Scaffolding Approach to Learning Tabletop Games

Many video games do a great job of easing their players into how to play. Look left, look right. Now, walk forward. Over time, video games introduce more complicated actions until the player knows everything they need to know to play the game. I prefer to call this style of teaching games scaffolding.

The game builds larger concepts atop of smaller concepts, instructing how to play little by little. Video games have a leg up on tabletop games in this regard. Few tabletop games besides Fluxx (which starts with two rules, draw a card and play a card, and grows to multiple rules) and Krosmaster Arena (that uses a system of small missions like a video game) use a scaffolding approach. And more should. I don’t know how many minutes or hours are wasted by teaching and learning tabletop games. To be good at a tabletop game, you must know everything about it before playing.

So, it’s up to the people who introduce others to the tabletop game hobby to do what board games are incapable or unwilling to do: ease people into learning complicated mechanisms by having them play. When I teach tabletop games to people who are new to the hobby, I tend to pick simple, fast games of a gaming type and build on the principles set by those games.


It’s a scaffolding approach to teaching tabletop games. It’ll also be an ongoing series for various starter board games, so keep your eyes open for starter games in the future. And have an awesome Saturday.

Next Saturday’s miscellaneous post will be a little more involved, I think. You’ll just have to complain to Jim about me until then or leave a comment with how you like to teach people new games. Dealer’s choice.