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Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?» Forums » Rules

Subject: GMT Rulebook rss

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Yesterday I received Labyrinth as belated (but really WELCOME...) Xmas gift. I opened the box and saw 2 rulebooks: one with 16 pages, the other (the playbook) with 24. For a total of 40... WOW! Ok, playbook is not necessary cause it just describes an example, but what I find curious in all GMT titles is the capacity to make a medium game, really hard. I wonder what would have happened if GMT had published Agricola, Le Havre or Trajan. How many pages? 128?
Overall Labyrinth is not a complex game, lets say little bit easier than Agricola, but it's the way rules are organized that makes it so heavy to digest. Why, just to give u an example, victory conditions are described at the beginning? In ALL euro they are on the last page. The way chapters are organized is unclear. If I wanna explain chess to a guy who never played it I dont start saying "you win if a checkmate happens" because this statement is a nonsense. What is it a checkmate? Components are listed on page 3, I'd expect on page 1. Set up is on page 16! And so on... In this way many potential buyers deny their purchase scared in front of this (alleged) difficulty. What do u think?
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Derry Salewski
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I guess I haven't opened this one yet, but I've read the rulebooks to AE, TS, CnC Napoleonics, and Sea of Glory (And probably other ones!.) They're all laid out in a pretty logical manner. And they include all the rules of the game. TS is the game I actually play, so I've looked through the rules quite a bit more, and I never have trouble finding the rule I'm looking for.

When I explain a game (and when people ask me to explain one) the first thing to tell them is how to win. In a euro, it might just be the norm for 'vps' to be used to determine the winner. Putting victory conditions at the beginning of a rulebook for conflict based games makes sense.

Why wouldn't you explain how important a king is in the beginning of chess? No one ever asks 'but why do I need to move these pieces in the first place?'?

I am very visual, love games, and have a degree in English. Figuring out rulebooks isn't an issue for me. I'm pretty sure the ones GMT games puts out are quite logical, however.

Now, I am not attacking you, OP, but your post is written a little bit awkwardly. I don't know how strong your command of whatever language the rulebook was written in is. Might that ever be an issue for you?
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Matt Boehland
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I found the rulebook extremely well written. The playbook is all an extra, optional (though I recommend it) interactive way to learn the game for people who find it easier than learning just by reading the whole rulebook.

The 'just read the rulebook' option is still there, it's only a 16 page rulebook, not 40 pages.

I learned by playing along with the playbook, and felt more than ready to play the game. Playing my first game with another first-timer, we had almost no questions with how anything worked (also thanks to the useful player's aid cards)... and I'm normally someone who misses one very important rule each time I teach a game to someone for the first time ^^;
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Marco Poutré
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james_bond wrote:
Overall Labyrinth is not a complex game, lets say little bit easier than Agricola, but it's the way rules are organized that makes it so heavy to digest.


Easier than Agricola? So you have 2 completely asymetrical powers with 3 distinct victory conditions each and a lot of specificities on the board (Iran, Philippines, etc.) I'll give you a challenge : Forget the rulebook and try to explain the 2 games to a non-gamer and then play a game of both. In which case will the newbie get a lot of things wrong? Forget the theme for a minute, Agricola is a family game meant to be playable by children.

Back to your post, GMT rulebooks are designed with referencing in mind. Indeed, there are no shiny full-color examples but when comes the time to find a specific rule, you'll be thankful for the dry but concise "Please look up 6.4.3".
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Volko Ruhnke
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Just to add explanation of one point raised: The scenario set up appears on page 16 because that is the back cover of the rulebook. I want it to be easy to find the set up for each scenario, because players will have to refer to that each time they start to play. So I put that outside the rulebook, where it is most handy.

The first-time-you-play set up instructions appear near the very beginning of the rules (as they do in many Euros), on page 2 (note that "page 1" is just the outside cover and table of contents for the rulebook). The first sentence of this set up section is "Choose a scenario from the back of this rule book."

Please look up 3.0, "Setup", on page 2.

Regards! - Volko

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Mark Evans
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I generally think GMT rulebooks are the best in the business.
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Next time I'll ask GMT to write a special rulebook for me whistle Anyway, rulebook apart, I've to say components (board in particular) are really top notch!
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Joel Toppen
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I'll just chime in and say I wish Agricola's rulebook was a tad more wordy. To each his own, I guess.
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Reading a GMT rulebook is alot like reading a financial contract. Time seems to stand still and sometimes you need a lawyer to translate. So it's a good thing the games are so fun to play! Boring as hell rulebook but fun as hell game, I can live with that.

P.S. I've also seen some rulebooks that aren't boring but don't even come close to explaining the game as well as a GMT rulebook so it's a two way street.
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Steven
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I suppose it is all a matter of taste. Although the GMT rule books may be a bit dry to some, it is very, very easy to find rules while playing (especially when you have the rules on the PDF file). This is in contrast to some Euro game rules where I might be able to read easilly at first, but can be a pain to find because it is not legal style.

Also you need to remember that the rulebook comes from a different rule "tradition" than Euro games. This results in the rule book having a different style then you may be used to. However do not take this to mean that the game is impossible or extremely difficult.
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james_bond wrote:
Yesterday I received Labyrinth as belated (but really WELCOME...) Xmas gift. I opened the box and saw 2 rulebooks: one with 16 pages, the other (the playbook) with 24. For a total of 40... WOW! Ok, playbook is not necessary cause it just describes an example, but what I find curious in all GMT titles is the capacity to make a medium game, really hard. I wonder what would have happened if GMT had published Agricola, Le Havre or Trajan.

They would have turned Agricola into a good game...

james_bond wrote:

How many pages? 128?

Does it really matter?
james_bond wrote:

Overall Labyrinth is not a complex game, lets say little bit easier than Agricola, but it's the way rules are organized that makes it so heavy to digest. Why, just to give u an example, victory conditions are described at the beginning? In ALL euro they are on the last page.

It's not a Euro. There ya go.
james_bond wrote:

The way chapters are organized is unclear. If I wanna explain chess to a guy who never played it I dont start saying "you win if a checkmate happens" because this statement is a nonsense.

Huh?
Can't get to where you want to go without knowing where you want to go.
james_bond wrote:

What is it a checkmate?


It's in the rules.

james_bond wrote:

Components are listed on page 3, I'd expect on page 1.


Your disappointment is palpable.

james_bond wrote:

Set up is on page 16! And so on... In this way many potential buyers deny their purchase scared in front of this (alleged) difficulty. What do u think?


I think you're overthinking it. Labyrinth is a great game and should be judged upon its merits and gameplay, and not on the idea that "you would have done it differently".

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Ahmed Hadzi
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I own dozen GMT games, and generally they are my standard when it comes to rulebooks and what to expect from them. But I have to agree I did find these rules extremely hard to digest.
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Jack Smith
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I find many Euro rulebooks and ALL FFG rulebooks to be either mediocre or terrible. Victory conditions at the start is important to see the purpose behind the flow of the game.

Set up is not part of the rules so it's at the back and easy to access. The whole thing is designed to be easy to reference during play and follows a logical order without having rules for the same action spread all over the rule book.

When I see some non wargame rules they make me want to cry and get a big red pen out to edit it, including Agricola. If this was an FFG game the rulebook would be 200 pages of bloat and inconsistent wording (the rule book for WOTR new edition is terrible)
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