Last night I finally had the opportunity to bust out the Tablewar Gaming Mat I reviewed earlier this year. The initial impressions can be seen HERE.
A friend of mine named Chris has been talking about getting into Warmachine and I thought I’d try my hand at running a demo game for him. His opponent? My fiancee who also had never played before. Sounds like a good idea… I think, hah.
So first the mat review: everything worked very well on it! Some of the light plastic piece were a little too easy to slide around, but I’d take that any day over pieces getting stuck in unruly felt. Dice roll really well on the mat and it does add a cool visual element to the game. I didn’t have the terrain to support it (and wouldn’t want to overload new players with terrain anyways), but I think overall it looks great and plays well. I’m going to keep trying to stockpile terrain so I can get a real photogenic game going in my basement. I snapped an action shot:
On to the demo game. I pitted pGaspy against pDenny because… I’m not sure why I picked those. The rest of the casters I have felt too complicated (Scaverous), too contingent on certain mechanics (Terminus), or too overpowered in a small game (eSkarre). Each player got 2 heavy warjacks and a light warjack and I essentially encouraged them to run everything into each other.
After helping with the game I have a new-found respect for PGs and what they do. It is HARD to teach people this game. There are tons of rules and they’re not intuitive for people that are brand new to tabletop gaming. I felt like at times I was getting lost in the minutiae, and other times I definitely helped too much.
I also had very different audiences on either side of the table. Chris was more serious about asking questions and figuring out the rules, while my fiancee just wanted to smash the robots together.
If I could do it again I think I’d pick two opponents that have the same goal in playing the demo game. Chris, for example, was already interested in Warmachine and wanted to see the nuts and bolts played out on the table. He wanted to see how measurement worked, what all the stats meant, and generally get a feel for whether he wanted to buy into the game. With two people like this playing I could have stayed in teacher mode for the whole game, or at least been equally technical with both players.
My fiancee on the other hand had to be convinced to try the game. With her I could have just played with her myself and been super lax with the rules. When you’re trying to get someone interested in Warmachine who has never really looked into it before, maybe it’s best to let them bend the rules and just have fun. With Chris on one side of the table and my fiancee on the other, I was torn between bending the rules to make it fun and showing Chris how the game really gets played.
Anyways, in the end my fiancee triumphed, which may have had something to do with me helping her more than Chris. I felt a little bad about it afterwards, since the general consensus is you’re supposed to win your first demo game, but hopefully I didn’t scare Chris off!