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Terraforming Mars» Forums » General

Subject: Suggested change in the rulebook rss

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Bart Rachemoss
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Perhaps the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph on page-3 could be changed to:
Quote:
In the Action phase, players take turns doing 1 or 2 actions, going around and around the table until everyone has passed.

I think the original wording can make it seem like each player gets only one turn per generation, especially if someone is just skimming this section. At best it is a little ambiguous since "going around the table" can imply going around only once.
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Jack
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It does end with, "until everyone has passed" and not with "until everyone has taken a turn", so I don't think there is widespread confusion over that, but I could be wrong.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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BitJam wrote:
Perhaps the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph on page-3 could be changed to:
Quote:
In the Action phase, players take turns doing 1 or 2 actions, going around and around the table until everyone has passed.

I think the original wording can make it seem like each player gets only one turn per generation, especially if someone is just skimming this section. At best it is a little ambiguous since "going around the table" can imply going around only once.


If people think a single around means once, then they will think 2 around means only twice. So maybe it should be written "around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around and maybe another around".
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Michael Denman
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senorcoo wrote:
It does end with, "until everyone has passed" and not with "until everyone has taken a turn", so I don't think there is widespread confusion over that, but I could be wrong.


While I would agree with you that the rules make sense as written, the number one place that people are getting this game wrong IS this rule. If rewording will help them, then so be it.
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Trump wrote:
senorcoo wrote:
It does end with, "until everyone has passed" and not with "until everyone has taken a turn", so I don't think there is widespread confusion over that, but I could be wrong.


While I would agree with you that the rules make sense as written, the number one place that people are getting this game wrong IS this rule. If rewording will help them, then so be it.


I don't see how people can get this wrong unless you completely stop to read at the word "table". Because "until everyone has passed" seem pretty clear that the text that is written before continue to apply until everyone has passed.
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Jeff Noel
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BitJam wrote:
especially if someone is just skimming this section.


I think anyone who "just skims" any board game rulebook shouldn't be surprised when they get an important rule wrong. That said, this does seem to be, by far, the most misunderstood rule of the game. Maybe a clarifying sentence could be added:

"In this way, each player can continue taking turns until they've passed for the generation."
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Jack
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I plan on making one of my game aids for this in the near future to hopefully help anyone that just wants to skim the rules, but I agree. If you just skim, you're going to get something wrong.
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Jacob Fryxelius
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I agree with you all and we will have it much clearer in the next print.
As it was written, I think it is quite clear if you read carefully, but it can still be misunderstood (I took 2 actions and then 'passed' the turn). I have no idea how widespread this misinterpretation is, but it leads to such abysmal consequences for the game that it is of utmost importance that people get it right. So we'll clarify it.

Another rule that people sometimes miss is getting the 2 M€ from placing next to ocean tiles, but it doesn't have the same grave consequences for the game.

Cheers!
/Jacob
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Sebastian Stückl
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If I remember correctly, the designer said they will clarify this rule in the next printing. (Edit: C'mon Jacob... shake)

To be honest though, I am surprised so many people could get this rule wrong, but I suspect it has to do with the slightly unusual use of the word "turn", combined with the new concept of being able to perform a variable amount of actions on each turn, rather than always taking 1 action as in most worker placement games, or Terra Mystica for instance.
I can't think of another game right now that allows you to do this.
(And that's very cool, btw! New takes on existing mechanics can really make games stand out!)

Also, I suspect many people skipped the introduction, and went straight to this section:
Rules, page 8 wrote:
Players take 1 or 2 actions each turn, or pass. Play
proceeds clockwise around the table until all players have
passed. The actions may be combined in any way the player
chooses.


If you do not know what a "turn" is in the game (since you skipped half the rulebook), the first sentence can easily mislead you.
In that case, it sounds like you have a total of 2 opportunities to act, and that you perform these actions "clockwise around the table". (so 1 at a time)



Overall though, the rulebook is REALLY GOOD, and I want to take this opportunity to point this out.
It is well-structured, and easy to read.
Also, it does not overflood you with unnecessary text or repetitions.
Yes, I do realize the rulebook is not overly technical, but that is a good feature.
Rather than trying to cover every corner case, the rules simply teach you the basics of the game. This improves the readability greatly, and makes reading the rules much more enjoyable.
The "rulebook" is not supposed to be a comprehensive document that covers every possible scenario, it is there to teach you the game

And for the few commonly missed rules, we learn from the past, right?
Perhaps we need rulebook playtesters, too, to see what stuff players can miss in the rulebook


Sebastian
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Matthieu Fontaines
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senorcoo wrote:
It does end with, "until everyone has passed" and not with "until everyone has taken a turn", so I don't think there is widespread confusion over that, but I could be wrong.


Just because it is logically written doesn't mean it is clear for everybody.

A rule should be clear for most people and not only for some logician geeks, this is called ergonomy.

So, if some redundancy of information, some complement of examples is necessary to make more people understand and play without flaws, that's a good thing.
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Shane
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I don't see how people can't see how people have misunderstood this!
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Sebastian Stückl
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Duinhir wrote:
So, if some redundancy of information, some complement of examples is necessary to make more people understand and play without flaws, that's a good thing.


The problem with redundancy is it makes the rules harder to read for everyone else, and makes it harder to search for specific information during a game, essentially setting a higher barrier to enter the game for all other players.
Clearly, you need to make a tradeoff. Redundancy, in general, is detrimental, but can be necessary to convey important information.
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Mats Persson
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Action phase
Beginning with the starting player and in clockwise order, each player
takes one or two actions. Continue to do so until no player wants to
take any more actions. If you pass, you can not take more actions this
generation.
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Sebastian Stückl
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ShaneXtopher wrote:
I don't see how people can't see how people have misunderstood this!


The misunderstanding should not occur if you have completely read the rules.
That being said, I am pretty sure many people receive a game, and then see the rulebook for the first time when they unpack it, eager to start playing immediately.
Clearly, you are in a rush. You want to get just enough information so you can start playing.
You're a bit sloppy, and probably miss something. That happens. No big deal.

It's just that this error happens to be extremely devastating, and destroys a huge part of what defines the game.
In many other cases, playing a rule slightly incorrect won't cause much harm...
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Steve Cohn
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Bastinator1 wrote:
The misunderstanding should not occur if you have completely read the rules.


Right, the example of a "turn" on page 8 of the English rules directly under 3) Action Phase is fairly specific in how a "turn" is played out.

Unfortunately I think a lot of the people playing the game are being taught the game, not reading the rules for themselves, and then getting caught up on missing this one critical rule. If the rules "explainer" missed or forgot this, 3, 4, 5 people might have just learned the game incorrectly. I just heard on a podcast where there were 3-4 tables playing Terraforming Mars all weekend long at a local, smaller convention. Over a 4-day weekend, dozens of plays of this game, and if one person teaching it forgot/missed this rule...that's a lot of sub-optimal experiences.

But, if one does read the rulebook completely, it becomes pretty clear--the examples of a turn provided are very helpful and well thought out and explained. The rulebook in general is very well done and kudos to a rulebook that provides specific examples!

~Steve
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