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.