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Progressive learning while you play?

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larienna
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I have a game idea that is playable with different level of complexity and rules. But it also have the advantage that the more complex rules could be integrated in the middle of a game.

So I thought that I could have 3 levels of rules: Beginner, intermediate, advanced. If you ware new to the game you start with the beginner rules, then after a few turns, you can add the intermediate rules and later you can add the advanced rules while playing the game.

Not only it would allow people to play with different level of complexity, but the learning could be done progressively.

Do you think it could be a good idea or it will make the rules too confusing?

X3M
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It will be confusing if you

It will be confusing if you don't tell the players beforehand.
It should be stated, before the first rules are being read.

Maybe you can arrange the beginning of the game, such that stats are used later on?

Jay103
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If it's done cleanly, I

If it's done cleanly, I suppose.

The problem, maybe, is that once people have played the game once, are they still playing the novice rules at the beginning?

I mean, it could be as simple as "you are not allowed to do X, Y, or Z until turn 3", which might be a valid game design choice on its own. But if it's not, then basically you have a set of rules that people will only use once, ever. And what happens when three experienced players add a beginner player to the game the next night...?

Juzek
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Like Jay said, if you wanted

Like Jay said, if you wanted it to be every time you play, the game slowly gets more complex, I like the thought of that. Maybe some sort of round tracker or VP condition would unlock new abilities or events for everyone.

It sounds a little clunky to have a collective "Ok, does everyone like this? Should we make it harder?" discussion in the middle of the game. Figure out what ruleset makes the best game and make that the standard. This is a good opportunity to make expansions later for the extra rules.

If your goal is to ease a new player into the game, I think it would be cool to do some sort of asymmetrical game where it is competitive for everyone, but some of the roles would be much simpler and more straight forward and better for younger or newer players. They could still be a threat to the more experienced players using more complex mechanisms.

larienna
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Quote:The problem, maybe, is

Quote:
The problem, maybe, is that once people have played the game once, are they still playing the novice rules at the beginning?

If fact, if certain players find the advanced rules too complex, or they just want a fluffy game experience, they could play strictly with the novice rules.

Another idea could be to have 2 rule books. One learn as you play and another complete rule book a bit like fantasy flight games.

Jay103
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If you think that there may

If you think that there may be people who (a) are interested in playing your game at all, and (b) have played two games already, and (c) are still interested in playing, and yet (d) can't play well enough with the rules you've devised...

then your rules might be too complicated, period.

Or you've invented a totally different "fluffy" game, for a different audience.

let-off studios
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Basic vs. Advanced Factions, Basic vs. Advanced Actions

There are a number of games that take a different route: they provide a number of different factions, and some are more complex than others. What's more, they provided a "recommended first game setup." Both player abilities and game challenges, where applicable, can be throttled. In future games, complexity can be dialed-up for the players that want that kind of experience.

Two games that come to mind - though it's been a minute since I've played either - are Thunderstone and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

Is it possible to do these kinds of things with your game? I would recommend it, if that's the case. It provides a host of options, along with an easy entry point for new players. Plus, it will likely reduce your designer's dilemma of what constitutes inclusion in the "basic" or "advanced" rules.

///

Another possibility to provide for additional complexity is to provide more than one useful option per decision point, one being more complex than the other. For example, a card game has a rogue character, and in their deck is an attack card. One option is to execute a typical attack with a relatively straightforward attack process. Maybe it provides additional damage if the target is "unaware" or "flanked" or something like that. Meanwhile, the same card details that an attack can have poison added to it, which requires a number of additional steps: it costs resources, it requires tracking through several rounds, etc.

In this case, the player is provided with a limited set of options, both of which can be useful, but can choose their level of investment regarding complexity.

Jay103
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Catan has a "first-game

Catan has a "first-game setup" where you lay out the tiles in a particular (balanced) pattern, rather than the random pattern that you'd normally lay out. So first-time players (a) get a balanced map, and (b) don't have to strategize about where to start off, since they have no idea yet what to look for.

larienna
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Another idea that could be

Another idea that could be easier to handle is to have the most thin and simple rule set as the "base rules". Then creates a series of add-on modules/rules to change the game experience. Players could integrate those add-ons during the game, or when starting a new game. It should make the rulebook more clear.

questccg
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I have done something SIMILAR with TradeWorlds

So in TradeWorlds you have a "core" complement of cards required to be used by each player. It's around 65 cards. And these can be used to play the game for "beginners"... It uses the minimum offered by the game.

Now it's a bit skewed because some "core" players get extra "scenarios" because of the Kickstarter ... But NORMALLY, ALL bonus content comes in a separate box (Galactic Encounter Collection).

The thing is that you have TWO (2) "Bonus" Scenarios which you can use as EXTRA "cards" that are allowable to extend the "core" experience. This adds 11 cards extra per player and increase the complexity for managing your hand, deck and card piles... Because you have more "options" to BUY and use (some cost 10 Credits to use - I am thinking about "Retrofits").

Then you can ALSO ADD the "Planetary Expansion" which increases a player's Deck by 35 cards each and adds two (2) additional card piles. It also gives you the capability to do missions and have one (1) Tradeship.

And fundamentally all this can be combined and put together as "complexe" the players want the game to be. So I understand where you are coming from. I think if you can make it with variable "complexity" and maybe do something like a "Victory Track"...

At the start, all players play the Beginner's Game ... Once a Player reaches goal "X", he/she switches to the Intermediate Rules... But the other players can remain on the Beginner's Game until THEY TOO reach goal "X". And then you can have an OPTIONAL goal "Y" which brings the game to Expert Rules and players can decide if they want to play with these rules.

ONE THING: I think increasing the difficulty should offer some sort of BONUS "extra" in terms of your game. In TradeWorlds, if you use the Retrofits ... That gives you a competitive advantage... So everyone will be competing to gain levels to earn them (for example).

IF you can make it that ADDED COMPLEXITY = (ADDED SCORING, ADDED "Z", etc.) When I say "Z", what I mean is that it's something like a currency in your game which "increases" perhaps ODDS or "bonus" points, etc.

That would be REAL COOL ... Because players have the OPTION knowing that there is a BENEFIT... But it's a risk and choice to be taken by each player playing the game at a specific time in the game...

X3M
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My experience in this

Let's just say that having several layers of rules. Only makes things more complicated. Telling the players, when to use which rules is kinda a rule on itself too.

Try to see, if this can be done behind the scenes.

For example:
I let the players in, on all rules.

But through several campaign missions. I only let them use specific rules. They don't need the others. But I don't tell them.

For example:
A mission to get through the canyon. Is a play on the size of units and the space on the terrain.
But also requires players to do some vision mechanics.
For this mission, they don't need to see if the propulsions are right. They don't need to see if the units have to shoot upwards. They don't need to use any of the advanced weapons.
Which all have rules in the game. But simply are not needed in that particular mission.

The right propulsions is a separate mission.
Shooting upwards is an mission as well.
There are several weapon test missions, with a board that is designed (needs a redo) for those weapons in particular to be effective.

Grall Ritnos
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Check out the Fast Forward series

I suspect your game might be more involved than the games in this series, but an innovative approach to a similar goal can be found in the Fast Foward series by Friedemann Friese. These are all card games where the initial order of the cards in the deck is set, and then players gradually delve deeper and deeper into the deck game by game. Periodically, they will reveal a new rule card which alters the game slightly or increases the complexity. After each hand/game, most of the revealed non-rule cards are reshuffled and placed back on top of the deck so that next time players will have a slightly different game and a chance of discovering a few more nuggets of content. The cards are also numbered so the initial order can be reset after a group has played through the entire deck. I've only played a few hands of Fear, so I'm no expert on the series, but it seems like a collection of games to be familiar with if you're going down this road.

Here's a link to the BGG listing for the series:
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeksearch.php?action=search&objecttype=boardg...

larienna
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In fact it's more a "Play the

In fact it's more a "Play the game as you like" kind of game. This is why I tought maybe of teaching the minimum and offering a lot of option.

According to your taste, who you play with and how many players, you might select a different set of rules. When playing solo, you would use all the rules (as you need more complexity)

john smith
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Old Wargmaes always had these

Old Wargmaes always had these three stages Of Rules. Thats why I am so baffled by the constant complaints of complexity in wargame.

Tim Edwards
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john smith wrote:Old Wargmaes

john smith wrote:
Old Wargmaes always had these three stages Of Rules. Thats why I am so baffled by the constant complaints of complexity in wargame.

Yes, I've been buying vintage games recently and noticed how common it is to have different levels of rules. It occurred to me that it's a very effective way to present complex rules accessibly - even if you expected the players to jump in at the deap end.

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