In physical games, I have begun to love using Rengo as a teaching tool for beginner players. There are many reasons why:
- When equipment is limited, Rengo allows more people to use the same equipment
- Beginners tend to have less analysis paralysis because they often try to emulate the moves of their teammate
- Winning or losing feels less personal, because everything is accomplished as a team
One thing that I find difficult with Rengo is the “zero communication” rule. I obviously understand its purpose and how it makes for an even more exciting game, but it makes it difficult to gauge when the time is right to pass teachings to beginner players. One tentative idea I have is that teachings can only be received from the opposing team - not from your teammate(s). This relies on the good faith of both teams, however, and doesn’t give perfect results. As a workaround, a complementary idea could be to handle undos just like on OGS - asking for permission first. That way, teachings could be given without affecting the immediate outcome of the game (e.g. “This would have been a better move, however let us continue the game with your inferior move.”)
Do you have suggestions on how this type of communication could be handled?
Yeah asking for permission before talking strategy is always a good idea. I do this for rengo/kibitzing/even 1:1.
In a casual setting, you can break just about any “rule” as long as everyone agrees
I would add, in a teaching setting it doesn’t matter much.
My understanding is that no communication is about sportsmanship in a competitive setting, but teaching is about learning, so the more tools available the better.
Maybe add some edge to it, for example 5 times communication per game, plus one for each handicap?
In my experience both as a student and as a teacher, staying quiet during the game, then reviewing the game after it has ended, is about a thousand times more fruitful than commenting during the game in progress.
Interesting! However, wouldn’t that require the ability to replay the game from memory?
Not really the topic, but related: I think it’s very important if the beginner wants to be told anything at all and if so how much. As an experienced player it’s easy to overload beginners with hints and information. Having fun is the most important thing in this phase. (Or maybe in any phase?) Some beginners might want lots of teaching, others not.
Some players are able to do that. I don’t.
But luckily there are tools for that: a smartphone app, a paper transcription…
If there are four players around the goban, you don’t need every player to remember every move. You just need the four players to be able to replay the game together. That’s a lot easier than you might think, unless they were playing a frenzied lightning game.
If you really fear not being able to remember the game, you could take a picture of the board every 30 moves or so. But I doubt that’s necessary.
An added advantage of waiting until after the game is that you can focus on the most important mistakes, rather than overload the beginner by correcting their every move.
But the most important thing is to let them play! If you interrupt their thinking during the game to tell them what they should play or what they should have played, then the learning is passive, not active.
Let them play their own game without interfering during the game. Then review after the game.
As any teaching, I suggest adapting to the student’s style and not enforcing the teacher’s style.
If a student prefers some more involved guidance during the game, they might find it alienating to say “no questions, we’ll talk afterwards”.
Of course, it’s up to the teacher to balance what guidance the student asks for and what they actually need.
tl;dr check with your students, try stuff, see how it goes.