I know, the obvious answer is probably: always accept that...
I have talked about house rules before, but what I want to talk about in this article is slightly different. When you play a game for the first time, or when you play a game you know with someone who plays it for the first time, the rules aren't always clear and it's possible someone misunderstands them. That's to be expected, but when you base your whole game, your whole strategy on your misunderstanding, then the game experience can really suffer. (This topic was inspired by the always wonderful Bez.)
When it is any of the other situations, particularly one where only one player has misunderstood, it can become far more awkward. Most often, in our group, the player who misunderstood, will just be like "Oh, drat," get over it, and play with the correct rule, even if they are really screwed by it. But sometimes people get quite pissed off, and it becomes really unpleasant for everyone.
I suspect a LOT of "ho hum" game experiences were due to misapplying rules, most of those games never get a second chance.
It's very frustrating, though, as a rules explainer. That petulance/disappointment by the wrong rules player feels like a shitty accusation if it starts to come to "well I didn't know that! Why didn't you say something?" I have a good friend who would do this constantly (my nickname was "rules master"), it stopped being personally funny to me at some point and just felt shitty. Which, when you're doing the rules explaining, which is hard, is extra bad.
jason10mm wrote: I suspect a LOT of "ho hum" game experiences were due to misapplying rules, most of those games never get a second chance.
Great point. The stakes are higher for playing a game right the first time, because if the game flops it may never get played again. My original gaming group was always so excited to try a new game that we often breezed quickly through the rules and got some things wrong. And that was fine, because we didn't have a lot of options back then and everything we had got played repeatedly.
engineer Al wrote: I think she thought I was going to flip the table or something, but why?
I was mortified. I felt so bad, because it was so easy to misinterpret the text explanation which was pretty poor, and it was 7 points, which is huge in Mariposa. I wanted you to just take the 7 points. When something like this happens, the rules explainer usually feels just as bad as the player, if not worse.
"This is Tiny Epic Quest. Everyone has three dudes, with which you'll try to complete quests, kill goblins, and learn magic to score points. Here's the scoresheet and we have five rounds to do it. In the beginning phase of each round, each of us will pick a movement type. Here are the five movement cards and this is how they work. Then everyone gets a chance to move one of their dudes with the selected type. BUT, if you move past a red goblin, it will cost you Power to make that move. Goblins are usually green, but can turn red. I'll get to that in a minute. There are four different kinds of locations to move to..."
And so on. I get it to basically a script that takes less time than me trying to remember everything at the table. The other habit is if I've only played once or, indeed, have never played a game of something new (a rare thing these days as I've reduced the collection size), I'll just say so: "First time effort here, so I'm learning with you. So, if there are mistakes, let's just roll with them." Most people are fine with that. But in the situation Oliver describes, we'll usually just switch to the right rule and, if it makes the endgame wonky, fine.