how does a person learn rules?

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[i'm not sure where to post this question; but this forum seems better than the rules templating and theory place]

how does a person learn rules in a thorough way? is there a "course" that walks you (in a well-planned-out way) through learning all these rules? or do most people just learn rules by reading various rules questions (ie without any pre-planned order) until they "abosrb" all the various rules?
I personally learned with the free demo of MTGO and a crash course from a friend
the basic rulebook would also be a good start, the comprehensive rules are not meant to be read cover to cover, but if you are really REALLY bored you can do that as well ;)

the rest came with reading and (trying to) answer the questions in here
proud member of the 2011 community team
No, I've never seen a course that gives you a thorough understanding of the rules. The basic rulebook will give you a basic understanding, but to get a thorough understanding, you'll want to read and try to answer a lot of rules questions with help of the comprehensive rules, and watch how other people answer them, sometimes asking questions about why an answer is the way it is.
All Generalizations are Bad
or do most people just learn rules by reading various rules questions (ie without any pre-planned order) until they "abosrb" all the various rules?

That's roughly how i did it. I spent time on these forums (lurking initially) reading threads and trying to determine the answers. When i was wrong (which happened a lot initially), i learned what the correct answer was, and over time it all started to click together. 

I've seen other people recommend Cranial Insertion as a way to learn the rules, though i have not myself perused their archive of articles nor do i follow it regularly.

EDIT: oh, and i remember another way i learned: playing magic online, and paying attention to how it did things. While it has a few bugs here and there, the vast majority of the time it accurately represents the rules of the game. It was through magic online that i found out that casting Boomerang on my Warped Devotion would cause me to discard a card, which essentially meant i had now discovered that leaves-the-battlefield abilities trigger based on the gamestate before the event rather than after.
There is the Basic Rulebook (which is aimed at beginners). There are also basic rules inserts in some preconstructed products. There are FAQs, and there are Rulings in Gatherer.

There is the Comprehensive Rulebook.

There is the Judge program, which lets you take tests to become certified. 

There are walkthroughs on things like Duels of the Planeswalkers, and I think also for MTG Online. You can also find instructional videos on Youtube etc.

There is this forum.

The ways to learn the rules for Magic are a lot like the game itself: there are different things for different people.      

You just find the way that suits you best and keep at it until you reach the level you want to reach.

wizards.com/Magic/TCG/Resources.aspx?x=m...

Hope that helps

~ Tim    
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
The basic rulebook is a good start. Then you can read our FAQ.
[<o>]
i think i know most of the basic rules, so the basic rulebook etc is probably stuff i mostly all know.

RootBreaker said:

No, I've never seen a course that gives you a thorough understanding of the rules.



given how structured magic is, and how smart some of us are, that someone might have developped a course about it; but i guess not!



the one time that i felt "wow, i /really know/ the rules better than i did before!" is when i had a friend of mine wanted to teach me some of the rules in a more "intermediate" level. he thought about the best thing to teach me, and decided that it would be most optimal to teach me about a) priortiy, b) state-based actions, and c) triggered abilities. this was really a good choice of his, becuase it probably helped me understand 60% of rules questions all of a sudden!

i bring this up because it was because of the careful planning/choices that my friend made, that helped me learn the rules so much better (and so quickly) all of a sudden than i had before. if i didn't have this, it would have taken me a long time to learn those three things my friend taught me (ie just from looking at answers to rules questions). that is, careful, planned teaching of some rules, i'm wondering, might be a lot more optimal than reading various answers to rules questions?


 
The basic rulebook is a good start. Then you can read our FAQ.



oo, didn't realize that that FAQ existed! i think i might like exploring it a bit!
A good way to get better at making rules calls is to look for combos and try to figure out how they work. Focus specifically on cards that give you trouble.

First, what does your gut tell you (how should it work)? Next, think through the rules to see if you can back up your gut feeling. If you can't do that, it's a red flag that you've either got some kind of misconception or that you're thinking about it too hard. Then, look up the relevant rules in the comprehensive rulebook. It's going to be rough at first, but the more you do it, the more you'll learn your way around it.

Finally, you can come here and ask us if you aren't confident in your answer. We don't mind answering your theoretical questions, so long as you actually tried to figure it out and aren't sure.

The closest thing you'll get to a course on the rules is the judge program. You can take practice tests online which present you with a tricky situation and you need to explain what happens. Please don't repost the questions here, though. They're supposed to be confidential.
@Bowshewicz:
i sort of do that with rules questions; i look at the question, ask how i /think/ it would work if i guessed without thinking too hard; and then i think harder and try to figure out what the answer is.

you mention the judge program. my friend who taught me what i felt was "intermediate" rules (priorty, state-based actions, priority) showed me some practice tests, and they were kind of fun to do. you mention it again, which is now making me thinking that perhaps i really should sign up! 
how does a person learn rules in a thorough way? is there a "course" that walks you (in a well-planned-out way) through learning all these rules?

Answer people's questions on this forum. You don't have to actually post your answer, but try to find the rules relevant to the question being asked in the CR, then compare your answer to what others answer. If you don't understand the difference, ask. One learns best from one's own mistakes.

You can also take this approach for questions that are already answered, but have no rules quoted. Search the CR for the rules that actually dictate the answer.
or do most people just learn rules by reading various rules questions (ie without any pre-planned order) until they "abosrb" all the various rules?

Reading and answering are not the same thing.
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

here is your start into becoming a judge and the materials to learn for it
proud member of the 2011 community team
*grumble* Need to attend event to get DCI# first.
Answer people's questions on this forum. You don't have to actually post your answer, but try to find the rules relevant to the question being asked in the CR, then compare your answer to what others answer. If you don't understand the difference, ask.


This is one of the ways I learnt the rules. I would see a new thread asking a question, then try to work out the answer for myself before scrolling down through the replies, and see how close I was to getting it right. After a while I was posting in the threads myself (either to help explain something, to provide an example, to cover a point that had been missed, or even sometimes to be the person that actually answered the question first).

~ Tim 

I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
*grumble* Need to attend even to get DCI# first.

I feel you ;)
that's the biggest hurdle for me starting down that path as well
proud member of the 2011 community team
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