I like Chrononauts, but one problem I have is that while everything is very intuitive to me, explaining it to others is always a challenge. People always forget how to play a Patch, and it can be very annoying when you have no Inverters. There is a lot to swallow on the first time and there is no easy way to say "let's explain more as we play".
Ideally I would want some kind of video about it. I also thought about simplifying the game but I am not sure how to do that. (There is Artifaxx, but the TimeLine is the confusing part so avoiding that altogether seems counterproductive.)
Any thoughts? Ideas? Things that would make the task easier?
Just off the top of my head, shooting from the hip...
What about playing the first game allowing Patches to act as an Inverter (if needed) plus the patch. I am not sure if or how much that might break the game, but it would provide a simplification for an introductory game.
Are you playing with your hand face-up. That enables you to explain cards and the other players can see what you are doing.
When I teach games, I explain the game's card types on a need to know basis and wait until a player has progressed the game to a point that the win condition becomes relevant. Example:
1) At the set up of the game, explain linchpins, ripplepoints, inverters, and patches. "The timeline is made up events in history. Linchpins are critical events and a ripplepoint is the result of that event. The purple we see now is true reality; the red side is alternate reality. Inverters flip linchpins to alternate reality. When that happens, they force the ripplepoints to flip over because those resulting events couldn't happen and that makes a paradox, which is the back of the ripplepoint card. You use a patch to fix a paradox." Notice I did not explain how to win the game. I only explained the cards that we immediately see and the most important cards that interact with them.
2) On your turn or the first time someone tries to play and action, gadget, or timewarp, explain those at that time. "[this card] you play and do what it says. It helps you find what you need to win the game."
3) When someone tries to play an inverter, remind all players what that does. The first time someone successfully plays a patch, then explain the ID card and the Going Home win condition. Do not explain the 10-card hand win condition.
4) After having explaining the Going Home win condition, later in the game when someone successfully plays an artifact, that would be the appropriate time to point to the players Mission card and tell them that another way to win is to have those artifacts on the table in front of them.
5) As the game progresses, one of two things will happen:
a) players will not be playing patches and the number of paradoxes will quickly increase. At this time, explain the loss condition: if there are too many unpatched paradoxes, all players lose.
b) players will be patching paradoxes and hand sizes will increase.
6) As hand sizes increase because of patching paradoxes, explain the 10-card Hand win condition.
In this way, it sounds like I've prioritized the win (and loss) conditions but this is the order that these conditions begin to develop. Yes, a player may play artifacts first before an inverter but they see the timeline first and inverters were explained first, therefore it is important that you explain inverters and patches to completion by connecting the win condition they work towards as early as possible while it is fresh in their minds. Yes, you could have explained Mission cards before Inverters and Patches but I think that is confusing because you've left all players in the dark about the part of the game that is on the game at the very beginning of the game even before they see their Mission cards. Some players may never see an artifact in their hands even. If an artifact gets played before an Inverter, I would explain it as "this card goes on the table in front of you. I will explain it at a later time." 10-card Hand of course comes later because you only get to that point after doing many patches.
Wait for the second game to explain Killing Time or for a player who is reading the rules to discover it on their own. It is a mechanic that helps the game move faster but it confuses players beyond what they can handle.
1. Maybe. I find when learning new games, and I'm probably guilty of this myself, players will quickly discard useful cards when they don't understand them.
2. Yes, that works.
3. You could, but at that point you're probably just making notes on the rules themselves. My notes are more like a "teacher's guide" for how to communicate the content.
4. Yes, some will want to read the whole rules while waiting. That's fine. If asked, I would say "that will come up later" or "I will explain those later at a more beneficial time in the game."
5. I only have EAC so I'm not sure what those artifacts are. IMO, something unplayable is frustrating so you could remove it but those could be used for the discard rule. A first-timer won't know that it is unplayable so it won't make a difference. They'll just be as curious/confused about it as they are any other card.