David Horm
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I was reading Moving across two asteroids in the Rules forum, and the following comment was made:

Vorpal Sword wrote:
There are many parts of the Core Rulebook that I would rewrite if I could... [FFG] were stuck with a ruleset that was originally built to be conversational rather than rigorous, and couldn't withstand being put under the collective microscope of ten thousand geeks.


So why don't we rewrite the rules as a community?

Cosmic Encounter is a game where the players are aliens with unique abilities, and how they interact with each other can get complicated. There's 17 pages in their Rules forum. There's also a pinned The Cosmodex 2.0: An Encyclopedia for Cosmic Encounter that combines the "errata, FAQ rulings, playtester clarifications, crowd-sourced consensus rulings, and other corrections" into one area. Formula D is a racing game that has rules that are open for interpretation, as evident by the 5 pages in the Rules forum. There's actually a Master Rules - English file written by a "Council of Experts" to clarify the rules for tournament play. I think this file is a better example of what I would want for X-Wing with unambiguous, number bulleted rewrite of the rules, followed by complicated examples.

The threads in the Rules forum typically devolve into a "well, if that's the official ruling, then why wasn't it written like this?" conversation. My wish is for most answers in the Rules forum to be "yes, the wording of the rules is poor. Instead check out section 18-1 of this file for how it's played in most tournaments."

Poll
Would you trust and use a Community-authored rewrite of the rules?
Yes
No
Maybe
Other
      83 answers
Poll created by davidhorm
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Matthew Cordeiro
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My biggest concerns about this initiative would be:

1. There's already an official FAQ published by FFG that's updated every time a new wave is released.

2. Community-based rules interpretations are not enforceable in official tournaments.
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Jesse L
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My problem with this idea is that most people think their idea for a rule change is better, but then they don't realize how it would open up problems that could be exploited or make some combo that breaks the game. I have played this game quite often and not once have I felt like any rule was broken or pointless or that anything was overpowered. There is a reason the rules are the way they are. FFG puts countless hours into play-testing to ensure things are balanced, so when someone comes along and says "this rule is stupid/doesn't make sense" I tend not to agree with them.
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Jesse L
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As to the point about differing interpretations I find that 90% of the time, when there is a debate over the interpretation of a rule, it is because some people are not reading things correctly. Some people read what they want to read, not how it is written. So why is it that some people understand the rules perfectly, and others are utterly confused? I don't really know, maybe the people who are confused aren't paying attention to all the rules. There was a huge debate a while back about whether R2D2 or APL triggered first, and who got to decide, and everyone was clamoring that the rules were confusing and not clear, until someone came along and reminded people that the rules already stated that when 2 players have abilities that trigger at the same time the player with initiative goes first. That shut up all the people who were complaining about the rules. Sure there will be some things that FFG will have to put in the FAQ but the rules are not as unclear as some people think they are.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I don't think he means a rewrite of how the rules work, rather a ruleset that is more explicitly understandable, and merges the current FAQ into the same document.

-shnar
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Xander Fulton
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shnar wrote:
I don't think he means a rewrite of how the rules work, rather a ruleset that is more explicitly understandable, and merges the current FAQ into the same document.

-shnar


But how many things in the FAQ *aren't* in the rules?

In my experience, Jesse has it right on - in almost all rule conflicts I've seen, it was due to one player taking an intentionally obtuse reading of the rules because it allowed a tactic or advantage they wanted and refusing to budge on their mis-reading of it until you pointed to the FAQ...which just re-stated the exact same thing (only using their example or combo, this time, instead of just generally defining it).
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Robert M.
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davidhorm wrote:
I was reading Moving across two asteroids in the Rules forum, and the following comment was made…


cool

Here's the real problem: there are a number of places where the rules are straightforward but not clear, like how many dice to roll when you move over two asteroids. But there are also places where the rules are genuinely ambiguous, like the interaction between the Navigator crew and Boba Fett's pilot ability. I knew how I wanted those game elements to work together, and could make a case for it, but my interpretation wasn't clearly stronger or more valid than the opposite case. The FAQ handles both kinds of issues fairly well--clarifying the unclear and settling the ambiguous.

But there are also places where (I think) the rules are simply wrong, like the current order of steps to perform an attack. (I've gone on about this at length elsewhere.) Would a rewrite simply state the existing rules, even when they don't really make sense and can't be applied literally, or would it attempt to straighten out the rules? Would it be valuable to try to "fix" things even if it took them out of alignment with the official rules?

So my response was "maybe". It would depend on:
* Who was involved in the rewrite project, or rather whose viewpoints were reflected in the final document
* What kinds of issues were addressed
* How and in what ways the community rules added value over and above FFG's work with the FAQ and tournament rules
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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XanderF wrote:
shnar wrote:
I don't think he means a rewrite of how the rules work, rather a ruleset that is more explicitly understandable, and merges the current FAQ into the same document.

-shnar


But how many things in the FAQ *aren't* in the rules?

In my experience, Jesse has it right on - in almost all rule conflicts I've seen, it was due to one player taking an intentionally obtuse reading of the rules because it allowed a tactic or advantage they wanted and refusing to budge on their mis-reading of it until you pointed to the FAQ...which just re-stated the exact same thing (only using their example or combo, this time, instead of just generally defining it).

It's not that they aren't in the rules, it's that they are clarified better with the FAQ. And a combined FAQ+Rules document is handy (I've used one for Descent: Journeys in the Dark for a while, very handy).

-shnar
 
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Scott M.
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NO...

Community rules rewrites are simply disgruntled players...

IF its to clarify existing.. it should go in the Official FAQ.
 
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Jeff Dunford
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Just because a couple individuals don't like a rule or two doesn't mean the game is broken. The rules as written + frequently updated FAQ work really well. Having a bunch of house rules floating around will only add confusion and make it impossible to have world-wide official organized events where the same rulings are made everywhere.
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David Horm
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Cptnhalfbeard wrote:
As to the point about differing interpretations I find that 90% of the time, when there is a debate over the interpretation of a rule, it is because some people are not reading things correctly. Some people read what they want to read, not how it is written. So why is it that some people understand the rules perfectly, and others are utterly confused? I don't really know, maybe the people who are confused aren't paying attention to all the rules.


I believe that others may be confused about the rules because the rules weren't written by lawyers, and therefore there is room for interpretation. What if we reworded the rules so that there is no room for interpretation? Do you think it's possible for significantly less threads about obtuse rules interpretations? That is what I'm trying to solve.


shnar wrote:
I don't think he means a rewrite of how the rules work, rather a ruleset that is more explicitly understandable, and merges the current FAQ into the same document.


Yes, that is what I meant. For example, the FAQ it says that stressed out "Night Beast's" can't perform a free Focus action immediately after a green maneuver. Does the Core Rules explain why that is? I don't see it. Maybe the ruleset should be rewritten as:

(1) Move your ship along with all tokens.
(2) Perform free action (or perform Night Beast's special ability?)
(3) Check pilot's Stress
(4) Perform (normal) action.
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Ken
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'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner Knizia
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The problem with the Community is that no one person has (or should have) final say. What someone means as 'this rule is wrong' others may like. Some people bring their favorite means with them and would love to turn it into MtG or SFB. Some want stacking, others say there isn't any. Some prefer the a general means in steps others demand exact timing sequencing because there is no such thing as simultaneous: like walking and chewing gum. It's been argued that since a laser is smaller than a bullet it must be more accurate which eliminates cover or obstacles. Sigh... cry

Then the fun starts... Have you seen some of the personal attacks on the FFG forum when someone simply disagrees? It can get rude, mean, vicious and far too often degrades into name calling, etc... one guy attacked another's ability in his line of work without even knowing him or what he does for a living.

I'm good with FFG's rulings; I'm not fond of all of them but generally I'm okay. They flow well and generally make good sense. Let FFG have final say. Some will say great and others will remind us often of what a terrible job they're doing.

But, it is after all their game.

 
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Christian Busch

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If the game was dead (ie. no longer supported by the publisher) but still had a thriving player community, then I might endorse a re-write but I think it's rare for communities to actually get this type of thing together and, though the intentions are there, it usually never materializes because at the end of the day, the collective can't come to a complete agreement and it just stagnates until the community falls apart.

Since the game is very much "alive" and actively clarified by FFG, I see no reason to attempt a full, community-led, rules re-write.
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Robert M.
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davidhorm wrote:
For example, the FAQ it says that stressed out "Night Beast's" can't perform a free Focus action immediately after a green maneuver. Does the Core Rules explain why that is?


Yes. The core rulebook separates the Activation Phase into steps; you "execute a maneuver" as Step 3, then "check pilot stress" as Step 4. Since the maneuver in Step 3 is what triggers Night Beast's free action, and you don't remove a stress token until Step 4, Night Beast doesn't get the focus action if he starts his turn stressed.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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No one wants to change the rules, just merge the FAQ with the rulebook...

-shnar
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Matthew Cordeiro
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shnar wrote:
No one wants to change the rules, just merge the FAQ with the rulebook...

-shnar

Except the original post mentions things like "crowd-sourced consensus rulings" and a "council of experts".
 
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David Horm
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There's already an official FAQ published by FFG that's updated every time a new wave is released.

Are you happy with the type of questions and answers found on the Rules forum? I'm not. This is my proposal for solving it. And also for each new FAQ update, I expect the Community-authored ruleset be updated appropriately.

Community-based rules interpretations are not enforceable in official tournaments.

True. But what happens when there's a disagreed upon rule that isn't explicitly answered in the rules or FAQ? The tournament organizer goes with their gut feeling. My wish is that these well-organized, succinct rules will allow TOs to make more agreeable decisions.

Who was involved in the rewrite project, or rather whose viewpoints were reflected in the final document?

This will be a living document. I agree with Ken "that no one person has (or should have) final say" unless of course that person is a representative of FFG. I also wouldn't trust a public wiki when specific verbiage is important. So I propose that we have a group of (elected?) individuals to act as the "Jedi Council" to the rules.

I would want the viewpoints to reflect the general consensus of the Rules forums. For example, If you didn't agree with a particular wording of a rule, then you can open up a thread to offer your own wording of the rules. We'll have the debate, and personal attacks and whatnot. After some discussion and wordsmithing, the OP can propose the new wording in a poll open to the public. After some arbitrary amount of time, the simple majority wins, and then Jedi Council modifies the document as necessary. Or something like that.

What kinds of issues were addressed?

The Core rule book is broken into Rules, Additional Rules, and Advanced Rules. Let's reorganize it so that all the rules are in one giant list with its phases and steps. Let's update the giant list with the expansion's additional rules inline with the original ruleset. Let's put the complex examples found in the official FAQ right next to the rules in the giant list. Let's say there is no official ruling on something (e.g. what do you do if you realized mid-way through the movement phase that you forgot to assigned a movement dial to one of your ships?). Let's call it out as no official ruling.

So in the case of Deadeye vs Dark Curse ruling, the community could vote that either (1) yes, you can use Deadeye, or (2) no, you can't use Deadeye, or (3) no official ruling.

How and in what ways the community rules added value over and above FFG's work with the FAQ and tournament rules?

Let's say a new player is confused about a specific scenario. They would need to read the rules, additional rules, and maybe even the advanced rules. Maybe they need to go to the expansion's rule book. What if the situation is kind of unique that the rules aren't clear about what to do. Then the person could find and read it in the FAQ. What if the rule still isn't clear to them. Then they post a new thread in the Rules forum, or search for an existing one. They would read all of the responses, and judge which opinion/interpretation is most popular, or sounds the most correct to them. This is today's scenario.

Now imagine the same user pulling up a single document that has well organized, succinct rules, along with complex examples from the FAQ. Imagine there are other complex examples that aren't in the official FAQ, but rather from the community, and the example happens to match their situation. Imagine being able to trust these examples because you know that the simple majority of the community agreed with these examples. And if you don't agree with a particular example, then you can open up a thread to have the debate and put it up to a vote. The value for me is that it saves time for the askers and the answerers. Also I would like to understand if a rule is from the rule book/FAQ, or if it's a generally agreed upon interpretation or if there's no official ruling/agreement on a particular rule. This will also provide a single place for FFG to find unanswered questions for their next FAQ.
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Charles Gillespie
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I've been in an on going debate over the steps of the activation phase. The rules here are very clear on the steps each ship is to follow. However a large base of player choose to ignore these steps in favor of short cuts. The tournament rules cover this with the "missed opertunities" section. The group in favor of the short cut largely considered themsevels casual gamers. They take and move all the pilots of the same pilot skill level and then go back and declare actions for them. I took a poll a few weeks back to see the make up of the X-Wing community. Much better then half the people who responded called themselves casual gamers. My fear when you open the rule writing for tournament play looser rules would make it in the compedative scene. As such the new rules would be much more confusing.
 
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Scott S
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You CAN NOT have an alternative rules resource for a tournament game. Yes, it would be nice for FFG to update the FAQ a bit more often, but the game is simple enough that it isn't needed quite as much.

As for getting anything that resembles a community consensus on some of the tougher cases, good luck with that. Have you actually read some of the rules threads on FFG? It is sheer insanity at times, with both sides making good cases. And what happens when FFG pulls a fast one, making a ruling that wasn't expected. The confusion will still happen for those who don't keep up, but they will now have a "source" that contradicts FFG's ruling. And use it to discredit those that would use the correct FFG ruling.

Wizkids uses a system like this, actually making it a bit more official. Pretty much use an unofficial site as an official rules resource. And it is a terrible way to run a game.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Sithborg wrote:
You CAN NOT have an alternative rules resource for a tournament game.

Agreed, that's why the only way a document like this would be useful is if it were just a clean 'merge' of the rulebook and FAQ. If anything in this document went beyond those docs, except maybe if it *clearly* labeled as "speculation", then the document would not be usable in a tournament setting.

-shnar
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Trent Boardgamer
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Cptnhalfbeard wrote:
My problem with this idea is that most people think their idea for a rule change is better, but then they don't realize how it would open up problems that could be exploited or make some combo that breaks the game. I have played this game quite often and not once have I felt like any rule was broken or pointless or that anything was overpowered. There is a reason the rules are the way they are. FFG puts countless hours into play-testing to ensure things are balanced, so when someone comes along and says "this rule is stupid/doesn't make sense" I tend not to agree with them.


That's pretty much where I sit. Especially since some peoples play-style is more affected than others by certain rules. Changing even one minor rule can totally change the meta of the game (I know some people might like that).

All in all I don't mind the existing rules, I know what they are before I build my squad and before I play. I don't really see a benefit from changing that up.

Given the amount of individual abilities that need to interact with other ones, no matter how solid you make the rules there are still going to be some "How does this work" scenarios regardless.

In saying that, I just enjoy playing games and am never going to be in a really competitive spot so am happy to play with what ever rules the community is using.
 
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