|Brandon (left), Lester (right), guest (center)|
What we triedThis was a play through of the latest edition of the game, with two veteran playtesters (one who hadn't played in a while), and a new player.
What went really well this time was teaching the game. This was roughly my fifth time explaining the latest version of the rules, and they're really clicking into place; enough so that the new player was able to win his first game (and I only held back a little).
Teaching ScriptPlayers each control these two characters (show and tell which is which), a hunter and a gatherer. Every turn, the first thing you need to decide whether to do is hunt or gather.
The characters go around exploring and collecting things.
Then you'll come back and turn in those things at the village to score points on hunt and gather tracks (move scoring cubes).
At the end of the game we remove our higher score (remove one score cube), so it's important to do well at both. (If new players don't volunteer something about a balanced diet, mention here. In this case he did.)
Now lets look at a typical turn (take out gatherer). We can walk up to 4 spaces (show, and mention no diagonal moves) but we'll typically start out closer to home. We can explore two times (pick up disk, keep hidden). If it's deadly we'll have to show it. If it's a plant we can pick it up. But only one type of plant at a time. (collect a plant tile)
You put a claim disk down on the space where you collected something. Both your characters can now walk over that space for free.
Now let's look at hunting. Hunters need equipment. On your first turn of the game you'll get 4 points worth, here are costs (point to bottom of cards). Characters can swap equipment if they're on the same spot.
Let's take a sling and a spear. (Show exploring, find a non-deadly animal, and a hunting roll.)
OK, time to score points. Scoring takes whole turn, no exploring, just walk home. (Take home character with best scoring opportunity, show how that works. Take other character home to score.)
Show other hunting equipment, Bow & Arrows, Atlatl (spear-thrower). Mention that you can trade in equipment to upgrade.
Talk about deadly animals and death, but re-assure that families were big back then, so if a character dies a cousin or nephew will step in, and you'll get an additional goal and a couple points for new equipment.
Show gatherer equipment. The pouch works well to remind players that gatherers can only collect one type of plant at a time.
Show a couple secret goals.
Deal out secret goals and start play. Remind players that they must both hunt and gather, because only the lower of the two counts in the end.
ConclusionThat's about it. The tar pits on the board usually come up as questions (simple to explain you can't walk there). It also helps to show people how the back of their secret goal cards works as a player board, and is important so that you can tell who has plants or animals they haven't scored yet.
There are more details, and this isn't a word-per-word script, but a structure that worked well, did more showing than telling, and reinforced some of the more important rules by mentioning them more than once.