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Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Rulebook Issues rss

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Keith Jones
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Having completed the "An Uneasy Alliance" campaign a few months ago, my play group recently returned to the game following our acquisition of the Trollslayer and Witch Hunter character packs. We decided we'd like to play through the entire campaign again, this time incorporating the new characters, but no-one relished the prospect of reading through the entirety of the game rules over again. We decided we'd read through the "Learn to Play" book and refresh our memory of any specific issues that came up during play by referring to the "Rules Reference" book as and when required. We had, in the meantime, played some similarly themed fantasy adventure games including Descent (2nd Edition) with the Road to Legend app, and Mistfall.

One of the first questions that arose during play concerned acquiring gear cards, and in particular, whether it was possible for heroes to give gear cards to one another. We were fairly confident that we remembered correctly that this wasn't possible during a quest, but thought that it might be possible during the Settlement Stage. So we duly consulted the "Settlement Actions" and "Settlement Stage" sections of the Rules Reference book, but found no mention there of heroes being able to trade gear cards. We concluded that, after all, it wasn't possible for heroes to give each other gear cards, even during the Settlement Stage, and that we'd probably confused Warhammer Quest with one of the other games we'd recently been playing.

I recently answered a query from another player here in which I confidently stated that it wasn't possible for heroes to give gear cards to one another, only to be corrected and directed to the bottom of page 9 of the Rules Reference book. To my embarrassment (and annoyance), it clearly states here that heroes can indeed give any of their non-legendary gear cards to one another during the Settlement Stage.

My point is this. For a Rules Reference book to work effectively, then it should at least locate rules where players are likely to look for them. In particular, I have no problem with the rule on trading gear cards being placed where it is (under "Claiming Gear"), but am very surprised that the rule doesn't also appear in the "Settlement Stage" section (or at the very least, a reference indicating where such a rule can be found). Actually, I do have a problem on the current placing of the rule: it is in an indented paragraph under the bullet point related to visiting the blacksmith, so appears to be a further clarification of such a visit. So far as I can tell, the giving of gear cards to other heroes isn't restricted to blacksmith visits, so as such, the rule should merit a bullet point in it's own right. A small point, you may think, but it may well have contributed to my overlooking this important rule.

More generally, I am aware that there are a number of threads discussing how difficult it was for some players to learn the finer points of the game from an alphabetically organised Rules Reference book. I agree, as it's far easier to learn and remember rules if they are presented in a coherent and meaningful sequence, rather than in the arbitrary sequence generated by alphabetical ordering. It may have been argued that such a structuring of the rules would facilitate finding specific rules when returning to the game after a period without play. Well, here's at least one example of how this approach can fail!

If Fantasy Flight want to avoid overburdening new players with unnecessary detail on their first playthrough, there may be more effective ways to do this. For example, a single, coherent and well ordered rule book in which "beginners' rules" could be accentuated by say, placing them in prominent boxes, would serve equally well. It would also be considerably easier for players to learn the more detailed rules from such a coherently structured rule book. A comprehensive and accurate index could then be added to ensure the effectiveness of these rules as a reference source.

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David desJardins
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I like the way the rules are organized.

No matter how logical or systematic the organization, there are always going to be rules that would fit in any of several places. I personally prefer it to be in one or the other rather than repeating rules, which is more verbose and can cause consistency issues.

One of the nice things in the modern world is that rules are available in electronic formats. If you search the PDF rules for terms like "trade", "exchange", and "give", you can quickly find the rule that way.
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Dillon Flaherty
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You bring up some pretty good points about the dual rulebook style of instructions that FFG has utilizing a lot lately.

For what it's worth, I agree with you that there are a few missteps in the WHQ:ACG books, but I'm also finding the trend to be improving... or I'm possibly just getting better/more accustomed to the style?

I found the dual rulebooks for Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition to be excellent, and had a confident grasp of the rules for the game very quickly.
 
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Ivan Cox
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The two rulebooks structure works well for me, I've found it easier to learn games and to check rules under this format. There will always be a few cases where there's not quite enough additional redundancy in repeating rules under the various different headings people are liable to look them up under.
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Major Havok
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Hellicon wrote:
The two rulebooks structure works well for me, I've found it easier to learn games and to check rules under this format. There will always be a few cases where there's not quite enough additional redundancy in repeating rules under the various different headings people are liable to look them up under.


I agree as well with the newer FFG approach. BUT, I also have serious issues with WQACG rule book(s), to the detriment of the game for us.
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Rob Rob
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Quote:
My point is this. For a Rules Reference book to work effectively, then it should at least locate rules where players are likely to look for them.

You'd think as much money as they drop on development, components, and graphics a professional game company like FFG might put some effort as well into intelligible rule books.

If your game requires a FAQ, 3rd party cheat sheets, and an experienced player just to explain it to new players - something is wrong.
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David desJardins
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Robrob wrote:
If your game requires a FAQ, 3rd party cheat sheets, and an experienced player just to explain it to new players - something is wrong.


Why? I haven't seen much sign it's adversely affecting their business.
 
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Eric Christensen
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My experience with the rules was funny. I went through the tutorial using the Learn to Play guide or whatever it's called and felt like I knew those concepts pretty well. I was actually really impressed and felt like I had the rules down. Then as I started to run into little hiccups where I needed to look the rules up later, it seemed like I could never find anything I needed. So for me, learning the game was great, but when I needed a reference, I had a more difficult time efficiently finding the answers I needed.
 
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Dreux Barbier
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I found it useful to use a tablet and the downloaded rule books - using find function in the pdf viewer helped me a lot to find the rules I was unsure of.
 
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David desJardins
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Franklin1742 wrote:
they clearly aspire to do the best job at all times


Despite evidence to the contrary?

It seems kind of circular to infer from their high quality products that they must seek high quality and be disappointed whenever they put out anything of lower quality. You could equally infer from their low quality products that they are indifferent to quality and it's only a coincidence when they publish something of high quality.
 
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Keith Jones
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Well, I don't have too much of an issue with the dual rulebook approach per se. Putting the "basic" rules in a "Learn to Play" booklet is OK with me.

However, I'm far from convinced that organising the "Rules Reference" booklet alphabetically makes much sense. This is because the only way to discover what the detailed rules actually are is to read through the Rules Reference booklet at least once. Because of the arbitrary order of presentation of the rules in an alphabetical arrangement, this makes it difficult to relate the rules coherently to each other. It's rather like trying to learn the vocabulary of a foreign language by reading a dictionary - there are better ways!

Of course, a dictionary works excellently as a reference source for looking up particular words of known spelling. However, an alphabetical rules booklet will only work as well as the headings chosen to represent the rules sections will permit. In other words, if you don't know the name of the rules section that contains what you're looking for, then having the section names in alphabetical order is of no help whatsoever! I actually found that I was using the Index to the Rules Reference to find things, rather than working alphabetically through the various rules section headings.

If the "detailed" rules were organised more coherently, for example following a similar structure to the "Learn to Play" rules, they would be far easier to learn and to memorise. It would also be easier for the publisher to check them for errors, omissions and inconsistencies. A comprehensive, well thought out index would make them just as effective as a reference source, and they should be easy to navigate anyway, since rules would be organised according to their place within the structure of the game. In fact, I wonder if the alphabeticised rules were actually written in such a logical, coherent way and then subsequently rearranged alphabetically for publication.

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Keith Jones
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DaviddesJ wrote:

One of the nice things in the modern world is that rules are available in electronic formats. If you search the PDF rules for terms like "trade", "exchange", and "give", you can quickly find the rule that way.


Well, I just tried it. "Trade" and "swap" gave no hits in the Rules Reference book whatsoever. "Exchange" gave one hit, under Wounds: "a player can freely exchange a wound token ...".

Finally, "give" only resulted in two hits, one in the relevant rule about giving gear cards and the other in the rule that players cannot give legendary gear cards away. So your suggestion certainly worked. But I'm not entirely convinced that I'd have tried "give", especially after coming up empty on "exchange", "swap" and "trade". In fairness, though, I'd have also found the relevant rule if I'd ground my way through all the occurrences of "gear".

Your suggestion certainly constitutes a very effective way of supplementing the rules index, and I'll happily use it henceforth. All the more reason not to alphabeticise the rules!
 
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David desJardins
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kfjones wrote:
I'm not entirely convinced that I'd have tried "give", especially after coming up empty on "exchange", "swap" and "trade".


In the OP you did say, "I recently answered a query from another player here in which I confidently stated that it wasn't possible for heroes to give gear cards to one another." It seems a pretty natural term.
 
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Silver Robert
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I personally hate the way the rules in the newer FFG games.

I feel I go into every game with less confidence after reading the learn to play rulebook, even with simple games I spend the majority of the first game looking through reference rulebook trying to find the one tiny but crucial rule that didn't make it to the learn to play rulebook and overall I don't like bringing FFG games I haven't played to boardgame meetups because I know I can't competently explain the rules without cracking down at any question and spending the next 10 minutes looking through the reference.

Fun games, but terrible first experience due to the rulebooks. And I no longer think of FFG as a quality company, not after Mansions of Madness 2 minis.
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Rob Rob
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Franklin1742 wrote:

We all make mistakes. Mistakes aren't evidence of a lack of desire to produce a quality good. They're just errors of judgment. I have the impression that FFG is generally regarded by customers as a publisher of good quality games, and I'm confident that doesn't happen through a careless attitude on their part. Any of the FFG products I own, or I have played with friends or family, particularly recent examples, have excellent art direction, illustration and design; and the rulebooks are well done as a rule.

While I agree with you on the general quality of their art direction, illustration, and design; I think FFG's failings in the rulebook department is pretty well known in the community.
 
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Daily Grind
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I have yet to see a game on bgg that doesn't have someone complaining about the rulebook. I can only conclude that different people learn in different ways and no rulebook will ever be intuitive to all people.

Personally, I've never had a problem with FFG rulebooks, but I also don't understand people who think Arkham Horror is complicated, so maybe I'm not the best test group.
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