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Claustrophobia 1643» Forums » General

Subject: Hellish writing and full justification rss

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I was eager to read Claustrophobia 1643's full backstory, since the KS campaign barely discussed it.

Little did I know, Monolith went so deep on theme here that the writing resembles New Jerusalem's catacombs: labyrinthine, ill-lit, and piled high with bloated corpses (if corpses were sentences).

Out of 4 text columns, 2.5 (62.5%) say nothing important—and say it poorly—before lobbing this demonic counter-spell: "But it is another story that really interests us."

Wow. Thanks for the jerk-around.

Obviously, these problems go way beyond translation issues (which, in any case, would be no excuse for a sophisticated publisher like Monolith).

One way the story doesn't resemble hellish catacombs? Someone decided to make it look superficially "clean"—dare I say, Monolith-ic—by fully justifying the text. Indeed, the entire rule book is fully justified...

...which is, in fact, almost never justified.

It makes thin-columned writing—let alone insufferable thin-columned writing—that much harder to suffer through. It's an egregious "form over function" error that any text layout designer with 6 months of training has learned to avoid like a medieval plague.

/end rant. Now I'll try to black out the memory of reading this backstory and enjoy what seems in many other ways a worthy game.
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Praetor Kamahl
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I'm hoping they got their crap together for the Mythic Battles / Batman rulebooks, but given what they've shown, uh... well, damn. It's a minor gripe but it really does look bad, especially with all the words being broken up across multiple lines.
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Roderic Beriault
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Makes me feel bad that I am helping translate stuff for free for a relative and working so hard not only providing translated material in french but also correcting their English meticulously. There is also WAY more text on the whole darn website and product box / instructions than there is here in this board game and I do it for free.

I mean, they could pay me for a few hours and I would do a much better job at fixing both of their texts (french and English).

Its perfectly ok that a designer may not be the best at this kind of stuff but a lot of this is more than that...its about reviewing your material a few times to ensure you catch all sort of small things and then having it reviewed by another set of eyes for things you became blind to.

Oh well.

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PKamahl wrote:
I'm hoping they got their crap together for the Mythic Battles / Batman rulebooks, but given what they've shown, uh... well, damn. It's a minor gripe but it really does look bad, especially with all the words being broken up across multiple lines.
I’m also hoping they come to their senses on this soon. MBP involves fully justified dashboards, too. So far, Monolith hasn’t responded at all to widespread complaints re: justification. This is not a good thing to be known for, but they sure seem to be trying...
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Steve R
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Funnily enough I was thinking something similar, in that it’s a great with beautiful components, but hands down the worst rule book I’ve seen in a while (on many levels). The writing, yes ok we can deal with that interns of style and the occasional odd phrasing or mistranslation doesn’t really bother me, but there are things that I’m really struggling with.

I actually like the clean black and white boards/cards. I was unsure at first, but the whole look when game is being played works for me (realise won’t be to everybody’s taste) however, I do wish they’d used a darker shade of grey on the white. The red/white/black stylised approach though does also seem to impact the rulebook. You’re absolutely right, the justified layout means it’s not naturally easy to read, but I’d suggest that on review they didn’t read it and just looked at the cosmetically clean layout, somehow it makes it look cluttered in places (to me).

It is the layout that seems confusing/illogical referencing components then laying them out later. At times it’s laborious to trawl through when you’re looking things up until you’ve learnt the game and I worry this means somebody people with give up and for new players I’ve just talked them through it. First time I read through the rulebook it felt like a chore and wasn’t sure I understood the game after doing so. In the end I watched some how to play videos and then played through on own to get to grips with it.

This then leads to my last criticism, which is linked to the layout. If there were reference pages/cards with key rules turn order, summaries, etc... you could almost then ignore some of the previous issues, but it’s not there. Exielo as done a great job of pulling one together in file section that I highly recommend looking at.

I really like this game, but I hate this rulebook and similarly to above, I had concerns over batman (I went full pledge)but I’ve read the off and it seems clearer to me than this, despite justification. If batman plays as well/minis and boards are this good then eventually I’m in for a treat !
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Stephen Parkes
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Abandoned my first plathrough as the rules are poorly written and combined with the lack of a reference sheet made the game a fun-free slog.

Game has been riding high in the hotness since people started receiving it. Seems most of the forum action has been in rules though, which is telling.

Still hoping to enjoy the game. The rulebook is pretty shit though, especially for what is essentially a rerelease.
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Guilherme B.
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Could anyone who has read both the old and the provide objective comments on the changes made? I am acquainted with the old version only and I consider it a straightforward and well-written manual. I am actually surprised by the number of rules questions that cropped up here - though I admittedly believe people complain about manuals and translations a lot more than they would be justified in doing, which is a subject I have discussed with other BGG members at some length in the following (quite old) thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1555878/poorly-written-rule...
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Steve R
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I can’t comment on old vs new, as I didn’t play the original. All I can say is I stand by my comments above when compared to other games releases over the last few years from various companies. My hope is that comments influence future approach. As I said above I love the game and components, just not the rulebook. The rules themselves are perfectly fine, it’s the way this document is laid out that is the issue (for me) and I can see it would put some people off, which would be a shame.
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Alfonso M.
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I have the original one on Vassal, and now I own the physical copy of the 1643. What can I say. I don't understand the fuss regarding the rulebook. Nor the introductory text which seems rather very well written at least in French. I do think they have mistakenly kept the style of the English translation too close to its convoluted French counterpart: a good translator would have changed the style to match the English standard - which I cannot really define but French being famous for its rich, complex, long-sentenced and somewhat pedantic literary prose, you will guess what I'm trying to say.

Now back to the rulebook. 'By far the worse one' around is imo a bit exagerated. I had trouble remembering all those symbols at once and hated that there was no player aid but other than that, rules are pretty straight forward. Warrior actions and sequence is identical to a thousand other dungeon crawler games. And as soon as I started playing the only thing that kept me going back to the rulebook were tile effects. I already ranted about this on another thread so I will not go into the detail.

What absolutely shocks me, however, is that they still managed to have people go bonkers about the Suicide Attack event years after the first edition because of an erroneous translation. Now explain that to me.
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Steve R
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Nope, in my opinion it is the worst one I’ve seen in a while compared to the other games I’ve purchased (and played) well necromunda underhive comes close for different reasons. Okay, actually claustrophobia might be the second worst on reflection out of about 20 I’ve read during same period, but this is a much lighter rule set and could be cleaner.

Perhaps having played the first version helps people with this one, at least in terms of getting to grips with rules. As I said above, there’s nothing wrong with the rules, just the way that they are laid out and presented.

Again, everything is down to me individual perspective, but that’s mine. I’m not berating the game, I really like it, but by the sound of it I’m not the only one that isn’t enamoured with what they’ve done in terms of the rulebook.

 
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Steve R
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Months along from the above, the only thing I’d add has stemmed out my observation after receiving batman. I think monolith havevlaid their rulebooks in a way that makes them good reference tools, but not so good in a pick up and play/learn the game way.

For both games I’d suggest a read this first/learn to play document FFG style would offset majority of complaints, along with some reference sheets. I’m still enjoying both games though.
 
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Anthony S
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I for one liked the changes in the backstory, easing off on the Hell Dorado thing is good. There's more maturity in it, the story is yours to play through.
 
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