Read the damn game — #RPGaDay

19th August — Best way to learn a new game

It’s not possi­ble to learn a game witho­ut kno­wing the rules. That’s why I read the rules.

The first reading is not abo­ut memo­ri­sing the rules: it’s abo­ut indul­ging in set­ting, try­ing to ima­gi­ne how it will look in play. Under­stan­ding what fun means for this par­ti­cu­lar game. A bit what the rules does.

The second reading is pre­pa­ring the ses­sion. Reading aga­in the pro­ce­du­res how to pre­pa­re a ses­sion or sce­na­rio or impro­vi­sa­tio­nor wha­te­ver. I’m looking for cues what’s impor­tant: what’s high­li­gh­ted in the exam­ples, what topics appe­ar aga­in and aga­in. (In Dogs… not only PC’s get free d6 with fami­ly, in all the exam­ple sce­na­rios main NPC’s are PC’s fami­ly). Then I high­li­ght the most impor­tant sec­tions of the book with stic­ky notes…

Beacau­se the third reading hap­pens during the ses­sion. As a gro­up we will stum­ble on rules, we won’t be sure abo­ut the exact wor­ding (and it might be cru­cial: the dif­fe­ren­ce in „may” and „must” can be a dra­stic chan­ge in the situ­ation, same with who exac­tly gets autho­ri­ty over nar­ra­tion). The book is on the table — and we take a look a lot.

I know that many people would rather play with some­one who knows and teaches the game. It’s easier this way of cour­se. But this means also, that some small rules might be „lost in trans­la­tion”, omi­ted — as it’s the natu­re of oral tra­di­tion. I trust the scrip­tu­re.

So go, read the damn book.

Post­crip­tum: Of cour­se I make seve­ral assump­tions here. Like that I trust that the author did the­ir best, like that the game isn’t bro­ken. But even in case when it’s not true, reading and fol­lo­wing the rules helps in under­stan­ding that some­thing abo­ut the game is off.


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