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Subject: Are new rules more learnable / playable? rss

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Beorne
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I am one of these considering this game a true gem but too difficult to play cause the not very clear rules. I know that with serious commitment it is playable but I have tried and for me was difficult. The complexity is not a problem but the consistency and completeness and cleaness of the rules are.
Do you think new ruleset is an improvement in playability and learnability?
Thanks.
 
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JP Laurio
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If I am not mistaken, the new rules are already visible here (under Living Rules):

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-322-fields-of-fire-2nd-edition.asp...
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Beorne
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norev wrote:
If I am not mistaken, the new rules are already visible here (under Living Rules):

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-322-fields-of-fire-2nd-edition.asp...


Thanks, someone has already given a look? Impressions?
 
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JP Laurio
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I've started to read them, but as I haven't read the original rules, cannot really compare...
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Holman
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I haven't gone through the new rulebook yet, but I believe I've read that the actual rule changes are very minor. The main differences are revisions for clarity.

The best way to learn FoF has always been to watch the excellent tutorial videos (available on the game's BGG page) and *then* read the rules. It will all make more intuitive sense after you've seen the core concepts demonstrated.

FoF does things so differently that half the battle is letting go of your preconceptions. This is a game, for instance, where you never order your units to fire. They do it on their own (as of course they would at this scale), and you have to order them to stop (even if enemies are no longer visible).
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Beorne
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In fact, I was curious to know if the revisions for clarity are ... "enough".
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chris leko
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This probably won't help, but I've found that if something isn't all that clear and I can't figure it out from the rules, I sort of just rule it how I think it'd work and go with that. Most of the time I try to pick what makes sense within the rest of the rules or is the most "realistic". It made all the little things go smoother and I'm happier when playing.
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Ron Lacock
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Here are two threads which have discussed the impact of the new rules including a poll.

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1756871/2017-rulebook

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1757256/2017-rulebook-r...

I hope this helps.

EDIT: The old rulebook was 44 pages. The new one is 62 pages. Of those 18 new pages 3 of them are for Urban Warfare - completely new content. The other 15 pages are edits and additions that are intended to clarify the rules. A huge effort was undertaken to improve the rule book.

This thread provides some insight into the effort that went into the new rulebook:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1701393/some-news-about...

That being said, it's still a lot of rules in a new system. It is a fairly open ended system. Every single time you play you have a new map and a different set of enemies in different positions. It is an extremely ambitious world to document. All possibilities cannot be covered.

Also the rulebook still lacks a topical index which I think would greatly help a lot of people. The FOF bootcamp web site was designed to help with that issue.

https://sites.google.com/site/fieldsoffirebootcamp/home

My hat is off to Ben for creating such a unique game and Ricky and many volunteers for working on the rule set.
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Dan Keeler
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The short answer is: not really. The new rulebook is longer with more illustrations and some expansion of language, but the additional length is also to accommodate new rules and scenarios as the series looks forward to Vol II. Now that I know the game pretty well, I am actually thankful that the new rulebook is not reorganized. Why? Because so much of the online support available to learning and discussing the rules references paragraph numbers that are still valid under the new rulebook. A reorganized rulebook, frankly, would be disastrous for using the forum questions and answers as a reference. Learning this game is a process that proceeds in the following order:

1. Watch a video playthrough.
2. Look the rulebook and playbook and say "OMG"
3. Watch a video playthrough again
4. Set up scenario 1 without trying to make any smart decisions about organizing your killer company
5. Go the turn sequence summary on the last page (64)
6. Follow it religiously and look up what you need to look up for each step in the turn sequence. Expect to spend much time trying to figure out the meaning of what you are reading. That's OK, because you are getting a solid grounding in where to find things in the charts and rules.
7. Abort the scenario after about 3 turns because you have done SO MANY things wrong...set it up again on the same terrain
8. Watch a video playthrough...you will actually begin to understand what you are watching.
9. Go to step 4 and repeat about 5 times getting a couple of turns further through scenario 1 each time. You will know when you are ready to proceed to scenario 2.
10. Continue to learn new things about the rules as you research and ask questions on the BGG forum. Don't be afraid to reset scenarios from the start. But don't be so obsessive about getting everything exactly right all the way through...that is the unicorn of this game.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan | In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this | Combat Commander series fan | The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me! | Fields of Fire fan
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I have gone through the new rules, have been fairly vocal when offering my constructive criticism of the game over many years, and have been reviewing the new ruleset since mid-playtesting, even though I was not an official play tester for this title (I just have friends who value my feedback).

Quote:
Do you think new ruleset is an improvement in playability and learnability?

Yes. To a fair degree, although I'd argue they are still not as good as they could have been. There has been some decent clarification in the language used, and how things are explained. Most of the errata, odd phrasing, and outlier questions seem to have been addressed in this revision. The charts and tables have been better visually designed to find information more efficiently (I am a UX designer and value that sort of thing), but that hasn't removed any of the chart-laden steps of the game where you need to go back-and-forth and consult six or seven charts to figure out one result. Also ...

My PDF copy of the new rules is well-marked up with many dozens of highlighted lines of text because there are still a fair number of things, seemingly mentioned in one sentence and never again cross-referenced, that you need to catch/remember to play the game as intended. And that ignores all of the rules that have to do with helicopters, Vietnam, etc, since I don't play those theatres.

So to answer the OP, yes and no. Yes more than no. It's still a bear to learn, and I'd follow Dan's outline of steps to learn it, except to add in a few more times where you will repeat step 7.

Quote:
7. Abort the scenario again after about 3 turns because you have done SO MANY things wrong...set it up again on the same terrain

It's a brilliant, but very fiddly game. Do not be shocked if your first complete run-through takes four hours or more.

It is worth it though, the experience is unique in my 45 years of wargaming.
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Christopher Senn
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I started watching a video playthrough on youtube, and in the first few minutes I was thinking WOW this game is BRILLIANT!! Unfortunately the rules got more and more complex and more and more fiddly. And I quickly lost interest.

I was hoping the new edition would cut down on the fiddly mechanics but I read the differences between the versions and its very very minor indeed. I am afraid to say that even those who have more patience than me but still wanted a better rule book or something more streamlined, shouldnt bother waiting for the new edition either.
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JP Laurio
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Note: Someone posted something funny/silly here how he struggled with the game earlier, and I was kind of responding to that, but I see that post is gone now. Well, here's my reply anyway.

---

LOL!

I'm really surprised this game is getting so much heat for it's rules. I really don't think they are that bad. Are they perfect? Far from it, but they're all right. To me the rulebook seems like one written by someone who hasn't written one before (few of us have, and apologies if this isn't the case, no mean to insult). Lot of concepts are thrown in there, but in many places the rules don't really tell you how it all comes together when actually playing.

I started to read the rules few days ago and I'm now finishing my first scenario. I'm sure I've done a lot of mistakes, but I think I now have the basic concept and overall flow of the game pretty much covered. This is how I did it:

1. Downloaded the rulebook.
2. Skimmed the rulebook. "What kind of things are here, where I will find what?"
3. Watched a few turns of few different YouTube playthroughs (especially Mike Whittemore's - thanks Mike!).
4. Read the rulebook how to setup a scenario.
5. Did the setup (on Vassal as I'm on P500 list for the physical copy).
6. Started playing.
7. When I wasn't sure how something is handled, I then read the rules section in question (and in some cases Googled a bit). If I still wasn't sure, I just went with what made sense to me at that moment.

As said, I'm sure I have missed many things and played some things incorrectly, but my intention was to see how this game plays out and I think I have a very good picture of that now. I think after the first scenario I will read through the whole rulebook and see what sort of things I have missed.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Just play and have fun.
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Andrew Kluck
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Beorne wrote:
In fact, I was curious to know if the revisions for clarity are ... "enough".

I've read the original '08 version, V 2.0, and a week ago read the final cut. The latest version is pretty solid, both as a reference and as a teaching guide. I wouldn't say flawless, for instance I would like to know the answer to Juno's question posted 2 days ago, as I think any answer given will conflict with the rules as written. But in the main, yeah, a new person should be able to pick up the rules, learn the thing, and play without the need for 'gut calls'. The current rules weight on BGG is 4.0 which is probably now too high, I suspect frustration with the older editions drove it up.

Will you enjoy it? You liked Up Front which is a great sign. You enjoy and can handle The Republic of Rome, which is WAY more difficult to learn and play. So I would say yes. In case you are not aware, the newest edition will start shipping in mid august, it has the updated cards, units and rules. I'd suggest that copy. If you end up enjoying it FoF is a great value, there is a lot of game in that box.

As for myself, after reading the rules my interest in FoF rekindled and I dusted off my copy and have begun to go through all four campaigns. Even named the main staff and POs. I'm halfway though mission one in France and I don't think my wet-behind-the-ears XO Kerpowski is going to make it, he couldn't find suitable cover in the small village and now he and the Artillery Spotter are taking sniper and mortar fire. Love to help him, but Menich, the CO, has bigger problems.

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Steve
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I just downloaded and read the version on GMT's site now and they are a tremendous improvement.

One part of them that does make them better to learn from is that each section has a little bit of additional verbiage, even a sentence, which explains what the actual action, rule, etc is. That sounds simple but for many sections it wasn't in the old version of the rules. Overall, though, this is still a utterly unconventional game that is hard to learn. So I'd still be wary if you found the other version way too dense to even look at.

On the other hand, the rules are about 10,000 times more comprehensive than the old rules. They closed a ton of loopholes and made many subrules vastly more consistent throughout. I think the new rules are a big success, taken together.
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Andrew Kluck
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Need to read OPs more clearly.

Beorne, you own the game and have read the previous rules and are asking us if you should read the revised rules available online for free to decide if the game is really for you?
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