Yes indeed, the joy of reading game instructions written out in fine print on the inside cover of a box, a thin sheet of paper, or a map. Suddenly, I swept into a pile of nostalgia dust compiled from all-night Risk sessions in my college dorm room.
It’s an age-old tradition. Someone reads instructions while others listen. Everyone decides that’s way too much information so, if no one had played the game before, it’s far easier just to read the part about getting started and then consult the directions as you go. If there are experienced players in the room, it’s far easier just to let them provide the abbreviated version.
So, I started wondering as I thought about this challenge, why not skip with the formality of even trying to read instructions and, instead, jump straight into the learn-by-doing process.
Just like a new battery-powered toy, place a simple label on the game that says, “Get started by______.” If it’s a game that involves cards, the first thing to do would be pick up the first card. This would naturally have a simple, first instruction for the next action.
If the game involved dice, the starting instruction might be, “Just pick a game piece, roll the dice, and follow the instructions as you go along.
Okay, I’ll admit I’m cheating a bit because I’m requiring games to change their starting goals by incorporating a learn-by-doing instructional strategy into the initial game play. To make this easier, perhaps we could have a “beginner” and “advanced” option for playing. “If you’re new to the game, simply pick of the first card” etc.
Of course, Keegan Long-Wheeler’s advice is really good.
— Keegan Long-Wheeler (@KeeganSLW) June 7, 2016
Maybe a play-along app to accompany the game, one with videos showing me how to play rather than written instructions that tell me.
As always, so many fun options for designing learning environments,