What’s your learning style?

We can all recall the anticipation. The exhilaration. The crinkle of cellophane. The frenzied unwrapping and the heart-stopping lifting of the lid. A new board game lies before us. We inhale its heady aroma, savour its newness and look forward to our very first game play with mounting excitement. But if you are totally unfamiliar with a new board game, there’s one unavoidable obstacle determined to stifle your fun and delay your ultimate gaming pleasure. The instruction manual.

How can we successfully learn the rules of a new game, without ruining the spontaneous fun of playing our brand new board game? Most people fall into different learning styles that can help or hinder their enjoyment of the game. It can often make or break your opinion of the game as well – especially if the rules are overly complex and detailed.

Which learning style are you?

I’ve outlined the six most common game learning styles. Which one are you?

  • The Plunger. These players just dive in and start playing and never read the instruction manual, instead learning by error and instinct.
  • The Stepper. These players follow the instructions step by step while playing, with the manual handy at all times.
  • The Plodder. These players read the instructions cover to cover first to learn all the rules by rote and become a walking, talking instruction manual.
  • The Dipper. These players are impatient and start playing immediately, but still dip in and out of the instruction manual as they play.
  • The Observer. These players invite friends over who are already familiar with the game and watch them play to learn their tricks and tactics.
  • The Desperado. These players refuse to look at the manual and only sneak a peek only when desperate. This group may also stoop to cheating.

Do any of these categories sound like you or someone you know? Or is your style something else entirely? Maybe you‘re a bit of both? I’m a die-hard dipper, but of course I also learn from more experienced friends.

Everybody gets there eventually, but there are some learning styles that work better for some than others. Everyone is different, which also means it can be frustrating playing a new game with someone whose learning style is different to yours.  Just imagine a Plunger and a Stepper trying to learn a new game together!

Whatever your style, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s a foolproof way to learn, so just go for it. Exploring a new game is a great experience and once you’ve mastered the rules, there’s no looking back.

What’s your style?