I’m Craig Robertson, the new Continuity Project Manager for Tide of Iron here at 1A Games. To make a long title short, that means that I’m the guy responsible for making sure that all of the new expansions fit seamlessly with the core rules and previous expansions. Eventually, I’ll be stitching all those rules together into the Next Wave Master Rules.

During the process, I’m also going to be keeping all of you dedicated TOI fans in the loop. That includes asking for your opinions through polls and the various games forums out there. I will also be giving you periodic updates on the direction that TOI is taking.

Here’s the part where I make a confession. I have never played Tide of Iron. TOI has already been on my radar for quite a while. However, with unpainted Flames of War and Bolt Action Soviets (yes, I actually do need Soviets in both 15mm and 28mm) and a decent (but far from complete) Advanced Tobruk System collection, I just couldn’t justify another WWII tactical game. However, that gives me a unique advantage in doing this job.

One of our main priorities for the Next Wave is to make the rules more accessible to new players. That absolutely does NOT mean that we’re dumbing down the system. Gameplay is not going to change. It does mean that we want to add some good quick start materials to the Next Wave core game to make the game easier to learn. When you first open the box, there are a lot of different components to navigate. That can intimidate new players.

That’s where my relative inexperience becomes an advantage. As I’m learning the game, I’m taking copious notes on the process and identifying any potential roadblocks to learning the game. So far I’ve found a few already. For instance, when I started reading the rulebook, I noticed that you don’t learn how to assemble a squad until Page 8. You don’t even learn how to move a unit until Page 18.

It’s not a fatal flaw. We know you guys are plenty smart, and have played much more complex games with no problems at all. However, we want a player who is brand new to the game to be able to sit down and start pushing squads around the board within minutes of opening the box.

Remember how I said that I would be asking you guys a lot of questions? Well, here is the next batch. Our new poll is all about the learning process. We want to know how you teach new players how to play TOI. What do you teach first? What do you leave out for a while? Please help us out and take the poll. We would love to hear your ideas.

Please click here to take the poll about teaching new players Tide of Iron.