Have you ever been teaching a board game and just realize everything you’ve just said is completely wrong, and now you need to backtrack and hope all your players aren’t confused for the next hour?

Alternatively, have you ever been learning a game from someone and just miss half of the rules because you don’t understand what they’re even talking about?

We’ve all been there! Learning and teaching games can be difficult, especially when you’re newer to the hobby. I would certainly say I’ve gotten better at teaching games over the years, though, of course, I’m still not perfect. Still, I wanted to put together a list of some of the best dos and don’ts I’ve found for teaching board games in all my time in the hobby. Of course, these tips are not the be-all and end-all, but they may help you out if you aren’t sure where to start. Let’s dive in!

DO …

  • Learn Before You Teach – Whether you read the rulebook, watch a video, play a practice game, or all of the above, just make sure you do it ahead of time so that you know what you’re teaching before you begin
  • Set Up 1st – You can set up ahead of time, or in front of your players, but I recommend not trying to teach as you set up, because it may lead to questions that can’t be answered until other pieces are in place
  • Explain The Goal Early – Sometimes, the most important part of a game is understanding the objective, so giving players a goal to keep in mind as they learn can be beneficial
  • Capture Your Players’ Attention – Make sure everyone is listening and engaged. Make eye contact, and speak clearly and at a reasonable pace
  • Stick To An Order – Try to explain the rules along with the general flow of the game so that players understand the rounds or phases as they will happen during play
  • Leave Strategy At The Door – Whether you’ve played the game 100 times, or it’s everyone’s first time, it’s important to not be thinking about strategy while teaching so that you aren’t distracting yourself, worrying about your own win
  • Pause For Questions – Rather than just running through everything and saving questions for the end
  • Give Examples, Where Applicable – Especially when someone has a question, an example can help expand necessary details


  • Teach Out of the Rulebook – Listening to someone read the rules out of the book as a way of teaching is rough, and hard to learn from
  • Second Guess Yourself – You can always reference or double check things after the teach, or refer to materials as questions come up, but be confident in your teach
  • Feel Like You Have to Memorize Everything – Again, you can always reference things, and having the game set up will also help, so don’t feel like teaching is a memory game within the large you’re playing
  • Over-Explain – It’s your job to summarize and streamline the game, otherwise everyone would just read the rules. Don’t give every possible detail or edge case, just overview and go into detail where necessary
  • Hide Details – While explaining every tiny thing isn’t needed, hiding details is also not cool. Things like saving the “best” faction/character for yourself or not telling players all their possibly options for their turns