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Subject: Any attempt at a rewrite of the rules? rss

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Bill Koens
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Has anyone attempted a complete rewrite of the rules, beginning to end, clarifying all the unclear ideas and including errata and the like?

Not that I need another project, but it is intriguing.
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Stephen Glenn
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https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/11374/rules-upfronthtml

This is Brian Bankler's Beginner's guide. It's not a substitute for the rules, but it will surely get you up and playing.

Highly recommended.
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David Hassell
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https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25107779

Here is another attempt at a rewrite. If you do download it, be sure to note rr1's corrections in the thread.
 
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Martin Gallo
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Four that I know of. The two mentioned previously, the Radiant/Valley version and an older attempt in the youth of the internet that I only have, somewhere, in printout form. The game has been played successfully with just a rulebook and a fiend to help you understand it for over 30 years. Now you have internet access and can ask all sorts of questions - Or better yet read the forums here (or CSW) and take advantage of all the resources available!
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Andrei Shlepov
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"... a fiend"?
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Brian Sielski
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Doesn't need one.

Never thought there was anything really confusing about the rules ... it is a HIGHLY playable game ... as is ... after the light bulb goes off in your head regarding Relative Range.

Doc
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Grant Linneberg
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Dr Brian wrote:
Doesn't need one.

Never thought there was anything really confusing about the rules ... it is a HIGHLY playable game ... as is ... after the light bulb goes off in your head regarding Relative Range.

Doc


Totally agree. The rules have worked fine for years. And the only good thing about the failed KS is that we didn't have to have a bunch of changes to the game.

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JP Laurio
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The rules work perfectly fine once you know the game, but learning the game just by reading the rulebook can be challenging. From this point of view the rulebook definitely could be better, but not aware of such project. Nowadays there are a lot of help to be find online of course, videos, articles, play aids, and so on.
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Juno
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sushidog wrote:
Dr Brian wrote:
Doesn't need one.

Never thought there was anything really confusing about the rules ... it is a HIGHLY playable game ... as is ... after the light bulb goes off in your head regarding Relative Range.

Doc


Totally agree. The rules have worked fine for years. And the only good thing about the failed KS is that we didn't have to have a bunch of changes to the game.

That's debatable.
I accept that a rewrite can never substitute the original rules, but the AH rulebook has the (in)famous legalese style that was so common back then. Now a lot of wargames are explained with more prose and verbose; so I'm sure that some newcomers can be afraid when they look at the AH rulebook.

Thats why I think that the rules rewrite does a great job to help to the newcomers to grasp the basic rules (movements, terrains, RR, fire, flanks, etc.), and once you learned this basic rules then it's time to get back at the source material.
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Grant Linneberg
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I guess I just prefer the legalese style. With games like Band of Brothers that use the prose style, I can never find what I'm looking for, it's always buried in a paragraph. I suppose the prose style might be good for first learning, but the case style is much handier for looking things up once you know the game.
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JP Laurio
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Yup, that's a good point as well, Grant. I guess in a perfect world all the heavier games would have two books; one to guide you through the first steps to get you going, and then the actual rulebook that you use once you've gotten past the basics. Fantasy Flight Games does this with many of its' games.
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Scott B
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What really helped me learn the game (compared to knowing the rules) were the articles in the Avalon Hill General Vol 21, issue 1. It has an example of play, strategy & tactics, and probabilities. Much more insightful than a video or the rule book.

The articles...
* Playing Your Cards Up Front
* Series Replay Up Front
* Up Front by the Numbers

I like the rulebook as is, there are more than enough materials to help a new player get up to speed. The trouble with re-writing them is 'better' is subjective. Who do you trust enough to make that determination?

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Martin Gallo
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Several people have had a lot of problems with bracketed firepowers through the years. Several recurring questions also pop up about vehicles. Those parts of the rules could probably use some clarification, given the commonality of questions.
 
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Jay M
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norev wrote:
Yup, that's a good point as well, Grant. I guess in a perfect world all the heavier games would have two books; one to guide you through the first steps to get you going, and then the actual rulebook that you use once you've gotten past the basics. Fantasy Flight Games does this with many of its' games.


This is how the COIN series from GMT (and other GMT games, too) works. A well organized rulebook, but a "Playbook" that's intended to be the first thing you pick up.
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Brian Sielski
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sushidog wrote:
I guess I just prefer the legalese style. With games like Band of Brothers that use the prose style, I can never find what I'm looking for, it's always buried in a paragraph. I suppose the prose style might be good for first learning, but the case style is much handier for looking things up once you know the game.


This is spot on. Legalese style is perfect for when rule debate occurs ... as well as minimizing rule debates ... while prose tends to drum up more arguments. After you learn the rules ... prose doesn't matter anymore ... I just want to cut to chase and find specific rule .. not read about some obscure idea.
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Brian Sielski
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martimer wrote:
Several people have had a lot of problems with bracketed firepowers through the years. Several recurring questions also pop up about vehicles. Those parts of the rules could probably use some clarification, given the commonality of questions.


I have found that those people never got past scenario B or C ... they just attempted once and gave up. The rules when published (and even to a degree till today) are cutting edge.

Once you play with vehicles more than twice, it'll "click" just like relative range.

I know a TON of players that play Up Front, but only play A-C. After I twist their arm ... they are like ... "Crap! I wish I read the rules 25 years ago. This wasn't bad at all."

I think they need to jump into the water.

Doc
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Richard Irving
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Dr Brian wrote:
sushidog wrote:
I guess I just prefer the legalese style. With games like Band of Brothers that use the prose style, I can never find what I'm looking for, it's always buried in a paragraph. I suppose the prose style might be good for first learning, but the case style is much handier for looking things up once you know the game.


This is spot on. Legalese style is perfect for when rule debate occurs ... as well as minimizing rule debates ... while prose tends to drum up more arguments. After you learn the rules ... prose doesn't matter anymore ... I just want to cut to chase and find specific rule .. not read about some obscure idea.


No it is "Spot off". For two very important reasons:
- The rules give no feel to how the game is set up, how it is played, how do you DO these various things like firing,like relative range, like movement, etc.
- Because of the use of Programmed Instruction, items are organized by which scenario that AH decided to introduce the rule, but not any sort of logical.

Because of this Up Front is harder to learn than it should be ***AND*** harder to find the rules you needs a refresher on when you play. They fail as a teaching aid and fail as reference guide.

An extended illustrated sample game would help the first problem:
Page 1 here is the set up: German set in two groups A & B, Americans in three groups, A, B & C, note they set up opposite of reach other. Each group has an ID chit and range chit value 0. The deck is located here, the discard here. Highlight important details like where the SL & ASL are located, that the Germans have a crewed weapon and who is the crew man.

Page 2: Initial terrain set up.
On the following pages: Include various common actions: Play of a movement card (on a later turn) entering terrain, calculating firepower and conducting a fire attack, rallying men, how to entrench, how to use cars that are played during discards (terrain on opponent, sniper, wire), what happens on a malfunction/repair attempt, etc.

As for the problem of programmed instruction, rules became jumbled all over the place so finding the right is rather difficult.

Quick, find the rules for entrenchments. You would THINK this would be early on because this rule isn't complicated and it's used in EVERY game, but you'd be wrong--AH decided introduce this rule in scenario I. Same thing with wounds and prisoners in scenario G.

Why? Beats me. These in particular make NO sense. I can't imagine playing the game at least 10 times before learning how to entrench!


Or rules are scattered about because they apply to multiple items: Terrain and AFV's/mortars/IG's etc. Do you look in the terrain rule section or the weapon rule section? Or will they be found in both places? Etc.

To show how bad this is, look at this example.
The term "hull down" is mentioned EIGHT times before the rules for Hull Down AFV/IG's are explained--most without a rule pointer to reference the rule.
- Hills
- Wall (No Rule pointer)
- 3 times for it effect on To hit numbers. (1 rule pointer)
- Mortars (No rule pointer)
- 2 times for TEM and hull down. (1 rule pointer to a subsidiary rule)

When I answer questions on UF rules, I often have to "stitch together" this rule here and that rule there to get to the correct interpretation which shows how bad the rules are as a reference.

I can think of two major examples as counter points:
- ASL: when ASL was created, AH dispensed with programmed instruction, mainly because of the mess SL rules became after the original programmed instruction rule book and changes/contradictions introduced in the first three expansions. They went with a complete reference format.
- Combat Commander: Has a rules reference in outline format, logically laid out and an extended sample of play showing how the game is actually played. The items in the rule book are sorted in a logical order: Components, Core rules (Sequence of Play, Timing, VC's, Stacking, weapons, ets.) Each of the Orders (on cards), each of the Actions (on cards), eahc of the events (on cards), Terrain, Fortifications. Finding what you need to much easier than in Up Front.

Imagine what Up Front's rule book would be like if they were in that format.

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Martin Gallo
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Index.
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Rich James
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rri1 wrote:
No it is "Spot off". For two very important reasons:
- The rules give no feel to how the game is set up, how it is played, how do you DO these various things like firing,like relative range, like movement, etc.

I disagree. I learned this game and those concepts using those rules and had no particular difficulty in doing so. Any rules can be improved, but you overstate the case here.

Quote:
- Because of the use of Programmed Instruction, items are organized by which scenario that AH decided to introduce the rule, but not any sort of logical.

This I can agree with. I find the rules useful as a reference, but I have had to memorize where concepts are introduced, altered and elaborated on. That gets me to the right location in the rules most of the time. The index helps too. But a much better reference could be made by consolidating topics and/or consistently providing cross links.
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Jeffrey D Myers
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I learned via the handy Windows Help file found here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/2334/upfronthelp-v10chm

Under Windows 10, I have to open the file with Firefox or Chrome to view things properly.

Edit: And this is searchable and includes errata, scenarios, etc.
 
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Martin Gallo
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Learning this game really seems dependent on your background and "way of thinking". I do not get the impression that the "critical thinking skills" us "older folk" are still being taught. That is not intended as an insult - The rules were written in a different time.
 
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Grant Linneberg
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rri1 wrote:
Dr Brian wrote:
sushidog wrote:
I guess I just prefer the legalese style. With games like Band of Brothers that use the prose style, I can never find what I'm looking for, it's always buried in a paragraph. I suppose the prose style might be good for first learning, but the case style is much handier for looking things up once you know the game.


This is spot on. Legalese style is perfect for when rule debate occurs ... as well as minimizing rule debates ... while prose tends to drum up more arguments. After you learn the rules ... prose doesn't matter anymore ... I just want to cut to chase and find specific rule .. not read about some obscure idea.


No it is "Spot off". <long argument chopped>



I wasn't really referring to the PI method. All I was saying was that I prefer the case style of rules to the prose style. I can never find anything in games like Band of Brothers. Whereas ASL (and even UF with it's PI), I can find what I'm looking for as it's generally not buried in a paragraph.

That said, I agree about PI. It's a fine way to learn a game, but it doesn't leave the rules in the most intuitive order. Still, a good index works wonders.

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Abe Francis
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A restructure would be useful. A rewrite I think unecessary and a huge job.
I think one of the problems is that a rule is presented, but with it is a ton of other stuff that deals with edge cases and text to satisfy the most cantankerous and competitive rules lawyer.

So what I’m going to do is take a highlighter pen and highlight the one or two sentences in each paragraph that tells you what you need to know 99% of the time so I can find it easily.

I think the rules and the Kickstarter debacle are the two things which have prevented this game taking its rightful place at the top of the wargaming pile.

Is the armour worth trying?
 
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Richard Irving
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arjisme wrote:
rri1 wrote:
No it is "Spot off". For two very important reasons:
- The rules give no feel to how the game is set up, how it is played, how do you DO these various things like firing,like relative range, like movement, etc.

I disagree. I learned this game and those concepts using those rules and had no particular difficulty in doing so. Any rules can be improved, but you overstate the case here.

Quote:
- Because of the use of Programmed Instruction, items are organized by which scenario that AH decided to introduce the rule, but not any sort of logical.

This I can agree with. I find the rules useful as a reference, but I have had to memorize where concepts are introduced, altered and elaborated on. That gets me to the right location in the rules most of the time. The index helps too. But a much better reference could be made by consolidating topics and/or consistently providing cross links.


So you say I overstate the situation, but in the end agree....

Why I don't think I overstate the case:
More than any other wargame, many players say they learned Up Front from other players--not the rulebook. Many say they tried learning from the rulebook, but didn't really grok it until they were taught by and played with other players.

Relatively few people say they learned it from the rulebook. And more than a few, probably thought they successfully learned the game, but will only find out that they haven't when they try playing experienced opponents. I certainly put myself in that class: Learned from the rulebook, went to a tournament which showed me how much I got wrong.

I am amazed at how many questions come up at Up Front tournaments (including the WBC). Even expert players can't keep everything straight.

I really believe Up Front basic rules are not that complicated (but there are a lot of fiddly rules to remember). An illustrated sample game and a coherent reference that makes the game easier to learn/find the rules/teach would mean I would have many more potential opponents.

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Ben Bosmans
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I don’t know what it is with me lately, but by getting older, I learn much faster these days, or should I say relearn faster.

The rules as written are good enough. Just yesterday I played a solo game on VASSAL late at night and I did not touch the game for years.

The very few times I needed to consult the rules were no problem at all. I even started reading the vehicule section, something I avoided decades ago.

I guess experience counts.

The only thing that annoys me sometimes in this game are the useless cards in your hand that keep recycling. It can break or make a game.
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