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Subject: Do you STRUGGLE with reading rules as much as I do? rss

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Kasia Potocka
Austria
Vienna
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Because I just saw the thread about "loving to read rules" (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1678231/do-any-you-love-rea...), I wanted to share my personal opinion on that topic :-)

Do you struggle with game setup and game rules as much as we do?

We, my boyfriend and I, have a nice game collection of around 80 games. We do play games often, but it is very common that we haven't played a specific game for several months.

When we then come back to a game, then we try to remember the rules and the setup and this really takes some time out of the precious play time.

But it’s not only when coming back to games we haven’t played for a while. Of course it happens more often after unboxing a totally new game. A game that you bought and want to start playing immediately. But wait, you still have to make your way through the not so short rulebook.

And although it seems like there are board gamers who LOVE to read rules, you can definitely put us — and most of our friends — into the other drawer. And by that I mean that when it comes to reading rules of a new game, most of us tend to prefer to clean the kitchen before reading the rules.

We have been wondering for a while how we can make this "re-learning" or "starting to play" period shorter. We are always searching for good cheatsheets, but in most cases they do not exist or are often as complicated as the rulebooks.

So we started to build a simple app that helps us to get into the game more quickly and explains the rules while you are setting up the game and starting to play the first rounds.

We would love to get your feedback on the idea and on our landing page for this project: http://turnbyturn.guide/

And btw.: how do you solve this issue yourself?
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Re: Do you HATE reading rules as much as I do?
Nope. I don't love it but I don't hate it.

Although I wish I could CTRL+F my way through it when I'm looking for a specific point and no summary exists, or the information is spread in a way that you cannot easily find it.
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Kasia Potocka
Austria
Vienna
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Re: Do you HATE reading rules as much as I do?
yeah hate may be a little strong ;-)

+1 for CMD+F (obviously I‘m a Mac user ;-)) - that would be reeeeaaaally helpful.
 
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Monica Elida Forssell
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Re: Do you HATE reading rules as much as I do?
I don`t hate it, I just generally suck at it, so I am always hoping that someone else can teach me the games. Then if I should teach someone else, I can use the rulebook just to reassure myself of the rules I remember.
 
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Ian Williams
Wales
Ammanford
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Re: Do you HATE reading rules as much as I do?
My girlfriend can't stand it. Utterly unable to learn rules that way. Luckily I seem to learn better from reading, so it all balances out.
 
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Kasia Potocka
Austria
Vienna
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changed the HATE to STRUGGLE because probably it fits better the point I wanted to make ;-)
 
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Chris Olsen
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pull up rulebooks online and read them when you have free time
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Kasia Potocka
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Vienna
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It’s always good to have someone who is willing to read the rules, but still it is not the favourite part of playing a board game from none of us ;-(
 
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Kasia Potocka
Austria
Vienna
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but it’s still reading them …
 
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"Arrange whatever pieces come your way." Virginia Woolf
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In short, no. I love it. I often read rules for games I know won't play just to understand any new game mechanics. I use this to inform the videos I make.
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John
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Re: Do you HATE reading rules as much as I do?
I don't like it if I realise that I need to look something up when I want to start the game (like how many cards everyone starts with). I really should stick setup info to the inside of boxes for some games. (Though I mostly solve this problem by playing games I can remember the rules to, and by trying to remember the rules to games when I have nothing else to do...)

I don't mind reading the rules for a new game - there's usually some opportunity to read the rules before I have an opportunity to play the game.
 
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Hilde Vandierendonck
Belgium
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I always try to watch a video before I begin to read the rules. That makes it a lot easier.
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Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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Nope.
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Shirley Sheak
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I'm a fast learner in life & skills, but unfortunately that trait of mine doesn't apply on reading rules... I'd need to demo the game to myself once with the rulebook until I am confident to teach.

After years of gaming, the rules seems easier to digest if I've played a similar game before. Like Hilde said, watching a video before hand would let things make sense.

I'm also the person who is responsible to teach most of the games so yeah, experience forced me to become better in learning a new game.

That said, although I am always excited to learn a new game, I do particularly despise poorly written rule book as in life is not hard enough already that we needed that challenge every time we want to re-visit a game. So yes, I do struggle with rulebook that apparently weren't written for human to read.
 
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suPUR DUEper
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One thing you might try is to subdivide the collection a bit. For, say, the next 4 months only play 5 games.... That will keep the rules fresh (and will probably up your proficiency in said game
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Sean R
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Elida wrote:
I don`t hate it, I just generally suck at it, so I am always hoping that someone else can teach me the games. Then if I should teach someone else, I can use the rulebook just to reassure myself of the rules I remember.


This exactly. Granted I am in charge of most game nights and have the most games. I use youtube or here to get an understanding and then go to the rules. They seem to make sense after I have an idea on how it works.
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Karan R
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I like reading rules
Except if they are as opaque as the old avalon hill wargames rulebooks
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Osiris Saline
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I love reading instructions for a game I'm looking forward to, but I do teach rules when possible.

I despise reading instructions for games when they've been penned by the designer though, professional documenters (I have forgotten the correct term) who translate the appropriate information so it can be understood by people not already aware of the specific game are really important, and not enough companies hire those valuable people.

Considering how many awesome FAQs/cheat sheets exist on BGG from hardcore players it's not a big deal, but if instructions were well written, I bet many of us would roll our eyes less at awkward Fantasy Flight driven confusion!
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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geekishgirl wrote:
We have been wondering for a while how we can make this "re-learning" or "starting to play" period shorter. We are always searching for good cheatsheets, but in most cases they do not exist or are often as complicated as the rulebooks.

Surely you must agree that once the rules are in your head and you're playing the game in most cases really isn't that difficult. So what is it that bugs you about the process?
 
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Ess Why
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I wonder if this is partly a function of how well or poorly some rulebooks are written and designed.

Some rulebooks are a pleasure to go through - chock full of examples along with pictures. Some are not.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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OsirisSaline wrote:
Considering how many awesome FAQs/cheat sheets exist on BGG from hardcore players it's not a big deal, but if instructions were well written, I bet many of us would roll our eyes less at awkward Fantasy Flight driven confusion!

You'd be surprised at the impossibility of creating 'well-written' instructions. What is usually implied is that the kind of 'well-written' instruction person A favours ought to be the standard for everyone. But it doesn't work that way. If you spell out everything, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who feel mollycoddled, and annoyed at having to wade through tons of text just to find a particular use case. If you spell out everything minimally-exact, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who see rules holes in every sentence. If you try to be stylistically correct by not repeating the same words over and over again, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who insist you be precise and use those exact same words over and over again. You can't win. Believe me, I've been there.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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esswhy wrote:
Some rulebooks are a pleasure to go through - chock full of examples along with pictures.

Which I personally find bloody annoying because it causes book bloat, and serves no purpose because most information will be ignored after most of the rules are internalised. The worst offender in this regard is Russian Railroads. 24 pages for a game which struggles to fill half that amount. If the intent is to be that comprehensive, a video is a much better option.
 
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jamie scott
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Much prefer watching someone on youtube playthrough the game.
Most games are ok to pick up but some are just confusing as hell.
 
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Osiris Saline
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cymric wrote:
OsirisSaline wrote:
Considering how many awesome FAQs/cheat sheets exist on BGG from hardcore players it's not a big deal, but if instructions were well written, I bet many of us would roll our eyes less at awkward Fantasy Flight driven confusion!

You'd be surprised at the impossibility of creating 'well-written' instructions. What is usually implied is that the kind of 'well-written' instruction person A favours ought to be the standard for everyone. But it doesn't work that way. If you spell out everything, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who feel mollycoddled, and annoyed at having to wade through tons of text just to find a particular use case. If you spell out everything minimally-exact, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who see rules holes in every sentence. If you try to be stylistically correct by not repeating the same words over and over again, you will cause exasperated sighs from those who insist you be precise and use those exact same words over and over again. You can't win. Believe me, I've been there.


Oh, good instructions won't do that, people whose job it is to create documents for instructions are paid well to make sure every necessary bit of information is conveyed in an appropriate and timely manner. It's just unfortunate that developers are often left to deal with instructions without the appropriate skill set to convey things in the best way possible to the public who won't have touched your game before.

I mean, I agree, there's nothing worse than having a long drawn out set of instructions, but good instructions will generally be concise, structured to educate, and without multitudes of conflicting information going on at the same time.

Unfortunately, as most rules threads show, most board game instructions are pretty bad at this. Not every game, but definitely the majority.
 
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Jason Brown
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dierenh wrote:
I always try to watch a video before I begin to read the rules. That makes it a lot easier.

I do the same thing. I find it much simpler to grok if I'm familiar with how the game flows before I read the rules. I like Jon Gets Games or Rahdo as they explain their thought process behind their decisions.
 
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