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Subject: Who is responsible for the rulebook? rss

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Ken Thibodeau
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I don't mean to be rude. In fact I like the game but the rulebook nearly killed it and still is a big con against it. Let me list why:

- The turn overview at the end of the rulebook is missing an important step: move the beadle

- The 2-p summary is missing a vital rule: only resolve tiles in even rounds.

- Nowhere can be found the meaning of spotting, used on several cards. And the "term" spotting is used in more than one way, depending on cards (verify a condition is met, look at cards, designate a tile...).

- Special tiles are sometimes considered tiles/guilds, sometimes not. No official ruling. Also, why not include their power in the rulebook?

- The rule that gives 5 VPs when you can't draw a mayoral card is not mentionned anywhere in the rules.

- Why not include a list of all the cards instead of just half of them and leaving the players to guess/decrypt some cards? That would have taken only one more sheet...

Anyways, my basic question is: who gets the final word on the rulebook? Boydell? TMG? Playtesters? Please don't derail the thread: I'm not trying to be rude or sound like a jerk, it's a naive question, supported with evidences. This game deserves a better rulebook!
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Anthony Boydell
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fardoche wrote:
I don't mean to be rude. In fact I like the game but the rulebook nearly killed it and still is a big con against it. Let me list why:

- The turn overview at the end of the rulebook is missing an important step: move the beadle


The beadle only moves if the guild he's on has been resolved (mentioned in the guild resolution bit)

fardoche wrote:
- The 2-p summary is missing a vital rule: only resolve tiles in even rounds.


In the main rulebook where it talks about Guild resolution (which you will need to read regardless of player count) it says - on the first line - "Resolving les happens at the end of every round in 3-4 player games. For 2 player games resolving tiles happens at the end of every two rounds; these rounds are shown with a laurel leaf edge on the track on the 2 player board."

fardoche wrote:
- Nowhere can be found the meaning of spotting, used on several cards. And the "term" spotting is used in more than one way, depending on cards (verify a condition is met, look at cards, designate a tile...).


'Spot' is mentioned in the growth phase section and indicates 'finding' something.

fardoche wrote:
- Special tiles are sometimes considered tiles/guilds, sometimes not. No official ruling. Also, why not include their power in the rulebook?

The special buildings are on the Reference sheet with everything else.

[q="fardoche"]- The rule that gives 5 VPs when you can't draw a mayoral card is not mentionned anywhere in the rules.


Yep - that's one in the eye for us during proof-reading.

fardoche wrote:
- Why not include a list of all the cards instead of just half of them and leaving the players to guess/decrypt some cards? That would have taken only one more sheet...


TBH every UNIQUE card ability is shown - I figured peeps would be smart and be able to transfer 'all your Scythes are wild' on the ref sheet to 'all your anchors/crowns/crosses/compasses are wild' without having to have separate entries. Hey-ho.

fardoche wrote:

Anyways, my basic question is: who gets the final word on the rulebook? Boydell? TMG? Playtesters? Please don't derail the thread: I'm not trying to be rude or sound like a jerk, it's a naive question, supported with evidences. This game deserves a better rulebook!


Well, you ARE being a bit rude soblue

The problem is that you look at something long enough and you start getting blind to it. Walk a mile in our shoes sometime...then you'll be a mile away AND have our shoes too!

At least you haven't mentioned that you dislike the neutral liverymen..?

(runs and finds cover)

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Craig Johnson
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I really don't get all these complaints about the rulebook...
I've played a lot of games and read a lot of rulebooks, and this one is fine. All the information is there: you just have to read the rulebook thoroughly, maybe refer back to things on other pages, and then re-read it a couple of times to make sure you've got everything before trying your first game.

This is pretty standard for medium to heavy euros - they're complex games and you can't expect to get everything on your first read through. Often ideas and mechanics have to be explained out of order or in separate sections: there's always a good reason for this. You just have to give it a bit of time and concentration.

Personally, deciphering a rulebook is one of my favourite parts of getting a new game. It's all part of the fun!


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Jorik
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Craigus69 wrote:
I really don't get all these complaints about the rulebook...
I've played a lot of games and read a lot of rulebooks, and this one is fine. All the information is there: you just have to read the rulebook thoroughly, maybe refer back to things on other pages, and then re-read it a couple of times to make sure you've got everything before trying your first game.

This is pretty standard for medium to heavy euros - they're complex games and you can't expect to get everything on your first read through. Often ideas and mechanics have to be explained out or order or in separate sections: there's always a good reason for this. You just have to give it a bit of time and concentration.

Personally, deciphering a rulebook is one of my favourite parts of getting a new game. It's all part of the fun!




you're right. and remember that the ideal rulebook for one player might be completely wrong for others. (the 2 books direction that FFG has taken comes to mind)
and what Tony mentioned the missing of stuff because you've read and re-read something a hundred times, that's something that happens to eveeryone who has to write or explain something.
I think that Tony does a great (if not even better) job of supporting his game here on BGG and while he's sometimes rude when people have complaints/don't like the game, remember that the birth of this game was fraught with turns for the worse and delays.
(plus I like a bit of rudeness now and then. that's why I'm subscribed to his Blog, keeps the PC crowd busy and riled up)
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Anthony Boydell
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TBH I'm only rude if someone is being rude in the first place
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Ken Thibodeau
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I'm not one to wage war and will not continue this thread any further. However I still have not gotten my simple basic question answered, although from Tony's visceral reply, I can infer it was him who was responsible.

English is not my first language admittedly, but I have no clue how my post could sound rude. I specified twice it was not the intent. Please let me know how I could have worded it more politely.

Maybe I should have posted it as a more general question: usually, who gives the last "OK" before sending a rulebook to the printer?
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Anthony Boydell
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Oh, it didn't mean it to be visceral - sorry!

It's not perfect, I know!

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Andy Van Zandt
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It's a TMG game, TMG is responsible for the rulebook. Thankfully, the vast majority of players are able to play without any real issues using the rulebook. Most of the questions in the rules threads in these forums are actually answered by the rulebook (as proven by Tony being able to point at the rulebook to answer most of your concerns).

Sometimes, information isn't where some people would expect it to be. This is actually a truth for every rulebook- not because every rulebook is bad, but because every person learns in a different way. We try to cover the bases as broadly as possible, but some people will invariably expect something different from the norm. Thus the existence of threads like this (which is a common thing for games in general- and big box/more complicated games in particular).

While the position of a couple of pieces of information could be improved slightly, on the whole the rulebook has proven to be entirely usable by the majority of the population. This is not a claim of perfection (there are already a couple of small tweaks in the 2nd edition of the game), but it is a claim of a serviceable rulebook, backed up by the evidence of these forums and the many playtests that preceded it.

We're glad you enjoyed the game!

@Jorik: Tony has done an astounding job supporting the game. I'm subscribed to these boards, and for most of our games TMG tries to respond quickly to any reasonable question. Tony manages to beat me to responding to almost every question in the GoL forums.
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Robert Forrest
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fardoche wrote:

English is not my first language admittedly, but I have no clue how my post could sound rude. I specified twice it was not the intent. Please let me know how I could have worded it more politely.


If you said to someone, "I don't mean to be rude, but you are a massive pile of feces," would saying 'I don't mean to be rude' at the start of it make it not rude?

I would suggest your tone of demanding to know who is responsible is pretty rude. Especially since Tony managed to show you were wrong about all but one of your points.

Hope that helps.
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Ken Thibodeau
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truekid wrote:
It's a TMG game, TMG is responsible for the rulebook. Thankfully, the vast majority of players are able to play without any real issues using the rulebook. Most of the questions in the rules threads in these forums are actually answered by the rulebook (as proven by Tony being able to point at the rulebook to answer most of your concerns).

Sometimes, information isn't where some people would expect it to be. This is actually a truth for every rulebook- not because every rulebook is bad, but because every person learns in a different way. We try to cover the bases as broadly as possible, but some people will invariably expect something different from the norm. Thus the existence of threads like this (which is a common thing for games in general- and big box/more complicated games in particular).

While the position of a couple of pieces of information could be improved slightly, on the whole the rulebook has proven to be entirely usable by the majority of the population. This is not a claim of perfection (there are already a couple of small tweaks in the 2nd edition of the game), but it is a claim of a serviceable rulebook, backed up by the evidence of these forums and the many playtests that preceded it.

We're glad you enjoyed the game!

@Jorik: Tony has done an astounding job supporting the game. I'm subscribed to these boards, and for most of our games TMG tries to respond quickly to any reasonable question. Tony manages to beat me to responding to almost every question in the GoL forums.


Thanks for your constructive reply. This is helpful.
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Ken Thibodeau
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Edward J Grug III wrote:
fardoche wrote:

English is not my first language admittedly, but I have no clue how my post could sound rude. I specified twice it was not the intent. Please let me know how I could have worded it more politely.


If you said to someone, "I don't mean to be rude, but you are a massive pile of feces," would saying 'I don't mean to be rude' at the start of it make it not rude?

I would suggest your tone of demanding to know who is responsible is pretty rude. Especially since Tony managed to show you were wrong about all but one of your points.

Hope that helps.


I still wonder where exactly I was rude but I got your point. Glad I asked not to derail the thread.
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Ken Thibodeau
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Edward J Grug III wrote:
[q="fardoche"]
Especially since Tony managed to show you were wrong about all but one of your points.


Definitely not. Again, maybe it's just my inability to express my thoughts in English

1st point: I'm refering to overview in the last page. I *think in all modesty, humility and whatever other polite word* it should be there, since 3 of the 4 steps are mentionned, except the moving of the beadle.

2nd point: Last page says "for 2-p games, use these changes". I would have maybe potentially, eventually would be foolish enough to expect to see that you only resolve tiles once per two rounds in a 2-p game, contrary to 3 or 4 players rules.

3rd point: I am totally at lost. Can someone point me to the page "spotting" is defined? I've read the growth section (p. 10-11) Tony refers to at least 4 times and still have not encountered anything related to the elusive spotting. Please enlighten my ignorance.

4th point: No answer given by the designer

5th point: Tony admitted it was an oversight.

6th point: I understand Tony's point. Yes of course I can go through the 59 cards listed to try to find a match to the card I'm trying to interpret.

I don't know how to emphasize enough that I enjoy the game and my criticisms are meant in a helpful purpose, for a possible reprint. I may be an under average brain, as a few of you have kindly pointed out, but I meant no disrespect to Tony whatsoever. Finally, my very simple question was answered later by the Truekid in a respectful way, for which I am very grateful.



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Robert Forrest
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fardoche wrote:
4th point: No answer given by the designer


He did give an answer, but he messed up the tags, so it looks like it;s part of your original post that he's quoting, here it is again:

Quote:
The special buildings are on the Reference sheet with everything else.


I demand to know who signed off on Tony's response!
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Robert Forrest
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fardoche wrote:
2nd point: Last page says "for 2-p games, use these changes". I would have maybe potentially, eventually would be foolish enough to expect to see that you only resolve tiles once per two rounds in a 2-p game, contrary to 3 or 4 players rules.


That's not a change in the rules - the rules say:

Quote:
At the end of rounds with a grey space on the round track, there will be a Growth phase.


So it's the same rule, just the spaces are marked at different intervals.
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Robert Forrest
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fardoche wrote:
1st point: I'm refering to overview in the last page. I *think in all modesty, humility and whatever other polite word* it should be there, since 3 of the 4 steps are mentionned, except the moving of the beadle.


The overview is a play sequence, not a complete listing of the rules. The beadle doesn't move every round.
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Seth Jaffee
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Edward J Grug III wrote:
fardoche wrote:
1st point: I'm refering to overview in the last page. I *think in all modesty, humility and whatever other polite word* it should be there, since 3 of the 4 steps are mentionned, except the moving of the beadle.


The overview is a play sequence, not a complete listing of the rules. The beadle doesn't move every round.

In fact, it may move any number of times per round (including zero).

I agree, moving the beadle is something triggered on scoring, so it would not be in a turn overview.
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tonyboydell wrote:

Well, you ARE being a bit rude soblue

The problem is that you look at something long enough and you start getting blind to it.


You just explained why the designer of a game, or anyone close to the design process, usually shouldn't be writing the final draft of a rules book. That intimate knowledge makes it difficult to put yourself in the head of someone who knows nothing about the game.

Producing a poor rules book is unprofessional. Why on earth would it be rude to point this out? Technical writing and editing is a professional skill. "Did you hire a professional to write the final draft of the rules?" is, frankly, a question that should be pointedly asked more often than it is in this industry.

The rules book for Guilds I don't think is terrible, but I also don't think it's particularly good. I was "taught" the game by two different groups, each of which was playing incorrectly due to misunderstanding the rules. That is not the sign of a clear rules book. "All of the information is there" is a poor excuse. It's just as important how the information is organized and communicated. A rules book that makes you work hard to understand the game is not a good rules book.
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Bryan Thunkd
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tonyboydell wrote:
The problem is that you look at something long enough and you start getting blind to it.
That's literally true of every written work ever... books, articles, reports, instruction manuals, etc. And yet, somehow, most written work manage to tackle this problem head on. Hire an editor, pass it on to another set of fresh eyes, draft volunteers from BGG to review it (the most obnoxious people questioning it here are probably the best set of eyes to rip apart any unclear bits!). There's any number of ways you could address this problem. It's not acceptable to say "You know I've looked at it too many times, I can't see the mistakes anymore, print it as is."

More than anything else, the rule book is the game. If you give you a box of components with no rule book, I'll have no idea how to implement the game. If you give me a rule book without components I can probably proxy, replicate or make do well enough to play the game.

Thus it is vitally important that you get the rule book right. If you don't do that you're slacking on the one step that is most important to the game. If a game makes it to market and the buzz is that it is confusing or difficult (or worse that people think it is bad because they misplay it) then you're fighting an uphill battle from the get go. Don't make a great game and then cripple it by making it hard to understand.

Quote:
Walk a mile in our shoes sometime...then you'll be a mile away AND have our shoes too!
Been there, done that. I've edited any number of items over the years. The thing is that while I'd be great at editing the rule book, because I've spent a lot of time learning how to edit written works, I wouldn't be nearly as good at creating a board game. And that's the point here. A game designer should be working out the game, and a professional editor should be editing the rule book. Don't walk the whole mile yourself.

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Clyde W
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Tony wrote the rules, right? I read his blog and they seem to be written in the same voice.
 
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Anthony Boydell
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I drafted the rules and then handed them over for reworking etc; I proofed them for typos etc later
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Alan Paull
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tonyboydell wrote:
I drafted the rules and then handed them over for reworking etc; I proofed them for typos etc later


I was responsible for an earlier version of the rules. That's how we do things at SSG. It's usually me that does the rules for our games, but we generally involve a lot of others in the process, included many other experienced rules writers. As has been pointed out, the final version was the responsibility of TMG. Tony wasn't responsible for the rules .
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