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Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer» Forums » General

Subject: Is it just me or are the manual and player aid kind of poor? rss

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Ken Stewart
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I'm happy to say I received this game yesterday and have already broken it out for some solo learning games. However, I'm finding the game really difficult to learn from the manual. It seems information was cut from the manual and pasted onto the player aid, and so I find myself having to go between both of them to figure out what is going on. Plus, there doesn't seem to be enough examples in the rulebook, especially for tank movement and combat. I've learned CoH and CC both from their rulebooks, and I'm surprised how much difficulty I'm having with this.

Is there another way to learn the game thats easier? Maybe a good rules video or player-made rules sheet? Any tips?
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Norman Smith
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I think the game aids are good from the point of view that they pack a lot into them, but perhaps this means they are more friendly for those familiar with the system.

I would not particularly see the game as a system being more difficult than CoH and CC, they are all pretty much in the same ball park and each has some new ideas that are peculiar to their system so I would just persevere and see how you feel a couple of games further on, perhaps doing infantry only scenarios for now.

I put an 'Infantry Primer' up on my blog which may interest you;

LINK
https://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2017/08/band-of-...
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Russ Williams
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Well, the manual isn't as good as Combat Commander, but then almost no manual (except Fighting Formations) is.

I learned BoB fine from the rulebook. And (like most WW2 tactical games) you should learn and play infantry first, to learn the basic concepts and mechanisms, and only then adding guns and tanks later.
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Jon Gautier

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Love the game, but I've had my struggles with the rulebook, which I find poorly organized.
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Ken Stewart
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russ wrote:

I learned BoB fine from the rulebook. And (like most WW2 tactical games) you should learn and play infantry first, to learn the basic concepts and mechanisms, and only then adding guns and tanks later.


Yes, I generally agree with this. Except in BoB, the tanks work very differently than infantry (as they should), and so learning their rules is basically like learning a separate game.

And in regards to the player aid, I think its missing some important information, such as basic procedure for combat and command point abilities. It also is not organized well for someone who is just starting to learn the game.

That all said, I'm liking the system so far. I'm just frustrated how difficult it has been for me to learn.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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The videos posted on Youtube by Harsh rules are great tutorials. Not just for this also for CoH and Combat Commander.
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Rolland Beach
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I have found the rules to be "dense", every sentence is important.

I wonder if not breaking down into 'sub-case' rules was done to save overall page count?
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Quote:
I'm just frustrated how difficult it has been for me to learn.


Help me out as a designer. This reply is not coming from a defensive stand point, I really want to know. I suppose I should first check and make sure that you have version 2.1 of the rules. I ask because I (and others) put a lot of effort in making changes to the rules to make them better for this version. In this version, we clarified specific sections based on questions from the first printing, we added an extended example of play, we added a glossary/index at the back of the book, we organized infantry, guns/vehicles, weapons, and terrain into their own sections of the rule book and put tabs on it, Beresford relentlessly parses wording of individual rules and sends me suggestions and we add them in, etc.

If you want to compare it to CC, the BoB rules are only a little over 5 pages long for infantry only and that gets you started. That is short and not a lot to digest.

I've been told that the rule books for both Space Empires and Talon are great and I wrote those too, so it is not as if I am completely incompetent. Part of me wonders if it is just because some of the concepts in BoB are so different than other tactical games, but I don't want to assume that is the case.

So, I'm open to suggestions. I fully realize that it is not the job of anyone on BGG to do my work for me (by telling me how to improve the rule book), but I'm out of ideas on how to make it better. (so it is not going to get better unless I get those suggestions)

Quote:
It seems information was cut from the manual and pasted onto the player aid, and so I find myself having to go between both of them to figure out what is going on.


The individual modifiers are all on the player aid. Everything else is in the rule book. (So, the Firepower and Range of a Panzerfaust in a particular year is on the PAC, not the Rule Book)

Quote:
And in regards to the player aid, I think its missing some important information, such as basic procedure for combat and command point abilities. It also is not organized well for someone who is just starting to learn the game.


Well, both sides are pretty full. You are right, though, it is not a quick start card and it is not meant for learning the game. It assumes you know that basic turn order, etc.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Thinking out loud here.....maybe adding a "First Game" card would be the answer. I wouldn't want to call it a quick start card because you would still need to read the rules, but it could have stuff on it like the turn order structure, etc.

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I have found the rules to be "dense", every sentence is important.

I wonder if not breaking down into 'sub-case' rules was done to save overall page count?


They are dense - that is definitely my style. I avoid extraneous verbiage when possible because doing so eliminates possible rule exceptions and misunderstandings.

I didn't go with the old SPI way of doing rules (For example: 10.4.21) because I always felt it broke up the flow of logical thoughts. Of course, maybe this is a sign of me being too influenced by eurogames.
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Nathanael Robinson
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I have both Ghost Panzer (v1) and Talon, and the rules for the latter are significantly better. That said, I think that the rules for all my Worthington games are difficult and unforgiving when compared to all my GMT games of similar weights. I feel that I am constantly scanning the instructions for Worthington games to find the one or two words that answer my question, and there seems to be no effort to make it help the players along.

That said, I think dividing the Ghost Panzer rules between infantry and vehicles/guns was terrible. It creates so much more flipping back and forth.

(For the record, I consider Talon to be only slight better than Ghost Panzer, and I love both.)
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Mike Hoyt

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I'm with Jim, interested in specific suggestions. I learned the game from the rulebook with no more than normal effort (and could that be an issue, normal for a wargame is more effort than needed for genres).

One piece of advice, put some counters on the map and try it. You will struggle if you try to absorb everything by just reading and then jump into scenario with both infantry and vehicles. So make up your own, just put a few units on the map and then try attacking them. Try a few tanks vs tanks, maybe 3 on a side. Try the specifically designed introductory scenarios. I think that will make it much eaier to internalize
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Grant Linneberg
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Jim Krohn wrote:


I didn't go with the old SPI way of doing rules (For example: 10.4.21) because I always felt it broke up the flow of logical thoughts. Of course, maybe this is a sign of me being too influenced by eurogames.


I think of that as the old AH way and I miss it. I do find your rules concise, but often when I'm looking for something I have to read whole paragraphs to find something buried in the middle. In the old school way, each rule was a little "10.5.2" nugget. Maybe it's just what you're used to.

I do appreciate the concision and I'm always able to find what i'm looking for. My only gripe is with the fonts on the counters, they drive me crazy. Looks to me like a sort of italicised comic font. Probably marks me as old-fashioned, but I wish they were not in italics. More sedate. I get enough action from the game, I don't need it in the font.
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Neill
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Jim Krohn wrote:

Help me out as a designer. This reply is not coming from a defensive stand point, I really want to know...


Jim, absolutely love the game - it's my first meaty wargame, ticking boxes I didn't even know existed before. Being a wargame newbie (and having no experience in reading these rulebooks) I think that what I found (and still find) is that all of the information is there, but it often takes me a bit of time to flip from page to page and check and recheck rules to make sure that what I'm doing is correct. It's a confidence and a familiarity issue.

The biggest thing that has helped me was that I made a few little flow charts (for infantry, armour, and guns) to guide me through a turn - these tell me what to do and when to do it, simplifying the turn order. That way I know I'm not missing a step out. The sample turns in the rulebook are very good for this too. I'm away from my main computer for a while, or else I'd post them now. The other HUGE help is your presence on BGG - if I ever have a question, chances are you have answered it on a thread here.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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You are not the first to dislike the font and I am sorry about that, but there was a method to my madness.

I have not studied every poster ever made for WW2, but I noticed two types of fonts used most often. One is very blocky, the other (in my mind) reminds me of Komika Axis (it has a similar feel). I didn't like the blocky. When the counter artist suggested using the current font, I had looked at a bunch of posters and it popped. I was so excited at the time. I thought it was perfect.

Both font types can be seen together on these posters:





Personally, I love it, but I realize others do not.

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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Quote:
Jim, absolutely love the game - it's my first meaty wargame, ticking boxes I didn't even know existed before. Being a wargame newbie... The biggest thing that has helped me was that I made a few little flow charts (for infantry, armour, and guns) to guide me through a turn - these tell me what to do and when to do it...


Thanks Neil!

Your post triggered that same thought in me and I went up to check the OP's collection and it is mostly euro also, although he does mention that he learned other wargames right from their rule books. I think that might be the next thing I have to add to the game - a helper sheet for the first couple of games for those coming from different backgrounds. Post what you have when you get a chance and I will think on it some more. No hurry.

Ken, let me know if you think we are on the right track.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Jim Krohn wrote:
You are not the first to dislike the font and I am sorry about that, but there was a method to my madness.

I have not studied every poster ever made for WW2, but I noticed two types of fonts used most often. One is very blocky, the other (in my mind) reminds me of Komika Axis (it has a similar feel). I didn't like the blocky. When the counter artist suggested using the current font, I had looked at a bunch of posters and it popped. I was so excited at the time. I thought it was perfect.

Both font types can be seen together on these posters:





Personally, I love it, but I realize others do not.



I love the fonts..it adds to the periodic feel of the game...
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Ken Stewart
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the response! The next time I try to play through a solo game, I will make some notes and post them in this thread. Really appreciate designers encouraging feedback like this.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Ken, that's appreciated. Like I said, I realize this is not your job to do this for me. Thanks!
 
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Aswin Agastya
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The main issue for me when I learned the game the first time was there are lots of information that are exclusively in the reference sheet, very similar to OPs experience. Would be very helpful if they are also in the rulebook.
 
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Andy Skinner
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My first impression was that it was complicated with lots of rules, both when I did the infantry section and when I first did vehicles.

As I tried them out, however, and things clicked into place, I figured out what was meant, and when you need what. Turns out to be pretty simple.

andy


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Ken Stewart
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OK, here's some feedback from a recent play. This is all my own personal opinion, and I'm just trying to be constructive.

- Command Point uses should be printed on the player aid (this is a major concern, IMO).

- Phases of a turn should be printed on the player aid.

- The Vehicle/Gun Range rules should be in the manual. Its really confusing to see infantry chits with a set range, and then have to hunt on the player aid to find the ranges for vehicles and guns.

- It would be nice to have more examples of play in the manual, especially for vehicle/gun rules.

- Squad movement value should be printed under the "Movement" section in the rules.

- Op Fire marker modifiers should be printed in rules. 0

- The Op Fire and Final Op Fire rules and modifiers should be laid out more clearly on the player aid. A chart explaining the conditions and modifiers would be great.

- Vehicle Op Fire marker rule should be added to player aid (I always forget if it is 1/3 or 1/4 movement points).

- The player aid needs to be formatted a little neater, with more charts if possible. Right now it a big block of bulleted items that is really hard to scan.

- I think vehicle reverse movement should be included in the main rules. It is really important, and doesn't add much complexity.

- It would be great if there was a big chart showing movement, FP, and other values between different types of units. Since infantry, vehicles, and guns are so different, it would be nice to have a reminder of which values are set (infantry movement, WT movement, etc) and which ones are located on the chits.
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Norman Smith
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What you describe is probably going to translate into an extra player aid card, giving everything more room to breathe.

It’s hard to expand the rulebook space for the additional examples without increasing the page count in multiples of 4 pages. Perhaps what is needed is a newbie downloadable PDF that explains the basics in a much more basic way and so it would serve a specific purpose - that would leave the rulebook concise, very readable and OK for people who are up and running with the system. The best of both worlds really, because any player who has been away from the game for a while could hit the download for a crash refresher.

BoB does seem to attract a lot of first time wargamers and so perhaps some special recognition and support of that audience is overdue, where-as anyone coming from the back ground of other tactical games, will find BoB an easy fit.
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Russ Williams
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FWIW the counters' typeface being similar to typefaces on US military posters of the WW2 era makes more sense for the US units in Screaming Eagles than for the German and Soviet counters in Ghost Panzer.

---

PS: I prefer more case-oriented structre in wargame rules. That makes it easier to use the rules as a reference during play. Cf. similar complaints about ASL starter kit rulebooks with their long paragraph approach instead of individual rule cases. I typically find GMT style rules more pleasingly structured than Worthington rules (and thus I have sometimes wished that GMT had published BoB.)


Probably a more extended example of play might help people grok BoB. I found it not very difficult, but there are some unusual concepts, so maybe seeing a complete example turn might help it "click" for many people.
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Jim F
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I think, on the box art, the font is fine. On counters I want clarity above all. It's an age thing with my poor tired eyes and silly vanity in dodging glasses.

I have to say that Jim is one of the nicest and least defensive designers on BGG.

I have heard so many good comments about the BoB series that I have been seriously tempted to get it (again). Probably didn't give it a fair crack first time around.
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Grant Linneberg
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Ashiefan wrote:

I think, on the box art, the font is fine. On counters I want clarity above all. It's an age thing with my poor tired eyes and silly vanity in dodging glasses.

I have to say that Jim is one of the nicest and least defensive designers on BGG.

I have heard so many good comments about the BoB series that I have been seriously tempted to get it (again). Probably didn't give it a fair crack first time around.


+1

Both about the font on the box but emphasising clarity on the counters, and the comment about Jim.
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