The intimidation factor for new players

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The intimidation factor for new players

Postby Squatter » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:46 pm

This is meant as a suggestion to the developers from a big fan of this game series.

I think you are to a large extent cutting yourself off from new players because of a lack of small scenarios and tutorials. I know this has been mentioned before elsewhere, but I think it's worth restating.

Recently I lent a friend my laptop with Kharkov installed, hoping he'd like it and buy it. He is a long time strategy gamer, although not perhaps an out-and-out grog.

I think he spent a couple of hours with the game, but was so bewlidered and intimidated by the amount of units, icons, rules, etc, that he felt he just couldnt get into the game. He felt it would take an insane amount of time to get to grips with everything. And when you take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of a newcomer seeing the game for the first time, I think he is right.

I remember when I first got into this series, which was with the Korsun Pocket release. It took a while to learn the system, but it never felt intimidating because there were a set of tutorials based around a tiny scenario.

With the release of AtD this is even more of a problem, as the scenario is perhaps the biggest yet. Newcomers are going to find it extremely hard to pick AtD up given its monster scale, I would have thought.

To my mind, to continue the growth of the audience for these games, you desperately need to create some smaller scenarios, and some good tutorials (preferably interactive ones where the information is presented on screen, rather than having to flick between a pdf and the game).

Husky could perhaps function as the scenario for the tutorials, or in the case of AtD could a set of small scenarios be created? ie. a 1-turn tutorial that focuses solely on the German effort to capture Vitebsk on turn 1. The rest of the map could be greyed out. Or perhaps a similar 3 or 4 turn scenario centred on the Russian defence of Mogilev.

I've no idea what your sales are like, and perhaps you don't need to encourage many new players into the fold and can rely on your hardcore. But if you are hoping to grow the fanbase, I think this is vital.

I'm posting this here rather than Matrix as I dont want to put new players off!
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Postby Noakesy » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:34 pm

That's an interesting observation. I used to particularly enjoy those Avalon Hill games that had Programmed Instruction (i.e. learn 5pp of rules and then play the first scenario that focused on the new rules). In Battlefront they had Saipan as an instruction scenario, and many small scenarios in BiN (in fact now I think of it I stayed away from BiN because I found Overlord overwhelming at the time). :D
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Postby papajack » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:05 am

Video tutorial is a very important tool in getting newcomers to learn the system

If more efforts can be put into these video covering various topic on the game, it will help a lot

Release these set of video tutorials together a well written AAR will persuade many fence sitters into getting the game


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Postby Lipa » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:24 pm

I agree with Squatter in every respect. The game system is great, but it just takes a lot to get into it.

In my experience, when I first started Kharkov, I was shocked by the size of the (single) scenario. And since I didn't have a clue about how things work, the scenario seemed to be completely overwhelming. Luckily, I also bought BiI at the same time. In BiI, however, I found the Husky scenario - and this one was nice and small, not too many units,... in other words it was manageable even for a rookie. So it was from playing Husky in BiI that I learned the system which helped me to eventually switch to Kharkov...

To cut the story short, I agree that there should be with every new title/release at least one or two small scenarios for new players. Not too many units, not too many turns, but simply something to get you started and let you dive into the game.

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Postby Lysimachus » Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:24 pm

Well actually when I first got the BiN demo, rather than being baffled and overwhelmed, I was amazed by it. Wanting more, I then proceeded to purchase the real game - of course bear in mind I was ten at the time, which probably meant that I wasn't able to understand some of the feelings you guys felt when playing the large scale battles.
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Postby jeffs » Fri May 21, 2010 6:42 am

The Soltsy scenario is a pretty good scenario for an introduction. It has a small number of units, and doesn't use all the game features so it is somewhat easier to get the basic mechanics down. Also, it's a pretty exciting and enjoyable game. Then go on to the Husky scenario, which is the next smallest, uses all the games' features, and is a lot of fun also. Between the two of them I think you get a fairly good "stepwise" introduction to the system.
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Postby Noypi53 » Sun May 23, 2010 10:25 pm

Whoever made the Soltsy should be encouraged to update it for the recent version of Kharkov. It indeed was the best way to understand the system. I nearly gave up on Kharkov until it came around.
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