Sometimes people are nervous about trying new games. For some it is the difficulty of set-up or the daunting task of reading the list of detailed instructions. However finding new and exciting games can be more than worth all the hassle of learning. Below are a few tips to ensure success and fun for all.

Read the directions

The most important and sometimes least enjoyable part of learning a new game. Some games can have pages of detailed instructions for all possible outcomes. While reading may take some time, it will save you headaches in the future when questions arise. It will also ensure that your gaming experience is how the game was intended.

Setting Things Up

This is pretty much self-explanatory, but when you’re teaching a new game, it’s especially important to double-check that everything is set up right.  An improper set-up of game pieces and cards could alter game play so just recheck the initial set-up against diagrams/pictures in the directions.

Also for more complicated games, be sure to count the pieces.  Some games contain a great deal of counters/pieces be sure to count and place these correctly prior to the start of the game. This will make the game play easier and avoid confusion later.

Trial Run

The first play of any new game should be used as a trial run to learn basic game play. I would recommend not even worrying about the score or winner, but to focus on the mechanics and possible strategies. Don’t judge a game solely by the trial run at least give it a re-play for a fair chance.

In fact, don’t even feel like you need to finish the whole game.  Once everybody’s got the hang of it, they’ll probably realize that they should have done something different early on.  If so, just start over from scratch.  It will be more fun for everyone.


The re-play should be counted as the first real game. Now that you understand the rules and components you should be able to focus on the strategies and just enjoy playing the game.

For the first few games, though, you should be a little lenient with the rules, especially regarding taking moves back.  New players will quickly realize when they’ve made a mistake, so they should be allowed to fix it.  Later, once everyone is very familiar with the game, is the time to be more competitive (if that’s the play style of your group).

Have fun!

As with everything else in board gaming, this is the number one rule!  Make sure everyone’s having fun: you, the experienced players, and the new ones.  If people aren’t having fun, then what’s the point of playing?

Have any tips or experiences teaching games?  Share them with us in the comments!