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Subject: Errors in rules and components avoidable in wargames? rss

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Joe Kong
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I asked because I read lots of posts about people getting mad at even minor problem of rules and components.

We are human and make mistakes from time to time. I saw space shuttles/rockets exploding on TV despite millions or billions are put into corresponding projects. How much is invested in a wargame project?


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Pete Belli
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Quote:
Errors in rules and components avoidable in wargames?


Yes.

Quote:
I saw space shuttles/rockets exploding on TV despite millions or billions are put into corresponding projects.


Wargame craftsmen are probably smarter than rocket scientists... but the comparison is appropriate.

Space disasters and wargame disasters happen for some of the same reasons:

-- rushing projects to meet deadlines

-- a development process scattered across different geographic locations

-- high expectations generated by exuberant marketing (If you don't think NASA has aggressive marketing, look again.)

-- the sheer complexity of the final product, with many opportunities for a tiny mistake that can cause a big problem

The wargame business has one additional problem. The often persnickety consumers are devoted hobbyists with a passion for their "toys" so they will voice complaints... but they keep buying inadequately tested and poorly developed games anyway.
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Darrell Hanning
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Of course, if wargames with errors blew up when played, nobody having played the game would still be around to complain.
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Antonio B-D
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I think there are different kinds of error in rules and components.

a) Minor error that could be detected but have no impact. A comma in the wrong place a counter out of 19 sheets with a higher or lower value, etc...
I have no problem with those. This is an amateur hobby in its big part and sometimes checking 10 sheets of counters may end up with one or two errors. I think this is majorly unavoidable.

b) Major errors. This should be avoidable, but sometimes happens. By this I mean a different version of the rulebook printed, an strategy non accounted for (think Halifax Hammer), major errors in components. I understand, as said above that this is an amateur driven hobby, but I think this errors should not exist. But sometimes shit happens.

c) Completely unaceptable errors. I make a distinction with the above. Publishing a "deluxe" edition of a game (that already has 4 or 5 printings), through kickstarter, with an important delay and having errors (and some of them not minor) in the cards, is completely unacceptable. Publishing a game and a couple of weeks after publishing acknowledging that the game needs to be redone completely. This are 2 example from the best wargaming company that I consider intolerable.
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Eddy Sterckx
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pete belli wrote:
.. so they will voice complaints... but they keep buying inadequately tested and poorly developed games anyway.


I don't really have a problem with rules updates - in fact, I consider it a plus, a fine service offered by the designer/developer because there will always be instances where the rules could have been more clear or where a particular edge problem crops up that was never discovered in playtesting.

However - and it's a big however - I have practically zero tolerance for board, counter and card printing errors for this is something that can be avoided with a little care and some gruntwork. Shoddy work in that department gets that game expelled from my home, real shoddy work will earn them my eternal scorn and the guarantee I'll never look at one of that designer's games ever again - I'm looking at you GMT's Thunder Alley
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joekong_hk wrote:
I asked because I read lots of posts about people getting mad at even minor problem of rules and components.

We are human and make mistakes from time to time.

To me, "we are human" sounds rather like an excuse for not even bothering to try reducing the number of mistakes.

Sure, mistakes happen, but in reality, it's a matter of degree, not a binary black-or-white issue.

Some game authors and publishers manage to do a consistently better job than average, so clearly it's something which humans do have some control over, even if we're all human and nobody's perfect.

I value good quality rules and components in a game. They make the game better.

So all else being equal, I prefer to buy and play games from authors (e.g. Chad Jensen) and publishers who have demonstrated their desire and ability to minimize mistakes and to make good clear rules and components with minimal errors.
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Rich M
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There should never be any component error's unless they are actual manufacturing quality errors. The fact is that if all of the components from maps, cards and game counters have been checked several times by several people along with getting physical samples from printer before the production run for approval, then component errors shouldn't happen.
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Mistake and error are two words and I distiguish them that way:

A mistake was caused initially by the designer (misinterpreting an OOB = wrong unit in the game, misspelling of a towns name, assigning overrated/underrated strength values).

An error is caused by bad proof reading, printers fault, etc. = production faults.

While the first can be excused, such things can happen, but either the developer or the playtesters may/should find them and they should be corrected, the second is nowadays a lot harder to take. Since there is/should be a preproduction print, any mistakes in colouring, counter values, missing counters, map mistakes must be eliminated at that stage. I get the feeling, that as soon as a game is published, it doesn´t take too long until some errata is published. And that happens in all kinds of games. So are customers a kind of beta tester? My answer is no, since this happens too often in the software area of gaming. My assumptions for that:

- too fast publishing
- self set dealines are too short
- bad quality management often done by people who are not too deeply involved in the project
- pressure by fans/customers, since they want the product as soon as it is announced
- not enough/sound playtesting due to limited time available
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Robert Stuart
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pete belli wrote:
Quote:
Errors in rules and components avoidable in wargames?


Yes.

Quote:
I saw space shuttles/rockets exploding on TV despite millions or billions are put into corresponding projects.


Wargame craftsmen are probably smarter than rocket scientists... but the comparison is appropriate.

Space disasters and wargame disasters happen for some of the same reasons:

-- rushing projects to meet deadlines

-- a development process scattered across different geographic locations

-- high expectations generated by exuberant marketing (If you don't think NASA has aggressive marketing, look again.)

-- the sheer complexity of the final product, with many opportunities for a tiny mistake that can cause a big problem

The wargame business has one additional problem. The often persnickety consumers are devoted hobbyists with a passion for their "toys" so they will voice complaints... but they keep buying inadequately tested and poorly developed games anyway.


Excellent response. I do have a relatively high level of tolerance for errors in rules which are assiduously corrected -- but I agree with Pete that errors are avoidable.
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Quote:
Errors in rules and components avoidable in wargames?


    No. In order to bring a product to market at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time frame there needs to be a reasonable level of labor put into the product. The perfect game will cost more than anyone is interested in paying.

    Errors can certainly be minimized and some that you see could certainly be caught with just a little extra review, but getting all errors out puts games at a price that will make them uncompetitive in the marketplace. Nobody looks for errors in games they didn't buy.

    Don't worry about people complaining on the Internet. They'll always find something, no matter the quality of the product.

             S.

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Nick Wade
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Many rules errors are just careless.

Following this might help.

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Tim
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I'm not sure that they are completely unavoidable.

I write, proof-read and edit scientific papers for a living. I don't care how many times I have looked at or how many other people have looked at it, there is a good chance that some error will slip through. Hopefully, and usually this is the case, good proof-reading will find and correct the most grievous of errors. But I think to completely call errors in war game rules avoidable is setting too high of expectations. Just MHO.

(Edited for a typo I found after submitted. blush)
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Wendell
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Phytoman wrote:
I'm not sure that they are completely unavoidable.


I'll go further and say they ARE in fact completely unavoidable IF we want wargames to come out in anything resembling a timely fashion, and at a reasonable price point. I find absurd errors and howling typos in professionally published, highly regarded books (one I just read this week for example referred to the Wright Brothers being from North Carolina - WRONG).

Wargames are published by tiny virtual companies, essentially as collaborations among enthusiasts and fans. Most of these people have full-time jobs to pay the bills and other responsibilities, so the designing and developing and playtesting are purely volunteered activities. Sure, MMP or GMT etc could hire full-time professional editors and proofreaders; maybe even full-time professional playtesters. But I'd like my next mid-sized wargame from GMT to cost less than $200.

And we all know that playtesting wargames - especially very long ones - is tough. Most wargames get far more plays and far more pairs of eyes on them in the month after their release than they ever did in playtesting, from savvy, experienced, and cunning wargamers.

I WILL agree that there are some games that are released which are really messed up to the point of having major play balance issues, incomprehensible rules, and/or component errors which impact play. Criticizing those is valid, though at least do so nicely since again this is volunteer work, not a screw up on the scale of Apple Maps which was developed by thousands of people with many millions (billions?) of dollars behind it.

My two cents.
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Eddy Sterckx
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wifwendell wrote:

I WILL agree that there are some games that are released which are really messed up to the point of having major play balance issues, incomprehensible rules, and/or component errors which impact play. Criticizing those is valid, though at least do so nicely since again this is volunteer work


The moment I'm paying real money for a game, and those involved (designer, publisher) get that money, I stop looking at it as "volunteer work".

I like playing prototypes and Print 'n Play games and have often come across games that are *better* proofread and debugged than many so-called professionally published games.

So, if the real amateurs can do a good job, those with aspirations of getting their games printed by a real publisher - and getting payed for it - have no excuse.

Sure, some errors are bound to creep in, but if there was an award for "game category with the shoddiest quality standards" wargaming would win it every year - and that's something we shouldn't accept.

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eddy_sterckx wrote:

The moment I'm paying real money for a game, and those involved (designer, publisher) get that money, I stop looking at it as "volunteer work".


    One of the designers I know estimates his "pay rate" for designing games has been under $0.25 an hour. There's just not a lot of money in games that print 2500 copies. That's volunteer work.

    If you don't like the product at the price, don't buy it. It is what it is.

    I'd be interested to hear what products you do buy that are without flaws, and how much you pay for them.

             S.

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Carl Fung
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Let's break down errors into categories. I work as a project manager in software development, so I cringe every time a user calls something a "major production issue":

1) Physical component errors that were not the way the designer/publisher had wished: e.g. a counter that was supposed to be a 4-3-8 is printed and missed in proofing as 8-4-3. That sucks. That should've been caught in the material sent to the printer but given Murphy's Law, sh*t happens. it'll depend on how egregious the error is and if the publisher wants to spend its limited money to reprint one counter or one map because one guy says the game is broken because of this.

2) Printer mishaps: Everything sent to the printer was triple checked and cleared. The maps and counters come back and the maps have a weird blue tinge to it and the die cutting on the counters is off where counters are more rectangular than perfect square (remember those AH and SPI days?). Nothings perfect. It's a mechanical industry in a digital world where everything can be believed to be photoshopped to perfection. Publishers will most often times try to get the printers to reprint if found before collating, but this might be at the whim of the printer's other work orders. This sucks too but since we're dealing with a third party, its harder to coordinate.

3) Rules editing: The run-on sentences, lack of or overuse of commas, misused prepositions, etc. Rules should be terse, but not everyone is an English major. This may lead to 5). Is this unavoidable? Yes, to a degree, but if the rules writer were a figure skater and the players judges, none of the former would ever get 5.0's across the board.

4) Bad rules formatting: Movement rules in the combat section, no explanation of abbreviations used, tables that don't make sense, etc. This could use the help of an editor/experienced developer and playtesters must chime in to say that the logic flow doesn't make sense. Avoidable? Yes, obviously, but this is still up for individual interpretation.

5) Rules misinterpretation: My English (or whatever native language) is not your English. When I read my own words, it makes total sense... why can't you understand it? When I read others, 99% can understand it but I just don't get it. To paraphrase Bill Clinton: It depends on what the definition of 'is' is. This is probably the biggest gray area as some will scream that the game is broken because they misread the rule or don't agree with the rule in order to do something else or just don't understand the intent of the rule. Rules can be written either very formulaically (like ASL) or prose (like GTS). Some prefer one versus the other.

6) Unbalanced play: The red herring. No game designer wants to make a game where one side soundly beats his opponent (or at least I hope not). This can be attributed to a quick production schedule (magazine games are always on a deadline), limited input from playtesting, or that funky move that always wins the game for one side just didn't happen during playtesting. The first two suck but it's an offshoot of our niche industry. Big magazine publishers like Conde Nast have people work into the wee hours to get everything into a fancy glossy magazine monthly otherwise they lose their jobs and their career is destroyed. Should we hold those folks who often have a regular paying job under the same scrutiny? Likewise, game designers and publishers aren't Google or Apple where they "code" for 72 hours straight. Their jobs and careers are likewise on the line if they fail to produce the next iPhone or killer app that's buggy. This isn't to excuse designers from just tossing in a design and shrugging his shoulders, but things can be missed. It's ok... it's not the end of the world, we just have to see if the game is salvageable.

Some of the ire is when folks complain about "I paid $$$$". Yeah, games are expensive mostly because the costs of operating a small business and not owning your own printing presses and not having a mass market sucks. Being sold to a larger company that can handle that is counter productive (look at when AH got bought out by Hasbro). Niche market, niche prices. Shipping? Yeah, that's a pain too. Until we can subsidize shipping, it isn't going to happen and I don't think anyone wants to start smuggling games in condom wrappers and have wargame mules transport them domestically or internationally. Don't try to attribute expectation of perfection because you think a price point is high. Cocaine is expensive but its addictive and we'll often do whatever we can do to get it. Wargames are the exact same thing. It's just that the producers aren't well-armed cartels where a bad product can't be argued against otherwise you'll be dead... sorry, I just finished watching Narcos on Netflix so this is still fresh in my head.

To attribute this back to the rocket scientists, remember that mars probe that was lost because some measurements were converted from English to metric units? I'm sure all wargamers cried, "well, at least we know what our map scales are and can count the movement points".
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Eric Brosius
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calvinboy24 wrote:
remember that mars probe that was lost because some measurements were converted from English to metric units?

Maybe the probe used a movement point to move to a non-adjacent position!

Another phenomenon is that once you've looked at multiple versions of a single document over and over, it becomes remarkably hard to spot errors.

Long ago when I was at MIT, I went one Monday morning into the restroom that I had been using regularly for over a year. I noticed that the walls were pink. I wondered whether they were always pink, and this made me run outside to look at the sign. Sure enough, they had converted it into a women's room over the weekend! And yes, they did replace the small, unobtrusive sign that said "Men" with a small, unobtrusive sign that said "Women". But after many, many visits to that restroom, I had stopped reading the sign.

And I think many errors in games arise from similar circumstances. I've helped with proofreading some games, and it's remarkable how something that's right in one version goes wrong again in a later version. Your brain often doesn't spot the change because you've already gotten used to it being right.
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Rich M
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I can tell you that using off shore suppliers increases the chance for mistakes and errors all the way around due to distance, time zone differences, cultural and language barriers.
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Kevin Bernatz
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Probably shouldn't jump into this....but

If you are that concerned, are YOU volunteering your time to help playtest and proofread these games? If not, why not?

Many other posters have more eloquently noted that, yes, this is a volunteer job, for all practical purposes. In the many development jobs that I have done for GMT and Compass games, I have been paid near 'top dollar'. I've easily put in 100-200 hours on each game. My average pay? Something like $2-5/hour...or less than half minimum wage. Yeah..sorry...I don't do this for the money. The money is their way of saying "Thanks for taking the time to help our hobby".

As a paid developer, my take is this...errors are unavoidable. They are. It is a simple matter of "Companies need to publish games to stay in business...delaying and delaying and delaying to insure 100% of errors are caught means no games are published, which means no hobby."

There is a simple law of diminishing returns on error checking, not just because companies need to publish games, but also the fact that the human brain is REALLY good at tricking itself. After you look at the same countersheet 4, 5, 6 times, it becomes very difficult to spot anything "new"...yes, there are tricks we employ (putting it aside; looking at it while rotated or inverted; etc.), but ultimately, you are left with the fact that after five people have looked at it, do you REALLY need to have a sixth?

Now....where I feel the consumer has a valid gripe is in the TYPE of errors. To me, the absolute worst errors that I can let slip through are errors to the map, cards, or counters. Ugh...I HATE when we miss those errors and easily 60%+ of my proofing time is spent trying to eliminate those. The second worst are errors to color PACs or other color aids. I don't want to force people to print something out in color due to an error that we missed... You guys hate that and it means we f**ked up....I get it. Probably 20-30% of my time is spent on those. The rest is spent on the rulebooks/playbooks, since a typo here and there isn't the end of the world...and I have Wendell and other people proofing these because I /KNOW/ I am not an expert proofer. EVERYTHING gets proofed multiple times by multiple people...so the hope is that /someone/ catches the error...

I should add that 'errors' in game play (play balance, rules that are broken, 'optimal' play that breaks the game, etc) are VERY, VERY tough to catch. First, it all depends on getting dedicated playtesters who will actively TRY to break the game over and over again.

All of you who are complaining...how many games have you playtested for this hobby? How many times have you played a single playtest game at most? Before I started developing, I playtested for well over 10-12 years, often playing some of these games 10, 15, 20 times in a row. It is NOT 'fun'...it is work. But without it, games don't get tested perfectly and we developers have to live with the results. I'm married, two kids, full time job, etc...I don't have the time to playtest a game 10, 15, 20 times anymore. But without that, it is very easy to miss oddball strategies that can break a game.

Second, some wargames simply don't lend themselves to multiple tests. Wargames that take a long time to play simply can't be tested as often as games that only take 30-45 minutes. Sad...but true.

Anyway, I'll hop off my soapbox.... but if you really think wargames are going downhill, then volunteer your time to proofread rules, playtest, or even be a co-developer. The hobby is what WE make it.

-K
Developer for GMT, Compass Games, etc.
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Two thumbs up to Carl.

Although I have to reply if counters are totally misprinted like in the SCS Game "Operation Michael" (wrong background colour), than I totally agree with folks complaining, that they payed for that. Okay it´s not a big deal to either glue the correct labels on or make new counters from scratch. But nonetheless it leaves a sour feeling and every time you play, it´s an obvious flaw (at least for me). And if there is a preprint copy for evaluation, how could such things happen? Is nobody checking on that or was there no pre-pub print to check?

I also agree very strongly with the folks posting, that as soon as a game is payed for the amateur status ends. There is only one distinction for me: a PnP product (FTP or pay for) is usually the labour of love of somebody (except perhaps for Perry Moore in his old days) and a game published by a company is a professional product. The standards nowadays are certainly higher than in those fairy tale "golden days", but nonetheless a product labelled at f.e. 30 bucks is not an amateur effort (usually). So a certain level of professionlism can be expected.

So is it necessary to hire professional proof readers? AFAIK no, since they only check for mistyping, correct language etc. Or does somebody think, they can recognize if the word "not" is missing in a rule? Do they check if the rules were written in an easy understandable and logic way? I don´t think so. But I am open to be proven wrong and add something to my understanding on how things work.

See when I was writing my diploma many years ago, I was sure, that I made the best work on the subject. Why? beacuse I was reading it over and over again. And after a certain point you don´t find any mistakes any more. But when I handed the "finished" work to two other folks for "proof reading", I was shocked to find out, that it was flawed as hell. So back to the drawing table...
And can´t it be expected, that if a product is published professionally, that more than one person is proof reading the rules for logical consistency, understandability and usefullness? For me the answer is yes.

IIRC it was Dunnigan who once wrote in one of his books, that rules writing is an art. And he is right. So a good designer writes his rules like painting a picture: the first impression is wow (if he is good and hits the taste and imaginations of the audience) or it is yeaargh. And the later case is only possible if the rules either make no sense when put into actual gameplay (perhaps misinterpretation of the gamer, hard to extract the essence of a rule etc.), but the reason for that vomitting effect can be nailed down to some obvious production flaws: hasty/not enough playtesting with substantial feedback to bne incorporated, one sided proof reading by people who are too deep into the subject (assuming that particular rules are that way to be interpreted), or self imposed pressure by companies to get the product out asap no matter what.
Therefore I don´t understand, why there are so many rules errata to patch up things that should be obvious during playtesting.

For playtesting: Why are only real wargamers playtesting? Is there not the practise of handing the to-be tested game to some total outsiders and let them check out, if the rules can be tackled by somebody who doens´t know the EZOC effects incorporated by many games one way or the other? That is the best way to see if a game is understandable for me (no matter what type).

And Carl please forgive me, when I can´t follow one argument of yours: "At the whim of the printer"? Well it´s understandable, that a printer makes a mistake and his work schedule is tight, but it has to be corrected asap and not when the printer thinks he is up to it. They want their coin fast? Well then correct the mistake fast and not in the next 6 months or so. And if a publisher posts on his site, that the original printings they received were faulty with an accompanying pic, then even the most honk-style customer should understand, that the predicted shipping date is not possible to be fullfilled. But what happens instead? Either the faulty parts get shipped or if a mistake is announced the net brats complain about bad customer service for not keeping the word. So I understand a certain amount of pressure imposed by the customer on the publisher.

And now we come to the all-time favourite argument on any discussion here: MONEY! To me it is strange, that anytime the discussion combination "wargame - behind the game" comes up, the wargame industry as a whole is pictured as a type of little clubs of amateurs, that spend their precious freetime on it, neglecting everything else and invest heavily in cash just to get a game published. That might be most of the time true and I totally understand, that the SPI/AH times with big offices, hordes of staff and large print runs in the thousands are over. I also fully understand, that it is more than questionable to make a full living by publishing or designing wargames (or other games) for the majority of them. But the last and foremost argument, that´s always raised to excuse ANY! mistake/error/flaw by a publisher is the costs! How much does it cost you to hand the print ready rules book to your wife/fiance/brother/good friend for a look over of consistency/understandability/logic or just an outsiders opinion? How expensive is it to send the pre-print run of the game to the original designer so he might recheck the counters, maps, rule book, cards, handouts or whatever components are included?

Not every mistake can be erased, not every error is visible )no matter how you define them), erratas may be seen as variants, not every customer can be pleased 100%, but when paying more than 5 bucks for a full fledged boardgame, then the customer can expect that major flaws and mistakes, especially in production details/quaility, were corrected at some stage. I also see, that nowadays customers are more picky and start complaining about even minor things, that don´t ruin a game per se and many times it is hard to understand the harsh and often non-justified words they find for a product when they air their opinion on the net, but there is an underlying consens with all of them: The point out flaws in the production process.

We gamers, no matter what type or genre you play, are neither beta play testers, proof readers, quality managers or developers nor is it acceptable to get the same lame cost excuse (=cost) every time one or the other professional publisher is caught making a serious mistake. We pay good money for a product and can expect good quality.
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Carl Fung
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kbernatz wrote:


If you are that concerned, are YOU volunteering your time to help playtest and proofread these games? If not, why not?


My only challenge to that is there are some folks who I prefer NOT to include to playtest or proofread. It's not so much the quantity, it's the quality of the personnel involved. Folks who can't communicate or identify issues and possible solutions properly are of little use. The playtest volunteers run the gamut of yes-men to slow plodders overthinking everything to those that are somehow trying to undermine the designer with their own thoughts and ideas. Playtesters are like QC testers in software design. Those who just try to find errors are only handling part of their job. Those who recommend changes may be biased who may not grasp the full intent of the design. And since QC/playtesters are at the end of the development/design lifecycle, they are usually under a time crunch. Designers who spend a lot of time up front on the rules, and making the maps and counters pretty but leave little time for the playtesters to shake things out doesn't help either.

But certainly having folks devote time to seeing a project through helps the cause a lot.
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There's one person in particular who's always **whining** and **whinging** about errors and the need for errata.

I wish he and his ilk would give it a rest, already.

Look: it's a FACT that the wargaming industry is pretty much non-profit these days; nobody's making a killing on designing or publishing them. They operate VERY lean, and there are no on-site staffs of developers, artists and production people. More likely, an actual game company consists of a few business managers and a warehouse. With the P500 system in vogue, the designers, developers, playtesters, etc. are all off-site and independent contractors.

Because of the razor thin margins, there is just no room for dedicated QA teams and editors to comb over a game before release and fix up all the little boo-boos (and big ones, too, to be sure) that riddle games.

Some designers are better than others at weeding this stuff out during playtesting (which they normally conduct on their own time, and on their own dime); there ARE examples, as the Chief Errata Whiner always points out, of very nice, clean, work with minimal errors. That's fantastic. Wish there could be more of them.

But, fact is, there just aren't. Even during its heyday in the '70s, prolific SPI was known for very spotty QA, not to mention sometimes non-existent playtesting. Some games were rescued well after release, with the appearance of several single-spaced typeset pages of rules corrections and errata, and perhaps a MOVES magazine article or two with new scenarios or suggestions for "house rules".

So.... there never HAS BEEN a time where game releases were bullet-proof. And that was when there was a profitable game production system in place. Now, we just don't have that. So, it doesn't do any good to keep whining and gnashing teeth wondering why we have to do a bit of "figuring things out" or make the odd replacement counter, or confer with other gamers to "perfect" our games. It just comes with the territory.
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Wolf Hoepper
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@ Kevin

Perhaps I am dumb, but were is it announced, that test-players are searched for a particular game? One answer to your question might be, that from what I understand, most wargamers nowadays play solo and lack an FTF opponent. So playtesting solo? Probably not what a company looks for.


I see the point, that an error can occur and not every error is so severe to justify a full reprint. Even reprinting and shipping replacements is a cost factor, agreed on that. But nonetheless you mentioned one very valid point:

"Companies need to publish games to stay in business"

Isn´t that backing my earlier post?

I can imagine, that aspects like game balance are hard to achieve in any game and even if a game is tested 200 times by 500 people, gamer no. 501 comes with a strategy or some moves, that might ruin a game. But that´s not a mistake by the game, the publisher, the designer or the developer, it happens and is not predictable.

But otherwise I see your arguments and thanks for the insight information.
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Carl Fung
United States
Old Greenwich
Connecticut
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Duempel51 wrote:


And Carl please forgive me, when I can´t follow one argument of yours: "At the whim of the printer"? Well it´s understandable, that a printer makes a mistake and his work schedule is tight, but it has to be corrected asap and not when the printer thinks he is up to it. They want their coin fast? Well then correct the mistake fast and not in the next 6 months or so. And if a publisher posts on his site, that the original printings they received were faulty with an accompanying pic, then even the most honk-style customer should understand, that the predicted shipping date is not possible to be fullfilled. But what happens instead? Either the faulty parts get shipped or if a mistake is announced the net brats complain about bad customer service for not keeping the word. So I understand a certain amount of pressure imposed by the customer on the publisher.


From what I've read, the working relationship with printers is hit and miss. Given that wargame print runs are tiny and they don't earn that much from it compared with their larger jobs, they may not care or loss much with these limited print runs. They may fix it but it may not be a priority for them and they may (I can't speak on behalf of printers as I know nothing of their business) be very happy to say, "go to the next guy".
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Chris Gillmeister
Canada
Abbotsford
British Columbia
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kbernatz wrote:


Many other posters have more eloquently noted that, yes, this is a volunteer job, for all practical purposes. In the many development jobs that I have done for GMT and Compass games, I have been paid near 'top dollar'. I've easily put in 100-200 hours on each game. My average pay? Something like $2-5/hour...or less than half minimum wage. Yeah..sorry...I don't do this for the money. The money is their way of saying "Thanks for taking the time to help our hobby".


I have a high tolerance for mistakes for this reason. I respect that people have the passion to spend their time to get these games produced.

I also come from a background of playing video games and I often looked for games in beta. I played WoW, league of legends, starcraft2 and others in beta. These are massive games with huge budgets. Yet these games have changed considerably from beta and from intial launch despite long and laborious "playtesting". Often with "emergency maintaince" that kicked you from the game for hours despite purchasing the game and monthly subscription.

Recently I volunteered to help my friend move for two hours. He bought me dinner after for $15. I technically received compensation valued at $7.5/hour for my labor...
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