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MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat» Forums » General

Subject: A-feared of the possibilities... rss

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Bobby Warren
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So, Myth arrived today...

The rulebook is utter and complete garbage. Someone else who has delved further into it than I says he doubts the game is playable as written. There are dozens of question threads. He said it's even worse than the first Super Dungeon Explore rulebook, which didn't even define key game terms used in the rules. "Room? What defines a room?"

How afraid should I be that the rulebook for these awesome-looking games will be just as bad?
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Steve Hajducko
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It's a valid point - I don't own Myth but I'm playing in my gaming group for the first time on Tuesday, so I'll have more of a feel for it then. I *have* been reading the rulebook and watching the videos though, so I know some of what they're talking about.

While I think Recon may suffer from some of the same issues, I think there are two things that may alleviate this:

a) (and hopefully most importantly) We hope that MegaCon has learned their lesson and gets a professional editor, along with doing proper playtesting of the rulebook ( not just the game ).

b) RECON is a much more structured game than Myth. Myth is very free-form. You don't even have to do a quest, you can just say 'Let's go explore!'. So, with more structure comes more rules to define that structure and hopefully, less obfuscated/confusing rules.
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Bobby Warren
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sjmh wrote:
b) RECON is a much more structured game than Myth. Myth is very free-form. You don't even have to do a quest, you can just say 'Let's go explore!'. So, with more structure comes more rules to define that structure and hopefully, less obfuscated/confusing rules.

I disagree. It's simpler to define getting from point a to b than to define how to use a sandbox of toys. You need fewer rules to define goals than to define the parameters of an open-ended system.

Plus, if I was buying a wooden sword to go out an play make-believe, I would expect to pay far less than I spend on buying a big ol' board game box of goodies.

The good news, is there are 28 days for me to decide if I think the issues will continue on through the next game and I can always back out of the pledge.
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jef stuyck
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I really don't get why people are complaining about the rulebook so much, I had a decent amount of understanding when i read the online version.
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Michael Callahan
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Banemus wrote:
I really don't get why people are complaining about the rulebook so much, I had a decent amount of understanding when i read the online version.


and the on-line resources help a bunch. They will also have a FAQ and perhaps an update of the rule book itself up at some point soon. The game plays amazingly even if their are a few things missing from the rule book.
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MM
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Bobby4th wrote:
How afraid should I be that the rulebook for these awesome-looking games will be just as bad?


Afraid? I'd say you shouldn't be afraid. Maybe cautious... The Myth rulebook situation has been debated at great lengths over in those forums. I saw Brian comment that a rulebook update was being worked on this weekend (not sure if he meant delivered next week or not).

My take on that particular situation is they made a mistake - we all make them from time to time. The thing is, MERCS is listening to the feedback and doing something about it. What more can we ask for at this time? Sure we all (including MERCS) wish the rulebook was better, but that's water under the bridge at this point.

As for Recon ... I can't see these guys doing themselves a disservice here and releasing another title with an inferior rulebook. My advice to you is to back the project if all that's holding you off is the manual. You have 28 days to change your mind

As for MERCS - I highly, strongly suggest going outside your current play test community and illicit some people to play the game with no assistance from you. Have them come over and set them in a corner. Give them the manual and the game and see how things go. Document the areas that need improvement and "wash, rinse, repeat".
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Chris Smith
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I think if you're worried about the rules & clarity of them you should have a read through the beta rules and see if you're comfortable with them. If not then sent them a message on kickstarter or post on these forums with what points you felt unsure of.

Feedback & Community are a great tool, and with some companies, such as Megacon Games, we get the opportunity to use them to get a better product later =)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/m020kdmxyf2lbcc/KS%20Rules%20initi...
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Steve Hajducko
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Bobby4th wrote:

I disagree. It's simpler to define getting from point a to b than to define how to use a sandbox of toys. You need fewer rules to define goals than to define the parameters of an open-ended system.

Plus, if I was buying a wooden sword to go out an play make-believe, I would expect to pay far less than I spend on buying a big ol' board game box of goodies.

The good news, is there are 28 days for me to decide if I think the issues will continue on through the next game and I can always back out of the pledge.


I should have used 'clearer rules' rather than 'more rules'.

I think the recon rule book will be better, especially for board gamers, whom many of had issues with Myth's open endness, because of the nature of Recon's gameplay.
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Donny Behne
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"Incomplete" is not the same as "utter and complete garbage" and your friend is wrong - it is playable. Will you have to make some judgment calls? Sure. Will it ruin the experience? Not at all.
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Greg
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Mistermannindy wrote:

As for MERCS - I highly, strongly suggest going outside your current play test community and illicit some people to play the game with no assistance from you. Have them come over and set them in a corner. Give them the manual and the game and see how things go. Document the areas that need improvement and "wash, rinse, repeat".


This is advice I have given a few times to game publishers/designers.

People directly involved with the game design and rough testing are very intimate with how things are intended to work and that certain game terms encompass. So it's easy for them to overlook some ambiguity here in there in the rules because they don't see the ambiguity since they know what is meant.

Certain designs may have unusual circumstances occur occasionally due to the system having lots of variety of combinations/effects, so I understand some things not being accounted for in the rules do to the rarity of them. But there have been times where just a few minutes into reading some rulebooks, that I can spot things that are glaring and makes me wonder how that got through the editing/testing process. That's when outside eyes are very helpful in the editing process. Same with testing, some people that are not familiar with the system would be very helpful in spotting lack of clarity in the rules, and ask questions that drive the designer to strive for extra clarity.



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Rob Davis
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The other thing you have to be careful about is making sure your layout person leaves everything alone.

I know of instances where the layout person changed a perfectly edited document to "improve" the layout and their adjustment totally changed the rule. Or they think there isn't enough room for X on this column/page, so they slide it over to the facing column/page, but they don't understand how difficult it is for players to find that text now.

Page 6 of the Myth book is a perfect example of the latter. Item 4 says where to put the Treasure bag, but it doesn't tell you how to actually make the treasure bag until after item 6. It looks like they put it there b/c it wouldn't fit below the existing text in #4, or b/c they just wanted all of those small pictures next to each other.

What they should have done was swapped the Monsters (3) and Items sections and that would have made room for all of the Items text in the left column and Monsters could have been at the top of the right-hand column.
 
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Bobby Warren
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Ruavin wrote:
kelann08 wrote:
"Incomplete" is not the same as "utter and complete garbage" and your friend is wrong - it is playable. Will you have to make some judgment calls? Sure. Will it ruin the experience? Not at all.


The hyperbole surrounding that rulebook is kind of amazing to me.

From the threads here on BGG you'd think it was written in Esperanto or something. It's ambiguous in some parts, and leaves a few things out. But on the whole, the game is completely playable, as you said.

After trying a game out today, it isn't playable with the rules as presented. If you have the card FAQ and some of the other stuff posted later then possibly you could get through the game, but there are still lots of unanswered questions.
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Yikes. My biggest pet peeve is rulebooks with poor explanation flow. FFG has completely spoiled me on how companies should write their rulebooks.

The first time I read Galaxy Defender's rulebook, I was super annoyed at the layout of the rules and how far you needed to read to be remotely ready to play.


In scenario based gameplay, why should I read 60 pages worth of rules that cover rules that have NOTHING to do with the first few scenarios. Get players up and running quickly, playing is the best way to learn IMHO.

Rulebooks I enjoy a lot that have complex rules, but elegance to their layout, explanations, and I believe are close to the complexity needed in MERCS:Recon: DnD Drizzt, Eldritch Horror, Warhammer DiskWars. You'll notice my bias towards "great" rulebooks are those that allow you to "learn as you play" and setup quick scenarios to play around with as you read. Once the game "clicks" they pile on the rest of the complexity.

If I can offer some suggestions that help me, and I hope rulebook aficionados chime in as well:

- Explain the theme and goal of the game first and foremost. Why am I here and what am I doing. Placing this at the end does not set the right mindset for why we're playing the game. I see this in many games for some reason.

- Basic setup instructions should not be found over different rulebooks. I get that there usually is a rulebook and a scenario book, but please don't make me flip back and forth to understand how to setup. In the rulebook, please either create a quick-start generic list for the first game so we can follow along, or just give generic startup instructions. That way reading the Scenario/Story setup instructions are clear that they follow a pattern. Basically, I'm asking to teach me how to read the scenario book and how each piece is relevant.

- If there are tokens that are unique to certain scenarios, ask the reader to set these aside for now so only the most relevant pieces are in front of them.

- Please include a sample photo of how items are placed on the board with explanation of what each piece is briefly.

- Card/Board/Playmat/scenario anatomy breakdown. These should be easy to find with the rule instructions that use them.

- Please use hypothetical gameplay examples to reinforce the rules being explained

- If you're explaining a phase, use pieces of the card/board/playmat/scenario book anatomy to explain it. Showing the full anatomy once is overwhelming, but reusing pieces of the anatomy in gameplay examples is great reinforcement of where to look and why

- Order, limits, reactions, resolution conflict examples should be included. If any of your playtest rounds/turns ended with everyone staring at the game designer, please include some of these examples. Sometimes teach the more complex examples after the simple ones to show how the designer expected to get through the situation. DiskWars does this many times and really helps.

I know this is a tall ask, but this is what separates a GOOD rulebook, from a 90 page explanation that takes as longer or longer to understand than the first gameplay round.
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Matt McGinnes
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Has anyone started arguing whether a rule should be played "as written" or "as intended"? No?
Then it could be worse... it could have been written by Games Workshop.
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Justin Colm
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It's a trust issue I guess, but judging by how Megacon Games are handling the rules issues so far, and with how responsive they usually are, I personally am confident that they will learn from experience and do things differently with the rules this time round.
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Chris Hansen
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I don't think what you're asking here xersues is too much to ask for at all. The rules are the most important component in any game, and thus as much care and thought that went into the design of the game should also go into the design of the rulebook. But it's not an easy task as anyone who has had to write out a set of instructions for some process will tell you.

As for the Myth rules, well, they do have issues. There's definitely the feeling that they were written for people who were either familiar with this genre of game, like Descent, or for those who already had some knowledge of how the game plays. Now personally, I didn't have as much trouble with the Myth rules as some, but then I have around 30 years experience of reading rules to boardgames, miniature games, and RPG's. Now I'm not saying that to tout some useless ability to interpret rules due to experience, but rather to illustrate that if it requires someone with a great deal of rules experience to understand your rulebook, then you are doing something wrong.

Fortunately, we do have here a company and designer who is listening and responding to the concerns of his customers, and is actively working toward rectifying the situation. And that alone speaks volumes to me on the character of this company and reinforces my decision to back MERCS: Recon. And indications are that they will also be very careful with the writing and editing of future board game rules, like those for MERCS: Recon. And since they have already released their beta 4 rules for the game, you can read them now and make suggestions on improving them with the knowledge that the designer will actually read what you have to say.

So yeah, to sum up, and for the TL;DR folks, the condition of the Myth rules, which are being revised as I write this, does not detract but rather may actually enhance the rules for MERCS:Recon due to lessons learned and the willingness of the designer to listen to customer feedback. Thus I'm quite satisfied with my decision to back this KS project.
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