Visual Alternative for Games With Intimidating Manuals | Rollacrit

Some board games are a little much — especially when your only frame of reference is playing Monopoly or Clue. And even though more complicated board games can be exciting to play, they may understandably intimidate some new players.

For example, the 1979 game Magic Realm has a rulebook that’s roughly 240 pages (not including the recommended “Book of Learning” that’s a whopping 280+ pages). If this were 1980 and you identified as a visual learner, you’d be out of luck. But fortunately, we live in a day of modern conveniences that provide additional options for those who don’t want to dedicate a few weeks to reading a manual.

We want to give a disclaimer: we love manuals, but they’re not for everyone. Consider these alternatives for your friends who are more casual gamers.

Tutorial Videos

Game tutorials usually devote a large percentage of time to a game’s setup. In addition to providing detailed instructions for visual learners, they also tend to give a better idea of how involved gameplay will be compared to a manual. (That can usually be determined by how long the video is — the longer, the more complex.)

TL;DR Threads

The internet is a blessing and a curse. But one of the most extraordinary things to come out of it is the phrase TL;DR, or “too long; didn’t read.” Some good Samaritans have watered down extensive gameplay rules into more digestible bullet points that highlight big picture mechanics. Are you missing out on some stuff by TL;DR-ing it? Of course. But sometimes, it’s better to keep it simple.


Much like tutorial videos, watching a live-stream game is a great way to experience gameplay. Though rare, it’s not entirely impossible to see the setup of a game — especially if it’s part of a series that will be played over time. At the very least, you’ll be able to see how the gameplay looks when the game is set up correctly.

Even if you do things strictly by the rulebook, it’s helpful to see how other people play board games that are a bit more complicated. What’s your favorite visual resource?

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