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Subject: Is it just me or is the rulebook awful? rss

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Nick
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Am I the only one who finds the rulebook for this to be poorly laid out, the terminology a little hazy, and overall explanations for specific actions to be vague?
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Chris Cieslik
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There's a lot to explain -- if the rulebook isn't working well for you, maybe some of the gameplay videos will teach you the game better.
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Jeremy Heisey
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I don't think it's any worse than a lot of other games. I find that rulebooks often don't explain things in a way that works for me the first time through. All of us process information in different ways, so it's hard to write a rulebook (or anything else) that works for everyone.
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Dwight Holman
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This is a clean rulebook for a game this intricate (flashbacks to The Big Fix ), but I will agree the videos helped my understanding.

With some videos under my belt (and no plays), I taught this to a new person in pretty much the same order that the rulebook presents things, with a bit more emphasis on where questions had already come up on the forums.

I suspect the videos mainly helped me project confidence when I said "this will all make sense as a whole once we've played a game".


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Randall Bart
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I found the rulebook weak, but far better than Innovation.
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bort
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I think its a fairly good rulebook

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Trevor Taylor
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To mirror what Jeremy said, people learn better in different ways.

The rulebook was fine for me, although I've played Glory to Rome so that probably gave me a huge head-start.

I honestly feel this is one of those games where starting to play a 'learning game' first will make the most headway towards truly understanding the game.

Don't get me wrong, there are BAD rulebooks. But mostly it's better for some, worse for others.

Most can leave reading my post here, the rest is just examples of what I've felt were good and bad rules.

One of my favourite recent rule books (older reads are too selective in memory because if you know the rules now, the experience isn't the same) was for Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin. The 'Read this first' mini game intro was excellent. Perfectly introduced the game and I just needed to refer to the rulebook for the more extended rules (like levelling up and familiars).

A recent rule book I did not enjoy was for X-Men: Mutant Revolution. It taught the game in game flow order which felt a bit 'off'. I found it much easier to teach to start with the end of round tactical event, then follow the phase flow forward from there.
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Karl Fast
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I think it's a good rulebook. It's just a hard game to explain.
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foldedcard
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karlfast wrote:
I think it's a good rulebook. It's just a hard game to explain.


I agree with this, although I would insert "pretty" before good. The synergies across all the different parts of the temple are what makes the game hard to explain. E.g. you need materials to build works, but works can help you gain materials.

As someone who is a rules READER (i.e. someone who likes to read linearly), here's a few things I didn't like:

p4: "Also deal one face-down card into each temple’s task slot." We don't know that deal into task slot means tuck under.

p5: Don't give info in the wrong place: "Cards that are
returned go to the bottom of the deck". Unnecessary repetition.

pp6-7: The diagrams look good, but because they are presented that way, they look like supplemental information that invites the reader to skip them. But most of the info in those diagrams isn't found anywhere else. A text callout could have made clear that they are essential reading (and numbering the bubbles).

p8: "How do I win" should not have been a bubble and instead have a proper heading like "Game Objective" or combined "Game Objective and Flow". The bubbles look like supplemental info/reminders that you can skip.

pp9-12: Keywords like support and return should have been defined the first time they are used in addition to appearing in the glossary. It should have been made clear that support doesn't mean discard because that's pretty common in a lot of other games.

pp13-14: The cover examples should have shown cases where helpers or sales aren't covered even though there are works of that type (just not enough). The text for covered sales wasn't clear enough to me that the same all or nothing rules apply as for helpers.

EDIT: one more on pp11-12. The characterization of craft and prayer REPLACING the task special action on p12 "Any action can be replaced by a Craft or Prayer action" is different from p11 "Each individual action can be one of three things: The action matching the task itself (i.e. Potter), a Craft action [creating a work matching the task type], or a Prayer action." which created a bit of dissonance for me.

Every. Second. Page. Twitter and facebook reminders. Ugh.
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Trevor Taylor
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Some fair points. but complaining that part of the rulebook looks like you don't need to read it

You should read every inch of a rulebook unless it specifically states otherwise (trademark small-print aside).
 
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foldedcard
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negatrev wrote:
Some fair points. but complaining that part of the rulebook looks like you don't need to read it


The things I listed are things I was confused by when I was learning.

Quote:
You should read every inch of a rulebook unless it specifically states otherwise (trademark small-print aside).


Sure, but presenting info out of sequence, unclearly or inconsistently make rules much harder to learn. Bubbles and other formatting can lead to mis-cues if not used carefully.
 
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Trevor Soule
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I made sure to read the rulebook and then watch some gameplay videos online. Definitely the videos helped far more than the rulebook, so I'd recommend going that route.
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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karlfast wrote:
I think it's a good rulebook. It's just a hard game to explain.

I agree 100%.
 
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Jamie Maltman
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Everything is so interdependent and circular that there's no good starting spot, which is why you really DO have to play through multiple times with 100% focus on just learning the game, not on winning.

The part that drove my wife crazy and almost killed the game for her was confusion about how/when I explained the Craft vs Smith actions, where you get support, etc. I think it would have been better for me to start with those options among the tasks and do the others after that.

Thankfully she persisted and in game 3 or 4 we got everything straight for me and now she asks to play.

One thing I WOULD change is the ordering of the tasks on the player cards.

CLERK is the last one to start with, because you have to have used POTTER to even have something to CLERK.

PRAYER
CRAFT
& SMITH
POTTER
CLERK
TAILOR
MONK

would be the way I'd do it.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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MaltmanJ wrote:
One thing I WOULD change is the ordering of the tasks on the player cards.

CLERK is the last one to start with, because you have to have used POTTER to even have something to CLERK.

Good point.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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I begin with Craft, and explain costs + how works get built (craft bench). From there I talk about where cards go, and I do the actions with Smith last -- explaining it as a way to 'cheat' at crafting by using your hand instead of your craftbench. That helps a lot.

Depending on the players, I either explain cover before, or as the game goes.
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Gillum the Stoor
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angelkurisu wrote:
I begin with Craft, and explain costs + how works get built (craft bench). From there I talk about where cards go, and I do the actions with Smith last -- explaining it as a way to 'cheat' at crafting by using your hand instead of your craftbench.

I would think that explaining Smith would be the easiest: you reveal N cards of a type from your hand, where N is the value of that type, and you get to complete one of them.

No need to explain Craft Bench or how cards get there - it's all based on what's in your hand, and everyone knows what that is.

Then you can explain Craft as a way to Smith without having everything your hand - but you have to go through the extra effort (Potter) of getting materials to your Craft Bench.

Just a thought.
 
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Alanna Cervenak
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foldedcard wrote:


Every. Second. Page. Twitter and facebook reminders. Ugh.


Totally random swing in, but this is just a standardized footer we've incorporated into all rule books since Impulse The space is too little to do a continuation of information so close to the edge
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foldedcard
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StarDustShadow wrote:
foldedcard wrote:


Every. Second. Page. Twitter and facebook reminders. Ugh.


Totally random swing in, but this is just a standardized footer we've incorporated into all rule books since Impulse The space is too little to do a continuation of information so close to the edge


Ok, but to me, you are advertising Facebook and Twitter more than Asmadi with that footer.
 
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foldedcard
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angelkurisu wrote:
I begin with Craft, and explain costs + how works get built (craft bench). From there I talk about where cards go, and I do the actions with Smith last -- explaining it as a way to 'cheat' at crafting by using your hand instead of your craftbench. That helps a lot.

Depending on the players, I either explain cover before, or as the game goes.


That sounds like a pretty good approach. But even that way, you need to explain that you need potter to get stuff in the craftbench, and then you're back explaining actions :/

One of the things that threw me in my initial plays is that you kind of expect craft to be the thing you can do from your hand, and smith to use the craftbench. There's obviously good reasons why not, but figuring out that before I can craft the shuriken in my hand I'm going to need two potters, two metals on the floor to take to the craftbench, and then another metal for the task is a big mental leap.

 
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Gillum the Stoor
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foldedcard wrote:
You need to explain that you need potter to get stuff in the craftbench, and then you're back explaining actions :/

One of the things that threw me in my initial plays is that you kind of expect craft to be the thing you can do from your hand, and smith to use the craftbench. There's obviously good reasons why not, but figuring out that before I can craft the shuriken in my hand I'm going to need two potters, two metals on the floor to take to the craftbench, and then another metal for the task is a big mental leap.

That's why I thought that starting with Smith might be simpler - because it's all in your hand - no reliance on earlier Potters, etc.

With regard to names - Crafting from your Craft Bench sounds reasonable.
 
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foldedcard
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gillum wrote:
foldedcard wrote:
You need to explain that you need potter to get stuff in the craftbench, and then you're back explaining actions :/

One of the things that threw me in my initial plays is that you kind of expect craft to be the thing you can do from your hand, and smith to use the craftbench. There's obviously good reasons why not, but figuring out that before I can craft the shuriken in my hand I'm going to need two potters, two metals on the floor to take to the craftbench, and then another metal for the task is a big mental leap.

That's why I thought that starting with Smith might be simpler - because it's all in your hand - no reliance on earlier Potters, etc.

With regard to names - Crafting from your Craft Bench sounds reasonable.


Sure but crafting just "feels" like the "normal" way to build. To have it constrained by having to potter first just feels odd. Having to rely on a special task, smith, which you may not have in your hand to craft "feels" like the "other" way to craft.

Agree that crafting and craftbench are named perfectly consistently. It's more about feel.
 
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dylan benton
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foldedcard wrote:
gillum wrote:
foldedcard wrote:
You need to explain that you need potter to get stuff in the craftbench, and then you're back explaining actions :/

One of the things that threw me in my initial plays is that you kind of expect craft to be the thing you can do from your hand, and smith to use the craftbench. There's obviously good reasons why not, but figuring out that before I can craft the shuriken in my hand I'm going to need two potters, two metals on the floor to take to the craftbench, and then another metal for the task is a big mental leap.

That's why I thought that starting with Smith might be simpler - because it's all in your hand - no reliance on earlier Potters, etc.

With regard to names - Crafting from your Craft Bench sounds reasonable.


Sure but crafting just "feels" like the "normal" way to build. To have it constrained by having to potter first just feels odd. Having to rely on a special task, smith, which you may not have in your hand to craft "feels" like the "other" way to craft.

Agree that crafting and craftbench are named perfectly consistently. It's more about feel.


Foldedcard is right. I had to re explain the difference between craft and smith for this exact reason. Craft makes you think of someone cutting strips of paper for a scrapbook while smith makes you picture a hammer and anvil and a giant work bench full of tools.

I agree the rulebook is good though. The game is so circular in the way you have to explain it. Different people will get hung up on different things and you can't explain one thing without explaing another without explaining another. It's like untangling Christmas lights.

The only part I thought was kind of silly is the slightly apologetic tone the rulebook had. "This is going to hurt." But the game isn't all that hard once you jump in. Practice games is the key.
 
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Gillum the Stoor
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You two may be right with regard to the way most people think about the verbs craft and smith.

But I think that, play-wise, it may be easier to explain first the action that the game calls "smith" and then the one that it calls "craft."
 
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Scott Godine
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angelkurisu wrote:
I begin with Craft, and explain costs + how works get built (craft bench). From there I talk about where cards go, and I do the actions with Smith last -- explaining it as a way to 'cheat' at crafting by using your hand instead of your craftbench. That helps a lot.

Depending on the players, I either explain cover before, or as the game goes.


This is quite helpful. I wonder if you might do another rules explanation video -- the existing "Premiere and Rules Explanation" livestream excerpt is a bit of a mess, as I'm sure you know. There are a couple good ones on YouTube now, notably "Mottainai - A How To Play Teachtorial" by 3CubedReview, but an official rules video (with final components!) would go a long way toward getting the game off of shelves and onto the table.

I agree that the rulebook is quite competent if not great for a game this complex -- I'm curious whether OP has actually played the game yet. If you haven't, the rulebook is going to seem obtuse, but once you play it you'll realize that it's the game's fault, not the rulebook.
 
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