Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

War of the Ring (First Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Rule book criticism rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ralph Mazza
United States
Peoria
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
mb
I think this game is destined to be one of my favorites of all time. It really is just like playing "what if" with the books. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.

That said I think the game is saddled with one of the most poorly organized and poorly written rulebooks I've ever seen (and my game collection numbers in the thousands).

I don't know if it was a problem with translation or poor editing or what, but it truly does not do the game justice. And when I say it doesn't do the game justice I mean this...if I had to judge the quality of the game from the text of the rules, I would have passed on the game without a second thought. The rules are that bad.

It was only because I'd read all of the actual play summaries from the web page that I knew how amazing this game actually is that caused me to actually spend the effort to decode the rules. In fact, much of the rules I was able to figure out only because I'd read those actual play reports and knew how it was supposed to work.


Should there come a point where the designers need to do a second printing for this game I STRONGLY recommend redoing the rulebook from scratch. It is not an asset at this point.


Specific rule book criticisms:

Many sections of the rules were organized backwards. The hunt rules in particular were egregious in this regard. They tell you what a hunt tile is before telling you how a hunt roll works. Very confusing.

The rules really needed to be organized by action die icon. Part one should have described how to roll the action dice and then it should have gone in order "here's what you can do with a sword", "Here's what you can do with a helmet". At the very least that should have been summarized at the very beginning and not just left to the reference sheet.

The game REALLY needed an abstract of what the course of play for a turn looks like. Its such an unusual game structure that there should have been Actual Play writeups included (perhaps in sidebars) throughout the rules so the reader could see how it actually plays.


None of that will detract from my enjoyment of the game. Now that I've got a handle on how to play. But it does bother me to think that it might hold the game back from being recognized as as great a game as it is.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian Letourneau
Canada
St-Lambert
Quebec
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
Valamir (#52615),

Funny, I thought it was pretty well written and clear... but maybe it's just me.

Cheers!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick McIntyre
Canada
Unspecified
British Columbia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
I only partly agree with you.

The rule book is not idealy suited for jumping right into a game while following along.

However, I am currently reviewing it without the game, and I find it a relatively pleasant read. It also seems to be well suited as a reference tool for when you get into a disagreement.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberto Di Meglio
Italy
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
PatMan13b wrote:
I only partly agree with you.

The rule book is not idealy suited for jumping right into a game while following along.

However, I am currently reviewing it without the game, and I find it a relatively pleasant read. It also seems to be well suited as a reference tool for when you get into a disagreement.


It is clear that the rulebook has some problems for some people.

The game is not complex, but is unusual in several regards. An approach like the one outlined in the initial post makes sense, but would have extended the book lenght to possibly 6-8 pages more, making the book scary indeed.

It is quite possible that we will do a web tutorial as we get a better idea of the main learning problems. A discussion helping to focus what the issues are this would help those who will buy the game in the future.

Anyway I am sure that as you learn the rules, you will find that the current organization of the book, as Pat says, make very easy to use it as a reference and finding rules, as they are organized by area of activity/subsystem rather than by action, is much easier.

Which areas/points of the rules were most difficult to get right from the beginnning?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Speare
United States
Bedford
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
tee hee, that tickles!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
cybernex (#52697),

I don't have the game yet, though I did see it at Gen Con (met you ever so briefly!) and will be getting it when it hits retailers. Here are the issues I had with the rulebook (keeping in mind I haven't translated them to actual play yet):

1) As mentioned above, organizing the actions by die face seems very logical; the fact that it wasn't done this way seems odd.

2) The Hunt rules were harder to understand than the rest of the book. The timing of the adding FP dice to the hunt box was very tricky; though I get it now, it took some thought.

3) I still can't find a section in the actual rulebook (not counting the reference sheet, which I don't count as "part of the official rules) which tells you what you can do with a Will of the West die result.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberto Di Meglio
Italy
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
galfridus wrote:
cybernex (#52697),

I don't have the game yet, though I did see it at Gen Con (met you ever so briefly!) and will be getting it when it hits retailers. Here are the issues I had with the rulebook (keeping in mind I haven't translated them to actual play yet):

1) As mentioned above, organizing the actions by die face seems very logical; the fact that it wasn't done this way seems odd.



In fact this kind of organization would have created much redundancy and need of cross/forward/backward referencing.
E.g. army movement is activated by both ARMY and CHARACTER
E.g. hunt is affected by CHARACTER, EVENT, EYE results
So we decided instead to give a general overview of components/turn/action system and then provide an explanation of the "systems": the mustering, movement and combat of armies; the Fellowship, Companions and the Hunt.
That's the general idea which to us looked quite logical.



2) The Hunt rules were harder to understand than the rest of the book. The timing of the adding FP dice to the hunt box was very tricky; though I get it now, it took some thought.



I agree. Two reasons: the Hunt system is the most peculiar element of the game; and the way Hunt is modified by additional dice is not very wellmerged with the rest of the explanations because this sytem was the last one changed.


3) I still can't find a section in the actual rulebook (not counting the reference sheet, which I don't count as "part of the official rules) which tells you what you can do with a Will of the West die result.


The reference ARE a part of the rules! And the rules in chapter 5 refer to them to explain the icons. In any case I agree that an additional note in Chapter 5 on the WoW icon would not hurt!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shane Is Board
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
Valamir (#52615),

Actually, the rulebook seemed fairly straightforward and well organized, though I do agree a "what you can do with a [blank] die result" would have been nice.

As for the rules being "backwards", most rules follow an overview->step breakdown->specifics approach. This is more or less followed. We have the grand overview, followed by the turn breakdown, followed by turn specifics. Yes, there is a LOT going on in this game, and it seems THAT is where the confusion comes in; the action sequence has many more options than all the other phases combined.

It is still, however, not a mess. I've read it once, and feel I could set-up and play a game with reasonable accuracy right now (gotta buy it first...stupid too many cool games coming out).

In short, it's not badly written, just fairly unique.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Leet
United States
Burlington
Vermont
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
cybernex wrote:
In fact this kind of organization would have created much redundancy and need of cross/forward/backward referencing.
E.g. army movement is activated by both ARMY and CHARACTER
E.g. hunt is affected by CHARACTER, EVENT, EYE results
So we decided instead to give a general overview of components/turn/action system and then provide an explanation of the "systems": the mustering, movement and combat of armies; the Fellowship, Companions and the Hunt.
That's the general idea which to us looked quite logical.


I think part of what is confusing is that some actions are mentioned earlier along with specific comments that the details come later. Other actions are only mentioned in passing which causes the reader to wonder whether they had missed something.


I agree. Two reasons: the Hunt system is the most peculiar element of the game; and the way Hunt is modified by additional dice is not very wellmerged with the rest of the explanations because this sytem was the last one changed.


The particular issue I had with the hunt rules was that some aspects were mentioned several times through the rules, but then when you get to the specifics of the explanation it still seems "out of order", in particular the tiles are explained before the dice, and then how to resolve the tiles is after the dice?


I think that the rules simply move from one format to another a bit too casually, such that a reader is often left wondering if he skipped something (I felt that way about the numerous comments to the fellowship healing that are made practically from the beginning, but not explained in full until the end of the rules).

I would have appreciated if the "brief descriptions of game play" parts of the rules had been more clearly distinguished from the "details of how to resolve specific actions" parts. Including icons related to the die sides by certain areas of text would have been helpful, although I don't think critical.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Gill
United Kingdom
Mansfield
Nottinghamshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re:Rule book criticism
PatMan13b wrote:
I only partly agree with you.

The rule book is not idealy suited for jumping right into a game while following along.

However, I am currently reviewing it without the game, and I find it a relatively pleasant read. It also seems to be well suited as a reference tool for when you get into a disagreement.


I've read the rules without the game (yet) and I similarly find them an easy read and I honestly dont find the mechanisms particularly complex to understand.

However, I guess it can be initially confusing to remember the difference between a charcters, leaders and the fellowship under different game situations.

I actually think it helps not having the actual game as I would be tempted to leap into a game without carefully reading all the rulebook. I suspect that the number of options you have at the start of your first game can also be a problem.

As I seldom get to play one particular game very often I tend to write out a my own "quick reference" of the important points ( in the exact order the rules will be required during a turn) so that I don't have to re-read rules everytime I want to play. I expect this will be relatively easy from these rules but I do think that the rulebook might be a bit wordy when you may need to check rules quickly during play.

Obviously, I may be wrong about the game but I'm really looking forward to getting started once it arrives.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.