“Best way to learn a new game?”

Make a cheat sheet. I prefer procedural outlines, but whatever works for you.

Good ‘ol Paul Beakley wrote about this though it was shared privately, so you may not be able to see it. (Do you have public posts about this, Paul? This was all I found.)

The point is that just reading the rule book is probably not enough.

When I was running Marvel Heroic, it took making a complete outline, with page references, of the core mechanic to get me really comfortable as a Watcher (GM). It clarified the system for me, and using it at the table proved invaluable; I would just tick down the outline each time we engaged the system. After a while, I was able to internalize it and the game ran smoother and smoother.

So, my habit now is:

1) Read the rules;
2) Read the rules again and take notes;
3) Build procedural outlines from the notes;
4) Run/play the game using the outline;
5) Iterate on the outline;
6) Profit.

16 thoughts on “#rpgaday2016

  1. Marvel Heroic was horrible to read from the book.

    It was the system that taught me that you just need to dive in and start playing.

    I thought the game was going to be horrible but it ended up being one of my favourite systems of all time.

  2. Robert Bohl Yes. No matter how good the text is, going through the process just helps everything gel in my brain.

    Let me also say it’s useful to do this by hand, i.e., handwriting, which I think aids assimilation better than just computing, but that’s getting nitpick-y.

  3. Agreed re handwriting — I don’t even bother typing up my cheat sheet ’til after the first play.

    Ditto re my flowcharting process. The physical act of drawing arrows and boxes and visually arranging information is hugely helpful to me.

  4. Moe Tousignant Agreed. Cortex Plus is the most “Orjoborus-Worm” RPG I’ve ever played. The core mechanic is basically the entire game, and every part of the mechanic touches every other part. I think that makes it very hard to explain, yet once you digest it it makes total sense.

    The Marvel book is also really poorly organized, so making an outline wasn’t just helpful, it was necessary.