Let this free app explain how to play a new board game (so you do not have to)

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Photo: Mike_O (Shutterstock)

Learning or teaching a new board game can be equally challenging and insane. Either you’re trying to explain the rules to an apathetic crowd, or you’ll be “taught” and expected to capture every little detail from a monotonous speaker. If you are tired of every gaming night starting the same way, there is a better option for both board game teachers and students.

Dized is a free app designed to guide players through new board games with engaging tutorials uniquely created for each title. (The developers behind the program started a Kickstarter to get their sight from the ground, even though I first saw it thanks this TikTok by gamesbymondo.) After some success with the backers, the experience lives on iOS, Androidand the Internet, however, in a limited capacity. Let’s check it out.

When you first select a tutorial, you will see an initial overview screen, which includes the estimated duration a game will take, the number of players that can play at one time, and the appropriate age rating. You will also see an overview of what the game is about and you have the option to check out either a tutorial or the rules.

Let’s focus on the tutorial, as it’s the app’s real selling point. Once the tutorial is downloaded, you will be greeted by a splash screen with the game’s logo and illustrations with accompanying music. An engaging voice-over introduced the game you are about to play and asks how many players are participating so it can tailor the review to your particular setup.

From here, your board game and all its components (cards, boards, pieces, papers, etc.) are displayed on the screen with associated voiceover descriptions and instructions. It’s good pace: the instructions pause to give players time to take them in and grab the materials they need before a person touches the screen to move on.

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The tutorials are well-produced and are certainly more captivating than listening to one person read from a rule book while all half are attentive. I tend to have a hard time learning a new game without actually playing it first, and these animated reviews help fill that gap. I could definitely see myself understanding the rules of complicated games faster by using Dized.

By clicking through the instructions for Little epic piratesfor example, it reveals to be one very complicated game actually. If I were to play this game from the rulebook alone, I would be a total mess and it would probably ruin the game night.

However, the only real downside to the app is the current lack of tutorials. Tthe app currently has 39 games in its guide catalog, which clearly represents a significant amount of time and energy, but given 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
  • Jernskov
  • 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
  • HOLD3
  • The night cage
  • The Secret Neighbor Party Game
  • Time Breaker
  • Tiny Epic Dungeons
  • Little epic pirates
  • Tokyo Sidekick

However, there is a more expansive list of rules of the game; While these are not the engaging tutorials that make the app a unique experience, they are a great addition, especially if you have lost the original rulebook. If you need to refer to a rule at any time during the game, these neat manuals should make it easy to find the rule.

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