only play board games where someone has already played to explain the rules for me.

    But video games, I read the instructions cover to back to make sure I know everything there is to do.

  4. Eric Anderson says:

    If the game is mostly about learning a complicated set of rules it’s going to have a pretty high barrier for entry.

    I will say from experience that it’s possible to play a great game of Dungeons and Dragons with a very loose set of rules. If I’m DM’ing a DnD game I don’t want arguing about rules to be a part of the game.

  5. Cara says:

    Oh gosh, this is totally me in the sense of trying to learn the WoW TCG vs. waiting for Hearthstone.

  6. Jason says:

    For those coming to Nerdtacular 2013 that are interested in playing tabletop games:

  7. Mad-Bassist says:

    Same problem here—maybe it was being from the first arcade generation (from the days when they were mostly pinball with a few Cinematronics classics and Space Invaders.)

    I love a good board game, and I like the concept of DnD type play, but when the rules become too complicated my mind starts shutting down.

    I think the best games are like Othello: a minute to learn; a lifetime to master.

    I do have a problem finding people who play Cribbage—then I’m the one trying to teach the rules and the “ritual” to playing.

    • Richard says:

      Cribbage is such a wonderful game. Easy to learn, good mix of strategy and luck, and each game can last less than 20 minutes. .

      • I’ve never learned. My mom used to play. Always thought it was just for old people as a kid. 🙂

        • Mad-Bassist says:

          I recommend it: my father was a merchant seaman for many years, and the game is very popular on the ships. Once you start seeing the patterns and strategies, the play can be pretty cutthroat at times.

          Oh yeah, and we tend to get into character. A couple family members who don’t play like watching us play, heheh.

  8. Dan Ziniti says:

    So true! I have a massive collection of board games sitting unplayed in my basement because the learning curve with the rules is so daunting.

  9. David says:

    I like when a board game has an iOS version too. That’s how I learned to play Ticket To Ride.

  10. Tesko says:

    I was the same way at one time. For a while, however, I was the only one in my group who actually bought new games so it came down to either I learn it and teach it or I don’t play them at all. Now, I’m great at quickly going through rules and teaching them to new players. Like anything else, it’s something that gets easier the more you do it.

  11. Hao Tran says:

    That’s funny, because I can’t read most literature without falling asleep (not because it’s not interesting, but I just seem to get tired while reading), but give me a rulebook for any game or roleplaying system and I’m totally into it. It’s no wonder my friends usually refer to me as the rule master. 😛

  12. lurker says:

    Table top games are slow. Boot up a PC game and play Shogun – rather than play the board game. Funner that the tedious setup, finding the time block, and having enough to finish it – without someone’s wife or kid calling them. Sigh.

    • Yep. Tricky stuff.

    • Tesko says:

      Sure, but you miss out on all the benefits of face-to-face tabletop gaming. Not saying that one is any better than the other, they both have their positive and negative points, but if you only look at the negatives, you would never do anything at all.

  13. Darryn Mercer says:

    Funny – I couldn’t be any more opposite. I pick up the rules of games like a duck to water. Must be why I love tabletop games so much more than videogames 🙂

  14. Clint says:

    I’m the same way, I don’t really like reading the rulebook. I find watching some of the videos on YouTube by Watch It Played, and Crits Happen are really helpful.

    Assuming of course they’ve played your game in question 😉

  15. Tamela says:

    Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is presented on net?

  16. Bevans says:

    Yup, I’m exactly the same. I can only learn by trying something and making mistakes again and again and again. Written or spoken directions instantly leave my head.

    It’s like sculpting in stone: I have to remove every piece that isn’t part of the sculpture I’m trying to make.

    My friends like to point out how completely incapable I am of learning new card games.

  17. HuntsTheWind says:

    As a veteran boardgamer (my collection is in the hundreds and I’ve played since I was a kid), I’ve seen this situation a lot with other players.

    A good case study is my wife, who when I met her was not a boardgamer, and much like Scott would get the “eyes glazed over” look whenever I would try to explain rules of any length. But over the years she has gotten better and better at learning games from rules explanations. We’ve talked about it, and a lot of it is that as she has played more games, certain game mechanics (such as worker placement, area control, auctions, etc) have become familiar to her. So now when I teach her a new game I can say, “you’ll draw cards like you do in Ticket to Ride, this auction is similar to how it’s done in Power Grid, and you’ll place workers like you do in Stone Age.” Since she already knows those games, the new rules aren’t as indigestible as they would be if it was one massive rules-dump.

    It’s very similar to computer gaming. On The Final Score, Scott, Brian, and Nicole often compare new games to ones they already know. Concepts like WASD, inventory, HUDs, etc, carry over from game to game, so if you know them from one, picking up another game that uses them is pretty easy, compared to someone who’s never played an FPS before.

    I’m hoping there will be a chance to do some boardgaming in the guild hall at Blizzcon!

  18. Alex says:

    you think d & d are difficult to learn?try (and i dare you to TRY)playing Heroclix…with more than 2000 characters,each with their own rules,and new game rules being changed every MONTH,i just gave up before even starting

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