How to Learn to Play A New Game

Games have always been a part of human society and culture, and for good reason. Games bring people together, ease stress, create fun and offer a low-stakes challenge for people to engage with.

There are numerous definitions of what a game actually is, but what most hold in common is the assumption that games feature rules – this distinguishes them from more open ended play. Of course these rules needn’t be complex, after all a game of catch simply requires that players take it in turns to catch and throw a ball to one another.

Other games, however, can be a great deal more sophisticated than that, like chess which not only features a comprehensive rule-set, but also requires players to learn in-depth tactics and approaches in order to improve.

Fortunately, no matter what game you want to play, there are some simple methods that are common to each that can help take you from a relative novice, to a maestro in no time. Let’s explore the best of these below.

Consult Guides and Tutorials

Tutorials are designed to help people learn the topic they cover, as such it’s always a great first step to consult one if you’re embarking on learning a new game. Not all games readily offer detailed guides on how to play, but thankfully the internet means that you’re never more than a few clicks away from useful resources that can help you take your first steps.

When looking for guides and tutorials online, it’s generally good practice to prioritise those provided by reputable names and established platforms involved in some way with the game you’re playing.

This is because these are more likely to offer high quality information than unverified and self-published tutorials. This is the case for example with online platforms like PokerStars, an online slots provider that offers a number of useful guides on how to get started with this classic game type. Or in the case with chess, with platforms like offering various tutorials detailing strategies, plays and general rules.

Practise Makes Perfect

It’s true when they say experience is the best teacher. This is because it’s only through trial and error that we truly learn and integrate our developing understanding on a taks we’re learning, and nowhere is this more apparent than when learning to play a game.

You can spend years reading up on a game, developing a deep theoretical knowledge of its underlying mechanics, but there’s still a good chance that you would lose the first time you played to someone who had learned the basics through actually engaging with the game on its own terms.

Ultimately, if you want to get better at a game, you need to play it. Within reason, the more you play the better, as this creates more opportunities for you to learn, though there are some caveats to this. For example, if you’re over-tired, you may get diminishing returns from attempting to play in this state.

Also, if you’re playing at a difficulty level that is simply too high for your current ability, the learning curve may be too steep for you to progress even with consistent practise.

Play with Others

One of the best ways to learn is to play alongside, or against, other players. Watching how someone else plays a game can yield valuable insights into your own learning journey. What’s more, another player – especially one who has more experience than you – will be able to identify weak spots in your gameplay, and potentially give you advice or tips on how to overcome these.

Recent research also points to the fact that playing against someone who is actually less experienced than you can assist you in your learning. This is known as the protege effect. This refers to a phenomenon wherein being placed in the role of a teacher to another person helps you refine your present understanding of a task.

A new player may also ask questions that you believe you have resolved for yourself, though upon closer inspection find that there are in fact gaps in your understanding around the query. This can all be of immense value in developing and improving your skills.

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