Let This Free App Explain How to Play a New Board Game (So You Don’t Have To)

Let This Free App Explain How to Play a New Board Game (So You Don’t Have To)
Photo: Mike_O, Shutterstock

Learning or teaching a new board game can be equal parts challenging and maddening. Either you’re the one trying to explain the rules to an apathetic crowd, or you’re being “taught” and are expected to pick up every minute detail from a monotone lecturer. If you’re sick of every game night starting the same way, there’s a better option for board game teachers and students alike.

Dized is a free app designed to walk players through new board games with engaging tutorials uniquely created for each title. (The developers behind the program started a Kickstarter to get their vision off the ground, although I first saw it thanks to this TikTok by gamesbymondo.) After some success with backers, the experience is live on iOS, Android, and the web, albeit in a limited capacity. Let’s check it out.

When you first choose a tutorial, you see an initial summary screen, which includes the estimated duration one game will take, the number of players that can play at once, and the appropriate age rating. You’ll also see a summary of what the game’s all about, and have the option to check out either a tutorial or the rules.

Let’s focus on the tutorial, since that’s the app’s real selling point. Once the tutorial downloads, you’ll be greeted by a splash screen featuring the game’s logo and artwork, with accompanying music. An engaging voice-over introduced the game you’re about to play and asks how many players are participating, so it can tailor the walkthrough to your particular setup.

From here, your board game and all of its components (cards, boards, pieces, papers, etc.) appear onscreen, with corresponding voiceover descriptions and instructions. It’s well-paced: Instructions pause to give players time to take them in and grab whatever materials they need before one person taps the screen to move on.

The tutorials are well produced and are certainly more captivating than listening to one person reading from a rule book while everyone half pays attention. I tend to have a hard time learning a new game without actually playing it first, and these animated walkthroughs help fill that gap. I could definitely see myself grasping the rules to complicated games more quickly using Dized.

Clicking through the tutorial for Tiny Epic Pirates, for example, reveals it to be a very complicated game indeed. If I were to play this game from just the rule book alone, I’d be a total mess, and it would likely ruin game night.

The only real downside of the app, however, is the current lack of tutorials. The app currently has 39 games in its tutorial catalogue, which definitely represents a considerable amount of time and energy, but considering the vast world of board games out there, it would be great to see more added. Here’s what’s available as of this writing:

  • 7 Wonders
  • Agemonia (Teaser)
  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice
  • Bang!
  • Bayou Bash
  • Carcassonne
  • Cartographers
  • Cerebria
  • Chess
  • Dice Miner
  • Dragomino
  • Farm Rescue
  • Fidget Factory
  • Fluxx
  • Iron Forest
  • King of Tokyo
  • Kingdomino
  • Latvijas Neatkarīas karš 1918–1920
  • Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest
  • Munchkin
  • Paleo
  • Pigasus
  • Potion
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Roll Player
  • Scythe
  • Shobu
  • Snowman Dice
  • Splendor
  • Super Fantasy Brawl
  • TEAM3
  • The Night Cage
  • The Secret Neighbour Party Game
  • Time Breaker
  • Tiny Epic Dungeons
  • Tiny Epic Pirates
  • Tokyo Sidekick

However, there is a more expansive list of game rules; while these aren’t the engaging tutorials that make the app a unique experience, they’re a good supplement, especially if you’ve lost the original rule book. If you need to reference a rule at any point during gameplay, these well-ordered manuals should make finding the rule easy.

To keep up to date with the latest tutorials and rules books on offer, follow Dized on Twitter here.

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