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Rails of New England» Forums » Rules

Subject: help needed rss

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david karasick
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I have the game and read the rules. I am still confused about those ,normal, depression, prosperity cards and how they are used.
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Walter Hunt
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skeletodoc wrote:
I have the game and read the rules. I am still confused about those ,normal, depression, prosperity cards and how they are used.


Starting on Turn 2, roll for the economic condition for the turn two turns afterward. Draw a card from the appropriate stack - that's the one that will be used when that turn arrives.

There are 5 Depression and 5 Prosperity, and 7 Normal cards. They have varying ranges for the die roll.

Not sure what you don't understand.
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Chris Johnson
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Given how bad the rulebook is (really, really bad, as has been pointed out here over and over again*), it might be more fitting, as the designer, for you to actually fully explain things when people ask questions, rather than give vague, vaguely snarky responses...not a good way to encourage people undecided about the game to make the decision to buy it. (Remember, the rest of us haven't been living with this game for years.,.what is obvious to you means little to the rest of us.)

We figured this issue out, eventually, but it was *not* particularly clear, or easy.

* Actually, given the amount of time you seem to be spending here answering questions you seem to feel are crystal clear, your time might be productively spent re-doing the rulebook, so it is actually clear and a useful document for learning and playing the game, as opposed to an obstacle to it.

Having played the game once, we had multiple questions that were simply not addressed anywhere in the rules...learning and playing this game was a painful process. If you want it to succeed, something needs to be done, because right now, word of mouth is going to kill this game dead...
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Antonio Izzo
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fnord23 wrote:
Given how bad the rulebook is (really, really bad, as has been pointed out here over and over again*), it might be more fitting, as the designer, for you to actually fully explain things when people ask questions, rather than give vague, vaguely snarky responses...not a good way to encourage people undecided about the game to make the decision to buy it. (Remember, the rest of us haven't been living with this game for years.,.what is obvious to you means little to the rest of us.)


I agree. We need a clear rulebook.
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Adam Tucker
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fnord23 wrote:
Given how bad the rulebook is (really, really bad, as has been pointed out here over and over again*), it might be more fitting, as the designer, for you to actually fully explain things when people ask questions, rather than give vague, vaguely snarky responses...not a good way to encourage people undecided about the game to make the decision to buy it. (Remember, the rest of us haven't been living with this game for years.,.what is obvious to you means little to the rest of us.)

I did not find the designer’s response to be vaguely or even at all snarky. Vague questions yield vague answers. If you would like to post something (like a quote – copy and paste works well with the rules available online) from the rules and what you think it means, along with other things that you could see as reasonable interpretations, then that would be specific enough and relatively easy to answer. If you do not understand how the economic conditions cards work at all, then specifically request a thorough breakdown of how exactly these cards are used. It would be time consuming, since there are multiple steps (with exceptions or alternate rules) and might be overkill or seem patronizing, if that is not what the OP was really looking for.

fnord23 wrote:
We figured this issue out, eventually, but it was *not* particularly clear, or easy.

Please post exactly what you do not find to be particularly clear. If you do this, then they can be addressed in the Unofficial FAQ or in any future Official FAQ or revision of the rules. It is much more difficult to guess at what others are likely having trouble with (or are going to have trouble with) than to have specific difficulties brought to light.

fnord23 wrote:
* Actually, given the amount of time you seem to be spending here answering questions you seem to feel are crystal clear, your time might be productively spent re-doing the rulebook, so it is actually clear and a useful document for learning and playing the game, as opposed to an obstacle to it.

While I don’t disagree that such an endeavor would be worth doing, I am very grateful that Walter spends as much time as he does on here (right up there close to Dominion’s designer and Defender of the Realm’s designer in terms of answering questions and addressing concerns about the game). His coming here answering questions is far more beneficial than you seem to realize, or at least give credit for, in that:
It allows play of the game now rather than when such a document could be finalized.
It allows Walter the opportunity to see if his clarifications are sufficient or if players still find his answers to be unclear.
It (likely) means that all such questions, answers and further clarifications can be incorporated into a revised rulebook with greater likelihood that said rulebook will cover any questions a player might have.

fnord23 wrote:
Having played the game once, we had multiple questions that were simply not addressed anywhere in the rules...

If any of the questions you had were not explicitly addressed in the Unofficial FAQ or anywhere here on these forums, please ask them explicitly. This is by far the best and most likely way to see these issues addressed in the Unofficial FAQ, in any future Official FAQ, or a revision of the rules. I will try to update the Unofficial FAQ now that I have power back at my place.

fnord23 wrote:
learning and playing this game was a painful process. If you want it to succeed, something needs to be done, because right now, word of mouth is going to kill this game dead...

I too had a great deal of difficulty playing this game my first time. I have been one of its most vocal critics and frequent question posters in the rules sections. However, given my investment in the game (sounded interesting enough for me to buy, quite a few game mechanisms I find compelling), I find it far more useful to be constructive in my criticism, by pointing out exactly what my problems are or were, and what I find to be unclear.

As it is, I am not sure how I could adequately address the “I am still confused about those ,normal, depression, prosperity cards and how they are used” problem in the Unofficial FAQ. If you or the OP could clearly and exactly state what the difficulties with the Economic Conditions are, I will try to get them added to the Unofficial FAQ (once they have been sufficiently addressed by the designer, and I have power to do so). If that means a full breakdown of the Economic Condition cards usage, let me know, and I will attempt to provide that, and hopefully we can get Walter to correct and clarify where I am wrong, and confirm where I have it correct.


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david karasick
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I have over 1600 games and I can count on one hand the number of really poor rules I have encountered. This is one of them. I would love for the designers to redraft the rules in a fashion that allows one to actually play the game the correct way. Anytime there are a lot of FAQ's, the reason always lies with the rules explanation. Not being able to read the rules prior to buying the game can result in such a situation I have with this game. I'm sorry I bought the game. Rio Grande Games should not have published this game as is especially with poor rules and a board that is poorly made at the seams.
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Adam Tucker
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skeletodoc wrote:
I have over 1600 games and I can count on one hand the number of really poor rules I have encountered. This is one of them.

But it's not the worst rules around (e.g. Siena, Mecanisburgo, the original Betrayal at House on the Hill). The rules were clear enough that with some house ruling (mostly on which of two or three interpretations/non-explicit rules were correct), we were able to power through a game. Yes we played lots of things incorrectly, but we weren't that far off on basic game structure.

skeletodoc wrote:
I would love for the designers to redraft the rules in a fashion that allows one to actually play the game the correct way.

No one in this thread has disagreed with this notion.
That being said, the reason you haven't posted the specific rules issues you have, as already requested, in order to facilitate such an endeavor would be ... ?
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KAS
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Adam, I think you have done a great job answering questions and putting together the FAQ, but for me (and I imagine many others) reading through a poorly written rule set knowing that many things are not covered well is not something I am eager to do. With so many great games to play and limited time to play them, this game has fallen way back on my wishlist due to this issue. The other games you listed above fall into a similar category for me and unless someone else who has taken the time to parse through all the rules, faqs and forum posts is willing to teach it, it is unlikely to get to the table.

The game looks to be very interesting and I can tell that a lot of time and energy went into its design, but releasing it with the ruleset it came with has likely led to many people either not giving it a chance or playing it with incorrect rules and getting a wrong impression of it.

Nevertheless, many games have had the rules rewritten after initial release to help with these problems. I know both Stronghold and Power Struggle are two recent games that come to mind. I don't mean to volunteer your services, but with your knowledge of the game, if the designers provided you with the original rules file, I would think you could redo them in a much more complete and coherent way that would be a huge help to everyone interested in playing it.
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Adam Tucker
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kneumann wrote:
Adam, I think you have done a great job answering questions and putting together the FAQ, but for me (and I imagine many others) reading through a poorly written rule set knowing that many things are not covered well is not something I am eager to do. With so many great games to play and limited time to play them, this game has fallen way back on my wishlist due to this issue. The other games you listed above fall into a similar category for me and unless someone else who has taken the time to parse through all the rules, faqs and forum posts is willing to teach it, it is unlikely to get to the table.

I completely understand; Mecanisburgo got traded away by the person in our gaming group who bought it before such a rewrite was/is available, in no small part due to these issues (to be fair, what we could make out of the rules made it seem like it wasn't going to go over as well with our group as he thought it might anyways).


kneumann wrote:
Nevertheless, many games have had the rules rewritten after initial release to help with these problems. I know both Stronghold and Power Struggle are two recent games that come to mind. I don't mean to volunteer your services, but with your knowledge of the game, if the designers provided you with the original rules file, I would think you could redo them in a much more complete and coherent way that would be a huge help to everyone interested in playing it.

I may attempt to do that sometime, but:
1. Time is an issue: I'm in the middle of a family reunion this weekend; I have class at an off-site location all this week; an 18XX weekend I'm signed up to participate in next weekend (with all of one play of any 18XX game under my belt - not counting 18EZ level 1, since I've never seen level 2 or 3) - and should probably do some rules reading for that; a party RSVP'd for the weekend after that; plus trying to get in as many plays as I can of the new Arkham Horror: The Curse of the Dark Pharaoh Expansion (Revised Edition) and Arkham Horror: Miskatonic Horror Expansion
2. I'm sure Walter is aware of the problem already, given how active he is here on the boards. I'm also certain that he's likely doing all he can to get Rio Grande to address the issues - he has more invested in it than anyone else here. If asked, I would provide any help I could to Walter to get an official version done - and that would take precedence over any unofficial quick rule set fix I might try to come with and get out quickly, especially since (queue reason 3)
3. I have no experience writing or editing rules for games (and while having no trouble playing Arkham Horror may qualify me in some peoples minds, I don't think it's a valid qualification in and of itself). I don't even think I'm all that good at writing documentation for code (in those rare instances at work when our group has cut through enough red tape for us to do some actual coding).
4. Any and all instance of those people that have had a go at trying to play the game reporting the specific issues they encountered is useful to any such endeavor, official or unofficial. The most useful thing that bad rule sets provide are examples of the pitfalls that need to be overcome to convey the rules properly. It's possible that any clarification Walter or I provide (technically, I would likely be guessing in the hopes that Walter will check my work), will still be confusing - if not to the people that originally had the issue, then in other ways to other people. Considering that the opportunity is available now (there are people with unreported rules issues), addressing said issues now, before the results of any such attempt has been released, can only help matters.
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