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Washington's War» Forums » General

Subject: Rules are terrible!!! rss

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George Husted
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East Hartford
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These are some of the worst laid out game rules I have ever encountered!

Start reading the rule for movement...learn that you can move...then learn each and every possible exception to how and when...you still don't know how many spaces yet...then finally, after paragraph after paragraph of the exceptions, you learn that British move 4 and Americans move 5, so long as they aren't attacking.

Combat...the most convoluted combat resolution of any game I have ever played. Read about it in section 5...no wait, you have to jump to section 11...

These rules are horrid!
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Tell us how you really feel, George!
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John Gant
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Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I disagree with yours.

In my opinion, logically constructed rules do exactly what you described: (1) establish a structure for performing some action, then (2) provide exceptions to the structure provided. This is very logical. I have no issue with the rules as written for this game.

Hope you put in a little work to attempt to enjoy the game. Otherwise there is always the resale option.

Best Wishes,

--JokerRulez
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Doug Green
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I felt like like George at first, but then after a few games and going back to the rules more than a few times, the layout, and the rules themselves, seem to make a lot more sense.

I actually started out using the excel spreadsheet in the files section to calculate battle outcomes, which was a nice way to learn... but now it's second nature.
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Will (JR) Todd
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I actually like the rules the way they are laid out. Also, once you play a game or two they become more intuitive as well.
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Dan Poole
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As stated above, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Having said that I fail to see how these rules are terrible. Along with many others here, I have had no problem understanding the game having read through the rules a few times. More complex games are going to have more complex rules (obviously). Personally I think these rules organized very well and the player aids were well thought-out. I did make a little cheat sheet about a couple rules which I wish were included on the palyer aid, but that is a minor point.



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Brandon Ketchum
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Meh, it sounds like you aren't used to games like this one. As others have said, the structure is logical and normal. The game is straightforward and easy to understand, and the rules reflect that.
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Joel Toppen
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Sorry you're having issues! For what it's worth, we're working on 2nd Edition Living Rules at this time (to be available on PDF when ready).

Thanks for playing!

-Joel
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Will (JR) Todd
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joel_m_toppen wrote:
Sorry you're having issues! For what it's worth, we're working on 2nd Edition Living Rules at this time (to be available on PDF when ready).

Thanks for playing!

-Joel


Great news. Looking forward to the new rules edition
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George Husted
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There are 15 pages of rules clarifications for this game on BGG. As I stated before, You have to read through about 8 paragraphs before you find out that British generals move 4 and American generals move 5 unless they are attacking and generals may pick up and drop off CUs during their movement, but can only move a maximum of 5 CUs at any one time.

Ta da! Movement rules! Now, learn about the exceptions...ad nauseum...Arnold is the ONLY general that can use the dashed line between MA and Canada and it costs 3 movement. Ooooh...that's so hard to explain! The complications are mind boggling!

The game itself is fun. I liked it. However, I stand by my assertion that the rules are horrid and 15 pages of questions about them here on the Geek would tend to support my assertion, I think.
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Stefan Koller
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Interesting discussion, and good points on both sides.

Coldwarrior1984 wrote:
There are 15 pages of rules clarifications for this game on BGG.


Actually, for a GMT game that's come out in recent years, we're talking about a game whose rules are remarkably well written and exhaustively playtested - a game that as a consequences has received remarkably few errata. (Contrast Stalin's War, or Clash of Monarchs, or ...) The majority of these 15 pages (really that many? the one document I use has three A4 pages!) are, as you say, "clarifications" which in my experience mostly cover rather special cases.

Coldwarrior1984 wrote:
As I stated before, You have to read through about 8 paragraphs before you find out that British generals move 4 and American generals move 5 unless they are attacking and generals may pick up and drop off CUs during their movement, but can only move a maximum of 5 CUs at any one time.


Coldwarrior1984 wrote:
The game itself is fun. I liked it.


Well, there we have it. The rules are a pain in the back on the first one or two games, I give you that.

However, after two plays, a certain familiarity sets in and you'll discover that at least some of the issues you raise evaporate, and others arise. These other issues arise from a distinction of a game's individual rules into

a) those rules which once read one has no difficulty to commit to memory
b) those little details which it takes several plays to have a firm grasp and instant recall of

I found the movement and combat rules vastly intuitive for this game. I read them twice and never looked back (the second time just to check I had got them all). I even hit on a heuristic to avoid looking up the table for combat casualty (the one table NOT on the game map ). Here comes:

Quote:
Use the result of the Combat Die Roll (9.4).
► You lost the battle: loss of [result divided by 2, round down] in CUs.
► You won the battle: loss of 1 CU unless your result is higher than
[your general’s Agility Rating +1].


Again, that's a rule I can commit to memory, even if it's not exactly an easy thing to comprehend these formulas on a first reading. The issue is not, then, how hard it is to understand a rule on a first reading, but how hard it is to commit it to memory. It's the latter that's absolutely essential for the actual gaming experience, and here Washington's War shines - mostly.

For, it's the strategy phase I still find demanding after repeated plays, and that's where I recommend you use Player Aids (e.g. those in C3i #24 you can freely download here on BGG). The other play aid I found vastly useful, re: b), is this neat summary on the differences between Americans and British. Have these by your side, and you shall never want for speedy play.

May I also add that I find the rulebook one of the best because of its remarkably well researched index? Just by comparison, the revamped Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage rulebook lacks an index and is a pain to use during play.

On the whole, I take posts like the OP to be a very welcome indication that this game attracts an audience that isn't used to the wargame formatting of rules - the very wider audience Mark Herman was aiming at with with his game. And it is an absolutely fair question whether, to attract these wider audiences, GMT should rethink its rules formating standards and bring them closer in line to what was done for e.g. the 1960 CDG (take a look at the rules here).

I find GMT rules excellent as are - especially for Washington's War - but people unaccustomed to the games repeatedly report they find them confusing. And not only them - check wargame veteran, geek of the week, Calandale's video review (as of minute 3:09) for the exact same complaint (again, arising after a single play). Opinions like these should be given serious consideration and GMT may wish to act on them in the future. It MAY be wise to have rules written in a way that people feel reasonable comfortable at the game after two reads and don't have to print out extra memory aids to navigate their game experience successfully.
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Ryan Hackel
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The WashWar rulebook is not well organized for learning the game, but it is excellent for answering questions that come up during the game.

But it's far from being the Worst Rulebook Ever. As competition, I submit the rules for The Kaiser's Pirates.
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Michael Hovan
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I have to agree with those who have noted that GMT's rules generally suck swamp water. That being said, this is one of their better rule sets.
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Judd Vance
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I had no problems with them myself. I thought they were excellent, and the player aids that came with it were a big help, and the playbook was awesome.

But, beyond that, here are a couple of things to help out:

#1) Go download these homemade, professional quality player aids:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/60134/advanced-major-s...

#2) Send me a Geekmail with your regular e-mail address. I have a couple of VASSAL files that contain complete games where I taught new players. In the logs, I talk about strategy and correct common errors (mainly discarding events).

Give it a chance and I think it will blow you away, and when it comes to card driven games, this one has the best rules and support of any of them (in my book).
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William Bentley
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I've not played that many GMT games, but I'm a wargamer of over 30 years that has read plenty of rule books. I LOVE this game. It is my current favorite despite 10+ current PBEM games of HIS. However, I completely agree with OP George. The rules are horrid. Long-winded and poorly organized, they could easily be edited down to 3/4 the current length. Better yet, I'd love to see a super edit for players who know the basic mechanics, but want a down and dirty version that covers only the oddities. The huge number of player versions of edited rules and player aids underscores George's point.

The only design critiques I have is that the casualty mechanic is a bit funky and 15 games later, I still have to reference the player aid to figure out who and how many died. I guess I'll eventually memorize it. Also, where's Ethan Allen and Green Mtn. Boys? Allen was one of the first heroes of the war and certainly had a significant effect on the war's early phases. I'd love to see a card for him.
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Andrew Prizzi
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I've downloaded the Washington War rules but haven't read them in detail yet. What jumps out at me is the length of them. I remember We the People being a very simple game with short rules (never owned it, just played, so going from memory). Most comments say WW is a streamlined WtP...but if that is the case why the longer rule book?

Thanks
 
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Ryan Hackel
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prizziap wrote:
...What jumps out at me is the length of them. ....but if that is the case why the longer rule book?

Lots of pictures and examples.
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