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Thread: What is the most difficult thing for new players to grok?

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    What is the most difficult thing for new players to grok?

    What do you think could be better emphasized or better explained by those who teach the game?

    Or, what seems to be the hardest thing about teaching the game?

    Sometimes with deck builders and their ilk (like Dominion), which this game is certainly a cousin to, players get really lost at putting the stuff the just bought into discard.

    I think that attack step timing is also a hurdle for new players.

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    "Summoning Sickness." Now, I know that's primarily an MtG type of thing, but there are other games where fielding a card doesn't immediately yield its benefits. People are always saying things like, "ok, so I can't attack with this die this turn."

    Also declared blockers and declared attackers remaining attackers/blockers even after being removed from the field due to globals or abilities.

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    By far, based on my experience, teaching the use of Globals is the hardest. There are a lot of moving parts to it. Passing priority, when to do it, when globals can and can't be played during the different steps. Also...they are NOT played like INSTANTS, which I have to reiterate multiple times to MtG players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ_Mitchell View Post
    Also...they are NOT played like INSTANTS, which I have to reiterate multiple times to MtG players.
    Good one. I've seen this too. What's been your way around this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRPDave View Post
    Good one. I've seen this too. What's been your way around this?
    I explain that instants aren't shared abilities in MtG. You have it to play or you don't, I can't play an instant from your hand...nor do I know it's available. Because Globals are available to both players...they are only available during certain phases of the game to prepare, add on to or counter a strategy.

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    Not exactly on the topic of this thread, but is it just me or is the phrase "passing priority" oddly worded? It seems like there should be more intuitive wording for the concept. Is this a holdover from CCGs or something?

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    I think there are a few precision issues to your point Ghost, but otherwise the concept of passing priority has been around in CCGs for some time.

    Steve- I like that explanation of globals.

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    Slang. It's a blessing because with a simple word or phrase you can often express a rich concept either more concisely or with more precision than alternatives. It can also give flavor to game (q.v., Netrunner). But it is a curse because it can also be used in a way that obscures otherwise straightforward concepts (q.v., Netrunner). There is a rich heritage of CCG slang that the Dice Masters community can choose to adopt or not adopt. If done thoughtfully, we'd adopt more from former types (useful) than the later types (obscuring/confusing).

    I'd argue that my example above of "passing priority" is one of the later types. I looked up priority in the comprehensive Magic rules. It is a legitimate "thing" there. Now, I've never played Magic, but have a basic understanding of the rules, enough that I could play casually. Somehow with Magic's complex interactions and the fact that Magic has other intertwined concepts (e.g., the stack), priority doesn't feel to be a horrible choice of word. Unlike Dice Masters, with Magic, you're buying into fairly complex rules set. One of the definitions of priority is "the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence" and that kind of fits in Magic. I don't think it is the best choice for a word (and have found some minor grumbling about it from players who have written about the concept), but it's codified in the rules, so "passing priority" it is--for Magic.

    It's different with Dice Masters. Right now, our use of it is by convention, not from a rules basis. Priority is never mentioned in any of the rule books. We've choosen to adopt it. It's not something the came with the game, and it's ordinary English meaning isn't accurate in describing what's happening. (Side note--yes, one of the official FAQ entries mentions "passing priority," but only in passing (forgive the play on words). It's pretty clear that the author of the FAQ entry was using it because of its familiarity with him/her, not as a way to introduce the term to Dice Masters.) But going back to the above definition of priority, one might even argue that it works even better for Dice Masters than Magic--after all, you're giving someone the right to act PRIOR to you. In Magic, the actions of the player with PRIORity will get resolved AFTER, not PRIOR to other actions later placed on the stack. I buy that argument, but given that it started off as a less than stellar phrase AND doesn't have the rules codification to back it up, we'd be better-off/more-newbie-friendly with other terms that are more intuitive and better describe what's happening.

    Spoiler Alert!

    So while I've written more than any human should about the use of this particular phrase in in Dice Masters, my point is actually a larger one. It can be natural to co-opt terms you're already familiar with from other games and use them in CCGs, but in doing so, you can sometimes be overlooking terms that both better fit what's happening in Dice Masters and are more newbie friendly. (Up to this point, an unstated premise of this argument is that we should be newbie friendly. Argue with that if you ) Passing priority isn't too bad of a failing--it kind of fits--but when you compound phrase after phrase after phrase in this way, it is a turnoff for someone not already in the club.

    So ends my mini-rant. It's not exactly on topic for the title of the thread anyway. And I do like and use slang--see my first couple of sentences above.

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    He he. Yeah, as I said, "I've written more than any human should about the use of this particular phrase in in Dice Masters." But perhaps I should flesh out the larger point more and blog about it here. It's not revolutionary or anything, but I felt like writing it down to put the proverbial finger in the dike before things get too crazy. Often the more removed a term gets from its source, the greater the opportunity for confusion.

    I think there are voices out there that think even terms like topdecking should be used in Dice Masters because it is a fun and useful term elsewhere. Some nonsensical cross-pollination is inevitable, but it can be harmful. This is just a game, so nobody dies, but if you care about its future health, being friendly to new players is important. Imagine how much weaker MTG would be if NWO wasn't put in place. Some diehard players deride it, but sales reportedly went back up, which is important. While WoTC probably won't tell you the actual sales decline that happened that caused them to create it, public statements from employees make it sound pretty significant. (Perhaps public filings are enough to determine this, but I don't feel like researching it.)

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    I'm the only guy in my area who reads the WizKids rules forums regularly for updates, so having to explain any rules changes can be troublesome when you have to do it for seven other players that you don't see until a tournament. I did have to run down the entire phase order and discuss global priority passing to someone in the middle of a game against me. He had only read the AvX rule book, and came from out of state so no prior discussions with him. For 15 minutes he kept asking how I was using PXG at the beginning of my turn even after discussing things with him.

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    Ken, I'm guilty of this in some ways. I use two-drop or four-drop to refer to cards that I'm buying for 2 or 4, in MTG that's usually a reference to the converted mana cost. I guess that's not TOO egregious, as it means sort of the same thing, but nonetheless it is something that I do.


    And yeah, I'd agree that being the one who follows things more than others can be difficult, especially when you don't know what someone is or isn't aware of as you noted alphans.

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    With most of the players I play with coming from a CCG background, trying to explain that that "transit" is a concept that only exists for you on your turn. It's really unintuitive that a rule that effects the way the game flows only applies half the time. Pretty much everything else came easy for anyone I've taught.

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    First of all, I love your use of "Grok". Ever since XKCD ran that strip with the phrase, "Do you grok my jive me hearties?" I look for people using it everywhere.

    Secondly, I find the attack/defend element of the game is so similar to Magic: The Gathering, people that play both seem to unconsciously expect them to be identical. That is the only hurtle I have faced in my time Demoing for the local shop. Fortunately, Magic players that play other games as well (Such as Dicemasters) are usually experienced enough that once you point it out to them, they immediately see it and start working to break the habit. It's not a huge hurdle, but it is the only real problem I have had teaching the game. This weekend, I'm teaching it to my kids (10 and 8). They Play Attack Wing and Heroclix right now. They handle Attack Wing with no problem, but need a little occasional guidance with Clix. I'm interested in knowing how they handle Dicemasters. Should be fun.

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    I'm actually sort of surprised that optimal use of PXG hasn't appeared in here yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    I'm actually sort of surprised that optimal use of PXG hasn't appeared in here yet.
    I completely agree with this, this is something I help new players with, sometimes I see them buy something and the other energy that they use that could have been anything, is a mask. I always give them advice of holding onto whatever kind of energy you want for globals, if you don't know what globals are there, take a second before you spend energy to look over the board just to make sure you're not missing anything.

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    ...Do all MTG cards have similar attack/defence? Dear God, I have to check my cards when I get home. I never noticed...!

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    Mostly, a lot of them are designed with certain removal in mind. Especially in set removal. Like if in limited the most damage you can do with a red spell is say 6, they might float one 7 toughness creature just to shake it up, or if the most common form of removal is destroy a mono colored creature, for the sake of making that removal effecient in draft they will try to sway the pool of playable cards to mono colored. Dice masters has a different removal system where I don't think they can design cards exactly the same, the main one is things with 5 toughness, that's usually a bigger hurdle than you think to kill without some antics (Loki).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Critenstein View Post
    First of all, I love your use of "Grok". Ever since XKCD ran that strip with the phrase, "Do you grok my jive me hearties?" I look for people using it everywhere.
    One of my favorite XKCDs in fact.

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    Oh certainly! It's just a particularly effective use of it in that comic.

    Another thing I'd say gets complicated for new players is - even when they sort of start to get dice management - they get confused on when and how dice go places. Trying to refill too soon (like one die is left in the bag, so draw that first) or forgetting the prep area.

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