Scholars of the first rulebook sin
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
Wargamers will probably laugh about this - anyway... here goes

Disclaimer: Nobody says that the games below are terrible, mmmkay? It's just the rules that threw me some loops.

There are rulebooks and there are rulebooks. I think we can agree on that.
Just write a rulebook they said. It's gonna be fun, they said. Well they didn't specify that it should mainly be fun for the reader of said rulebook. In the following examples it's not much fun and each of them gets something different wrong. Feel free to add your own examples of a rulebook gone wrong.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: mr [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: 51st State [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:940] [Average Rating:6.88 Unranked]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This trainwreck of a rulebook taps into several sins being committed in rulebookery. I don't know about the orignial or about the English version but the German rulebook makes the game unplayable out of the box.

Sins:

- rules are all over the place (a player aid was actually availabe as a PROMO - I'm not even kidding about this)

- some rules are just plain wrong
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
From today's point of view these rules may be ok but I dare someone who's inexperienced with more complex boardgames to give this one a whirl.

Sins:

- suffers from unnecessary overcomplexity

- rules could have been more crisper and more concise than they actually are
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:26]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't even know what to say here... There don't seem to be any gamebreakers in here but maybe I just haven't found them!

Sin:

- Who thought it was a good idea to write three sets of rules with increasing complexity so that at the end of the day if you have to look up a certain rule you don't know in which of the three rulesets to look
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:932]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have no words. This is the only game so far that broke me. I've pretty much given up at understanding this game to its full extent even with having read the latest ruleset, having played the Java App. I've sunk hours and hours into gettting what this is all about and I've completely and utterly failed. Combat rules specifically are a nightmare.

Sins:

- the sheer amount of rules is just mindbeding. There are novels that are much shorter than this rulebook (I shit you not).

- It's like reading a scientific work on boardgaming which is, of course, typical Avalon Hill style wording but still... man...
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:53]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
All in all, these rules are fine but in the German 1st Edition at least they royally f***** up

Sin:

- there is one section on the back that was printed twice thus eliminating the rules for how to conduct a crucial phase of the game thus rendering it more or less unplayable. These mistakes really are the worst.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Luna [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:398]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This also applys to Aquasphere btw.

Sin:

- You read the rules and you have no, absolutely no idea what's supposed to happen in the game. Zilch. Nade. Niente. Which is a shame because there is actually everything in there that you need to play the game, but it's one of the more counterintutive rulesets I've seen in a long time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:287] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Thomas Lang
Germany
Gaißach
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This one wasn't so bad for me, I actually adore the tutorial mechanism of this game but still... shots have been fired, so I thought I might mention this here, as well.

Sin:

- Rules are introduced gradually via cards. Awesome! But... if you have to look up specific rules later it sucks to have to look through all the cars because, apparently, not all of the rules can be found in the actual rulebook

I haven't made this experience so if you want to rectify something here, don't be afraid
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:82]
N. P. P.
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The rules for this game are four pages long, so when I sat down to read the rulebook I thought, "How bad can it be?"
The answer is: very.
One of the most important rules of the game, completing rooms, is mentioned in the overview of the game, but it is not explained. Then follows a paragraph titled "Room Types & Completing a Room". Guess what rule is not explained in that paragraph? It tells you only what reward you get for completing a room, but not how you can do it.
No, the explanation is hidden away almost at the end, in a place where you wouldn't expect it. That is ... less than ideal.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Myth [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1851]
Trevor Schadt
United States
Glenshaw
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I love this game. I love this game a lot. I play this game regularly with a regular campaign group. I spent hours watching walkthroughs, reading FAQs, looking at card clarifications and rules rewrites, to learn how to play the game so that I could teach that campaign group.

Why? Because the rulebook that came with the game is abysmal. I had to, otherwise I'd really have no idea how the game is played. It really is one of the worst rulebooks I've ever seen, but it's worth working your way through it to the pretty excellent game that's underneath.

There's a 2.0 rulebook coming out this fall, and it's worlds better. But if you pick this game up and are in charge of teaching your gaming group, you'll still do yourself a world of good by watching the videos, reading the FAQs, and sifting through the immense amount of noise on the BGG forums to weed out the small nuggets of signal (all of which will hopefully be updated to the new, cleaner ruleset).

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Junta [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:954]
Felix Lampadius
Germany
Kochel
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
(Talking about the old version shown on the image left)

Thing is: the rules are relatively bad written ... but is that maybe the intention of the designers?
I can imagine yes! So during the game debates and discussions or even disputes will happen. And that's one thing the game wants. Of course the backstabbing actions stay the most argueing moments.
At least I've read about the possibility of intentionally vague rules in "Junta". And nevertheless I regard the game as cult we also had these rules discussions.

Is there someone who knows the new edition? Is the rulebook different and clearer? I expect yes.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Fury of Dracula (second edition) [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:403]
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Love this game. And I understand that sometimes there will be odd situations that nobody thought of and that never came up in playtesting. That's not this.

Sin: A large number of situations that are not even that uncommon are simply not addressed at all, leaving players to make up their own interpretations of how to handle it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Terra Mystica [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:8]
David Gibbs
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The rules seem very readable as you're reading through them, but then you try to actually do anything... and find things don't make sense. And trying to look anything up... just nope.

There is a "first game" type setup presented as the main way to setup the player races, then the normal play way of doing it is presented as a set of differences or exceptions to that one. The learning game start should have been on a separate sheet of paper, NOT in the main rulebook. And the section labelled "the flow of the game" isn't about how the game flows, but about how the setup flows. And, and, and...

Just the size and rapid creation of the FAQ/errata shows the issues with the rulebook for this one.

I've been playing games for more than thirty years, and I made more mistakes with the rules in this game than I think anything else in the last decade.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Warhammer: Invasion [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:451]
Kathleen Nugent
United States
Tamworth
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My girlfriend bought this game. She relies on me to read the rules and figure out how to play. I got to about the fourth paragraph on the first page and had no idea, no matter how many times I read it, what I was supposed to do. Neither of us could figure it out. I closed the box and told her she'd have to find someone who knew the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:18]
Sam Carroll
United States
Urbana
Illinois
flag msg tools
Soli Deo Gloria!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There are a few problems with this rulebook. For example, some rules aren't in it, but actually on the site description cards instead. Once you're aware of that, it's not a problem, but there are frequent posts by panicked new players who don't know it.

But the worst sin, from my point of view, relates to the Walkthrough. They made the good decision to separate the Rulebook (rules reference) from the Walkthrough (introduction). However, in that Walkthrough they made the terrible decision to present things that are generally true as if they were always true. They also use terms in the Walkthrough that aren't actually part of the rules. For example, the walkthrough talks about "depleted dice", which aren't a real thing in game terms. This leads to tremendous confusion.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:473] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Kyle A
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The rules are more of a framework and don't cover many scenarios in the game. Take a look at the rules section here on BGG for any of these Adventure System games and you will see a myriad of threads for topics left uncovered.

Luckily the designer has come on BGG to provide some clarification, but sometimes that makes the confusion worse!

The general attitude is "just house rule it" which some people have a problem with.

I don't mind, I love the games and the sandboxy feel, but it is generally accepted that the rules suck
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Sheepdogs of Pendleton Hill [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:7971]
Matt Green
England
Horsham
West Sussex
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not a bad abstract card game, but you could put the rules on a single A4 sheet and improve matters measurably.


Sin: Why use 1 word when 4 will barely suffice?

Includes this classic sentence:

With the one card a player may move flocks that contain only their own sheep or that contain both their own sheep and other players’ sheep or flocks that contain only other players’ sheep.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.