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Subject: Rules change: previously neutral stacks score when a color is claimed rss

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Buried in some of the discussion elsewhere is a significant change to the rules (according to e-mail reported from the designer).

The rules as written:

Quote:
9/ When a player completes a stack of 5 pieces and the top piece is in a color they have claimed, they must remove the stack and put it on their side of the board, at all times visible for their opponent. A removed stack is worth one point at the end of the game.
10/ When a player completes a stack of 5 pieces with a neutral color on top, then the stack remains on the board as an obstacle. This stack does not count as a point for any of the players.

This has now changed to:

Quote:
Completed stacks of 5 are removed when completed if their top piece has been claimed by a player. Otherwise they remain on the board as an obstacle until their top piece's color is claimed, at which point the claiming player removes the stack. Removed stacks must be kept visible score one point for the removing player.
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jbrier
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Not a rule change at all; simply a rules clarification by the designer.

Why be pedantic when the designer has made his intent clear?
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Russ Williams
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verandi wrote:

Not a rule change at all; simply a rules clarification by the designer.

Why be pedantic when the designer has made his intent clear?

It is a rule change. The original rule says only that you can remove a stack when you complete it. There is no mention of any way to remove an already completed stack at some other later time. Attempting to remove an already completed stack later is not allowed by the rules as written. And indeed, the rules even explicitly say that such a stack "remains on the board as an obstacle. This stack does not count as a point for any of the players."

The fact that the designer has made their intent clear (yay!) does not somehow nullify that the rules as written did not reflect their intent.
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verandi wrote:
Not a rule change at all; simply a rules clarification by the designer.

I mean a rule change in the sense that it's not what the written rules say. It may have been the original intent, of course.

verandi wrote:
Why be pedantic when the designer has made his intent clear?

Look up "pedantic". And yes: intent (not rules).
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Angelo Wentzler
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Calling this a rules change is misleading and I wish people were less dramatic about it. It's a clarification. It's not a given to interpret rules as written regardless of intent. If that were the case EVERYONE would hate Panama, not just me.

I'm one of the people who tested this game with Kris over the course of more than three years. There have been subtle changes during that period but it was always clear that stacks of 5 could only remain on the board as long as they were neutral. This is essential for the way it changes your lyngk options. A stack of 5 in your color is a strong nexus, which can't be taken away from you. Having to remove such a stack usually means weakening your position. This is a recurring theme in his games. I norder to score points you also weaken yourself (compare recycling in Gipf, and removing a ring in Yinsh).

For 'sudden death' variant (stacks of six) a lot of thought went into whether stacks of 5 would still be removed or not, considering how much harder it would make reaching 6. All this is moot though since it didn't become the main variant.

There was one thing about this that was never explicitly discussed (and it's technically still up for grabs) - whether such a stack is removed as soon as you claim a color, or only after you complete the whole turn in which you claim the color. (This is important for the lyngk rule.) Considering how we tested and discussed the meaning of claiming a color, I am pretty confident you're supposed to remove as soon as you claim.

TLDR: it was always supposed to work this way - if you want to consider this a rules change be aware you are probably in the minority.
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Dave Dyer
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Aldaron wrote:
Buried in some of the discussion elsewhere is a significant change to the rules (according to e-mail reported from the designer).


Where is this other discussion?
 
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nushae wrote:
Calling this a rules change is misleading and I wish people were less dramatic about it.

Wow I'm surprised this touched such a nerve.

nushae wrote:
TLDR: it was always supposed to work this way - if you want to consider this a rules change be aware you are probably in the minority.

Minority or not, it's the case: the rules as intended are not the rules as written. If it was always supposed to work this way (and no one is disputing that), then the rules are just written badly. Why is that so hard to face?
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Dave Dyer
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There's an interesting twist if the rules were
misinterpreted to imply that stacks of 5 on the board
remain there forever:

Once a player had claimed 2 stacks, he could switch to
making stacks of 5 of the remaining neutral colors, knowing
that they would never score for his opponent.
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Angelo Wentzler
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Aldaron wrote:
Minority or not, it's the case: the rules as intended are not the rules as written. If it was always supposed to work this way (and no one is disputing that), then the rules are just written badly. Why is that so hard to face?


I take objection to only one thing. The way you keep stating this like its a fact. Your interpretation is still just that: an interpretation. Most people would be humble enough to at LEAST say that. "I intepret it this way". But nope. "They are not the rules as written". I applaud your confidence but it's not really promoting a healthy discussion.
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nushae wrote:
Aldaron wrote:
Minority or not, it's the case: the rules as intended are not the rules as written. If it was always supposed to work this way (and no one is disputing that), then the rules are just written badly. Why is that so hard to face?

I take objection to only one thing. The way you keep stating this like its a fact. Your interpretation is still just that: an interpretation. Most people would be humble enough to at LEAST say that. "I intepret it this way". But nope. "They are not the rules as written". I applaud your confidence but it's not really promoting a healthy discussion.

It is a fact that the rules as intended are not the rules as written. That's clear from the words on the page. It's a bit bizarre to dispute that. There's simply no way whatsoever to get to the behavior that was (as you say) intended from the words on the page. Walk though the relevant scenarios and you'll see you can't get from those written rules to the intended ones.

I'd agree though that the word "change" may be upsetting (though I'm surprised how much). I just meant "change from what's written". In doing so I had no way of knowing that it was not a change from what was always intended. Given that knowledge "correction" might be better (but — sorry — certainly not "clarification").
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Jeff M
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Just looks to me like the usual "game publisher/designer did not adequately read the rules that where finally released with the game to be sure they were "correct"-an issue that is so damn prevalent and irritating. I feel for those who do not habituate game forums and won't know that the rules as written are incorrect
Is editing really a lost art?

Along the same lines, I wish more game designers would play test their games by giving them to non game players who know nothing of the game and telling them to read the rules and just go at WITHOUT ANY HELP, then see where the confusion lies/rules were incorrectly written.
Correct any rule errors. Clarify any confusing rules. Then rinse and repeat. Still have issues? Keep at it till there aren't any more.
Can that really be so impossible?

nushae wrote:


There was one thing about this that was never explicitly discussed (and it's technically still up for grabs) - whether such a stack is removed as soon as you claim a color, or only after you complete the whole turn in which you claim the color. (This is important for the lyngk rule.) ....


So it is not addressed/clarified in the written rules...just left up to the players? Sigh.

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Angelo Wentzler
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Lowden025 wrote:
Just looks to me like the usual "game publisher/designer did not adequately read the rules that where finally released with the game to be sure they were "correct"-an issue that is so damn prevalent and irritating. I feel for those who do not habituate game forums and won't know that the rules as written are incorrect
Is editing really a lost art?


You would be surprised. Kris goes to great lengths to be as clear as possible. I personally think that sometimes this has an adverse effect - if the rules are very specific, so specific that they sometimes even state the obvious, an omission becomes extra glaring.

It is also a matter of taste, to some extent. I have on occasion suggested different wordings for rules and so have other people in his circle of testers, I'm sure. He does not always use these suggestions and that is his good right, it is his game after all. But if it makes the rules clearer he usually does. We just don't always agree on when the rules are made clearer.

As you already point out this is in part because we all have the same failing: because we test we know the rules. We caught a lot but two questions appear to have snuck through - can you claim colors after no more moves are possible (no, you can't) and what happens to neutral stacks once that color is claimed (they are removed at that point). A situation has to come up though for it to even lead to a rules question. The former is an example of a situation that simply never came up and is therefore not explicitly addressed in the rules - I would be very interested in situations where optimal play would lead you to never claim color(s). The latter did come up but we never even wondered about what happened, and I never missed it in the rules.

'Virgin' players might have asked about that... IF it had come up with them. Players rarely imagine all sorts of stuations just based on reading the rules, that is very much a bgg thing. (The question arises how many 'players without forum access' will actually stumble over this.)

From my perspective we did a pretty good job because I know how much WAS improved about the rules. I do feel bad about it because I'm a perfectionist.

Lowden025 wrote:
Along the same lines, I wish more game designers would play test their games by giving them to non game players who know nothing of the game and telling them to read the rules and just go at WITHOUT ANY HELP, then see where the confusion lies/rules were incorrectly written.
Correct any rule errors. Clarify any confusing rules. Then rinse and repeat. Still have issues? Keep at it till there aren't any more.
Can that really be so impossible?


Yes, I agree. It is however not as easy as you think. First of all Don & Co is not a big company with a big budget so it can't do the sort of consumer testing the big companies do. The sort of testing you suggest pretty quickly burns through 'virgin' players - you can;t retest with the same group, after all. So where Kris can send me a prototype or invite me over to test, and then later let me run more tests with my gamer friends, which is cheap, finding people with no prior knowledge of the game (or even much gaming experience) again and again is not as easy. Odds are they won't test for free either. This is a real practical problem for small companies.

Second, even if you got there, specification is hard but so is intepretative reading. You need to be able to tell the difference between someone who just doesn't get it and poorly written rules. And the closer you get to 'perfect' rules the greyer that area becomes. In the end it's STILL a judgement call. (And again, it has to come up to even be caught.)

Third, there is such a thing as learning profiles. Not everyone wants to have the same information presented in the same way / order. Some want to integrate details into a whole, some want to start with a bird's eye view and then descend into detail. Some want examples, some don't. Your test group needs to include all of them and you need to recognise which questions arise from a 'profile mismatch'.

So please don't think we treat this casually, we don't. We do the best we can.

Lowden025 wrote:
nushae wrote:

There was one thing about this that was never explicitly discussed (and it's technically still up for grabs) - whether such a stack is removed as soon as you claim a color, or only after you complete the whole turn in which you claim the color. (This is important for the lyngk rule.) ....


So it is not addressed/clarified in the written rules...just left up to the players? Sigh.



Obviously it was not addressed because the case that leads to the question (neutral 5-stacks becoming claimed) was not addressed either.

Kris has responded by the way: you remove the newly claimed 5-stack before making your stacking move.

A full turn is then:

1. Optionally claim a color
2. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
3. Make a stacking move
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nushae wrote:
....

(Avoided quoting your whole reply to save space.)

Well, bottom line is game producers are in a business. They are exchanging a product for money.
Well intentioned though they may be, problems with a games rules are just that. Despite excuses, there are improvements that can be made in the process. Perhaps in this situation realizing that the game designer's strengths do not include writing rules and calling in somebody who has more of a talent in that direction.
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nushae wrote:
A full turn is then:

1. Optionally claim a color
2. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
3. Make a stacking move

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nushae wrote:
Kris has responded by the way: you remove the newly claimed 5-stack before making your stacking move.
A full turn is then:

1. Optionally claim a color
2. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
3. Make a stacking move

Is that right? Was Kris's response meant to replace the existing rule, or just describe how stacks already on the board are handled? Does a stack made in 3 stay until my next 2? (If so then we can at least all agree that is a rules change!)
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Aldaron wrote:
nushae wrote:
Kris has responded by the way: you remove the newly claimed 5-stack before making your stacking move.
A full turn is then:

1. Optionally claim a color
2. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
3. Make a stacking move

Is that right? Was Kris's response meant to replace the existing rule, or just describe how stacks already on the board are handled? Does a stack made in 3 stay until my next 2? (If so then we can at least all agree that is a rules change!)

I supposed that step 2 is the new additional info and means "Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours as a result of step 1", while step 3 means "make a stacking move as usual" - i.e. step 3 already includes claiming any stacks (of your already claimed color) which were created (more typically) by doing your stacking move.
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russ wrote:
I supposed that step 2 is the new additional info and means "Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours as a result of step 1", while step 3 means "make a stacking move as usual" - i.e. step 3 already includes claiming any stacks (of your already claimed color) which were created (more typically) by doing your stacking move.

Probably.
 
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Aldaron wrote:
russ wrote:
I supposed that step 2 is the new additional info and means "Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours as a result of step 1", while step 3 means "make a stacking move as usual" - i.e. step 3 already includes claiming any stacks (of your already claimed color) which were created (more typically) by doing your stacking move.

Probably.


The numbering should be. Because this is how you play.

1. Optionally claim a color
1a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
2. Make a stacking move
2a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours

 
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jmathias wrote:
The numbering should be. Because this is how you play.

1. Optionally claim a color
1a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
2. Make a stacking move
2a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours

So the complete rule and full replacement for both 9 and 10 is as suggested at the top of the thread.
 
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Aldaron wrote:
jmathias wrote:
The numbering should be. Because this is how you play.

1. Optionally claim a color
1a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours
2. Make a stacking move
2a. Remove any 5-stacks that are now yours

So the complete rule and full replacement for both 9 and 10 is as suggested at the top of the thread.


I'm not aware of any rules changes, I am aware of a rules clarification. Do you work for Huch and Friends? Do you have some inside information that is not available in this thread or the Rulebook as printed?

The list I provided is how I understood the rules to work, and how I have been playing the game since I imported it.
 
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jmathias wrote:
I'm not aware of any rules changes, I am aware of a rules clarification. ... Do you have some inside information that is not available in this thread or the Rulebook as printed?

No "inside information" is required. The corrections above (which you repeat) are sufficient. These are not in the printed rules (regardless of how you play the game or what the intent was).
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Aldaron wrote:
jmathias wrote:
I'm not aware of any rules changes, I am aware of a rules clarification. ... Do you have some inside information that is not available in this thread or the Rulebook as printed?

No "inside information" is required. The corrections above (which you repeat) are sufficient. These are not in the printed rules (regardless of how you play the game or what the intent was).


OK, cool. You are free to play the game you bought however you like. But if you have complaints about the rules, I think contacting Huch and Friends directly would be the most productive, they are super nice and responsive.
 
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I wonder which LANGUAGE version of the rules is considered
the official version, and how much this nittering is due to
translation and/or English as a second language issues.

 
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jmathias wrote:
OK, cool. You are free to play the game you bought however you like. But if you have complaints about the rules, I think contacting Huch and Friends directly would be the most productive, they are super nice and responsive.

I'm not sure what your point is. I was just letting people know that the rules as written had been changed. People will have played the game however they interpret those rules; but it helps if the rules are written to reflect the intent. Someone else contacted the designer already, so I'm not sure why you think I should contact the publisher.

And in any case, I can't see what bearing how I play the game or who I contact has on the discrepancy between the written rules and the designers intent, which is what this thread is about.
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Ryan Davis
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I would like to thank Aldaron for pointing out this rules change. I played for the first time last night, with another brand new player. We specifically wondered what happens if we claim a color with a stack already on the board. I looked in the rules. We found the answer--that it stays on the board.
I like the rules change and will happily use it from here on out.

Ryan
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