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Subject: Worst rulebook ever! rss

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Kirk
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So, we just hosted another fun game night at our house. We usually expect ~12-20 people. This time we had 18 so we had 4 tables going.

At one table, we attempted to play Thrash and Roll. This was a Kickstarter game that I purchased and a friend was very keen on giving it a go. Unfortunately, the rules (that I read when I got the game about a month ago) had apparently already been revised and there were many conflicts between the rules, the new rules, the instructional videos (2), and the player aid. Ughh!

What seemed to be a potentially fun theme and worker / dice placement game is extremely hindered by its lack of concise rules. This may be the victim of poor translation from German (I believe) and a KS game in need of a bit more playtesting. Fortunately, I do think the game is salvageable and will prove to be fun. However, the first experience was painful.

It got me thinking, what other games have had bad rules? Any funny results because of them? Did the publisher ever fix the problem? Curious for other's thoughts....
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George P.E., PMP, DM
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Mice and Mystics

Edit: I bought it for my boss and his 2x teenage daughters. They tried once, hated the confusion caused by poorly written rules, and never wanted to play again. I traded him another game to get M&M back.
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Dustin Schwartz
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Subscribed! I'm always looking for good examples of bad rulebooks.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set, in its first printing, had several aspects of its rules that weren't clear. This, along with the individual cards containing aspect that weren't always clear, has lead to over 1500 threads in the game's Rules forum here on BGG as well as a long FAQ / errata page on the publisher's website.
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Chip Crawford
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Heroes of Normandie

Great game...rulebook will give you PTSD.

Remember the days when the game rules were printed inside the box lid?
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Trevor Sinnott
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I agree, Mice & Mystics has a terrible rule book. They could have at least put an index in there, as I spend a lot of time looking up rules. It is still my second favourite game though.
My Little Pony collectable card game also has a terrible rulebook. It took me a long time to learn to play the game with it. I really enjoy it as well.
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Stefan Schneider
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Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game

Rulebook was just a few pages, but I couldn't even figure out what I was supposed to do and how to set the game up. Really bad rulebook.

But Thrash'n Roll was really bad, too. The german version of the rulebook had so many mistakes, so many inconsistencies... We finally figured out how to play the game by reading both the german and english rulebook. That was pretty bad. And a shame for a pretty fun game.
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Jacob
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Tomb: Cryptmaster has such a terrible rulebook. Mice and Mystics has a pretty bad rule book, but at least it has all of the rules in it...

edit: Lost Legends also has a horrible rulebook

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mortego
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Jamaica

The rules are on a stupid faux treasure map...ugh, I had write a "quick Start" sheet for it. Love the game!
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition had a 66-page FAQ (which covered just the Players' Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide) that I referred to a lot back when I was running a game.
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(ɹnʎʞ)
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bwingrave wrote:
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set, in its first printing, had several aspects of its rules that weren't clear. This, along with the individual cards containing aspect that weren't always clear, has lead to over 1500 threads in the game's Rules forum here on BGG as well as a long FAQ / errata page on the publisher's website.
Not only that, but the suggested deck lists were also full of errors. The overall structure and wording is improvable plus using game-specific terms before explaining them is always an absolutely terrible idea.

Another recent thread on this topic: Which rule book do you want re-written
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Hedyn Brand
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Does F.A.T.A.L. count? It's horrible for so many reasons that "badly written" is, at most, an afterthought when people speak of it.
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Trevor S.
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bwingrave wrote:
Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition had a 66-page FAQ (which covered just the Players' Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide) that I referred to a lot back when I was running a game.

The DM makes the rules in that game. Of course, I am old school...
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Kevin
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But we have to change the rules because Monopoly's so boring!
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The worst I've read was "Eaten by Zombies"
Eaten by Zombies!
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George P.E., PMP, DM
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Davej80 wrote:
I just played Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game for the first time last night. Someone was "teaching" it but they had to keep referencing and re-reading it and judging that they also had two separate printouts that someone else had compiled to make it more logical, I'm guessing has to be one.

Oh, a big +1 to that. I made the mistake of trying to play with my group without anyone (including me) having played before. I had just watched the TableTop episode and thought I could brush up on rules 10 minutes before playing. I was wrong.
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Joe Salamone
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The rulebook for Road to Enlightenment has been much-maligned. I bought the game for about $12, knowing what many people had said about it. I didn't think the rulebook was terrible (but I did need to read a few parts several times). It definitely could have been better, but some people said it was so bad the game was unplayable. I disagree. The publisher issued a rewrite of the original rules and ultimately the designer suggested that everyone scrap the original rules and follow a new rule set he had written.
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ace hawkster
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Cool thread
My worst rulebook belongs to alien uprising. I've read it many times and still no closer to grasping the game. I second death angel card game also luckily there's some handy guides on here to help with that one. Unfortunately not for alien uprising ?
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John James
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Return of the Heroes is pretty atrocious.
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Hedyn Brand
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I've got Death Angel, and it took me a while to get going. But I've played the game just fine (not winning-fine, but a following-some-semblance-of-structure-fine). Or have I? I'd better find a FAQ so I can tell!
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Christopher Wionzek
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GeorgeMo wrote:
Oh, a big +1 to that. I made the mistake of trying to play with my group without anyone (including me) having played before. I had just watched the TableTop episode and thought I could brush up on rules 10 minutes before playing. I was wrong.

Yesterday we ran into "What happens when the hero who can't take Sidekicks pulls a Sidekick off the Ally deck?" and couldn't for the life of us find an answer.

Since it's a beer & pretzels game we just said "Whatever, keep drawing until you get a non-Sidekick."
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Tom Servo
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Totally agree on Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game. The collapsing temple rules had my head spinning.

Another rule book in my rogues gallery is Thunderstone. I got so frustrated with the rule book and subsequent errata that I gave up on the game. I've heard the newer versions are much better, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn't bring myself to buy any of them.
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Brian M
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I've seen a lot of stinkers, but its hard to top the original edition of Myth, which not only did a terrible job of explaining the game but took a huge page count to fail to explain it. The badness carried right on through to the many cards in the game, which were frequently incomprehensible, or referred to rules, cards or models that weren't anywhere in the game.

Its really great when you post about a card saying "OK, this card says three things. A and B make sense, but I have no clue what C means" and the official response is "Oops. A and B are mistakes."
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Brian M
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rhpenland wrote:
Totally agree on Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game. The collapsing temple rules had my head spinning.

Another rule book in my rogues gallery is Thunderstone. I got so frustrated with the rule book and subsequent errata that I gave up on the game. I've heard the newer versions are much better, but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn't bring myself to buy any of them.
Ugh. Ditto this. I like the game, but trying to follow the constant rules changes early on left us with no idea how to play the game.
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Hedyn Brand
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rhpenland wrote:

Another rule book in my rogues gallery is Thunderstone. I got so frustrated with the rule book and subsequent errata that I gave up on the game.
I didn't have trouble with my edition of the original game, whichever it was. What's more annoying was that there was simply too little game without some house rules, or variants added in expansions.
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Joe Kundlak
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I would not say "the worst", but the english rulebook for Mecanisburgo was pretty challenging.

The reason was that it was translated from the spanish original (as GenX Games are from Spain) and most likely the translation was done by a spanish guy (perhaps from GenX itself) without any proper spellchecking and read-through.

As I love the game (alas, not played yet, but awaiting me!), I ventured into rewriting that rulebook - and after many months finally finished it a year ago or so...
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