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Subject: What would YOU change about the rulebook? rss

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Jeremy Anderson
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I was tempted to title this "All right, smart guy..."

Obviously we'll be taking stock of all the questions people asked here in the forums to get a sense of what was not immediately obvious to players. But I'd also like your direct feedback! If there's something that you felt made the rulebook subpar, or some way the rules could be improved, tell me what it was!

I'll start the list. These two things don't need mentioning by anyone else, because they are absolutely going to change no matter what:

1) The rulebook needs an image of what the board looks like when set up.

2) The rules for Hunting - what causes it and how it works - need to be both prominent and clear, and possibly appear in multiple places in the rulebook to be sure people see them.
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Vincent Lalyman
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First : thank you for this game - it already ate hours of my life

I did not have many problems with the rules, but here are my suggestions. Please note I am not a native english speaker, and excuse my poor english !


I'd suggest making a short glossary with a clear definition of some rules / expression used in the card text : buy, take, "discard for", affliction, and so on. It's easier to browse a glossary than a rule book.

I'll rewrite and reorganize the description of actions. Something like "each hero can use one Villager Action, one Action and any number of Quick Actions in the heroes phase." "The following actions are Quick Actions : Buy, Use a Skill, etc".
It was the most confusing part of the rules for me : sorting what is "free" or not. It took me a whole minute. devil

About Villagers : some of them are "usable" as per the rules, others are of the "ongoing" kind (Guards, the child...). But the rules don't mention the difference.
It can be a problem : it is easy to see that guards and the child don't work by "use", and the Farmer is a "usable" one, but the Stonemason is less intuitive... Use once for one wall, or all walls are cheaper for every one ? He doesn't have the word "use"...
If a second edition ever is printed (I certainly hope so), it would be useful to rework the villager cards and use keywords (usable, ongoing ?) to differentiate both. But for now, the rule book should list the exceptions to the "villagers mus be used to have an effect" rule.

Condensed form : Use clearly defined term, clearly list exceptions, make a short glossary.


Post Scriptum : Skills can cause a lot of confusion... can they be discarded as any other card, once used in a turn ? And in the next turn ? If I use Holy Aura, can I also use it as a Magic ressource ? I answered this problem by considering that in the draw cards phase, you put back in your hand the skills in front of you after drawing, and they become "normal" cards again until played, but I think it is a point that should be clarified in the rules (especially if I am wrong ) And I probably am, as it would make Holy Aura less useful !
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I like a lot of the above suggestions. I think an obvious addition idea would be a FAQ page.

Also, maybe some variants; shuffling the Shadowrifts lower in the deck or Pandemic style; playing solitaire, etc.
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Jeremy Anderson
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TheSoundOfTrees wrote:
Post Scriptum : Skills can cause a lot of confusion... can they be discarded as any other card, once used in a turn ? And in the next turn ? If I use Holy Aura, can I also use it as a Magic ressource ? I answered this problem by considering that in the draw cards phase, you put back in your hand the skills in front of you after drawing, and they become "normal" cards again until played, but I think it is a point that should be clarified in the rules (especially if I am wrong ) And I probably am, as it would make Holy Aura less useful !


Skills go from in play to the discard pile during the draw step if you didn't pay for them at some point last turn. They don't come back to your hand. While they sit in play, you can benefit from their effects. Some, like Bamboozle, are once/round only, while others like Flanking can be used over and over.

You absolutely may discard Holy Aura from in play - even after using its once/round ability - to gain 1 magic. This makes Holy Aura one of the most reliable ways to Seal a Shadowrift.
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Ben Greig
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My group would love to see a difficulty curve/rating for the different monster decks (for different number of players), some idea of what to start out as an easier time and where to work towards (and how that might change from 2 to 6 players)
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Mike
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I completely agree with the above, especially the idea of a terminology section. For example, "remove a card" vs "discard a card", and what "remove" a card means for different decks (hand vs town deck vs corpses, etc).

Some other thoughts:

- It should be explicitly stated that a player can use multiple copies of the same skill. This may sound silly, but many skills specify "once per turn you can X", and that "once per turn" can be interpreted as "once per turn" rather than "once per turn per copy of the card".

- It should be stated how many times you can trigger a boost on a card.

- The rule regarding "choose between losing X or Y" (see http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/859820/choice-between-losing...) needs to be explicitly stated, especially since it goes against the rules common in other deckbuilders (for example, in Dominion you can opt to take any choice, regardless of the situation).
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Jason Bagley
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One thing I would suggest (and I've seen this happen with projects I've had Kickstarted) is that you do a wider peer-review on the rulebook beforehand. Especially since there is now a large crowd of people who have played your game and enjoy it, I think you'll get good ongoing feedback from people.

(I guess as a side-note, maybe you should kick-start it to gain attention to your game and perhaps to be able to improve the quality of the game? If you're going to publish it either way, I don't see it hurting).

Each section looks kind of skimmed over in the rulebook. I like that it's outlined by the different phases of a round. But using your example of the hunt (and the wall-breaking that may go with it), I feel it would be useful to make the rule-book as the Law, describing every essential aspect, and the cards only having reminders (again, thinking of walls, and when they break). I'm sure there's other things in there. Coins are a great example of how things should be: In the rule-book it describes how coins are placed in front of you and can be shared. The cards remind you of this. I believe that's exactly how it should go. I've often wondered if you can only have one of each loot or skill card in play. It doesn't specify in the rule-book.

It would also be nice to have a glossary of sorts, as someone mentioned. I know in Dominion, for instance, there is always a piece of paper/book that allowed you to look up the rules of any card. While that seems extreme and unnecessary, some type of FAQ for common, identified concerns would be great. Perhaps it's only necessary to have these on a few cards, like you've done with the different scenarios. A third person--or one not so involved with the design--could often spot these, I think.

So to summarize: 1. Make each part of your rule-book pretty explicit and mention the most important details/philosophy of that phase. 2. The rule-book should contain the rules affecting gameplay, and the cards should only have reminder texts on them. 3. Peer review (I guess you're kind of already doing that, but even after revising the rules, get feedback as many times as you need)

I've enjoyed playing this game, and had a few friends be very surprised at how enjoyable it is. It seems hard to remember and get my friends to remember that they can only play one action each round.
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Jason Bagley
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karishi wrote:
You absolutely may discard Holy Aura from in play - even after using its once/round ability - to gain 1 magic. This makes Holy Aura one of the most reliable ways to Seal a Shadowrift.


This makes me worried. Doesn't that sort of imply I could, say, use a Heal, discard some magic to make it quick, then play a fireball and discard Heal to boost Fireball? It seems a little too strong. (If it's not heal, it's some other card that does this).

Also, when you use a card for its effect, I'm assuming it goes into play. Or does it go into the discard pile?
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Jeremy Anderson
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retupmoc258 wrote:
karishi wrote:
You absolutely may discard Holy Aura from in play - even after using its once/round ability - to gain 1 magic. This makes Holy Aura one of the most reliable ways to Seal a Shadowrift.


This makes me worried. Doesn't that sort of imply I could, say, use a Heal, discard some magic to make it quick, then play a fireball and discard Heal to boost Fireball? It seems a little too strong. (If it's not heal, it's some other card that does this).

Also, when you use a card for its effect, I'm assuming it goes into play. Or does it go into the discard pile?


Actually it goes into the discard pile. Someone pointed out elsewhere that not having actions and resources sit in play means a hero with a lot of Might/Heroism and an Elixir of Life can actually buy all 8 walls in one turn, which is...problematic.
For now, the fix is that all boosts, even the boost on Elixir of Life, are usable once/round. Without the Elixir that particular combo doesn't go crazy.
Once we get to a reprint, I'll probably revisit that rule and shift to the more standard "stuff sits in play until the round ends" take on it, which may nudge the power levels of various cards. Honestly, I kind of dislike having Holy Aura be such a reliable Seal-booster on top of all the other powerful stuff it does. OP! Needs a Nerf!
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Jason Bagley
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Yeah, having things in play be fixed and immovable might be most helpful. This way it can't be used to pay for things unless it is played from hand for that purpose. I also feel like it's a good way to keep track of what you've done during the round. I had a friend who did stuff like cast two fireball spells, boosted them, and then used heal . . . and I had no idea he'd done any of those things because it was all in his discard and he'd assigned the damage already, and got rid of his wound. It took me until a few turns later to realize that he'd done 4 points of damage, and he said it was with two spells. He did similar things multiple times. I left my cards in play, and I could check that everything was fine--I had Shining Blade, so I can play these two attacks and my strike.

A change like that does alter the paradigm of the whole game, though, like you said. I don't know if it would be necessary to change the paradigm you have, but I guess with clarifications that isn't a problem.

Maybe you could just require that a card be used as either a resource or an action/spell/skill. This fixes the Holy Aura problem because you can do one or the other. Cards enter play neutral (they aren't defined as one or the other) being placed down in front when desired and may be discarded from play to activate abilities on other cards, or purchase things, etc. This basically means your whole hand enters play, and the only question is the order you choose to activate abilities, which you should be able to track, and eliminates the duality of cards like Holy Aura. Just a possibility. I don't know if this works with all the cards in the set--just the ones I've played with.
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Christian
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That's how I play and it works fine. Everything sits in play until a "cleanup phase"...
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Patrick Carr
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I would honestly love a glossary of some sort. I find that to be the hardest thing for me as I haven't even had a play through of it because I keep getting hung up on certain events such as the hunt. I would also love a breakdown of the cards, a la Dominion, just to get a handle on exceptions and what general play is like. That's just me. I feel kind of like an idiot for not getting all of it on my first couple of read-throughs.
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Christine Biancheria
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Out of curiosity, how close are you to a reprint?

As for the rules or an expansion, I would like to see something added to make the game more difficult. My first couple of games have been pretty easy, and I see a lot of comments indicating that this is not uncommon. The game system is great, but I think would benefit from rules tweaks or maybe additions to existing monster decks or something to make it harder.

Additionally, it would be great to have a sheet explaining each card, the way they have in Dominion, and draw on the questions posed on BGG to do the writeups.
 
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Jeremy Anderson
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Christine Biancheria wrote:
Out of curiosity, how close are you to a reprint?

As for the rules or an expansion, I would like to see something added to make the game more difficult. My first couple of games have been pretty easy, and I see a lot of comments indicating that this is not uncommon. The game system is great, but I think would benefit from rules tweaks or maybe additions to existing monster decks or something to make it harder.

Additionally, it would be great to have a sheet explaining each card, the way they have in Dominion, and draw on the questions posed on BGG to do the writeups.


I don't know for sure yet. The timing of a reprint will depend entirely on sales, and I have pretty limited control over those.

Good idea about the card description sheet, though it'd need to be a LOT bigger than Dominion's because of the Monster decks. I'll do a series here on BGG to try and get those all listed, in the meantime.
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Christine Biancheria
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True. I wasn't thinking of the monsters, but the rest of the cards.
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Richard Ham
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karishi wrote:

You absolutely may discard Holy Aura from in play - even after using its once/round ability - to gain 1 magic.

Wow, really? We'd assumed that you can only pay resources that are in your hand (except for coins, of course, which sit in your play area). So while it's in your hand, holy aura can be either a skill to gain, or a source of magic to power something else. Once it's been played as a skill, it's a skill, until the next time it shows up in your hand, at which point you once again have the choice of whether to use that card as a skill, or a resource. This seems logical and consistent with other games where cards can do multiple things, until such time as you choose what they do, then they're locked into that function (San Juan, Fleet, etc.)
 
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Shaun
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To be honest, I didn't like the orientation of the rulebook. I might be in the minority, but I wish it opened and read like a normal book. That's all for now
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Kirk Bauer
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OK, I'll bite, and I hope that these suggestions help make the new version better and that I can download and print it out in the near future. Some quick background: I was taught how to play by a couple that knew how to play already. Then I opened my own copy and unpacking it and refreshing myself on the rules was pretty rough...

1) The rules need to be more clear on how to divide the cards when first opening the package. Nothing states that Cultists are special infiltrators and you shouldn't always use them, for example. Maybe a count of how many should be in each village deck?
2) Exactly where cards are placed when they are discarded and removed from play needs to be specified. The phrase "removed from play" used on the cards seems to indicate you should toss it in the game box.
3) Exactly what happens when each deck runs out (e.g. the monster deck, wound deck, etc).
4) Recommend a starting scenario for beginners.
5) Explain that the shadowrift symbol counts as a faction symbol for gaining power.
6) Explain exactly what happens when a monster enters the power area, what happens while there (do special effects still trigger), and how to get rid of it (can you seal and/or attack it?).
7) Explicitly state that players can take their turns in an intertwined manner.
8) Better explain the interaction between the Villagers, Infiltrators, travelers, etc.
9) Differentiate between "seek aid" and automatic village effects.
 
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Kirk Bauer
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Also, on Fireball, it isn't clear that you would be allowed to use the 2nd bonus effect and not the first, and it should be made clear that it costs two magic to do both.

And it isn't clear which Loot and/or Skills allow multiple copies in-play and how those effects stack.
 
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I have a few suggestions as well for the rule book:

Things said before that I'll add my vote to:
1) Glossary
2) Suggested Game Layout
3) Unpacking Instructions. This was actually suggested earlier but I very much agree. I demoed the game at BGG, then bought my own copy, and spent an hour trying to figure out how to put all the cards together and stay sorted. I was glad I played it first.

New Things
1) Moving suggested deck selections tot he rule book. I must admit that I played several games before I found that they were on the back of the setup cards. I just set everything up and never looked at the backs! I thought for awhile the game didn't have suggested scenarios!
2) A Resource List (A list of all the cards with their total counts, tokens, etc) so that we can know if something is missing.
3) Individual Card Descriptions you posted cleared up a few questions. Having them in the rule book would be excellent.
4) Diagrams and summary sections of key and common game play.
 
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