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Subject: Wargame Rules "Worst" Practices ? rss

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Roger Hobden
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Following up on the 'Wargame Rules "Best Practices"?' thread.

What are the "good" or "best" wargames that eventually turn out to be enjoyable to play, yet have rules that are are poorly written and thus manage to make games seem more complicated then they really are.

Advanced Tobruk, Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes, and Here I Stand are examples of games that for me are not really that complicated, but initially seem convoluted because of poor layout or wording.
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Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
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ICONOCLAST

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Failure to proofread and failure to number and index are pretty problematic in my book...
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Seth Owen
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Really, the worst general practice is a lack of examples of play, followed by incorrect examples of play. I understand doing a good example is hard, but it can really pay dividends, especially with new or unusual game mechanics.
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Forgot to mention: Abbreviating every third word drives me up the wall.yuk
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Aaron Yoder
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Mallet wrote:
Following up on the 'Wargame Rules "Best Practices"?' thread.

What are the "good" or "best" wargames that eventually turn out to be enjoyable to play, yet have rules that are are poorly written and thus manage to make games seem more complicated then they really are.

Advanced Tobruk, Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes, and Here I Stand are examples of games that for me are not really that complicated, but initially seem convoluted because of poor layout or wording.


HIS is definitely complicated. It isn't as bad as movement for, say, Wilderness War, but it is pretty complicated. Part of it is because all 6 players are doing enormously different things, so they cram all the exceptions into each section of rules. Maybe that's what you're talking about. I prefer the rules to be laid out that way, though.
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Leo Zappa
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My shorthand for wargame rules worst practices - Fresno Gaming Association. They wrote the book on it.
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David
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Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?
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David
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wargamer55 wrote:
Really, the worst general practice is a lack of examples of play, followed by incorrect examples of play. I understand doing a good example is hard, but it can really pay dividends, especially with new or unusual game mechanics.
I despair at errors that get past proofreading, and incorrect examples of play are at the top of the list. It's like the designer doesn't even know how to play his or her own game. Really inexcusable.
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Kenneth Lury
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no index is high on my list of worst practices
assuming the reader has experience with wargames or any games for that matter is also not good.

One of the first games I bought really is simple to play, but because it was first, I had no familiarity with the general concepts. the author assumed the reader did, it was very frustrating for a while.
I guess most gamers have all of these general mechanisms down pretty well and don't want to have to read lots of noobie stuff, but it might help make the hobby more accessible.

Interestingly Fields of Fire was the second game in my collection. Before purchase, I read the rulebook and because I had no pre conceived ideas, the general idea made lots of sense. Execution was a little rough, but at least I understood what the aim was.
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Kyle Seely
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Snowman wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?


My clammy hands. If my hands are sweaty, my fingers stick to the glossy pages. Glossy paper reacts worse to moisture than regular paper, and just generally seems more fragile to me. My glossy rulebooks always look much worse after an initial playthrough of a game, with its frequent rules-browsing, than the non-glossy rulebooks.
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Arthur Dougherty
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Nesting a rule that should have its own number inside another numbered rule. Nesting a rule in an example.
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desertfox2004 wrote:
My shorthand for wargame rules worst practices - Fresno Gaming Association. They wrote the book on it.


Actually, they didn't. They expected you to write your own book on it, they just supplied the map and counters.
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Leo Zappa
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chuft wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
My shorthand for wargame rules worst practices - Fresno Gaming Association. They wrote the book on it.


Actually, they didn't. They expected you to write your own book on it, they just supplied the map and counters.


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Val Ruza
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I didn't find the Here I Stand rulebook too horrible. I do think that an index would have been nice. I have never looked at Advanced Tobruk or Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes, so I can't comment on those games.
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J.L. Robert
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Snowman wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?


For me, it's the occasional glare when trying to read it.

But I'd rather have glossy rulebooks than glossy counters. As much as I'm a fan of the old Avalon Hill, I really disliked their glossy counters, as they're far more prone to have their ink wear off than other counter types.
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Michael Carter
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Snowman wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?


Part of it is the glare, but mostly it's because war games are notorious for the amount of errata that seems to pop up and it's easier to pencil in the updates if the paper isn't glossy.
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radsailor wrote:
no index is high on my list of worst practices


I find an incomplete index more annoying than no index at all. And too many rule book indexes are incomplete, in my experience. I'm currently playing 1914: Offensive à outrance, and while the rules aren't bad, I found the "Important Terms and Concepts" section pretty useless: no reference to Areas of Attachment, Siege Artillery, Rail Movement, or Strategic Plans, all of which are important and have their own sections in the rules.

My other Pet Peeve (24.5) is the Use (7.34) of Unnecessary Capitalization (67.43) and Cross-references (2.9) which make the Rules (1.0) Difficult (4.3(a)) to Read (8.6).

Unnatural capitalization, which in English means anything other than the first word in a sentence and proper nouns, actually makes writing more difficult to process and comprehend. A little common sense goes a long way here: I think we can all understand what attacker, defender, fortress, or movement means without the words always presented in upper case to show they have a specific meaning in the game.

And if you write a rule that references six other rules, it's time to re-write the rules.
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J.L. Robert
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mlcarter815 wrote:
Snowman wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?


Part of it is the glare, but mostly it's because war games are notorious for the amount of errata that seems to pop up and it's easier to pencil in the updates if the paper isn't glossy.


Wrong porosity? ninja
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Enrico Viglino
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Too much attention to nailing everything down precisely.
This often ends up verbose, and only prevents rules' lawyers
(whom I would rather not play with usually) from abusing the
design. It interferes with the initial comprehension.

Seconding the glossy - for reasons given (water resistance, glare, and unable to
mark up with pencil). However, they do resist tobacco stained
fingers better.

Programmed Instruction - this almost always is just more of a burden
than whatever benefit it gives. Most games, I want to play right off
in full. Those I absolutely need to push some counters around on can do
with an introductory scenario which tells me what rules to read - and
if anything needs to be simplified from the main game, it should be a
special rule for the scenario. Don't fuck up my reference book; I'm
going to need it if I play more than you're intro scenario.

Fully procedural rules - if you ain't telling me why something is the
way it is, or why I'd want to use it, it's like trying to learn cooking
from recipes. Or programming from code examples. Just ain't the way my
brain works.

Color, highlighting, too many fonts, and lots of images - this just distracts.
If you need to put examples, sidebar them and relegate them so they don't
mess with the reference work.

Big walls of text - GDW was the worst at this, but GMT seems to prefer
this 'across the page' format. It just makes things harder to find somehow.

Insufficient numbering and references - even if numbers aren't referenced,
they help break up logical partitions nicely. Each numbering should
only be a few sentences preferably. That way, if they are referenced into
(and they should be wherever they help understand) you can find what
you're looking for. I don't want to have to read half a page to try
and find the particular sentence that you're referring to.
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Kev.
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Belz wrote:
I didn't find the Here I Stand rulebook too horrible.


so its ok for a $70-90 game to be "not too horrible". If a rulebook is a little horrible due to complexity then it should have solid work examples shouldn't it? Or if its a little horrible because it is un finished or poorly proofed or poorly laid out it is ok?

We have an expanding universe of choices. That is fast becoming a double edged sword for gamers.


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Hunga Dunga
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J.L.Robert wrote:
mlcarter815 wrote:
Snowman wrote:
Wilhammer wrote:
Not really a "worst" practice; printing them on glossy paper is not something I care for.
Curious to know why you and others don't like glossy?


Part of it is the glare, but mostly it's because war games are notorious for the amount of errata that seems to pop up and it's easier to pencil in the updates if the paper isn't glossy.


Wrong porosity? ninja


Clay is used to make glossy paper, so it not as flexible as standard paper.

Hate glossy rule books. Hate glossy maps. Hate.
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rod humble

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No index.

Weird ass fonts/highlighting/putting rule text over fluff images (sorry VPG I love you guys outside of this)

No simple up front explanation of what the game is and how it flows (GMT has been guilty of omitting this)

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Enrico Viglino
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Hungadunga wrote:

Hate glossy rule books. Hate glossy maps. Hate.


Hate is good.
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Michael Sommers
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calandale wrote:
Fully procedural rules - if you ain't telling me why something is the
way it is, or why I'd want to use it, it's like trying to learn cooking
from recipes. Or programming from code examples.

You prefer functional rules, or object-oriented rules?
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