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Subject: Rule Book 80/20 ? rss

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Quantum Jack
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In many games, especially big, complex ones, often follow the 80/20 rule.
That is: 20% of the rules are used 80% of the time, while the remaining 80% are only used occasionally.

My question is, would it be useful to organize the rulebook to reflect this? And are there any games that already do?


THe main rules used most of the time (determined statistically during playtesting) are presented first, or as headers, highlighted, whatever. Then the rarer rules later or in subsections, not highlighted.
 
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Pas L
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Pete
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I read this post 80% of the time and your other one 20% of the time.

Pete (thinks 20% of the responses will be in this one)
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Stephen Rochelle
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There's a big difference in "highlighted" and "presented separately". The first is a reasonable idea; the second is not.

However, it may be the case that the occasional rules, not the common ones, are the ones that actually need the highlighting given that they aren't used all the time (and so won't quickly become familiar to the players). They're the ones most likely to require a mid-game rulebook lookup.

The one case for "put common stuff separately" that I think works well is highlighting the basic setup rules as an additional page or half-page of content -- that is, not the only place, but an extra place. I tend to make such a flyer for my games if they don't come with one already.
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Peter Shafer
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Quantum_Jack wrote:
In many games, especially big, complex ones, often follow the 80/20 rule.
That is: 20% of the rules are used 80% of the time, while the remaining 80% are only used occasionally.

My question is, would it be useful to organize the rulebook to reflect this? And are there any games that already do?


THe main rules used most of the time (determined statistically during playtesting) are presented first, or as headers, highlighted, whatever. Then the rarer rules later or in subsections, not highlighted.


I would say yes. But consider that your 80/20 idea is already (sort of) typically done:

There are reference cards usually provided in nice games which present those 20-50% of the rules (the core) in an abbreviated fashion.

The board/pieces themselves often remind of certain things: playing sequence, points for various places/actions, etc.

The rulebook usually presents game set-up in words AND visually- while the lesser used rules are usually presented in proper sequence in a spot with just words.

Rulebooks often have an overall gameflow page recapping all of play

So YES is my answer, but realize your particular innovation you are trying for might already be done in a way that more effective and efficient already.

But try it out?
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some rulebooks use the side margins to write 1 to 2 phrases to sum up the paragraph(s) that they're referring to, and also double up as a "post-it" note to where to find stuff quickly. If you're familiar with the game, that'll do. Otherwise, you'll need to go into details in the paragraphs if it's been awhile since you last played.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Quantum_Jack wrote:
Then the rarer rules later or in subsections, not highlighted.
I can't imagine that reordering the rules would be a good thing. There's a flow to rulebooks and if you took the less used rules out of that flow and stuck them at the end, it would just muck stuff up.

I also question not highlighting the rarer, less used rules. These are going to be the rules that players forget and overlook more often, since they're not used as often. If you give more prominence to the common rules and fail to highlight the rare rules, players are even more likely to overlook the rare rules.
 
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