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Subject: Um, I'm not sure you can do that... rss

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So I have been noticing lately with some game groups I play with that perhaps other players are getting annoyed with a gaming habit that I have. The habit is that it bothers me if I am playing in a game that I have played before and other players are not playing by the correct rules. I then feel inclined to point out that their understanding of the rules is incorrect and that perhaps we should play the way a rule is written in the rulebook.

And when I say not playing by the correct rules, I do not mean they are doing this on purpose but either they forgot a rule(s) or they never learned to play the game the correct way with regard to those particular rules. And usually this occurs when other players as well as myself have multiple plays off a game (not together though).

Off the top of my head I can not think of real specific cases but let us just say that I have played several 'versions' of Terra Mystica (and I do acknowledge that this particular game is kind of a beast).

Does anyone else get at all bothered by this kind of thing? Do others mind being politely corrected during the course of a game about the correct way to play?

Thoughts/Opinions?

Thanks!



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Michael Carter
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I appreciate being corrected when teaching/playing a game. There are often small rules that are easy to forget in many games.
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Eric Brosius
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Are you one of the players in the game, or are you correcting people playing at a different table? This makes a difference to many people.
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Dan
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The rules are the law. The only acceptable way to not play by the rules is to agree as a group to allow a house rule.

All with respect, and politeness, of course.
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George I.
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Hi, I don't see any problem with your... "problem". I am also a bit obsessed with "playing by the book". I'm very proud when in games like Power Grid, with tons of tiny rules, we don't have a single rule that was not obeyed.
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Pete Goch
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If you believe that a rule is being misapplied or overlooked there's nothing wrong with bringing it up and having a quick peek at the rulebook. Once that's done the table decides the correct interpretation and the matter is settled. No sense dragging it out even if you, yourself, aren't convinced the rest of the table has it right.
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Liz Spain
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I feel like rules-lawyering can really hurt the fun of the game. I only point something out if I think a misinterpretation will hurt the fun or throw off the balance. Otherwise, I keep mum. There's several games that I'm sure I've never played 100% correctly.
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Thanks for the replies!

I also tend to only worry about this when playing Eurogames. If I am playing casual M:TG or something I usually do not worry when things seem a little off (probably because that particular situation may never come up again and also because I am not sure if some rule has recently been changed).

Also, usually not bothered when playing wargames (Lots of times there are so many rules to miss/misinterpret). For instance, if there is some special rule about ZOC for this particular terrain hex in this scenario, I may either let them redo movement or just forget about and make a note for next time or something.

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Paul Oakes
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The people you've referring to have a very strange outlook. I think virtually everyone on this site would expect to play a game with the rules as written, unless stated otherwise at the start of the game (there's nothing wrong with houserules as long as new players are made aware of them).

I've played plenty of games with wrong rules, sometimes for years, and it's always been fixed by playing with a new player or players who know the right rule. It's an inevitability when most players learn rules from other players that entire groups play a game incorrectly.

Once you point out the correct rule then the others have the future choice of playing either way, although it's often problematic resolving the current game - finish as you started or change now.

I'll always be grateful for being told that e. g. you can mix Coal and Oil when powering a hybrid station in Funkenschlag, the forest clearance option in Tz'olkin affects only 1 tile, the correct number of cards passed in Ginkopolis and many others.
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voodoobunny wrote:
I feel like rules-lawyering can really hurt the fun of the game. I only point something out if I think a misinterpretation will hurt the fun or throw off the balance. Otherwise, I keep mum. There's several games that I'm sure I've never played 100% correctly.


I agree for the most part. I think games should be about fun foremost. I try to point out rule mistakes that would benefit other players if played correctly. Lots of times I think playing a game incorrectly makes it more difficult and less fun for people.

I guess I have another habit of after learning a game going back and rereading the rules to make sure I understood them correctly.

At heart I just want to play a game as the designer intended (hopefully with the best possible ruleset as reflected by hopefully lots of playtesting).
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If a newcomer points out a rule is being played wrong, it should be honored in favor of the newcomer expecting rulebook play, unless it was announced as a house rule before the game started. There's one game my group plays an aspect wrong and never knew it until I read the rulebook, but still haven't said anything about it because I view it as a minor issue. It would affect strategy each round for those who strategize more but over half of my group enjoys playing for fun and social, not necessarily to beat the pants off of you. And me, well, I'm on bgg, so yeah, I play to win.
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J J
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voodoobunny wrote:
I feel like rules-lawyering can really hurt the fun of the game. I only point something out if I think a misinterpretation will hurt the fun or throw off the balance. Otherwise, I keep mum. There's several games that I'm sure I've never played 100% correctly.


What the OP described is not rules lawyering, it's simply playing the game. Once you start to play by whatever someone feels the rules might be, you are no longer actually playing that game.
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Eric Brosius wrote:
Are you one of the players in the game, or are you correcting people playing at a different table? This makes a difference to many people.


Usually I am playing in the game that I am questioning the rule(s) about. I have been guilty of 'butting into a game' that I am not participaIting in to point out something about the rules. I know this is kind of rude, but I personally always wish someone would approach me and set me straight if I am explaining/understanding something incorrectly. Also, I usually do not do this with strangers, but more likely someone that I game with that is being taught a game incorrectly for the first time and I know there is a very good chance that I will end of playing this game with them at some point.


Also to any designers out there maybe reading this thread, making games with clear rules with good examples is half the battle!

 
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toober wrote:
If a newcomer points out a rule is being played wrong, it should be honored in favor of the newcomer expecting rulebook play, unless it was announced as a house rule before the game started. There's one game my group plays an aspect wrong and never knew it until I read the rulebook, but still haven't said anything about it because I view it as a minor issue. It would affect strategy each round for those who strategize more but over half of my group enjoys playing for fun and social, not necessarily to beat the pants off of you. And me, well, I'm on bgg, so yeah, I play to win.



I am super curious, what is this game that you are describing?
 
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Josh Chen
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As THE guy who buys all the games we play in the family, the responsibility of teaching the game and reading the rule book falls on my shoulders. So I haven't run into this type of problem yet because I go to meetup only occasionally.

Sometimes I do actually notice that I play games wrong once I've had the game taught to me again by a fellow meetup gamer. So it was embarrassing to go back to my family and admit my mistake.

I am also hesitant to teach a game but I did once at my local meetup and luckily I didn't get any rules wrong. I'd hate to be corrected in front of a 2 other players. modest
 
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Josh
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mlcarter815 wrote:
I appreciate being corrected when teaching/playing a game. There are often small rules that are easy to forget in many games.


This, I find anymore it gets hard. I know and teach so many games they start to blur.

Is auctioning in this game once around or all pass? Does a pass exclude you from further bids? What happens if no one bids? Can I use sapphires to power my power plant? Can the Spartans bid on the Cinnamon plantation even if they don't have any more spaces on their board?
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Gregg S.
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I don't think it is a problem. I've done the same thing many times. It usually leads to a check of the rules, and I'm usually (but not always) right.

If we're early in the game, I usually suggest switching to the correct rule. If we are later in the game, if everyone has been playing the same way (incorrectly), I usually suggest we finish out the game without correcting the rule and just note it for next time. I definitely appreciate the correction, and prefer to handle the current game however makes sense (with group consensus, of course).

Over the last 2 years, I've played so many different game titles, learning from others, only to play a second time with a different group and find discrepancies. Sometimes the first group played right, sometimes the second group, and I've even has cases where BOTH groups got it wrong. I keep noting to myself that I need to go back and read through the rules myself after playing these games for the first time to make sure that I learned it correctly and also to reinforce them in my mind. But, I've yet to actually do that. Excellent advise, though!
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Will Yum
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I would appreciate it if someone pointed out a mistake in way I was playing a game as according to the rules. I would not care if it was another player or a bystander. But please make sure to be correct about your correction.

I want to play the game as designed. And that involves using the rules.

If a group wanted to play a version with alternate rules, that's cool. But that alteration needs to be understood by everyone involved before the game starts.

Two of the main benefits of following the rule book exactly is consistency and reliability. I know that every time I play Splendor I can take two of one gem color only if there are four or more gems in that color stack. Additionally, I don't have to guess each time I play with new people if I can take two gems of the same color.

If you follow the rules by default, you know what to expect. cool

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T. Dauphin
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I always try to get us playing by the rules, but unless it's a critical mistake, I may just bring it up and suggest the next time we play, we might want to play it by the rules.
If your group doesn't like this happening, perhaps bringing it up after the game is over with the same suggestion to try it correctly next time would work better.


porkchop_tw wrote:
As THE guy who buys all the games we play in the family, the responsibility of teaching the game and reading the rule book falls on my shoulders. So I haven't run into this type of problem yet because I go to meetup only occasionally.

Sometimes I do actually notice that I play games wrong once I've had the game taught to me again by a fellow meetup gamer. So it was embarrassing to go back to my family and admit my mistake.

I am also hesitant to teach a game but I did once at my local meetup and luckily I didn't get any rules wrong. I'd hate to be corrected in front of a 2 other players. modest


I'm usually the one doing the teaching also, but I know I can't remember all the rules (correctly), and often someone else will pick up the rule book at some point, and discover the rule I messed up. I get some ribbing about the mistake, and I often joke about how no one else should read the rule book because it messes with my control over the game-and my ability to release only the rules that work for me.

Honestly, though, this model works really well. I can get us playing, then we go over the rules again and find the ones I messed up, the ones I missed and generally fine tune it.

I don't think you should feel embarrassed about getting it wrong.
Good for you for taking the lead.


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JasonJ0 wrote:
voodoobunny wrote:
I feel like rules-lawyering can really hurt the fun of the game. I only point something out if I think a misinterpretation will hurt the fun or throw off the balance. Otherwise, I keep mum. There's several games that I'm sure I've never played 100% correctly.


What the OP described is not rules lawyering, it's simply playing the game. Once you start to play by whatever someone feels the rules might be, you are no longer actually playing that game.


Agreed, the OP is describing fixing or advising people when they are playing incorrectly. Rules lawyering is arguing a point, usually slightly ambiguous in the rules, to your advantage. A whole different thing, with the right group it can be a game in itself, but when somebody is playing incorrectly and you point that out, it is not rules lawyering.
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Shelby Buttimer
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In my experience, there are two types of gamers -- the "let's double check the rules on that" gamer and the "it's my game and I'll play it however seems fun" gamer. Neither is really necessarily bad, but it sounds like you need to find some "rulebook" gamers.

Personally, I would much rather play with someone who says "Hang on, I want to check the rulebook" or who will pull out a phone to look for clarification on the Internet than someone who thinks whatever they want to do is ok.
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I'm the chief "rules guy" at my house, but I'm by no means an expert. I have been given the nickname of "Rules Nazi" but usually this only happens during the first playthrough. There is some chuckling and teasing to be had when I reach for the rulebook and begin with "Actually, according to the rule book..." but despite this my fellow players usually understand that it is fair to all of us to play the way the game was intended, as otherwise the game may become unbalanced or give someone an unfair advantage. And nobody wants that, especially in competitive games. For cooperative games the same rules apply: nobody wants to win the game knowing they'd bent the rules throughout.



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David Gibbs
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I prefer to play by the rules. I am usually the rules learner/teacher in the games groups I play with, and I hope to get the rules right. I am happy if someone notices I got something wrong, and corrects it. I would rather do this than play incorrectly. I/we have been known to bring up BGG and look for clarifications when the rules as written are somewhat unclear. (Terra Mystica, I'm not looking at you at all. )

I don't mind a bystander pointing out an error, either. But, I'm not likely to do so (at least while it is being played) as a bystander -- though I will do it as a player. When pointing it out, I'll try to be polite, and suggest we check the rules.

If, as sometimes happens, we discover we've been doing something wrong part way through the game, correct immediately or correct for next game are both options I consider reasonable -- but the later in the game, and the more the wrong rule has affected things so far, the more likely I am to prefer the fix it for next game option.

Finally, I really dislike situations where there are different printed in the rules versions of rules for a game, and you don't know which one another person might have/have learnt from; or which one they might have in their box if you're currently playing. (An example would be the scoring of farmers in Carcassonne, where I think there have been (to my knowledge) three different published versions of how to do it.)

 
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Gregg S.
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dagibbs wrote:
Finally, I really dislike situations where there are different printed in the rules versions of rules for a game, and you don't know which one another person might have/have learnt from; or which one they might have in their box if you're currently playing.


Well, if you know about these variations ahead of time, you can always ask how people have played it and decide on which version of the rules everyone wants to play by.

I would probably lean towards the latest/newest version of the rules (assuming the newer version is fixing a broken/unbalanced situation), but since they are all official rules, I don't think any of them would technically be considered house-ruling.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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Pointing out an incorrect rule is expected behavior, nothing to be bothered about. I even correct rules of games that I'm playing for the first time. If I feel something is off, I ask to check the rulebook, and most of the time I'm right.
 
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