Teaching COIN (with Cuba Libre)

Over at the Ludobits site, Paul Dussault talks about his methods for teaching the COIN system (using Cuba Libre as an example) to newbies, whether they are Eurogamer or wargamer in origin.

Some great advice here, that can be applied to teaching other games like this. I’ll admit that after playing these things off and on for over 35 years, and designing them for 25, I do forget how complex and daunting they must seem to some people.


About brtrain
This blog is mostly devoted to posts, work and resources on "serious" conflict simulation games.

5 Responses to Teaching COIN (with Cuba Libre)

  1. ludobits says:

    Thanks Brian for posting this. Well I guess it’s like one’s mother tongue. It comes so naturally that we can’t help but be amazed when somebody struggles to pronounce a single, simple sound. Which shows how deeply rooted game systems can be. Well, are they not abstract models using a certain “syntax” of rules and a certain “vocabulary” of mechanics to describe part of reality?

    Have you had any experience introducing hardcore hex & counter grognards to COIN?

    • brtrain says:

      I have taught wargamers the COIN system, but I don’t know how hardcore they were. At least they knew they were getting into something different: a common problem I have with introducing games I’ve designed with other systems is that hardcore wargamers will pick it up and start playing it with the rules that are familiar and lodged in their heads from other games, not the one I’ve designed. Of course, the same thing happens with COIN players who pick up Colonial Twilight and start playing it as if it were Fire in the Lake. Anyway, the point is made: the syntax and vocabulary do form a lingua franca, which does save time but not necessarily when you are trying to model something different, or in a different way.

      • alsandor says:

        I think most gamers at our level understand the concept of core rules and game rules. To simplify the learning curve, it might behoove the publisher, now that there is a sufficient corpus of COIN games out there, to separate the core rules from the specific game rules. The Gamers/MMP did that successfully. Other publishers do it by putting scenario specific rules in the Playbook so you don’t need to read them if you aren’t playing THAT scenario.

      • brtrain says:

        Some of the playbooks in the COIN system have a section that say, “here are the differences between this game and Andean Abyss”, but with so many volumes out now, and more to come, I don’t see the point.
        The basic rules to each COIN system game are still fairly short (6-8 pages, with illustrations; no more than 4 if you took the pictures out). But I am learning that one of the last things to be examined in the box is the rulebook….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: