One thing I often find myself doing is teaching new players. I work in education, so this is one more opportunity to hone my professional skills. At the gaming table though, there is a never-ending supply of people who want to game, or at least try out a system.

At the moment, I’ve done this for quite a few people curious about Pathfinder. The game intimidates people because of its reputation for being “rules-heavy”. I’m not sure I’d see it as more or less intimidating than any other game, but I think there’s a reason for this. Most people come to the gaming table assuming they have to know all the rules. This is simply not true. I’ve played with maybe one Gamer Master who, more or less, knew all the rules for a system. Every other person, literally every other person, has had to stop and look stuff up from time to time. Not knowing the rules is normal. Generally, I find that once I can remove this obstacle, the games are much smoother.

What I find matters most is helping people to think about gaming in terms of how the systems operates. “If I want to do X, ,then what do I do?” This is the kind of question I like to hear because it means people are trying to work with the functional (not necessarily narrative aspects) to make something happen. Once this starts happening, they’re getting it. And almost always happens by not focusing on knowing all the rules. Relax! Have fun! After all it is just a game.

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