The Words are all Wonky

Hello everyone! I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays. I know I certainly had some well earned time to myself. Somewhat anyways. I enjoy seeing people, so generally, time to myself is realistically hanging out with close friends or family. Which is the perfect time to play some board games. Over my holidays, I set a rule for myself to let everyone else pick the game we would play together. This worked up until boxing day when I could start digging into the new games I received for Christmas. Although my “Christmas Haul” was petite, I wanted to get both the games I got onto the table as quickly as I could.


This poses an issue for me. It puts pressure on me to quickly learn a new game, as well as needing to learn it to a point that I can teach it. It is partially my own fault due to the fact that I love getting new games to the table as soon as I can. But I mean, who doesn’t really? So, once our Christmas dinner and family party was done, I decided to check out the two new rule books I knew I’d have to run through. For the record, the rules books were for Magic: Arena of the Planeswalkers (AotP), and Pandemic: Legacy. After reading through both, I found that the rules were fairly straight forward theoretically and it should be a breeze getting them to the table to teach.


Was I ever wrong with that theory. I went through both books after 10 PM on Christmas night, followed by a re-read of both during the day on Boxing Day.  I was fairly confident in what I had read, and I was lucky enough to have more plans with friends and family who enjoy playing games. I started by going to my parents and playing AotP with my dad and uncle. It was fairly obvious that after 2 rounds, I had two issues. The first one was that I was being picked on in this game by both my dad and uncle. It was a blood bath. That was an issue that everyone at the table saw. The other one was more of a personal issue, and discontent with my interpretation of the rule book. I started noticing different things that I had suddenly started questioning. I hadn’t noticed “reserve area” and “graveyard” in the rules, but they were clearly two different spots. Meaning we couldn’t keep re summoning through the game. That’s not how it worked.


Dad and uncle didn’t notice, but I sure did, and I knew that as soon as I was home, I would be starting from the top, and reading those rules once again. So I did, and that evening, my best and oldest friend came over to play. We gave AotP a try, and I felt much better about my rule interpretation, even though I had yet to put the rules I must have skipped over into action. I didn’t even play a few rounds alone to get the hang of things. That game wasn’t quite perfect I didn’t think, and as it turned out, I had to go over summoning rules very closely to understand them. I don’t know what it was about summoning that confused me so much, but eventually I got there. I was able to play tonight, and I am confident that I’ve finally played a game that is 100% correct.



Let’s go back to Boxing Day quickly. While playing games with my friend, we decided to pull out P:L. Yes there was only two of us, but we wanted to get games in fairly frequently. We didn’t want to wait two to three months to play one or two rounds because we couldn’t get a group of 4 together. Also, the game was given to me and I get to decide who plays games with me. So there. I have a very strong understanding of how Pandemic is played, but when I was going over the rule book, I was extremely careful to get all the details right, because the legacy version has much more permanent effects. I really didn’t want to mess something up and have to try and go back and correct any mistakes. So I read and read and read. I read the book in and out so much, you could have made a sweet 80’s montage of me going over this book. It would be an epic montage. Anyway, not the whole point, but trust me, it would’ve been amazing.


Back to the story. The time came to pull it out and start playing. We had everything all set up beautifully. We pulled our first card of the Legacy deck, and it gave us our briefing. The back of that card had a stop sign, signalling for us to stop going through the Legacy deck. Having not been familiar with Objective cards, we weren’t aware that briefings were not objectives. we didn’t draw anymore cards until after we won January (quite convincingly if I do say so myself.) We eradicated two virus’ before our first epidemic. We ended the month with 5 cubes on the entire board! It was great! Then… we decided to check out the deck so we had a hint of what we were up against for the next month. Well, there it was. Even after picking through the book with a fine tooth comb, I missed something. It lead to a misplaced sticker. Only one, thank goodness since we had no outbreaks, but none the less, it’s quite an annoyance.


Now, you may ask yourself, “I can see the problems, but what’s the point of telling us all this?” Well, there is a point to it all I promise. Maybe this post is a little bit of a vent, but I think it’s something that can be annoying for a lot of people. I can completely understand taking a few learning games to get your mind wrapped around all the rules, especially with some heavier games. Learning games takes time. That’s all there is to it. 90% of the time, as long as you set time aside to learn these ins and outs, there are no repercussions. However, with more legacy type games coming out, it is becoming harder to learn rules with a set up “dummy” game in front of you. You can’t just set up and start a game alone with these games without issues. Whether it be spoilers, or changes in the game that are the hurdle, there always tends to at least be something. It’s even hard to try and watch a how to play video, due to things being spoiled too soon for some. So, I suppose I will leave with a couple of quick questions, and a statement.

  1. How many times will you read a rule book before you’re comfortable setting up a lonely game to see rules played out?
  2. How many games will you play alone before you ask someone else to play with you?
  3. How many games do you try to get in before you consider bringing a game to a game night?
  4. Does your game night only have one teacher, or are there numerous people who are confident in the games your group plays?
  5. I love you all!

3 thoughts on “The Words are all Wonky”

  1. You know, you’ve hit upon something here that I haven’t quite been able to articulate regarding the Legacy-style games. I have been saying that I’m afraid of not being able to replay them, and that I’m nervous about the permanent changes. But what you wrote above is more to the point: I’m nervous by the idea that you could “mess up” or do something wrong in the first place, but that then it would be a permanent mistake. Messes with my OCD something fierce. lol I think that’s another reason why I’m more attracted to Risk Legacy than Pandemic Legacy. I already know how to play Risk, and thoroughly. Whatever changes to the rules that might be parcel to the Legacy theme seem like they would be easily learned. Pandemic, I have no idea. Of course this whole line of reasoning is based on fear of the unknown and might be totally without ground, but it’s there nonetheless.

    As to your questions: I typically read a rule book about 75% through before starting the game, just to get a gist for how it’s supposed to go. I might fiddle with the pieces a bit while I do so. As soon as I think I got it, though, I just dive right in with my group, teach them what I think I’ve learned, and we blindly fumble through the first session. Then, I’ll go back and re-read the rules later, more carefully, with a clearer context for what I’m reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great way to learn new games for sure! I wish I had a consistent game night to be able to do that. If I am learning a game along with my game nighters, they typically aren’t having fun and are less interested in coming back again.

      Liked by 1 person

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