I have some players in my gaming group that seem to have a bit of a problem with devising their strategy. How can I help them improve?
First of all, I want to clarify - I dont need gateway games recommendations. We play various types of games, from Dobble or Times Up through Settlers of Catan and Discworld to Cyclades and Power Grid. Answers found here didnt help me one bit.
I'll elaborate on my problem:
We have a quite diverse gaming group. We have some hard-core thinkers and gamers, myself included, who like to plan, devise a strategy, have an idea for their play. On the other hand, we have some more casual players. They like to think about their moves, sometimes to the point of reaching Analysis Paralysis, choose what they think is best for them, but they have a problem with long term planning.
They tend to think in terms of the turn at hand, weighing immediate outcomes of their actions against each other. For example in a game of Catan, they will think whats best for them in long term, they will cut someones longest road when possible, they will take the best spot available when building a new city.
If there is no single move that brings immediate gain better than any of the other options, they get stuck. If they can build a road in one of two or three places, they wont think "hey, Mike has a long road and is cut off on the north. He will probably build it down south in a few turns, so I could cut him off too if I go there now". They have a few similar options in their hands and have a hard time figuring out what to do. Sometimes they even mumble "I dont know what to do" during play.
That is fine in some less strategy focused and/or complex games. But when we play games that reward some long term planning or too many options, they have problems or dislike the game. When we play Thunderstone, I tend to win, because I plan out what can I possibly draw from my deck and when will I reshuffle my library. I also tend to buy things with a plan for a deck, I seek out a combo or think what sort of hand would I like to have during the game and build a deck that delivers them. Some of our players tend to just buy the best card around. If the best cards are all bought out, they just randomly buy some of the other options, not having a plan for them. Yesterday I won two or three games in a row, and it was kind of a bummer.
We wanted to try some new boardgames, and we got Eclipse. I really loved the game and have LOTS of fun, but some of our players felt overwhelmed by the options. Its not like they didnt grasp the rules - we made some mistakes, but that was not the issues. They knew what they could do and how to do it. They just couldnt devise a plan. They had a problem getting an idea of what they would like to do/accomplish in a given round, so deciding what to do in every turn was annoying for them - they chose kind of randomly, because they felt they could'nt make an informed decision. All in all, they decided they didnt like the game very much.
So, my question is: How could I help our casual players better at developing a strategy? They are fine on the tactical level. They experiment and play with tactics. How can I help them transfer that attitude and abilities to a more strategical level?