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Subject: Are These Rules Sufficient? [Appalachian Trail] rss

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Timothy Yordy
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After the feedback I received below, I have given up on what I was attempting to do in this first post. In my latest reply I added a PDF to the rules but link it here as well for convenience: http://www.timothyyordy.com/AT-Rules3.pdf

So I am about to submit, Appalachian Trail, my entry into The Game Crafter's Micro Game challenge and I am attempting to squeeze the rules onto the front and back of two cards. The problem is that I don't know if I have condensed things too much for someone not familiar with the game to actually know how to play it. Would you guys mind taking a look at them and seeing if you feel you could play the game based on reading these? Thanks.

Quote:
Preparation -
Separate the 4 goal cards from the rest
of the deck, shuffle and randomly give
each player one card. Shuffle the
remaining cards and deal 5 cards to
each player.

The remaining deck is placed in the
center of the table and the top two
cards are placed face up next to it.

Play -
The object of the game is to complete
your section of the Appalachian Trail.
You must end your trail on the terrain
type that is shown on your goal card.
Your trail must begin with the terrain
type that the opponent on your left
is ending their trail on.

Play Continued...
Players must start their trail a distance
of 7 vertical cards away from their
goal. A trail may change directions at
a player's discretion or because an
obstacle forces them to but the terrain
must always connect to the same
terrain type. Cards may be turned up
or down to match terrain or activate
obstacles or improvements. Cards are
always played vertically.

On Your Turn -
On your turn you may play or discard
up to 2 cards from your hand. Discarded
cards are removed from the game. You
then draw back up to 5 cards by taking
the face up cards or drawing from the
deck.

Obstacles/Improvements -
In addition to Trail Cards, there are
many Obstacle/Improvement cards
in the game. Players may choose to
use an obstacle card to block an
opponent's trail. This forces the
other player to change the direction
of their trail. Either by going above
or below the current trail with a
connecting terrain type.

Trail Improvements are on the
opposite corner of Obstacle cards and
players can place them above or
below their own trail to earn bonus
points. These effectively function as
obstacles themselves and players
should take care in where they use
Improvements on their trail.

Obstacles can also be placed above
or below a trail to block alternate
paths. As with terrain cards, these
cards can be oriented up or down.
The active side of the card is
whichever side is touching the trail.

Rangers -
The Ranger card can be used to
remove an Obstacle from your trail.
The Ranger and the Obstacle are
removed from the game when used.

Ending the Game -
The game ends when all players
complete their trail or the deck is
empty and no more cards are able
to be played. Details on Scoring
are located on the back of the Goal
cards.

Scoring Appalachian Trail

First To Finish: +5 pts.
Did Not Finish: -2 pts.
Set of 3 active Scenery
cards: +3 pts.
Set of 3 active Wildlife
cards: +3 pts.
Continuous Trail: +1pt/card.
Longest Continuous
Trail: +2 pts.
Longest Continuous
Single Terrain Type: +3 pts.

Add/Subtract any points for
Obstacles or Improvements.
In case of a tie, the player who
finished their trail first is the
winner.



I am planning on making a digital version of the rules that can be downloaded that will include a little more text and some card orientation examples but I want the game to be playable without that.


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Brad Johnson
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Sorry, I'm usually pretty good with game rules, but if I'm restricted to absolutely nothing but the quoted text above and the picture on your post, I don't think I understand how this game is supposed to work at all. Maybe if I could really see the actual cards?

My major questions from reading the rules are below. I think a good diagram of a "game in progress" with labels and annotations would help a lot.


1) Are goal cards shown face-up to all players? I assume they are, or you wouldn't know how you win.

2) I feel like a I need a diagram of how cards are placed. Even looking at the picture at the top of your post, I'm not sure. Is my trail one of those rows, or a column, or something else? The rules say I start 7 cards vertically away from my goal, so I'm assuming I'm building a column?

3) Is there one common area that we're all playing cards into (like Carcassonne), or are we all building our own tableau of cards? If the latter, I take it I can play cards (obstacles) into other players' areas?

4) In what way do improvements function as obstacles? Do the improvements and obstacles cards have text that explain what they do? Or is it somehow self-evident?

5) How is a trail "completed"? I know I must start and end on a certain terrain type, but I don't think I understand where those starts and ends are. How is a "trail" even distinguished? Is it a row or column of cards, or some other kind of connected sequence of contiguous areas?

6) If we play until all players complete their trails, what does the first player to complete his trail do after he's done? Just pass while the others finish, or keep playing to somehow try to stop them, or what?

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Steven Long
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Yes, i can understand these rules but i don't see any components so it's hard to play rightly.
Why you try to squeeze the rules just on two cards? I think many examples can help explain it more clearly, right?
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Timothy Yordy
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Thank you for the in depth reply.

That is exactly what I was afraid of. Looks like I will have to make a booklet instead of having the rules on cards. Even with that I don't gain a whole lot of space but it will be more than squeezing the rules onto 4 card faces.

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Timothy Yordy
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black white wrote:
Yes, i can understand these rules but i don't see any components so it's hard to play rightly.
Why you try to squeeze the rules just on two cards? I think many examples can help explain it more clearly, right?


Because of a rule booklet adds a decent amount of cost and limiting cost is part of the contest rules.
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Timothy Yordy
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tempus42 wrote:
Sorry, I'm usually pretty good with game rules, but if I'm restricted to absolutely nothing but the quoted text above and the picture on your post, I don't think I understand how this game is supposed to work at all. Maybe if I could really see the actual cards?

My major questions from reading the rules are below. I think a good diagram of a "game in progress" with labels and annotations would help a lot.


1) Are goal cards shown face-up to all players? I assume they are, or you wouldn't know how you win.

2) I feel like a I need a diagram of how cards are placed. Even looking at the picture at the top of your post, I'm not sure. Is my trail one of those rows, or a column, or something else? The rules say I start 7 cards vertically away from my goal, so I'm assuming I'm building a column?

3) Is there one common area that we're all playing cards into (like Carcassonne), or are we all building our own tableau of cards? If the latter, I take it I can play cards (obstacles) into other players' areas?

4) In what way do improvements function as obstacles? Do the improvements and obstacles cards have text that explain what they do? Or is it somehow self-evident?

5) How is a trail "completed"? I know I must start and end on a certain terrain type, but I don't think I understand where those starts and ends are. How is a "trail" even distinguished? Is it a row or column of cards, or some other kind of connected sequence of contiguous areas?

6) If we play until all players complete their trails, what does the first player to complete his trail do after he's done? Just pass while the others finish, or keep playing to somehow try to stop them, or what?



1. Yes goals are face-up.

2. Each player is making their own trail. That part of the rules would be better to read "7 cards vertically oriented" or something like that. The trail is horizontal in front of you.

3. The latter. And yes you can play obstacles on other trails.

4. Improvements function as obstacles in that you are essentially blocking your own ability to turn your trail in the direction that you have placed the Improvement. There is some text on the card to show point values of each.

5. Good question...It is a row that has to be at least 7 cards long (Will likely be longer due to obstacles) that is completed by playing a terrain card of the same type as your goal card as the final card.

6. They continue adding to their trail and playing obstacles and improvements. This was a big oversight on my part when squeezing the rules onto the cards!


Thanks again for your reply, it was helpful to spot a lot of deficiencies in these condensed rules. I'm sure some of what you asked would have been clearer with the actual game in front of you but there were clearly things just left completely out of what I tried to squeeze on to cards.
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David Halliday
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I thought the rules referred to a vertical column of cards when I first read them too.

Can you place obstacles or improvements diagonally, or must all placements be orthogonal to cards that have already been played?



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Timothy Yordy
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Meepleplex wrote:

Can you place obstacles or improvements diagonally, or must all placements be orthogonal to cards that have already been played?


Improvements would always be at right angles above or below your own trail.

Obstacles could be (and usually are) in-line with the current trail path of an opponent or at right angles above or below to block alternate trail paths.
 
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Timothy Yordy
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Okay let me try this again. I have given up on my attempt to squeeze the rules on to 4 card faces. Here is a proper PDF of the rules. Let me know if this all makes sense.

http://www.timothyyordy.com/AT-Rules3.pdf

Thanks.
 
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Brad Johnson
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Much clearer! Definitly good enough to be able to play the game.

I think my only question is: Can you build Trail cards from both ends (start and goal), or do you have to build only from the start end?

Also, you can weave around to complete your trail as your diagram shows, but really, there are only 3 practical approaches to your goal. If players wait to place obstacles until the very end, they can essentially seal off your goal, and then you can only proceed with a Ranger card. Even if you get no obstacles, at the very end of your trail, you're always going to be hunting for that one card that has both of the terrains you need. Could be a frustrating wait, particularly if the card(s) you need has gone by already (which is why I was asking about being able to build from both ends). Can you use a Ranger to remove any card, or just obstacles?
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Timothy Yordy
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tempus42 wrote:
Much clearer! Definitly good enough to be able to play the game.

I think my only question is: Can you build Trail cards from both ends (start and goal), or do you have to build only from the start end?

Also, you can weave around to complete your trail as your diagram shows, but really, there are only 3 practical approaches to your goal. If players wait to place obstacles until the very end, they can essentially seal off your goal, and then you can only proceed with a Ranger card. Even if you get no obstacles, at the very end of your trail, you're always going to be hunting for that one card that has both of the terrains you need. Could be a frustrating wait, particularly if the card(s) you need has gone by already (which is why I was asking about being able to build from both ends). Can you use a Ranger to remove any card, or just obstacles?



You cannot build backwards from your goal.

The danger of someone holding onto obstacles to try and screw someone at the end is real but it also hinders their own play as part of their hand is always taken up with Obstacle/Improvement cards. One thing that came out during playtesting was that it is often a good strategy to get those cards out of your hand quickly so that you can hopefully get more Trail cards into your hand and not create a situation for yourself where the deck is running out but you are far from completing.

The Ranger only removes Obstacles. We kicked around the idea of a card that would allow some kind of 'terraforming' or something but ultimately it didn't fit into the game. There a lot of ideas for making this game into something bigger that I want to explore after The Game Crafter contest is over.
 
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Timothy Yordy
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Well here it is:
http://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/appalachian-trail


While not officially available for publication for another 10 days, I was still able to submit the contest entry in time.

Thank you to those who helped tie up some loose ends!
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