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Subject: The Trickday King - request for feedback on rulebook rss

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Leon Kerkhoff
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Hi all,

I have posted the gamefiles for the Trickday King in the ´seeking playtesters´ forum and updated the thread in the WIP forum. However, above all I would very much like for someone to check the rulebook and give me feedback on its content.

Here is the pdf:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W9_-yszQVA9OANELF3kgDwYcE6o...

Talia,
Leon
 
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Pepijn van Loon
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On page 5, you mention a Bluff card. Is this the same as the Cheat card?

Do cards have special abilities or just numbers?

You might want to add a 2 player variant (with only 2 of the races) to make it easier to get the game to the table.
 
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Leon Kerkhoff
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Oloring wrote:
On page 5, you mention a Bluff card. Is this the same as the Cheat card?

It is the same. I changed the name recently and overlooked this one. I will correct it pronto.

Oloring wrote:
Do cards have special abilities or just numbers?

For now, just numbers. I consider this to be the base game and am working on an expansion, with which players can add special abilities to their cards. This is a very daunting task to balance and it will take a long time, I think. But it´s good that you mention it because I think I will add a sample of some special abilities to the ´seeking playtesters´ thread.

Oloring wrote:
You might want to add a 2 player variant (with only 2 of the races) to make it easier to get the game to the table.
I have thought about this conceptually but have not tested it yet. Maybe I should prioritize this over the special abilities.

Dank je wel voor je reactie!
 
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Fertessa
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The Trickday King Rules Notes:

PG 01


I would recommend left-aligning the content on this page. It starts out okay because the title and objectives spread the width of the page, but when you get down to the index, it looks a little sloppy to have the numbers misaligned due to being centered. If you really want to keep it centered, I would at least have the numbered index items be left-aligned and nested under the Trickday King text.

PG 02

Setup:

I would say the cheekiest player, instead of most cheeky. I would say coarsest, if you use that adjective, but I would switch it to most vulgar, as it is a little more widely used word. That being said, I would rethink he setup conditions. What if the most ferocious player is also the coarsest? What if they are also the cheekiest? It makes sense to pick one for the starting player, but assigning a role to all 3 seems risky. Maybe have the most aggressive or most vulgar player get to pick their role, as well as the other players’ roles? Or just pick their role first?

I would clarify the 2nd paragraph and say ‘Each player shuffles their deck and places it in front of them’. Currently it reads as if the setup meant nothing except to determine who shuffled which deck, and if that’s the case, I would still clarify because it can be read at least 2 different ways.

Objective:

I would add a sentence saying that each of the players are playing one of three clans: Goblins, Orcs, or Trolls. You might even want to add this to the setup to make it clear why each player is claiming a deck.

Play:

I would capitalize The Clash in the first sentence or remove the word the from in front of Quarrel and Clash. I would also take out the ‘During the…’ in the first part of each sentence and shorten it to something like:

Quarrel – All players simultaneously deal cards
First Blood – All players play 1 card
Clash – All players play their remaining cards.

Then say that the final found is called Last Stand, and more details can be found on X page.

Since this is set up as a quickguide, we don’t need the extra info about the Instigators, as you give no other information about why they are named that or why it’s important. Setting up the phases like this also makes it easy to refer to at a glance.

Terms:
The terms section seems oddly placed. At this point I am not wondering about terms, and if I was looking for terms, I would want them separated and not in a big paragraph. I would also expect them near the back of the book, as most rulebooks seem to place terms and glossary there.
That being said, I would just incorporate these definitions in the Play section, unless you go over the play more in depth later in the book.

PG 03

I would again reconsider left-aligning the text.

PG 04

Why do none of the sentences start with capitals? I think you should capitalize the beginning of each asterisked sentence. On that note, why are all of the asterisked? Is this the way you create bullets? Asterisks usually are used to denote some special condition or something unique about the text which has the asterisk, so it’s very confusing when you use them as bullets.

For this round, I’m a bit confused. What is the point of having the players pass out different clan cards to each other only to give them back to that clan member? That seems like an unnecessary mechanic.

PG 05


I’m a bit curious as to how effective the Cheat card would be when there’s such a high chance that the other players have seen it, due to how the cards are passed out. Also the rules read as if the Goblins have a huge advantage. They get to draw 3 cards, get to hide a card, and if they’re not the top scorer, they get to pull a trick. Maybe the Goblin cards are super weak, but if I was a player about to play this game, I’d think it was unfair.

PG06
Just a stylistic thing, but it seems weird that trolls are bigger than orcs. Also find it odd that nothing can beat Trolls, so in a tie, a troll will always win.

I would specify that players will create 2 piles, a Heap, for their eliminated cards, and a Survivor pile (or whatever you call it) where all their winning/chosen survivor cards go.

I think you forgot to label the Heaps in the diagram on the bottom. I think the bottom diagram is more helpful than the top one, as it will reflect what the heaps will look like during gameplay more accurately.

PG 07


I would say that the remaining 2 players continue to draw and play cards according to Last Stand rules, rather than saying they repeat Last Stand procedure, because the entire procedure would no longer apply. They can’t shuffle in recruits and reserves since they discarded all but 1 card, and that 1 card was already dictated to be shuffled back into their deck.

The last sentence is confusing. I would clarify and say that the game ends when one of the two players are unable to play cards, or a certain card amount. The winner is the player with the most survivors. (If that is indeed the win condition)

PG 08

The rules for The King are confusing. I would not be confidant in trying to play after reading them. Are you saying The King uses the exact same rules and set-up as Trickday King, but you have to play 3 rounds, 1 as each faction, and the one with the most points wins? If that’s the case, then say that. The way you listed the points is throwing me off. If this scoring system applies to both games, I would make a Scoring section and place it there.

Overall
I like that it’s short and tries to get to the point. Personally I’m bothered by the center-alignment of all of your text, but I think your format is at a good start. I’m worried your game is unbalanced, just by reading the rules, but it might play much more smoothly than I can pick up from reading. If that’s the case, I would just recommend wording the rules so that it doesn’t feel like the Goblin is at such an overwhelming advantage. I would also keep track of which clan wins and loses the most during playtesting to make sure it is balanced.

Thanks for sharing your rulebooks. It’s a solid start, and I hope my words were helpful rather than hurtful. Good luck with your game!
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Leon Kerkhoff
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Shintotchi wrote:
PG 01
I would recommend left-aligning the content on this page. It starts out okay because the title and objectives spread the width of the page, but when you get down to the index, it looks a little sloppy to have the numbers misaligned due to being centered. If you really want to keep it centered, I would at least have the numbered index items be left-aligned and nested under the Trickday King text.
Point taken. I will adjust this like you suggest.

Shintotchi wrote:
PG 02
Setup:
I would say the cheekiest player, instead of most cheeky. I would say coarsest, if you use that adjective, but I would switch it to most vulgar, as it is a little more widely used word. That being said, I would rethink he setup conditions. What if the most ferocious player is also the coarsest? What if they are also the cheekiest? It makes sense to pick one for the starting player, but assigning a role to all 3 seems risky. Maybe have the most aggressive or most vulgar player get to pick their role, as well as the other players’ roles? Or just pick their role first?

I would clarify the 2nd paragraph and say ‘Each player shuffles their deck and places it in front of them’. Currently it reads as if the setup meant nothing except to determine who shuffled which deck, and if that’s the case, I would still clarify because it can be read at least 2 different ways.
This paragraph is meant to create the setting. It used to be the tallest player takes the Troll cards and the smallest the Goblins but I was afraid that tall players wouldn´t get the opportunity to play Goblins and vice versa. I thought this way the players could joke about ´who feels more cheeky today´ etc. If it creates confusion then it´s better to remove it altogether and stick with the matter of fact style.

You´re right about the clarity of shuffling.

Shintotchi wrote:
Objective:
I would add a sentence saying that each of the players are playing one of three clans: Goblins, Orcs, or Trolls. You might even want to add this to the setup to make it clear why each player is claiming a deck.
Yes indeed.

Shintotchi wrote:
Play:
I would capitalize The Clash in the first sentence or remove the word the from in front of Quarrel and Clash. I would also take out the ‘During the…’ in the first part of each sentence and shorten it to something like:

Quarrel – All players simultaneously deal cards
First Blood – All players play 1 card
Clash – All players play their remaining cards.

Then say that the final found is called Last Stand, and more details can be found on X page.

Since this is set up as a quickguide, we don’t need the extra info about the Instigators, as you give no other information about why they are named that or why it’s important. Setting up the phases like this also makes it easy to refer to at a glance.
This sounds great for clarity. The Instigators are mentioned here because other than that the name only appears in one of the images. The main reason they are named seperately is for the purpose of the expansion which contains special abilities that are sometimes only for Instigators. I´ll think about removing the name.


Shintotchi wrote:

Terms:
The terms section seems oddly placed. At this point I am not wondering about terms, and if I was looking for terms, I would want them separated and not in a big paragraph. I would also expect them near the back of the book, as most rulebooks seem to place terms and glossary there.
That being said, I would just incorporate these definitions in the Play section, unless you go over the play more in depth later in the book.
Yeah, I was hesitant about putting this here and even more so about the term TERMS. The thing is, I do want players to know these terms on beforehand. I hope that just removing the title and thus making it part of the PLAY section will be enough.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 03
I would again reconsider left-aligning the text.
I suppose you suggest left-alignment for the whole document. I personally prefer this centered style because of the symmetry it brings. However, I have heard complaints about this before, whereas I can´t recall any complaints about left-alignment, ever. I´ll think about it.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 04
Why do none of the sentences start with capitals? I think you should capitalize the beginning of each asterisked sentence. On that note, why are all of the asterisked? Is this the way you create bullets? Asterisks usually are used to denote some special condition or something unique about the text which has the asterisk, so it’s very confusing when you use them as bullets.

For this round, I’m a bit confused. What is the point of having the players pass out different clan cards to each other only to give them back to that clan member? That seems like an unnecessary mechanic.
No capitals because the sentences are supposed to be continuations of the titles (The Goblin player gives the Troll card to the Troll player, and so on). I think I´ll keep it like that. The asterisks are indeed bulletpoints. I just thought they were the prettiest kind, didn´t know they have a different meaning.

The mechanic of dealing cards and giving them back is one of the main things of the game. It gives players information about what is in the other players´ hands and in many cases can influence how other players will play.


Shintotchi wrote:

PG 05
I’m a bit curious as to how effective the Cheat card would be when there’s such a high chance that the other players have seen it, due to how the cards are passed out. Also the rules read as if the Goblins have a huge advantage. They get to draw 3 cards, get to hide a card, and if they’re not the top scorer, they get to pull a trick. Maybe the Goblin cards are super weak, but if I was a player about to play this game, I’d think it was unfair.
I like that you are curious. Might I entice you to print the game files and try it out?
The Goblin player has 1 card in hand that no one else knows about, more often than not this one is used as the Cheat. Otherwise, only 1 of the other players knows what the Cheat card is.
I think the game is balanced as it is but assymetric games like this one need a whole lot of playtesting in order to determine if it really is balanced. The Goblin is able to play more, but less valuable cards and the Troll is powerful because he is allowed to play other cards than his own. The Orc is in between and better able to calculate things.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 06
Just a stylistic thing, but it seems weird that trolls are bigger than orcs. Also find it odd that nothing can beat Trolls, so in a tie, a troll will always win.
In myths and folklore Trolls can be found very large and very small. In high fantasy however, I think Trolls are generally more like demi-giants (i.e. lord of the rings). Orcs are generally human-sized. Goblins are generally described as creatures smaller than humans.
Ties are won by the larger card. I admit this is a bit random as it could be the other way around (rock/paper/scissors wouldn´t work for a threeway tie). It´s just part of the balance: Goblin has the numbers and secrecy but in an all out fight they lose.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 06
I would specify that players will create 2 piles, a Heap, for their eliminated cards, and a Survivor pile (or whatever you call it) where all their winning/chosen survivor cards go.

I think you forgot to label the Heaps in the diagram on the bottom. I think the bottom diagram is more helpful than the top one, as it will reflect what the heaps will look like during gameplay more accurately.
Crap! The whole image is what the table looks like after a lot of rounds. I have gone with naming only the new elements in every image I use. Therefore, the Recruits and Reserves are not named in this image. I´ll see how to fix this elegantly.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 07
I would say that the remaining 2 players continue to draw and play cards according to Last Stand rules, rather than saying they repeat Last Stand procedure, because the entire procedure would no longer apply. They can’t shuffle in recruits and reserves since they discarded all but 1 card, and that 1 card was already dictated to be shuffled back into their deck.

The last sentence is confusing. I would clarify and say that the game ends when one of the two players are unable to play cards, or a certain card amount. The winner is the player with the most survivors. (If that is indeed the win condition)
The Last Stand consists of 2 mini-rounds. I will make sure to make this section more clear.

Shintotchi wrote:

PG 08
The rules for The King are confusing. I would not be confidant in trying to play after reading them. Are you saying The King uses the exact same rules and set-up as Trickday King, but you have to play 3 rounds, 1 as each faction, and the one with the most points wins? If that’s the case, then say that. The way you listed the points is throwing me off. If this scoring system applies to both games, I would make a Scoring section and place it there.
Hmmm, this critique I find a bit troublesome. Your interpretation is correct and yet you are confused. The King variant is just that: Play 3 times, once with each faction. It does change how the game plays a bit because players will want to, besides winning a game, influence who gets second place and if they can´t win try to ´kingmake´ in order to remain in the running for the overall win. Maybe I should put the point scoring system in a diagram, but otherwise I will leave this as it is.

Shintotchi wrote:

Overall
I like that it’s short and tries to get to the point. Personally I’m bothered by the center-alignment of all of your text, but I think your format is at a good start. I’m worried your game is unbalanced, just by reading the rules, but it might play much more smoothly than I can pick up from reading. If that’s the case, I would just recommend wording the rules so that it doesn’t feel like the Goblin is at such an overwhelming advantage. I would also keep track of which clan wins and loses the most during playtesting to make sure it is balanced.

Thanks for sharing your rulebooks. It’s a solid start, and I hope my words were helpful rather than hurtful. Good luck with your game!
Thank you so much for this lenghty review!
It has been very helpful.
 
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Fertessa
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Quote:
I suppose you suggest left-alignment for the whole document. I personally prefer this centered style because of the symmetry it brings. However, I have heard complaints about this before, whereas I can´t recall any complaints about left-alignment, ever. I´ll think about it.



Quote:
Hmmm, this critique I find a bit troublesome. Your interpretation is correct and yet you are confused. The King variant is just that: Play 3 times, once with each faction. It does change how the game plays a bit because players will want to, besides winning a game, influence who gets second place and if they can´t win try to ´kingmake´ in order to remain in the running for the overall win. Maybe I should put the point scoring system in a diagram, but otherwise I will leave this as it is.



For the left-alignment, when I did have to do graphic design for work, the lead designer would pound into my head that center-alignment was a big no no. Until that point, I also loved it, because as you said, it feels even. The thing is, it really isn't. The eye wants to read information smoothly, and with graphic design, you are telling the eye where to go to naturally find the information. With center alignment, you can not naturally and easily read clumps of text.

You have to take your time and read things word for word, which is not how we naturally read. (Usually we half-read things and our brain auto-suggests the words in between that it normally expects to find there.) If text is left-aligned, our eyes know exactly where to find the next word, and can read in a pattern more easily than it can with center alignment. And after you get used to it, it's actually more visually appealing too.

For the page without capitalization, I found it odd becuse on the page before and after, you use the same format but all of the sentences begin with caps. I would recommend making them all uniform, whichever way you pick, so it seems intentional.

As for the asterisk, it may be an American thing, but it is commonly used as an indicator for a footnote. So if you see an asterisk, you'd expect to scroll to the bottom of the page and see a note pertaining to the sentence it was in front of. I, again, highly recommend changing it to something else. There are alot of very pretty bullets available to use if you don't want to use a standard circle or square.

In regards to the King rules, I interpreted correctly only after sitting and wondering over it. As I sad, your scoring system threw me off, because I didn't understand why you suddenly mentioned it at the end, with the extra tournament play rules rather than in the main rulebook when talking about the gameplay. I would definitely give the scoring system its own section BEFORE the tournament rules.
 
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Leon Kerkhoff
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Shintotchi wrote:

For the left-alignment, when I did have to do graphic design for work, the lead designer would pound into my head that center-alignment was a big no no. Until that point, I also loved it, because as you said, it feels even. The thing is, it really isn't. The eye wants to read information smoothly, and with graphic design, you are telling the eye where to go to naturally find the information. With center alignment, you can not naturally and easily read clumps of text.

You have to take your time and read things word for word, which is not how we naturally read. (Usually we half-read things and our brain auto-suggests the words in between that it normally expects to find there.) If text is left-aligned, our eyes know exactly where to find the next word, and can read in a pattern more easily than it can with center alignment. And after you get used to it, it's actually more visually appealing too.
Well, there you have it. I should not have dropped out of graphic design college. It would have been a great addition to my study game design. I will make the next version of the booklet left-aligned.

Shintotchi wrote:

For the page without capitalization, I found it odd becuse on the page before and after, you use the same format but all of the sentences begin with caps. I would recommend making them all uniform, whichever way you pick, so it seems intentional.
I see what you mean. I did it like this so I could make the bullet points without having to repeat The xxx player all the time. This wasn´t necessary for the other pages.

Shintotchi wrote:

As for the asterisk, it may be an American thing, but it is commonly used as an indicator for a footnote. So if you see an asterisk, you'd expect to scroll to the bottom of the page and see a note pertaining to the sentence it was in front of. I, again, highly recommend changing it to something else. There are alot of very pretty bullets available to use if you don't want to use a standard circle or square.
Yeah, I will definitely change this. It wasn´t as if I really needed pretty ones for this prototype, I just picked the asterisks absent-mindedly.

Shintotchi wrote:

In regards to the King rules, I interpreted correctly only after sitting and wondering over it. As I sad, your scoring system threw me off, because I didn't understand why you suddenly mentioned it at the end, with the extra tournament play rules rather than in the main rulebook when talking about the gameplay. I would definitely give the scoring system its own section BEFORE the tournament rules.
The scoring system is only for the tournament (King) mode so it should be there on the page. I will see how I can revise this to be more clear.
In fact, when I was creating the rulebook I considered having this page as one of the player aids and the game summary as the back page of the booklet. I went for this solution because I thought it would be more convenient to have the game summary as a player aid. Maybe I should swap them.
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Leon Kerkhoff
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With the help of Shintotchi I have revised the rulebook (thanks again). The new version is now up.

If anyone else would have a go at it I would appreciate it a lot.
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