As I rub my fingerless gloves together in glee, I present today’s question: best way to learn a new game? Caveat: your mileage may vary when it comes to my answer, or any of the answers you might see today from the rest of the community. This is definitely an area where you will learn what works best for you. When you do, go with it!
For me, I learn best by doing. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read through a book at least once, but unless the systems are extremely simple I prefer to simple go at it, get a feel for each systems unique kinks and qualities. Where I like to start is with character creation: I find that by building characters I get a great sense of what the system can do, what are its goals, and how the mechanics might possibly play. After I’ve done that, I like to jump into a sessions or two, see if what I think is really is, if you follow.
I generally like to play a game before I attempt to run it, if for nothing else, as a confidence builder. That said, we don’t always have the luxury of easing things in for ourselves in our hobby: sometimes there isn’t a GM running what you want to learn. That’s okay! As I like to say, jump right into the deep end and GM it yourself. You’ll learn a Hell of a lot, even if it isn’t perfect, even if your first session “is a disaster”. Remember though, get the right players and communicate with them that you are new at the system you are running to properly set their expectations.
At the end of the day, we are always learning – in life, and in the hobby.
Tomorrow I will be painting the bedroom of my new flat (to use the local parlance) but I will try and get the next question answered nice and early, which is a follow-on of todays: what is the most challenging, but most rewarding, system you have learned?