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Subject: What's wrong with the rulebook? rss

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Chris J Davis
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Hi everyone,

After hearing complaints about the layout of the rulebook for so long now, I just wanted to ask what people thought was wrong with it. I've always found it to be very clear about the different stages of the game, even when I was only reading it on the FFG website and hadn't seen the components yet. Which sections exactly do people find confusing?

Thoughts?

Best wishes,

Chris.
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Scott Woodard
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There are a few "buried" rules (a single line here, a word there), but it's not necessarily a BAD rulebook. In fact, once you've worked the game out, the rulebook becomes much more friendly, I think.
 
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Colin Hunter
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It is mainly that some rules seem clear, but are very easy to interperate incorrectly. A good example for our group was whether you could mastermind and scheme or just one (you can do both by the way). It just doesn't say explicitly
Colin
 
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Chad Walton
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It does a poor job of defining game terms (re-roll being a good example).

Also there are no definitive timing rules which in a game where so many cards and powers interact with each other (think CCG) this becomes troublesome.

Truthfully, I am not sure any of us are playing the same game. I've seen vastly different interpretations of certain rules on this site and all of them can be argued as valid per the rules.
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Brant Benoit
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I'd say it's fine, but like many say, there are those one and two line rules, which should be bolded or highlighted, or somehow isolated as to stand out.

Another thing it could use is some very explicit, and clear-cut examples of powers, re-rolls, and so on. I find the number of examples, and/or illustrations a detriment to picking it up right away. It took me three reads of the rulebook to get a good enough handle on things to teach my group to play, and this was simply because there were very few examples of play, and how the rules actually worked during gameplay.

Overall the rules aren't that bad, but without more explicit examples of Power usage, timing, and re-rolls, you get what some have mentioned above....everyone is playing a different game.

Aside from those two things; the bolding highlighting of those one/two line rules (Mastermind Scheming AND playing a Master Plan comes to mind), and providing some more clear-cut examples of game-play, it would raise it to being a great rulebook.

Also, providing a chart/sheet which lays out the Hero and Villain actions/scheming, and what is possible during each action would be even better.

Now, the game itself -is- a blast to play, regardless of how ambiguous the rulebook seems to be.

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Paul Bryant
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C.H.A.D. wrote:
Truthfully, I am not sure any of us are playing the same game. I've seen vastly different interpretations of certain rules on this site and all of them can be argued as valid per the rules.


I think this is pretty on point.

The rule book is well laid out but as stated things are both over worded as to be confusing as well as under-worded. In the books defense this is a pretty fiddly game with a lot of little things to remember to look for on just about every step so I am sure it was not easy making a concise clear rulebook for it.
 
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Robert Corrina
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C.H.A.D. wrote:

Truthfully, I am not sure any of us are playing the same game. I've seen vastly different interpretations of certain rules on this site and all of them can be argued as valid per the rules.


Exactly. Anyone can read this book and be like "OK, I think I get it." However, Rulings must be made by the GM during the game to keep things running and that leads to house rules.
Also no two people are going to read that book the same way.
 
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steven alexander
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Personally I think the rulebook is awful, but for Fantasy Flight it's one of the better, less confusing ones that they have done. My problem with these rules is that the rules for a single part of the game are often spread out in numerous areas. If you want to look up how to do something, you spend time flipping from page to page rather than having a single area to look.

example: Playing Allies. It is first discussed on page 7 and again on page 13 with more detail. Then using Allies is discussed further on page 15. Pretty confusing when you are hurriedly trying to find an answer while the game remains on hold.

Or how about the Archnemesis, which is first introduced on page 5 -- but oh no, don't explain what it actually IS there. Only explain how you BECOME one. Make us wait until page 12 to find out what that actually means!

That is one example of the split-personality rules-writing here. Another is the way that they explain the steps of a Phase, such as Phase 3: Missions (page 8). They start by listing the possible actions, but then don't explain them in the order they are listed. Movement, Medical Treatment, Story Action and Special Abilities are all explained, but Troubleshooting (which was listed 2nd) is explaind on a whole different page after the rest.

Not to mention the sample card examples that aren't even on the same page as the rules for them. (oops, I mentioned them)

And these bubbles that impart very important rules but look kinda like an aside or maybe flavor-text -- well, my eyes just want to skip right over them when I am scanning for a topic. Many times I have flipped page after page looking for a rule only to find that it was in one of those dang bubbles. -- Such as Archnemesis! "Ahhh, here it is! Wait...but it doesn't explain how it works." (flip, flip, flip) "Aarrrgh, I know it was here somewhere!" (flip,flip,flip) "Oooh, there it is! in that little white bubble SEVEN PAGES LATER!"

Every rule might as well end with "But more on that later..."

(well, you asked! )

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Toasted Jones
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Couldn't agree with Stephen more, I think all the information you need is in the book, but someone threw it all up in the air and didn't care where it landed
 
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Chris J Davis
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That's strange, as I find that kind of layout very logical, straightforward and easy to follow (and then find things later). The first pages of the rulebook contain the basic framework of the game, followed by the filling. The actions are listed in one order in the framework as they show the relative "importance" of each action in the game; later, the troubleshooting action is left until last and has an entire double spread page devoted to it because it's the most complex action and forms the meat of the game (listing the other actions first also puts it in context). The "aside" bubbles I don't find confusing at all - you just have to train yourself not to skip over them! ;-)

I use an almost identical style when explaining the rules of my games to new players (especially FFG games): context/theme first, then victory conditions/how to reach them, outline of game flow/turn summary, fill in blanks, cover "exception" rules, leave combat/other overly-complex rules till last, and finally quickly repeat anything important that warrants covering again. I always get complimented on the very clear style of my rules explanations. cool

The only thing I'd agree with you on is the images that don't appear on the same page as the rules they relate to; they really need to sort that out! ;-)
 
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Toasted Jones
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I think it becomes clear once you've "learned" how to read the rule book. The first couple of runs through the game, with complete newbies, can be difficult. The book itself is large, square shaped and the information for each phase does require some jumping around the book, which is fairly frustrating when trying to crack on with such a great looking game.
 
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