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Subject: I don't agree - I find quality to be quite high rss

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Kirk Thomas
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I've read several threads recently discussing poor quality in game components and/or rule writing. I don't agree - with the growing popularity / mainstreaming of games, my opinion is that quality of the components and rules is going steadily upwards.

I have recently purchase 8 games - they have, almost uniformly, come in high quality packaging, with excellent components, well produced rule booklets, and (based on a first reading) high quality rule writing. I may find when I start to play them that the rules aren't written as well as they appear to be, but the rule booklets are well produced, with graphic examples.

I would say that games have gotten a bit more expensive over the past 5 years, but that I am more confident than ever that if I purchase a game, I will receive a complete package.

Perhaps I'm just too easily pleased, but I think things are getting better, by a good margin.
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Curt Carpenter
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That's funny. On the rules front, I'm actually finding that I just assume I need to come find a faq on the geek. Examples off the top of my head: Rise of Empires, Stronghold, Power Struggle, Dungeon Lords. I don't know if translators aren't getting paid enough, but it seems like 5-10 years ago game rules were complete and correct, with exceptions of course, but fewer than today.
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William Collins
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I think that publishing software is easier and more accessible than ever...making it easier to physically publish something. With absolutely no spellchecking, for some reason, or another human even looking at it before it gets sent to the printer...
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kSwingrÜber
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willco wrote:
I think that publishing software is easier and more accessible than ever...making it easier to physically publish something. With absolutely no spellchecking, for some reason, or another human even looking at it before it gets sent to the printer...


....oooh, but look how pretty the rules are! All those wonderful colors, and graphics, and other stuff that obscures the text so you can't see the spelling, grammar, and logic errors!

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curtc wrote:
... it seems like 5-10 years ago game rules were complete and correct, with exceptions of course, but fewer than today.


Were you playing simpler games then? Rules for games like Monopoly and Clue are generally complete and correct, after a bazillion editions, but new games with any complexity have always had rules issues.
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Large and complex rulebooks will always contain errors and need errata/faq sheets. But games like eurogames with a simple ruleset and only a few pages of rules shouldn't.

Unfortunatelly i have seen many with errors: Ponte del Diavolo, Vikings, TtA or Power Struggle to name just a few.

 
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Kirk Thomas
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I agree that rules aren't always clear. I guess my point was that, across 8 new games, I thought each one was a high-quality package, meaning that the box was solid with high quality artwork, the internal bits are of high quality - wood pieces where they could have gone with cardboard discs, thick cardboard playing pieces, heavy stock money or cards, and boards that are well made, with good artwork.

I get my first crack at playing the new games tonight, and I'm sure we'll find a confusing rule or two. Having read the rules, the rule books appear well-laid out, with effective examples.

So I'm definitely not saying there are no imperfections, just that my opinion is that the quality of products I am purchasing these days are quite high, as is my satisfaction level with them. I don't find them to be cheaply made, or give me the feeling they were rushed to market, or that they are so derivative as to be unnecessary to experience.
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curtc wrote:
That's funny. On the rules front, I'm actually finding that I just assume I need to come find a faq on the geek. Examples off the top of my head: Rise of Empires, Stronghold, Power Struggle, Dungeon Lords. I don't know if translators aren't getting paid enough, but it seems like 5-10 years ago game rules were complete and correct, with exceptions of course, but fewer than today.


I've been thinking about this myself, and I've come to the conclusion that the completeness and correctness of the rulebooks has more to do with how we use them than how they are written... You see, 10 years ago one wouldn't have checked BGG for a FAQ or a clarification. You'd use your imagination to fill in the blanks and some wild guesses, but mostly common sense, to make the game playable, because anyway you had no other choice, and all seemed well. Today, you read the rulebook, and as soon as a small stupid question rises up, you rush to the forums and ask. I find that most rules questions asked here on BGG can be easily answered by reading the rulebook thoroughly, or using some common sense. I feel people are being deliberately obtuse most of the time just because they know that BGG is here to save them the effort.

Edit - sorry for the rant modest
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Tim Mierz
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curtc wrote:
That's funny. On the rules front, I'm actually finding that I just assume I need to come find a faq on the geek. Examples off the top of my head: Rise of Empires, Stronghold, Power Struggle, Dungeon Lords. I don't know if translators aren't getting paid enough, but it seems like 5-10 years ago game rules were complete and correct, with exceptions of course, but fewer than today.


I don't know the other examples, but I at least was fine learning Dungeon Lords from the rulebook. It's actually set out perfectly as a teaching aid, rather than just a list of rules, which makes it even easier to learn. Only the most minor of clarifications were needed, and those were for specific cards in strange cases.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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Sphere wrote:
curtc wrote:
... it seems like 5-10 years ago game rules were complete and correct, with exceptions of course, but fewer than today.


Were you playing simpler games then? Rules for games like Monopoly and Clue are generally complete and correct, after a bazillion editions, but new games with any complexity have always had rules issues.

Nope. Games like Settlers, El Grande, and Puerto Rico seemed to be complete and correct with no issues.
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Jon Anderson
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curtc wrote:
Nope. Games like Settlers, El Grande, and Puerto Rico seemed to be complete and correct with no issues.


None of these games are really complex and Puerto Rico is a great example of how not to write a rulebook - you almost have to know the game to make sense of it.

I think that rulebooks today are hit and miss - much like always.

Edits: to fix my screwed up quotes
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Curt Carpenter
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NojNosredna wrote:
None of these games are really complex and Puerto Rico is a great example of how not to write a rulebook - you almost have to know the game to make sense of it.

I think that rulebooks today are hit and miss - much like always.

OP never said they were only talking about really complex games. My point being that even games of this complexity seem to have more problems these days in 5-10 years ago.
 
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Jack Smith
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Game quality is usually high, rule quality is variable. Word processors and the internet have made some writers even lazier and that's true of rules too.

The quicker some people grasp that computers are not infallible and can make howling mistakes the better. I often feel rules have not been subject to that one more check before the print button is pushed.

Another issues is translation which can be very good but for some reason results in bloated rules. Agricola is like that. The rules could be edited to half the size easily.
 
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tim
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I'm thinking you just bought 8 high quality games. There are still plenty of games being released with low quality components and errors in the rules.
 
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curtc wrote:
Games like Settlers, El Grande, and Puerto Rico seemed to be complete and correct with no issues.

I didn't check the other two, but Puerto Rico has 21 pages of rules threads here on BGG, so some folks seem to not find them so clear. Then again "some folks" can make even the simplest things difficult, so who knows.
laugh


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Curt Carpenter
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cbs42 wrote:
I didn't check the other two, but Puerto Rico has 21 pages of rules threads here on BGG, so some folks seem to not find them so clear.

What does the absolute number 21 mean in relative terms? Not much. I just did a little research and PR has the lowest percentage of rules pages to total pages of any game in the top 20.
 
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cbs42 wrote:
curtc wrote:
Games like Settlers, El Grande, and Puerto Rico seemed to be complete and correct with no issues.


I didn't check the other two, but Puerto Rico has 21 pages of rules threads here on BGG, so some folks seem to not find them so clear. Then again "some folks" can make even the simplest things difficult, so who knows.
laugh


Bingo. Settlers has 20 pages of rules questions, and El Grande has 'only' 9. It's hard to characterize 9 pages of rules threads as "having no issues".

There are always people who have trouble with the rules for any given game. And it isn't necessarily always the same people; some do better with one style of rules and some do better with another.
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curtc wrote:
What does the absolute number 21 mean in relative terms? Not much. I just did a little research and PR has the lowest percentage of rules pages to total pages of any game in the top 20.


The absolute number 21 means that people had enough difficulty with the rules that they felt the need to ask for help on BGG more than 200 times. Some of the those threads dealt with multiple questions.

Undoubtedly that is a small percentage of the people who actually were confused by the rules, some of whom found their answers in previous threads, and many who are unaware of BGG. The fact that you had no problems with those particular games doesn't mean that nobody had problems with them.
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Curt Carpenter
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Ok, sure, "no issues" is perhaps too extreme for lawyers. But it's the relative difference I'm talking about.
 
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Kirk Thomas
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I suppose it's a bit of a Catch-22 and I could argue it both ways. A game like Settlers has, apparently, sold a few hundred thousand copies. Realizing that not everybody comes to, or is aware of, BGG, and that some people find their answers in somebody else's thread, a couple hundred threads on rules seems like relatively few questions for a distribution of that size.


Alternatively, if you're going into an initial run of a few thousand copies and you have to amortorize the cost of the rule book development across a small run, you're likely to turn out a rule book that is less effective and, therefore, generates more questions.

I guess I see most of this as the "system" working, at least within real-world economic constraints. I would say the price has gone up in the past few years, on average, but the games I've purchased in that time appear to be putting some of that price increase into a higher quality build and presentation.
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stlkt wrote:
I've read several threads recently discussing poor quality in game components and/or rule writing. I don't agree - with the growing popularity / mainstreaming of games, my opinion is that quality of the components and rules is going steadily upwards.

That's because few people are opening threads to praise the quality. When was the last time you thought about opening a thread to talk about the absolute adequate quality of a game? q.e.d.
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curtc wrote:
Ok, sure, "no issues" is perhaps too extreme for lawyers. But it's the relative difference I'm talking about.


It's the relative difference between now and something for which you've offered no evidence to support. You're saying that games "seem to have more problems now". They don't seem that way to me.
 
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Topper Harley wrote:
stlkt wrote:
I've read several threads recently discussing poor quality in game components and/or rule writing. I don't agree - with the growing popularity / mainstreaming of games, my opinion is that quality of the components and rules is going steadily upwards.

That's because few people are opening threads to praise the quality. When was the last time you thought about opening a thread to talk about the absolute adequate quality of a game? q.e.d.


I did earlier but I didn't, I could only thing of one board game with decent rules (Galaxy Trucker) the rest were either confusing to some extent, missed a vital game mechanic or verbose to the point it overcomplicated the game. I find Wargame rules, which are a lot more complex, better than many boardgame rules.

I wish some rules writers realise games cannot be patched as easily as computer games and its not unreasonable to get it right the first time. Writing is not about knocking something up then going on from there and hoping the errors will be spotted, that's the wrong way to think about it.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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Sphere wrote:
curtc wrote:
Ok, sure, "no issues" is perhaps too extreme for lawyers. But it's the relative difference I'm talking about.


It's the relative difference between now and something for which you've offered no evidence to support. You're saying that games "seem to have more problems now". They don't seem that way to me.

Well, I did offer some evidence for one older game, which was accused of having a lot of rules issues. It's only one game, so that certainly doesn't prove anything. But I'm not trying to prove anything. Just share my observation. If your observation differs, that's fine.
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Halfinger wrote:

I did earlier but I didn't, I could only thing of one board game with decent rules (Galaxy Trucker) the rest were either confusing to some extent, missed a vital game mechanic or verbose to the point it overcomplicated the game. I find Wargame rules, which are a lot more complex, better than many boardgame rules.

It depends on what you are used. I'm considering myself a euro gamer. I don't have problems understanding new rules. Most of the time there are similar mechanisms, similar concepts. It's true that the rules are often explained in every detail and that the game looks like it is much more complicated. But once you start to know a game this is much better.
If you play a lot of war games, you might find them easier to grasp.

I own about 140 games.
Galaxy Trucker is one of the games where the rulebook is not well done in my opinion. Yes, it's funny, it has a nice style, but it was simply not well made when it comes to teach the game or use it as a reference. It's not the first rulebook which splits the game into a beginners game and an advanced game (or complete game in this case), but this one is especially confusing.
The problem is that you learn the beginners game and then you have to unlearn quite a lot of rules because they are replaced with the full rules. If you want to skip the beginners game, you can't do it, because the essentials are only explained there. The full game rules only explain the differences. And then, if you want to look up a rule you might find it in the beginner section, but then you have to look up if it is changed in the full rules. Bad, bad.

I think CGE made it much better in Space Alert where they separated the rules into one rulebook for reference and a teaching tutorial for the first games. It's a lot more text and the game is even trickier, but i had no problem to understand the rules just by reading through these books.

A few more problematic rule books:
Meuterer: Adlung-Spiele suffer a bit from bad rules.
Monopoly Deal: Hasbroshake Good game, but looks like it took them 10 min to write down the rules and make the card text.
Fire & Axe: Very nice rule book, but also a mediocre reference when you need it.

That's just a few games, there might be more bad examples, but i would say the rest is ok to excellent. Your opinion might vary.

As for the components:
For Sale: Great art, crappy quality
Monopoly Deal: again, bad card stock, but the game is cheap
OCTI Extreme: Good game pieces, the rest is just awful
Bootleggers: Mediocre quality

To be honest, I'm a sucker for quality, esp. card quality. Some games like Cuba have bad card stock but the rest is superb. Then there are the few American games i own. Most of them are made in China and show by far inferior component quality compared to my euro games, that were mostly made in Europe.

To sum up: yes there are some bad examples for bad rules and/or bad components, but with over 90% of my games I'm very happy.
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