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Subject: General rules comment rss

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I love Galaxy Defenders, but I got it to the table much later than I bought... while the rules themselves were ok, there were too many of them and too many were not intuitive. But I was sure, this time around it will be different... well, not really. The rule book is huge, including rules about quest setup you have close to 60 pages of huge, very hard to hold format... There are many, many small rules that you have to remember and many of them are not intuitive... E.g. save roll, you roll a blue die... and compare it with the character card, so when reading the rules you have no idea how probably the save is. Also, without analysing the die you don't know who is better at saving. And most of the rules are like that, just look at armour rules for defending... I really like the game, but it's a pity it's not streamlined more.
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Vasilis
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I respectfully disagree. "streamlining" almost always means cutting out rules and making the game worse/not-complex-enough/lightweight. We have enough of those already...
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Sebastian Beck
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Bowmangr wrote:
I respectfully disagree. "streamlining" almost always means cutting out rules and making the game worse/not-complex-enough/lightweight. We have enough of those already...


+1 here. I am tired of streamlined mass-market games.
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Stephen Foulk
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The only thing needed is an index, most certainly not a reduction in the level of nuance and complexity. It's already pretty lightweight without being simplistic.
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Scott Cantor
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borsook wrote:
The rule book is huge, including rules about quest setup you have close to 60 pages of huge, very hard to hold format...


It took me one evening to read through it and internalize the important parts so that I could find the details when I needed them (and the reference sheet is well done). I don't think asking me to give up an evening to get into a game of this scope was too much for the designer to expect.
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Poland
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More Mellotron wrote:
borsook wrote:
The rule book is huge, including rules about quest setup you have close to 60 pages of huge, very hard to hold format...


It took me one evening to read through it and internalize the important parts so that I could find the details when I needed them (and the reference sheet is well done). I don't think asking me to give up an evening to get into a game of this scope was too much for the designer to expect.

Well, but is it really a game of this scope? 8 quests, that would take... around an hour each?

As for streamlining - I'm not saying we have to go the route of Conan (although that game has a lot of depth with rules that just make sense and are intuitive, compare how you count the enemies hindering you there vs control and domination here) but it could be a little easier - we have here 2x amount of rules you get in Descent Second edition. Is it really twice as nuanced and deep? I don't think so. This might be good for those who play only one game, but if you invest in more it gets harder to grasp. I don't think we need this much fiddliness. Let's look at defending - you have 3 elements of defence - armour, magical armour (the term may be different, the green shield) and a dice roll. There are effects like lethal that bypass some but not all... This is actually much more complex than GD was - were you just took out energy shields and rolled dice for the rest. I am unsure if the added complexity really makes the game that much better, I think it would be just as fun with 2 and not 3 defence elements.
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Greg
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What S&S really needs is some sort of player aids. Explaining what all the tiny icons mean to each player is really awkward:

"See that triangle thing? That's how many powers you get."
"You mean this one?"
"No, that's how many actions you get."
"Okay how far can I move?"
"It's next to the boot icon."
"There's no boot icon on this gem thingie."
"It's on your hero card."
"It says I need to get a star to make a save? Is that good?"
"Well, it's pretty good but it's easier to get a shield."
"What are the odds of getting a shield?"
".... I can't remember."


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Skaak
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borsook wrote:
Well, but is it really a game of this scope? 8 quests, that would take... around an hour each?


What are you, a board gaming speed runner?
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Flerik Flandeg
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If you were playing with only two heros, were experienced, and had a complete understanding of the rules you might be able to get some of the quests done in an hour. Not including set up or tear down.

I have played three quests (with 4 or 5 heros) and they all took 3 + hours.
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Trent Y.
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Bowmangr wrote:
I respectfully disagree. "streamlining" almost always means cutting out rules and making the game worse/not-complex-enough/lightweight. We have enough of those already...


I respectfully disagree wth your interpretation of streamlining.

More or less rules do not make a game good or worse. This game has a daunting rulebook and plays well. Games like Kemet and Cyclades have rulebook which are less than 10 pages and also play very well. The mechanics of a game can be elegant or ugly.

I find S&S to be a bit ugly in design. There are a lot of rules, exceptions to rules and tokens/effects to keep track of. I suspect that if the designers cut 10 pages from the rules, nobody would have noticed and the game would have still played out very well.

An example of good streamlining is to cut some of the exceptions that a player has to remember. These are small things but if you cut enough of them, the player has less to remember and the game can flow easier as a result. This often is imperceptible when a fresh reading of the rules occurs, but when a game doesn't hit the table as often, re-reading the game rules can be tiring.

In S&S I noticed that some of the 'actions' (not free or combat) are once per activation whereas others are unlimited. However, in the context of play, allowing a player to Search multiple times per activation is nearly pointless (I've not seen a situation where you would need to). So why not having a blanket rule that each action is only allowed once per activation? It's simple, small and would barely affect gameplay. Yes, this is only a tiny change, but that to me is what streamlining is all about. How many rules can you bring 'in-line' with each other to tighten up the game mechanics and have the player have to remember one less thing?

I'm not at all saying that this game is bad or is too much to learn. I'm merely stating that I think there are unnecessary parts to it and it could have been made better to cut some of the fat from the meat.
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Frank Franco
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There are plenty of "streamlined" dungeon crawls out there to bore the shit out of you.
I love the detail S&S brings.
Yes, you could have 'streamlined' the 3 defense types into one, but where is the fun in that? I love the fact I can "see" that it was the magic shield that blocked the projectile attack, and that my armor did nothing to the goblin claws.
No other dungeon crawl has combat which gives you the story of exactly whats happening with each attack that this one does. Conan by comparison is very broad strokes (Conan killed 2 hyenas.)

In short where others see ugly I see beauty. This game doesn't need streamlining.
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Scott Cantor
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borsook wrote:

Well, but is it really a game of this scope? 8 quests, that would take... around an hour each?


That is not even close to accurate, but if it were, there are two side campaigns and the whole of Act II in addition, so yes, it is.
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Alex Russo
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Beckikaze wrote:
Bowmangr wrote:
I respectfully disagree. "streamlining" almost always means cutting out rules and making the game worse/not-complex-enough/lightweight. We have enough of those already...


+1 here. I am tired of streamlined mass-market games.


I disagree with your disagreement. A good game design should not be complex for the sake of being complex, streamlining means improving and removing rules that do not add gameplay elements but just adds inconvenience to players and mechanics that extend the gameplay unnecessarily. I can't think a best example of great streamlined rules as Gloomhaven and Mansion of Madness 2nd edition.

The first has a lot of rules and incredible amount of strategy but it very simple to follow, for examp le the line of sight,the hit and miss system, character progression etc. The second made a game that was awesome but could hardly see the table due to so many fiddly and unnecessary set up steps into one of the easiest and fastest games to teach and set up, maintaining its essence and enjoyment.

Said that I haven't played S&S so can't comment specifically if streamlining the rules would fit the bill
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Steve O'Grady
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My wife and I have played 6 times now. Even when we make the wrong assumptions, we love the detail, and feel it is mostly laid out rather well, despite looking many things up and misinterpreting a few more things. The more we play, the more I read these threads, the more we learn. That statement alone might make a case for too much fiddliness. But IMHO, it is laid out well enough that the answer to most questions are easily found in the rule book within a couple minutes. I think it is detailed enough to create a great story, and I am OK with that. More than OK, we love it, we think it's the best game we got this year, and can't get enough of it. And I'm not an RPGer.
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Vasilis
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Sarimrune wrote:
Bowmangr wrote:
I respectfully disagree. "streamlining" almost always means cutting out rules and making the game worse/not-complex-enough/lightweight. We have enough of those already...


I respectfully disagree wth your interpretation of streamlining.

More or less rules do not make a game good or worse. This game has a daunting rulebook and plays well. Games like Kemet and Cyclades have rulebook which are less than 10 pages and also play very well. The mechanics of a game can be elegant or ugly.

I find S&S to be a bit ugly in design. There are a lot of rules, exceptions to rules and tokens/effects to keep track of. I suspect that if the designers cut 10 pages from the rules, nobody would have noticed and the game would have still played out very well.

An example of good streamlining is to cut some of the exceptions that a player has to remember. These are small things but if you cut enough of them, the player has less to remember and the game can flow easier as a result. This often is imperceptible when a fresh reading of the rules occurs, but when a game doesn't hit the table as often, re-reading the game rules can be tiring.

In S&S I noticed that some of the 'actions' (not free or combat) are once per activation whereas others are unlimited. However, in the context of play, allowing a player to Search multiple times per activation is nearly pointless (I've not seen a situation where you would need to). So why not having a blanket rule that each action is only allowed once per activation? It's simple, small and would barely affect gameplay. Yes, this is only a tiny change, but that to me is what streamlining is all about. How many rules can you bring 'in-line' with each other to tighten up the game mechanics and have the player have to remember one less thing?

I'm not at all saying that this game is bad or is too much to learn. I'm merely stating that I think there are unnecessary parts to it and it could have been made better to cut some of the fat from the meat.


Let me tell you what 'streamlining' did to the video game industry, which is a very good example of 'what to do to make things worse, while supposedly trying to make them better'. Trust me, you don't want the boardgaming industry to follow suit....

When the 'streamlining' started being tossed around as a term, people were indeed happy that their videogames are getting the attention they deserve and automatically assumed that they are going to be better in terms of quality, usability and with interesting new gameplay elements.

What ACTUALLY happened was, every game cut out most of their complex systems, all gameplay elements were reduced to 'press X to win" type of mechanics, the games' difficulty dropped, sharply, to make it more accessible to casual gamers and they all started making the same game with different graphics. That's what 'streamlining' did.

It made the games more accessible but for those who already were gamers and had years of gaming experience, the net result was ridiculously easy games with non-existent gameplay mechanics, which provided no real challenge because everything was made 'oh so easy' to use.

So yes, believe me when I'm saying that having 3 different types of defense in S&S is making me smile, especially when I start to imagine how many different and interesting items I may find while playing the campaign.

Now imagine, if 'streamlined' armor existed that provided a single unified defense bonus, because... 'streamlining'.
You would start the campaign with an Armor +1 and then you would find an Armor +2 and later on you would have an incredible Armor +3. Whoaa! (NOT)

I can go on all day with 'streamlining' mechanics that easily, easily make the game worse. Not to mention how many completely boring 'streamlined' dungeon crawlers are already out there. Can we just leave one out that is not 'streamlined' for a change? Who knows maybe people would actually want to play such a thing?
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Makis Xiroyannis
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As far as I am concerned, I would definitely support a version II kickstarter edition for S&S that brought some more tactical rules into play (eg cover) but I would run away from a version that made it more streamline, in any way.
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David desJardins
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carkara wrote:
I disagree with your disagreement. A good game design should not be complex for the sake of being complex, streamlining means improving and removing rules that do not add gameplay elements but just adds inconvenience to players and mechanics that extend the gameplay unnecessarily.


But you do understand that the things that could be removed to make you enjoy the game more, would make me enjoy it less? His disagreement is valid, because he's expressing what he wants, and it's the opposite of what you want.
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Gene Chiu
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The rules are totally streamlined compared to Dungeons & Dragons. It's what the Dungeons & Dragons board games should have been.
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Gorka Morka
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Stuntman wrote:
The rules are totally streamlined compared to Dungeons & Dragons.


That is soooooo not true that I'm wondering if you even played the D&D board games. S&S has 60 frackin' pages of rules. Wrath of Ashardalon: 16 pages, Legend of Drizzt: 16 pages, Castle Ravenloft: 9 pages. The D&D board games are really light and overly simplified to my tastes. Move to edge of tile - place new tile - spawn monster - kill monster - rinse and repeat.

Stuntman wrote:
It's what the Dungeons & Dragons board games should have been.


Couldn't agree more.
 
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Gene Chiu
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Gorkar wrote:
Stuntman wrote:
The rules are totally streamlined compared to Dungeons & Dragons.


That is soooooo not true that I'm wondering if you even played the D&D board games. S&S has 60 frackin' pages of rules. Wrath of Ashardalon: 16 pages, Legend of Drizzt: 16 pages, Castle Ravenloft: 9 pages. The D&D board games are really light and overly simplified to my tastes. Move to edge of tile - place new tile - spawn monster - kill monster - rinse and repeat.


I meant it is streamlined compared to the D&D RPG, not the boardgames.

I've played the D&D boardgames. S&S helped me recover from the trauma I suffered from playing the D&D boardgames.

Quote:
Stuntman wrote:
It's what the Dungeons & Dragons board games should have been.


Couldn't agree more.
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