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Co0kieL0rd

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Beginners' mistakes
« on: June 22, 2016, 09:28:29 am »
+5

Reading Titandrake’s noteworthy article (http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=14869.msg573060#msg573060) about concealing information in (online) Dominion games, I was reminded about the typical mistakes beginners and casual players make, particularly in real life games. I wanted to share my experiences on this issue. The purpose of this is not to rant about beginners but to find solutions how to best teach them to avoid certain mistakes, even if they don’t plan to become regular, advanced players. I don’t want to address rules violations, such as putting trashed cards into their discard pile, where the only correct move is to call their attention to it and rectify, but rather small errors and bad habits that impair our game experience.

(1) Slamming your whole hand on the table. While not technically violating the rules, although it looks like they are playing their Estates along with their actions and treasures (can’t wait for my first Inheritance game irl, yay!), they unnecessarily leak information and often find themselves having difficulty with playing cards like Secret Chamber (which is already confusing enough as a card) and Conspirator (with all cards spread out chaotically it’s hard to keep track of their play order). With base cards, or the simpler cards of the expansions, this doesn’t usually matter. I just feel like they’re ill-prepared for the more complex cards that interact with the size and content of your hand. But maybe this is something people can just learn later when they’ve already played a few games and they’ll be fine.

(2) Those who don’t throw all their hand cards on the table in the buy phase usually do the opposite; they briefly flash their hand (sometimes only the treasures) and then grab a card from the supply. There seem to be only these two types of beginner play styles. Obviously, there’s an accountability issue here, but when I remind them of the fact that the other players need to see how much money they played each turn, I might come across as a stiff rule-nazi. The best thing I can do is spread out the cards I played so each is visible individually, ideally also counting my total money aloud while playing treasures one after another. Do you guys think this is important in games with beginners or am I going a step too far? I mean, it’s not rare people miscount their money (happens to everyone), and it’s not like I win all games regardless of them sometimes buying more than they can afford. Especially in 4-player games I find it difficult to keep track of each player’s points and deck quality. So I'd like to think that at least everyone knows what they can afford on their own without me having to scrutinize every move they make.

(3) Putting cards gained during their action phase into their play area. Starting not later than in the mid-game phase, when people play multiple Villages, Smithies and Workshops in whatever order, with gained Villages and Smithies laying amongst their played copies, this can get very confusing; “What did I play? How many actions do I have left? I forgot to shuffle my gained cards in…” Some people (not only beginners) have their discard pile sitting next to, sometimes in the middle of, their play area, and when it contains only one or two cards, how do you tell they’re not played cards? Usually, players know where their discard pile is but the other players might not, and disorder ensues again. I am exaggerating here. Usually nothing happens, it’s just annoying to me and I always recommend separating your discard pile and play area with your deck in between the two. Am I the only one?
 
(4) Counting remaining actions after having played all their Villages and some of their terminals, instead of counting them after playing each action. Though I realize this is something not everybody has an easy time doing while they’re busy thinking about how to play their cards or what to play at all. It’s also not really hurting, just time consuming which has already led to games lasting way longer than expected, people getting tired and saying afterwards that Dominion takes such a long time to play when most you do is thinking. I guess, only time and experience will make for faster turns and more enjoyable games. You, as a beginner, just have to get through this unpleasant phase where you have no clue what to do and lose almost inevitably to advanced players during your first couple of games. This is an issue with Dominion as a game, anyway; it has a steep learning curve, even if you just play with Base cards.

So what do you guys think? Am I being too hard on beginners? What are your experiences and how do you help people avoid mistakes and play comprehensibly while also retaining the fun of the game?
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 09:32:41 am by Co0kieL0rd »
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 10:05:37 am »
0

Yeah you definitely bring up some good points. A lot of these are less 'mistakes' and more 'good etiquette'.

I think much of what you mentioned happens when people get excited and start playing too fast and cutting corners.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2016, 10:06:41 am »
0

Very good article! I totally agree with what you said. At first, you seem like a rule Nazi (I know how it feels), but it is super important. Another you didn't mention is people shuffling their discard pile when they do not have a deck but before they actually need to draw cards. It matters if you get cursed or hit with a handsize decreaser.

If beginners start learning bad habits that seems like little "who cares" stuff, as the game gains in complexity, they are going to run into trouble.
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Co0kieL0rd

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2016, 10:17:56 am »
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Very good article! I totally agree with what you said. At first, you seem like a rule Nazi (I know how it feels), but it is super important. Another you didn't mention is people shuffling their discard pile when they do not have a deck but before they actually need to draw cards. It matters if you get cursed or hit with a handsize decreaser.

If beginners start learning bad habits that seems like little "who cares" stuff, as the game gains in complexity, they are going to run into trouble.

I was thinking about that, too. But I think it's actually okay for experienced players to shuffle prematurely to save time because you expect them to know when there is going to happen no more interaction with their discard pile or deck before their next turn. You can usually tell when that's the case. But doing that in front of new players might be a bad example. I guess I should mention it in the article if it's okay for you if I include stuff you guys said as well.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2016, 10:25:20 am »
+10

Another thing that annoys me is when I'm playing Dominion with my cats, they take forever thinking about their turn and suddenly play cards from their paw randomly, occasionally also from their deck and discard pile, and then grab like 5 Estates from the Supply with only 1 buy! And their short term attention span is atrocious! But if I refuse to let them play, my mum gets angry at me so I concede.

In a way, Dominion beginners are like cats.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 11:47:29 am by Co0kieL0rd »
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2016, 10:31:58 am »
0

I find that I don't count my renaining actions, but use the organization of my play area to track them.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2016, 11:40:26 am »
+5

I am extremely strict about playing etiquette IRL games.

Deck on the left, discard on the right, play area in the middle.

Play actions first, one at a time, announcing when they make you do something. It really doesn't take a long time to say "Peddler, draw, Peddler, draw, Village, draw, Smithy, draw three, Worker's Village, draw, Militia, Everyone discard down to three. I've got an action left, but no action card. That's $4, [play a Silver] $6, [play a Copper] $7, [play a Copper] $8, Horn of Plenty [counting the 8 unique cards] gaining a Province, trashing the Horn. Buying a Province. I've got an extra buy from Worker's Village, Peddlers are free, buy a Peddler. Cleaning up [scoop cards from table, placing leftover hand on them, putting all on top of purchased cards in discard pile]"

Modeling that helps. Even players in the group who have played a while start getting sloppy and flashing the hand, and I always, ALWAYS say, "show the money" and make them put it, face up, in the play area, where everyone can see it.

I have definitely had to tell many players to stop putting their Estates on the table. Those are not in play, they're in your hand. What's the difference? Ask Horn of Plenty, or Pilgrimage, or especially Haunted Woods.

Because IRL games can take a long time, I allow some leeway for shuffling. I first look at the kingdom and see if premature shuffling is going to be an issue. Is it possible in any way for any cards to affect other players' discard piles? If not, players are allowed to shuffle while the next person is taking their turn. In fact, if people holding draw-3 cards and their deck is down to two cards, I'm fine with them shuffling and putting the two cards on top while they wait for the other players to go. However, if it's relevant, I let them know at the very beginning and make sure that no one ever shuffles their discard until its their turn and they need to draw from an empty deck.

Gained cards definitely go straight into the discard, no exceptions. Again, if they say "what's the difference" I point out Watchtower, Nomad Camp, etc., and the fact that you can actually draw cards after gaining them if you gain them during your action phase. The fact that they go to the discard is extremely relevant.

Running action counting is encouraged along with left-to-right actions. Some builds tend to stack up a few actions before they can play terminals, or stack up a bunch of actions, such as Wandering Minstrel or City chains, so if players aren't alternating actions/draw/actions/draw, the players in my group have learned to stop for a moment and ponder "how many actions do I have left" before they play a terminal, and we count "You started with 1, [point to village] 2 [village] 3 [draw] 2 [village] 3 [Terminal silver] 2 [draw] 1...you have one action left."

One other critical one: Durations!

I insist on players always playing durations in a separate row on the left side of the playing area, next to the deck, even though that means they're not in order with the rest of the actions. It's still not too difficult to keep track of actions, because you really only need to count the total, not the order. The next turn, before playing, move any duration cards from the left to the right, next to the discard, saying aloud what they do and processing it: "Wharf fires, drawing 2. Caravan fires, drawing 1. Gear fires, putting these two cards under it in my hand. Fishing Village fires, giving an extra action." Naturally, it's hyper-critical that players leave these cards face-up in the play area and NOT in the discard. Again, "what's the difference?" You may have to shuffle this turn, and they're still in play, not discarded. And widely separating this turn's durations from last turn's durations prevents accidental-clean-up-syndrome ("Oh, wait, I cleaned up my Wharf! Nooooo! Can I fish it out of the discard?")

Wait, one more: Coin or no coin!

When playing a string of actions, many cards may or may not give coin, making it really tricky to count. Ironmonger, Pawn, Minion, etc. To indicate that a card has given coin (not necessary for Market, Peddler, etc) we push it up half a card, so the action row becomes jagged, with coin-generators sticking up.

You know, there are a bunch more, now that I think about it: Putting the -$1 token and guilds coin tokens in the play area where you put your treasures. Putting permanent durations, etc., (Prince, Hireling, Champion) above the deck. Putting out-of-play cards to the left of the deck (Island, Native Village. Or use the mat if you really like it.) When playing Storyteller, putting the treasures fanned out on the Storyteller itself, and leaving a little space after it to indicate you're starting from $0 from here to the right.

It might be temporarily irritating to keep needling people about playing properly, but eventually, it really smooths out the gameplay and makes it faster, not slower, because now everyone knows what's going on. So keep on insisting on using good form and following the rules.

Another: The card says "Reveal your hand." Reveal your hand, let's see it. The card says "Reveal a card from the top of your deck." Reveal it. The card says "look at the top two cards." You don't have to reveal them. The card says "reveal a hand with no actions." Show us. It's not that we don't trust you, it's that it might be helpful information for us to know that you had an extra Gold you didn't have to play because you didn't have the +buy to use it, and now we know you've skipped it. Also, you might have forgotten that Necropolis is an action.

And here's a big IRL question to add to the discussion:

How far do you let players rewind if they make a mistake?

Playing a terminal when they had another village in hand and really wanted to play two actions?

Cleaning up a duration card they played this turn?

Playing one terminal when they meant to play a different one?

Failing to call a reserve card?

I actually do allow players to rewind, but only if they have gained no new information that they didn't have before the mistake. In other words, if they play a draw card, then realize they are out of actions and try to go back and play a +actions card first, that's not acceptable, because they've looked at three new cards. However, if they play a terminal coin card, then realize they need more actions, I'm fine with them picking it up and playing the Village first instead.

Accidentally cleaning up durations: If they're drawing their cards and they're in the middle of shuffling, even if they've dealt a partial hand face-down on the table, without looking, and they're still shuffling when they realize they cleaned up their brand-new Wharf, I'll let them fish it out and put it back on the table and reshuffle. If they've looked at their cards, it's too late.

Failing to call a reserve: Even if you've played a +actions (no cards!), terminal coin and a gainer, gaining a card to the discard, then played some treasure and are wondering what to buy with $4 and shopping...if you realize then that you had a guide on the mat and you want a better hand, fine. No new information has been gained. Put the gained card back, pick up the hand, call the guide and get a new hand. Or you realize that you had a Ratcatcher on the mat and you would rather trash the copper. Fine. Pick up a copper, retroactively call the Ratcatcher and then spend $3 instead. As long as there was no drawing, no revealing, etc., there's no harm, no foul.

Some old-school card players go by the "a card laid is a card played" philosophy, but Dominion's complex enough that I feel like some grace is appropriate, so rewinding isn't unheard of in our group if it follows these guidlines.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 11:42:46 am by JThorne »
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2016, 11:55:29 am »
+2

Telling players to follow the rules does not make your a "rules Nazi". It makes you a competent teacher of the game. Rules are there for a reason.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2016, 12:00:34 pm »
+1

When I play games with my boyfriend, most of these guidelines are unnecessary.  We are already accountable to each other--we are in a relationship.  Playing quickly is a higher priority.

However, with beginners, we ask them to be more careful and accountable so we can make sure they're playing according to correct rules.  And of course, we give them more leeway to play slowly.  In general the biggest issue we've had is when beginners play cards directly to their discard pile.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2016, 12:01:22 pm »
0

Telling players to follow the rules does not make your a "rules Nazi". It makes you a competent teacher of the game. Rules are there for a reason.

Exactly.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2016, 12:15:45 pm »
+1

JThorne, I've noticed you're writing very elaborate and interesting posts. You sure know what's going on in the game. I agree with everything you said, except for this tiny bit
Quote
I've got an action left, but no action card.
if you meant that players should announce that while playing, which they shouldn't. They should merely say this in their heads - if that is what you meant, it's all fine ;)
You provide very useful tips such as alternating the placement of cards in order to show whether or not they provided coin (or buys or actions). There are several other methods that help you keep track of various effects your cards may or may not have had which I often don't utilize because I usually know what my cards did but I realize not everybody has that kind of OCD.
I like that you still allow other players to rewind on certain occasions. This is very important to keep a healthy game atmosphere and fun experience. I also would like a little challenge in my opponents so if they play their terminal before their splitter and threw the game that way, where's the fun in that? But if you drew or looked at cards from your deck, sorry, no going back!
A friend of mine who is an experienced Dominion player sometimes wouldn't remind his opponents when they forgot to trash a card to Trade Route, didn't draw with a cantrip, forgot to gain an extra card for their Haggler etc. although they noticed it. He then would say, "it's their fault if they forget things." But in those cases that's not an excuse because these are compulsory actions. When I play a Council Room or gain a Lost City, I insist everyone else draw a card and sometimes, they're thankful. Very rarely, that draw hurts. Either way, doesn't matter, it says draw - you draw. Period. If I started purposefully ignoring such things, I'd be just a douchebag and not adhere to the rules.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 12:22:39 pm by Co0kieL0rd »
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2016, 12:21:06 pm »
0

Telling players to follow the rules does not make your a "rules Nazi". It makes you a competent teacher of the game. Rules are there for a reason.

I don't actually think of myself as a rules nazi; that term was just a pointed remark to make people more inclined to post something in respone  ::) I'm pretty lax when playing with experienced players whom I expect to take care of themselves. And if they make a misplay I know it was an accident and let them rewind (with the above mentioned restrictions).
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2016, 07:17:16 pm »
+2

Quote
Quote
I've got an action left, but no action card.

if you meant that players should announce that while playing, which they shouldn't. They should merely say this in their heads - if that is what you meant, it's all fine ;)

Right! Yes! I encourage players to say how many actions they have, but you're right; no one is obligated to talk about cards that might be in their hand that they're not going to play. You shouldn't reveal more than you're required to reveal.

As far as experienced players trusting each other and playing more quickly and less OCD goes, well, I submit that if you're simultaneously playing cards and verbalizing the effects, it's just as fast (I defy you to draw three cards and organize them in your hand faster than you can say "draw three"), and helps everyone cross-check what's going on, because everyone makes mistakes. Even playing treasures one at a time can help come up with a more accurate total, especially when playing specials like Bank or HoP.

Like you, I also announce to the table when something is required. Someone buys Lost City: "Everyone draw a card!" Someone buys Embassy: "Everyone gain a Silver!" (You know you're getting better at Dominion when gaining an Embassy starts being an attack.) I also don't hesitate to speed up players partly unfamiliar with cards by speaking the effects for them until they're fast enough to speak them. "Magpie. Draw. Reveal. Put it back. Magpie. Draw. Reveal. Put it in your hand. Ironmonger. Draw. Reveal. You may discard it. Push Ironmonger up because it gave you a coin." (Seriously, keeping track of what a string of seven Ironmongers gave you once you're done with four other actions and playing treasures is hard, unless you're tracking +actions, +coin with dice or other counters.)

Dominion is sometimes criticized as being too much like multi-player solitaire. Let's not make it worse. In a game with a lot of interaction, like Magic, you are required to explicitly announce what you're doing so that the other player(s) can react to it. In Dominion, just because people can't necessarily stop what you're doing doesn't mean you should just silently deal your cards on the table, grab and go. If anything, explicitly speaking the actions allows everyone to process what's going on better so that they can track who's deck is doing what.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 10:21:20 pm »
0

Most of the people I play with know the effects of most cards fairly well. To speed things up, I tend to just state the cards I'm playing, since I mostly play village-smithy variations.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2016, 01:30:37 am »
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I totally agree with (1) to (3). I saw all of them.
I think (4) is not that big a deal though. By placing the cards strategically, it can be done without the need to cound.

I'd like to add a (5): misusage of the terms. Use buy instead of gain (or vice versa). + 1 Gold instead of +1 coin. Action instead of action card. etc. And when I correct them I am called pedantic!
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2016, 06:12:58 am »
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I totally agree with (1) to (3). I saw all of them.
I think (4) is not that big a deal though. By placing the cards strategically, it can be done without the need to cound.

I'd like to add a (5): misusage of the terms. Use buy instead of gain (or vice versa). + 1 Gold instead of +1 coin. Action instead of action card. etc. And when I correct them I am called pedantic!
I don't think it's that big of a deal as long as they are playing correctly mechanics-wise. They will notice the difference when I remind them they can't remodel a card from their hand with a Farmland they haven't bought but for a lot of cards prior to Hinterlands, it's irrelevant. I'll just get to it when those cards come up. Confusing the 'coin' and 'Gold' or 'action' and 'Action card' doesn't make a difference because they describe two aspects each that cannot be interchanged, while 'to buy' and 'to gain' can.

By the way, look at Crown's wording which, as opposed to all other Throne Room variants, doesn't refer to 'Action cards' but just 'Actions' (and Treasures, for that matter). This can be considered a wording error and help confuse new and advanced players. I was hoping that the days of such incorrect phrasing were over.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2016, 08:52:31 am »
+8

I am extremely strict about playing etiquette IRL games.

Deck on the left, discard on the right, play area in the middle.

[...]

Well, I'd never play a game with you, to be quite honest. Expecting me to follow the rules, sure. Demanding that I model my play area a certain way, line up my durations/tokens a certain way, nope.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2016, 08:55:05 am »
+1

I am extremely strict about playing etiquette IRL games.

Deck on the left, discard on the right, play area in the middle.

[...]

Well, I'd never play a game with you, to be quite honest. Expecting me to follow the rules, sure. Demanding that I model my play area a certain way, line up my durations/tokens a certain way, nope.

Really, as long as everything is in a consistent, distinct place that doesn't get mixed up with anyone else's stuff, it should be fine.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2016, 09:46:19 am »
0

I am extremely strict about playing etiquette IRL games.

Deck on the left, discard on the right, play area in the middle.
I started card games with yugioh, so I do the opposite.
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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2016, 11:34:12 am »
+3

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Well, I'd never play a game with you, to be quite honest. Expecting me to follow the rules, sure. Demanding that I model my play area a certain way, line up my durations/tokens a certain way, nope.

I'm fine with some variation. In our playgroup, we have a left-handed player who puts the deck on the right, discard on the left. Another plays his actions right-to-left instead of left-to-right. I've played with someone who put +actions in a kind of "tree" layout (putting the two actions below the village to the left and right to keep track of which actions were used. Weird, but effective. I sometimes do something similar with TR or KC splits if they're cascading on each other) Some players put supply tokens on the supply cards, others prefer them above the supply so they don't have to keep moving tipping them off the cards they gain. There's quite a bit of variation. What I haven't seen yet would be keeping a running tally of +coin or +actions from either/or cards by using dice or some kind of other counters. I've seen that in Magic games, though, for mana pools and token creatures in complex combo decks like Storm decks, which works quite well.

All of that is perfectly fine. I didn't mean strict in terms of requiring everyone to do it exactly the way I do, but for everyone to have some way of visibly and explicitly playing everything in such a way that they're accountable. Just flopping cards down and saying "I can remember how much coin I have" or "I can remember which durations are from this turn and which ones are from last turn" is what I find unacceptable. My guess is that even if you do it differently, you have a visible, accountable way to track these things, right? And don't you model them for beginners?

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I'd like to add a (5): misusage of the terms. Use buy instead of gain (or vice versa). + 1 Gold instead of +1 coin. Action instead of action card. etc. And when I correct them I am called pedantic!

That's not pedantic, that's absolutely necessary. To draw a card, to gain a card and to buy a card are three very different things (super-beginners sometimes mix up +1 card and "gain a card".) We just played a Tax game where the buy/gain distinction was extremely relevant. Gold and coin are different things. Actions and action cards are different things. Events are not cards. There are very relevant rules issues with all of those, and just like the fact that you can't play Estates on the table is only relevant some of the time, players need to NEVER play their Estates on the table (or discard them before they buy something.)

Just yesterday a player played a Storeroom and discarded cards on top of the in-play Wharf and I had to say "That's not your discard pile. That Wharf is still in play." Does that make me a pedantic rules-demon? Even though she was buying the last Province that turn and wasn't going to reshuffle? What if she had covered it up and forgotten she had an extra buy and lost by one Estate?
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tripwire

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2016, 01:27:50 pm »
+3


Quote
I'd like to add a (5): misusage of the terms. Use buy instead of gain (or vice versa). + 1 Gold instead of +1 coin. Action instead of action card. etc. And when I correct them I am called pedantic!

That's not pedantic, that's absolutely necessary. To draw a card, to gain a card and to buy a card are three very different things (super-beginners sometimes mix up +1 card and "gain a card".) We just played a Tax game where the buy/gain distinction was extremely relevant. Gold and coin are different things. Actions and action cards are different things. Events are not cards. There are very relevant rules issues with all of those, and just like the fact that you can't play Estates on the table is only relevant some of the time, players need to NEVER play their Estates on the table (or discard them before they buy something.)

Just yesterday a player played a Storeroom and discarded cards on top of the in-play Wharf and I had to say "That's not your discard pile. That Wharf is still in play." Does that make me a pedantic rules-demon? Even though she was buying the last Province that turn and wasn't going to reshuffle? What if she had covered it up and forgotten she had an extra buy and lost by one Estate?

I agree with a lot of the good playing habits described in this thread, but man, I disagree with this quote a lot. These examples are exactly what I'd describe as pedantic. Sure these things might matter, but a lot of times they don't. So, go ahead and be a stickler in the few situations where they do matter, but otherwise, who gives a shit? As long as no one is confused by someone saying "I play these three copper, so plus my peddler, I have 4 gold" then I don't see what the problem is.

And to your final questions: I'd definitely call that being "a pedantic rules demon." If she knows the game is ending that turn and she's not going to shuffle, then why does it matter? If you notice that she has forgotten about her extra buy, bring it to her attention then. That way you are being helpful, not preemptively assuming that she is incapable of keeping track of things herself.

I know that you mean well, and if your playgroup are all of a similar super detail oriented mindset, cool, no worries. But man, if this is a regular thing, it would definitely turn me off.
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Sidsel

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2016, 06:04:09 am »
+1


I'm fine with some variation. In our playgroup, we have a left-handed player who puts the deck on the right, discard on the left. Another plays his actions right-to-left instead of left-to-right. I've played with someone who put +actions in a kind of "tree" layout (putting the two actions below the village to the left and right to keep track of which actions were used. Weird, but effective. I sometimes do something similar with TR or KC splits if they're cascading on each other)


We always do the tree-layout - it's so easy to see if you have free actions left, without needing to count. Two corners on the villages, straight down on the +1 actions, bigger fan shape for things like KC-village, terminals can't have anything.
Put the next card high to cover the coin on Minion if you didn't use it for money, otherwise place the next card low enough that you can see the coin.
Play-area left to right, except my husband who prefers right to left (and if he and another player are on the same side of the table, put a glass between the decks so they don't suddenly have a common discard pile...).
We are pretty pedantic about stuff - but we always _explain_ to newcomers immediately WHY good habits matter. (Put down your money because of cards like Grand Market. Put it in order because of Bank. Don't discard Wharf before end of turn, because you might be shuffling in between.) Most people understand about habits. Even if you don't need it in this game (there is no Bank, for example), practice helps you remember the habit when you need it.
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Watno

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2016, 06:53:00 am »
+1

You can do a tree layout that doesn't use so much vertical space if there are no cards giving more than 2 actions by doing the following:
+2 action cards can have one card to the right and one below, +1 action cards can have one to the right. Put only terminals in the "below" spots. This way, you only need 2 rows of cards.
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Co0kieL0rd

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2016, 07:05:09 am »
0

You can do a tree layout that doesn't use so much vertical space if there are no cards giving more than 2 actions by doing the following:
+2 action cards can have one card to the right and one below, +1 action cards can have one to the right. Put only terminals in the "below" spots. This way, you only need 2 rows of cards.

That is exactly what I do. I find it very efficient with space.
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allanfieldhouse

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Re: Beginners' mistakes
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2016, 09:33:28 am »
+4

Quote from: JThorne
(super-beginners sometimes mix up +1 card and "gain a card".)

Some of my friends were making a horrendous (hilarious) mistake involving this distinction. They were talking about how brutal Possession was, and I figured out that every time they drew a card during a possession turn, they were stealing it for their own deck!

With new players in general, I try to let as much slide as is appropriate for the current set of cards. When they do something like buying something without playing money, I'll remind them that they have to actually play their money and say something like "It doesn't matter much for THIS set, but some other cards care about how many treasures you've played or even the order you play them in." Or "technically you shouldn't have shuffled there; it doesn't matter for THIS turn, but..."

I also want to echo the other comments about using a tree system for keeping track of actions. I consider this absolutely indispensable for playing IRL with any villages involved. Your action cards literally count your remaining actions for you. If there's an open space in the tree, you can play something there -- if not, you're done. Cantrips can optionally be played off to the side so they don't clutter up the tree area (as long as you have an open spot left, cantrips don't affect the tree at all). To remember if a variable card produced money (or if an action like nobles was terminal), I'll usually turn the card sideways in the tree. I've never tried that "2 row" tree system though -- sounds interesting. I'll have to see how I like it since vertical playing space is often restricted on smaller tables.
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