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Subject: A thought about rulebook rss

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Paulo Santoro
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This is just a simple comment. It is not intend to criticize anyone or any game.

I was just beginning to read the rulebook of Yokohama and saw this:
"Money can be made into change at any time."

It's funny. Would you think you could see this kind of remark in a rulebook 10 years ago? Of course money can be made into change at any time. Why not?

Then, there are games where you are forbidden to get change in some cases. But this is clearly stated in this games. This is the odd case!

But a board game culture is emerging in such a way that designers are feeling the need to tell the obvious in order to not mess the players' heads.

We found rules questions in BGGs forum where the user clearly read more than the rules say. They say "I am playing this way" and you can't find one single word in the rulebook that could imply that move. He just borrow that for another game he knows and took it for granted. I saw this today about Splendor. It's amazing the way that guy was playing! A game so simple with a rulebook so clear and straightforward!

But that's it. Designers will feel even more the need to over describe things to be understood.
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JPotter
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"1.0.0.1a. Units of currency may be exchanged for smaller units of currency at any time, provided the sum of units given and the sum of units received are of equal value."

Avalon Hill rides again!
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Paulo Santoro
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aesthetocyst wrote:
"1.0.0.1a. Units of currency may be exchanged for smaller units of currency at any time, provided the sum of units given and the sum of units received are of equal value."

Avalon Hill rides again!


 
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Hilko Drude
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I have demoed games in Essen for many year. Believe me, there is absolutely nothing in the world that is obvious to everyone. While you might blame stupidity for some of it, it's mostly just lack of experience. On top of which, people come from different cultures and backgrounds, and the different experience can be due to that. Take a simple example:

Beginning with the starting player, gameplay proceeds in clockwise order.

That might seem obvious to many, many people, but certainly not to everyone at all.

In your example, you mention what's normal and what's the exception. Hardly obvious for someone who has only played two different games in their lives, one "normal" and one "exceptional"...
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J C Lawrence
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HilkMAN wrote:
Beginning with the starting player, gameplay proceeds in clovkwise order.


Well, unless you are Chinese...in which case gameplay often proceeds widdershins.
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Hilko Drude
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clearclaw wrote:
HilkMAN wrote:
Beginning with the starting player, gameplay proceeds in clovkwise order.


Well, unless you are Chinese...in which case gameplay often proceeds widdershins.


Or Swiss. Or someone from one of a bunch of other places. Exactly what I was trying to say. Yokohama is from Japan, after all.
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J J
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Never, ever assume that anything is obvious to anyone, and always spell everything out explicitly in your rulebook.
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Tomello Visello
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PauloSantoro wrote:
We found rules questions in BGGs forum where the user clearly read more than the rules say. They say "I am playing this way" and you can't find one single word in the rulebook that could imply that move. He just borrow that for another game he knows and took it for granted. I saw this today about Splendor. It's amazing the way that guy was playing! A game so simple with a rulebook so clear and straightforward!

Yes, reading the rules forums as you have done should demonstrate that no rulebook is ever complete enough to protect against some people.

Interestingly, attempting to be more complete might even then turn out to create confusion among others.

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Tomello Visello
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PauloSantoro wrote:
But a board game culture is emerging in such a way that designers are feeling the need to tell the obvious in order to not mess the players' heads.

GeekGold for that plural possessive apostrophe.

(although I now find I added it to the wrong post)
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There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
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Hilko Drude
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I once played a hand of Tichu with two active wishes. In one game, someone had played the One fairly late in the game and wished for something, but it turned out that all four of those cards had been played already. The group I played with (experienced Tichu players) pointed out that the rules didn't say that a wish is forfeit when a hand is finished, so it was carried over to the next hand, with priority over the new wish. That was weird, but kind of fun, too.
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Brendan Riley
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
whistle


This is the key point -- usually you *can't* do something in a game unless it says that you *can.* But as the OP points out, you often bump up against assumptions of what you can and can't do beyond the edges of the rules.

Example: in the trading segment of Bohnanza, you definitely CAN give the trader cards, and they can give you cards, and you MUST plant these immediately. When I was being taught the game (a couple weeks ago) we had a situation in which one player had a card to give but would not be receiving any cards in exchange. The giver said to the recipient "keep me in mind later," implying that a later trade would be a nice exchange for the card being given now.

In our recent game, I said to a player, in response for a potential gift card, that I would trade for any future copies of a certain card they could give me until I harvested that field. One of the other players objected to future trades.

The rulebook didn't say anything about making deals one way or another -- I assumed it was allowed, as such deals are often part of trading games. I suggested that we should follow the rules from Sheriff of Nottingham (and many other games) that any future promises need not necessarily be honored (as the rules didn't legislate that one way or another).

TL;DR - the question of making change is an interesting one, which some games explicitly disallow (Alhambra is one significant example). For myself, I would assume change is usually allowed unless the rules explicitly disallow it, especially if the money is open.

SECOND THOUGHT (whew, this is a long post!)
As a college instructor, I have a section of my syllabus that I think of as my boilerplate. It has a variety of rules about classroom decorum, such as asking people not to use cellphones during class, etc. Nearly every professor I know has a section in their syllabus like this, often sprinkled with idiosyncratic rules gained from experience. One person might disallow chewing gum because of a particularly annoying gum-smacker, others might be especially vicious about tardiness or laptops in class. I think rulebooks reflect similar issues from playtesting -- either some rule exists to correct an error that emerged in playtesting, or to clarify something that got asked during a playtest.
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Russ Williams
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
whistle


Also: The rules don't say that you can't win by simply declaring yourself the winner before anyone else does!
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Tomello Visello
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
:whistle:

I like to suggest this important moderating principle to keep in mind for all rules interpretation,

What is not stated in the rules is just as important as what is.


(which can work both ways - either inclusion or exclusion)
 
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P. Biensan
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Rule of thumb: if you feel the need to explicitely state that something is "obvious" or "common sense", it's not.
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killerjoe1962 wrote:
There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
whistle


I can understand his point here. Throughout history nations have moved the capital city to a different location.
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Bryan Thunkd
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russ wrote:
killerjoe1962 wrote:
There is a discussion over at Risk: Europe where a guy said the rules didn't say you couldn't move your castle from one area to another.....I said the rule book didn't say I couldn't use Disenchant or any card from Magic: The Gathering either.
whistle


Also: The rules don't say that you can't win by simply declaring yourself the winner before anyone else does!
True. But I tend to prefer pointing out that the rules don't say I can't smack obnoxious players upside the head. People will just ignore you when you threaten to claim your win. They're more likely to rethink their stance if they believe I'll follow through with my threat.
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TO me, the following are implied unless explicitly stated otherwise:

-no cheating
One game did state if you underpay but no one caught you, then you're fine!

-play goes clockwise
-person with the highest score wins
-if there's a tie, all those tied are winners
... or hold hands, skip down the sidewalk, and rejoice in their shared victory as some rulebooks like to elaborate into

-you can make change

-no skipping turns

-rolling a die means making it random enough
as opposed to dropping it from 1 inch above the table

-"he" can also refer to female players, or characters in the game

-DESPITE THAT OTHER THREAD GOING ON, I will count shuffling 1 card as a fulfilling that requirement!
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Pete
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clearclaw wrote:
HilkMAN wrote:
Beginning with the starting player, gameplay proceeds in clovkwise order.


Well, unless you are Chinese...in which case gameplay often proceeds widdershins.
I don't know if I can speak for all Greeks, but every one I've met plays card games in counterclockwise order.

Pete (finds it confusing at times)
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Bill Cook
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ackmondual wrote:
-play goes clockwise


Unless you are in Australia or New Zealand where everything is backwards

Anyway, the two-rulebook solution seems to work well for these issues. You have one rulebook that lays everything out in a clear readable fashion, then a second document/FAQ/etc. that clarifies all possible exceptions and questions that could come up.
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aesthetocyst wrote:
"1.0.0.1a. Units of currency may be exchanged for smaller units of currency at any time, provided the sum of units given and the sum of units received are of equal value."

Avalon Hill rides again!


I still really like (most of) my AH games.
They always manage to over explain some situations and under explain others.
Never really could find that balance.
 
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Timmo Warner
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I believe a well written rulebook will tell you everything you are allowed to do in play.

If it does not say (or through logic, imply) that you can do something, then you cannot.

If a situation comes up that is still ambiguous, time to ask for clarification, or make a house ruling.
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Anon Y. Mous
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https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/104676/rules-should-be-ev...
 
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Eric Brosius
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HilkMAN wrote:
Beginning with the starting player, gameplay proceeds in clockwise order.

Clockwise as you look down on the table from above, that is. If you lie on the floor under the table and look up, play proceeds counter-clockwise.

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Olli Juhala
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Just look at any Rules-subforum on this site - there are endless threads on questions that were thought obvious by the rulebook writer.
 
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