Friday, April 1, 2016

Repetitive Plays

Earlier this month, I sat myself and finally learned how to play La Granja solo. But instead of just playing it the one time for one night, I tried something different: I played again the next night.

For most other people, this may not be a big deal, but for me it's difficult to cut away some time to myself just to play a board game. For longer games like La Granja, the first game is always a burden to play; the rules aren't solid enough, my strategy reflexes are slow, and I was lucky if I reached the endgame. It's enough of a daunting task to endure in one night, and I usually give myself a few days for all the rules to sink in.

But not this time. Like some daily homework, I sat myself down, forced myself to open the box again, dump out the contents, and set up the game like before. Compared to last night, I completed the La Granja setup in record time. Before I knew it, I was already deep into the end of the second round (out of 6), and the actions I could perform each turn became crystal clear to me.

That night, I essentially halved my first play's time length. Brimming with satisfaction, I began cleaning up the game, excited for the next time I'll play it again. Then I wondered what I would need to quickly setup a game. A few quick adjustments later, and I've bagged all the components necessary for a solo game in two bags, speeding up my setup time even faster.

The next night, was ready to put my system to the test. Sure enough, a quick dump of one bag and some token shuffling later, and I was ready to go in 5 minutes. With minimal distraction (sometimes I'd have the TV running in the background), I was able to play a solo game within an hour. By then, I've all but mastered the rulebook - apart from memorizing what each card's special abilities did.

To further this method of board game playing, I did the same thing for Viticulture. While not done within three consecutive days, they were still one after another, getting the rules down to a solid. Thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense; if I want to increase my focus on something, I need to drive it consistently against my brain, making sure I don't forget any steps. If I had shown this same dedication to Fields of Arle, I'm sure that would've reached the table a lot more often.

And I'm not alone. Maggibot from Twitter also believes that games should be played more than once within the month to ensure a full rules understanding. It's all about the repetition that will get you understanding a game in no time flat. The sooner you reach that point, the easier it will be to teach others in a more natural state.
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