Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

[Rabbits] On Early Smacks

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateWed, 20 Dec 2006 10:33:27 -0700
Evan wrote:
> Yes, but I have some people who respond to early smacks by saying "can't we
> just play uno?".

While I suspect there's some tongue in cheek, here, I'll take this point seriously 
because I *do* get this sometimes in demoes and Games Nights, myself.

Obviously, there's no one formula for easing people into Icehouse games (or any 
game, frankly, that people didn't learn as children). And my previous post about 
early and frequent losses as a faster way to learn than strategizing from Game One 
is just one means of teaching.

When I run up against reluctance to learn ANYTHING new ("why don't we just play 
Uno?"), I try to root out the nature of the person's reluctance:

* Are they just tired and don't want to think? Can't do much about that--stick 
with Martian Tic Tac Toe or Anzendo (single-stash Zendo).

* Are they very competative and, as such, don't want to go through losing to gain 
knowledge of strategy? Then let them win. Seriously, make a couple of dumb plays 
and let them discover the nuances of strategy by smacking YOU around for a few 
games. Then show the upstart how it's REALLY done. ;)

* Are they shy of being seen to lose (similar to the above)? While you can roll 
over for them, as above, it can also work to take a little MORE time just talking 
about rules and nuances, before engaging in full games. For Zendo, for instance, 
I will try to draw out shy Masters by making a koan and then rattling off the 
simplest rules I can see in the koan, pointing them out as I go. There is a 
point when the person's eyes light up a bit more and shyness fades (my absolute 
FAVORITE thing about demoing!). Whoo, boy, then you better brace for impact--the 
shy ones always come up with the freakiest stuff (true of MANY things in life, 
eh? Wink, wink, say no more, say no more...).

* Are they really an Uno fanatic? Then give and take is the way to bring them over, 
while also drawing parallels to your desired Icehouse game. Play a few rounds 
(ideally, try to HOUSE them at their game of choice--you'll see why in a second) 
and then point out whatever parallels to Icehouse games you have seen, and ask if 
"hey, want to try one of my games out, now? It's as fast as Uno" and they'd be a 
pretty lame Joe, if they said no after you'd played a few rounds of their game. 
Plus, if you've sufficiently smacked them up in their game of choice, they might 
be more inclined to play because they want to "turn the tables" and "beat you at 
your own game." >;)

* Are they really just prevaricating, and are in fact a bit overwhelmed by all the 
colors and pieces and stuff (common with certain folks who use certain mood enhancers)? 
Well, then try to tone everything down as much as the game permits. In Zendo, go 
down to three or two colors. Switch to Martian Chess demoes, as it uses only three 
move types and color is irrelevant (so you can use all of one color, plus one extra 
nest). Float a little Treehouse past them, so that they are only focussed on one 
color (theirs) and the target. Play a round or two of Armada, which is single-stash 
and it's movement and firing rules are very intuitive (ditto for the new Zamboni Wars, 
which is a GREAT game and should be on the wiki).

In summary, do as any good salesman would: determine the real root of their 
objections and then try to eliminate that element (temporarily) or mitigate its 
impact on them (by dialing down rules, reducing the number of variables in play, 
etc). And SMILE as you smack 'em.
David Artman

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