The Best Way to Learn New Board Games | 5 Tips for Learning a New Board Game

Tips for learning new board games

When it comes to learning a new board game, there are many approaches you can take that will allow for efficient and effective learning. I know many people who go to game nights and have trouble grasping the rules and gameplay of board games they have never played before. If you fall within this category, we are here to let you know the best way to learn new board games quickly and effectively.

We have found that the best ways to learn a new board game include watching “How To Play” videos on YouTube, reading the rulebook or having someone read the rulebook and then teach the game to everyone, have someone who already knows how to play the game teach it to everyone else, and finally conduct a practice play through of the board game while also consulting the rulebook and internet when necessary. 

Now this may seem like “no brainers” when it comes to learning new board games, but there’s more to it. We will go into details about the different steps you can take when it comes to the best way to learn new board games, as well as, give you 5 tips for learning a new board game.

If you are like me, then you find enjoyment in learning new games and have mastered the understanding of learning board games in order to quickly get up and running with a new game. A lot of time can be wasted trying to teach a game to new players or reading over the rule book a hundred times. Some people just like to open the box, set up the game, and go from there. While you can do this, it can sometimes lead you down a path of frustration that nobody asked for.

Stop wasting time and follow our steps on the best way to learn new board games. Let’s get into it1

1. Watch How to Play Videos on YouTube

One of the best ways to learn a new board game is to watch a “how to play” video on YouTube. Why try to teach the game to yourself when you can learn from an expert who has condensed the rules of play into a short video on YouTube? Just simply do a search of “How to play [insert board game name here]” on YouTube, and 9 times out of 10, there will be a quality video with the instructions on how to play the board game.

We have found that many of our friends and family are “visual learners” and showing everyone a walkthrough video before playing a new board game is a HUGE help.

Our favorite “How to Play” video channel that focuses specifically on board games is called “Watch it Played.” Rodney is the creator of this channel and he does an awesome job explaining the rules and gameplay of board games in each video that he publishes.

He has many videos on all of the popular board games, even some less known ones. If you cannot find a video on his channel about the game you are going to play, then do a quick search on YouTube and you will most likely find a good quality “how to” video for that board game. You should be able to find a decent alternative or, if it’s a really complex game, a full play through on someone else’s channel.

We love watching videos before diving into playing a new board game. It’s so easy to connect YouTube to our TV and then have everyone gather around and watch the video together. This allows everyone to learn together, in a quick, efficient manner.

2. Read the Rulebook

Ok I know this is a no brainer. You should always read the rulebook at least once before playing a new game. Read the rules fully through as soon as you open the box. Then read it again, this time taking each section and absorbing all the information before moving onto the next section.

We have someone in our friend’s group that loves reading the rule book to every new game we play. Therefore, we always let him do the reading (to himself), absorb the information, and then read it back to everyone while also explaining it in his own words.

Oftentimes, there are people who can absorb information faster than others. These are the people that in school would read through the study guide once and then get a score of 100 on the test. If you have a designated “rule book reader” in your group, then you are in luck.

After reading the rule book, you can begin playing the game and take it step by step, continually consult the rulebook as you play through the game for the first time. If you are unsure of something, you can always look at the rulebook or even google it online. In most cases, someone might have been stuck at the same point you are and has asked about it online.

A lot of people also like to combine reading the rulebook and watching a “how to” video on YouTube. Reading through the rules can give you a light explanation of the game, but then also watching a video will really secure the gameplay in your mind.

3. Have Someone Else That Knows How to Play Teach the Game

If you have someone in the group that has already played before, then the best possible way to learn is to just have them teach the game to everyone. Now we know that this might not always be the case, but if you have someone in your group that knows how to play already, then take advantage of it!

This can also go hand in hand with a group “rule book reader.” If you have someone in your group that does not know how to play the game BUT can quickly read the rulebook or watch a video, and absorb the information fast enough where they can then teach other people, then you are good to go. Fortunately, we have learned through the years that each gaming group usually has this person!

Think about your group and who this person may be. It could be you! Having someone teach the game to the rest of the group is really helpful when learning a new board game. You may want to step up and take the lead in learning the game beforehand and then teaching it to other players at game night. This is highly effective when learning a new board game.

If you can read the rulebook and understand it, that’s great. If you can spend a little extra time and do a mock run of the game on your own, even better. Watch YouTube tutorials of the game, research it online, etc. and then teach it to your friends. You will be hailed a hero and we will be very proud of you.

If you already have someone in the group who already knows how to play, then even better! Have him/her teach the game to everyone so you do not have to waste time teaching it to yourself and then having to teach it to everyone else.

4. Set Up The Game and Interact with All of the Components

You may find that setting up the game and seeing how the components interact with each other can be really helpful before diving in and playing a full game. You may even want to play the game by yourself before playing with others.

Opening a box can be daunting to some, but once everything is laid out it can seem way more appealing. Telling yourself, “ok these are the cards that each person will pick up during their turn” or “these tokens need to go here” can be very helpful. When in doubt, talk it out!

Setup the game slowly at your own pace while reading through the rulebook, or watch a video and pause the video as you setup the game and work through each component.

5. Do a Practice Playthrough

After reading through the rule book and watching a “How to play” video, you are ready to play through your first game. Don’t get mad if someone makes a mistake or you play something the wrong way. The first play through should always be a practice round where you figure out if you made any mistakes and correct them by reading the rulebook again afterwards or watching another video to answer any remaining questions.

You should never fully dive into a game and then expect it to go perfectly. People will make mistakes and something may be played incorrectly. It happens. Therefore, use your first game as a practice play through where you take the time to consult the rulebook when needed and explain the rules to someone who may not understand fully.

Learn Board Games Fast

We hope you enjoyed our tips for learning a new board game efficiently and effectively!

Keep in mind, the more board games you play, the easier it is to learn new ones. When you can connect themes and mechanisms to others board games you have played, the learning curb is lessened.

At the end of the day, board games are supposed to be fun to play. Therefore, taking the time to learn a board game correctly and having others really understand the gameplay and mechanics will go a long way!

If you any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below. Happy gaming!


Hillary is a 27 year old board game enthusiast from New York who specializes in hosting game nights.

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