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Subject: OBG 88: The Rules of Rules rss

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Erik Dewey
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Erik and Don are joined by Dice Hate Me's Chris to talk about what makes up good and bad rulebooks.

Ted Duby offers up a review of D-Day Dice.

In the review-a-palooza, Erik and Hope review:

*Roll Through The Ages: The Bronze Age
*Killer Bunnies and the Ultimate Odyssey
*Can't Stop



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Erik Dewey
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A quick program quality note.

A few months back I started making backup recordings of the round table conversation since we'd been having some issues (like losing half of Geoff Englestein on the miniature's episode and some of Scott during a review-a-palooza).

That way if there was an issue we would have something usable no matter what.

Well this episode was the first to use it. Skype was particularly poky during the round table, but since each person typically records their own track, we don't get any of that cylon skype sound or voices cutting out.

After the discussion finished, Chris noticed that his recording wasn't working so he had nothing of what he said recorded.

No problem, I have the backup and that is what saved this round table. Unfortunately, the quality is much less than what we usually have, and I apologize. Also I had to manually edit out Don and my's voice from the third track, although on occasion you might here us doubling up on the audio. I left one in on the outtakes so you could hear what I was dealing with the entire episode.

Anyway, a great discussion (in my opinion) hampered by a few technical glitches. Hopefully we'll have Chris on again soon so we can hear him in his full glory.

Thanks for being a great group of listeners. Don and I really appreciate each one of you.
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Jason Young
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Ayrk wrote:
...good and bad rulesbooks.
FTFY
 
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Reuven Fischer
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AWESOME Episode!!!!

Chris was a great guest despite the technical audio issues in the beginning (Bummer). I really liked his insight and very thoughtful commentary! I hope you have him (& Monkey) back for future episodes.

One thing though... Don better watch himself as Hope (so cute!) is in the wings ready to snatch his spot on review-a-palooza. :-) :-) :-)

I had to laugh at the synergy of choice of reviewed games. D-Day dice & Roll through the ages. (I love them both!) First time I played D-Day Dice I called it a WWII theme of Roll through the ages :-)

Enjoyed the Episode, Speedy Recovery Don!!!
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I'm sure there are examples otherwise, but I've found a lot of Fantasy Flight rulebooks very easy to read and comprehend. I say this having just bought Descent 2, and that rulebook is so smooth. I've felt similar about the book for The Lord Of the Rings LCG, and Fury of Dracula. I admit that Battlestar's book is a mess, but that game is kind of unique/ambitious in design. The books to their smaller games (Citadels, Kingdoms, Scarab/Minotaur Lords) are also very well done.
 
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Dice Hate Me
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Ayrk wrote:
A quick program quality note.

A few months back I started making backup recordings of the round table conversation since we'd been having some issues (like losing half of Geoff Englestein on the miniature's episode and some of Scott during a review-a-palooza).

That way if there was an issue we would have something usable no matter what.

Well this episode was the first to use it. Skype was particularly poky during the round table, but since each person typically records their own track, we don't get any of that cylon skype sound or voices cutting out.

After the discussion finished, Chris noticed that his recording wasn't working so he had nothing of what he said recorded.

No problem, I have the backup and that is what saved this round table. Unfortunately, the quality is much less than what we usually have, and I apologize. Also I had to manually edit out Don and my's voice from the third track, although on occasion you might here us doubling up on the audio. I left one in on the outtakes so you could hear what I was dealing with the entire episode.

Anyway, a great discussion (in my opinion) hampered by a few technical glitches. Hopefully we'll have Chris on again soon so we can hear him in his full glory.

Thanks for being a great group of listeners. Don and I really appreciate each one of you.


You, sir, are a man amongst men for saving the day on this podcast. You've got some skillz.

Sorry for the technical glitch; if you guys have me on again sometime, I promise to have triple redundant systems. Heck, I'll even transcribe and re-record, if need be.

Thanks for the great discussion!
Chris
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Eric Hansen
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In about 2006 Monte Cook released a behemoth DND campaign book called Ptolus. Inside the 700+ page tome he added references much like hyperlinks on a web page. A campaign setting term would be another color than the rest of the text, and in the sidebar there would be a page reference to that term. I think Fantasy Flight and other heavy games publishes should do this with their books.
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Dice Hate Me
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Eric Hansen wrote:
In about 2006 Monte Cook released a behemoth DND campaign book called Ptolus. Inside the 700+ page tome he added references much like hyperlinks on a web page. A campaign setting term would be another color than the rest of the text, and in the sidebar there would be a page reference to that term. I think Fantasy Flight and other heavy games publishes should do this with their books.


We've played around with this format for some usability studies; I think it would be a good experiment to try with the latest batch to check on retention and reference.
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Tom Razo
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Guys, great show...

Don mentioned a particular font size as being to small during the show...yet I didn't catch any mention of the proper or recommended sizes for the various features that make up a rule book.

As a follow up, I wanted to know if there is a standard font size that you would recommend for the various features that make up the rule book?





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Wyckyd
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(anybody else unable to listen to the episode? I pressed play, but nothing is happening.)

When is the episode going to be uploaded to onboardgames.net?
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Luis Matthews
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It seems I've got to respectfully disagree with Don on a few points.

1) Helvetica... Realy? If one is not a graphic designer, my suggestion is to go to a library and page through a handful of books (on any subject) and pick a font that looks like what you see in a book. There's a reason that books are printed with the types of fonts they are. It may not be sexy, but it will be readable.

2) I know you were a bit down on the the honestly goofy white glove demos from Mayfair, but to be fair, in some ways the Catan series of games tends to knock rules out of the park. Let's look at 4th edition of Settlers. One has the following "official" ways to learn the game.

a) Use the Rules that come in the box, which is broken up into four sections (full rundown of the rules, alphabetical reference section, index, quick reference)

b) download above rules as a pdf from Mayfair website.

c) Watch the (admittedly silly) white glove demo (not listed in the manual, but linked from website)

d) Go to http://www.profeasy.com/Settlers_Boardgame/ as listed on Mayfair website and back of manual to view a game play walkthrough

e) Learn while playing online by going to http://www.playcatan.com as listed in the manual.

Admittedly many of these are not done by Mayfair, but by the Catan LLC folks. Many Mayfair games at least allow download of the rules, as well as the white glove demo. On a side note, I am supremely thankful every time I pull out Rivals for Catan that they printed the setup as well as what each event roll icon means on the back of the manual.
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Donald Dennis
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PlayCrossbones wrote:
Guys, great show...

Don mentioned a particular font size as being to small during the show...yet I didn't catch any mention of the proper or recommended sizes for the various features that make up a rule book.

As a follow up, I wanted to know if there is a standard font size that you would recommend for the various features that make up the rule book?


10 pt. font seems to be standard, I prefer 11. If you are printing white on black then bump it up by at least .5. But you know better than to print on black, right?

Of course the font size required really depends on the font chosen, so there is no one answer.
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Donald Dennis
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Wyckyd wrote:
(anybody else unable to listen to the episode? I pressed play, but nothing is happening.)

When is the episode going to be uploaded to onboardgames.net?


Sorry, that was my job. I've updated the site, and it's always available here first: http://onboardgames.libsyn.com/webpage/obg-88-the-rules-of-r...
 
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Donald Dennis
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thogi wrote:
It seems I've got to respectfully disagree with Don on a few points.

1) Helvetica... Realy? If one is not a graphic designer, my suggestion is to go to a library and page through a handful of books (on any subject) and pick a font that looks like what you see in a book. There's a reason that books are printed with the types of fonts they are. It may not be sexy, but it will be readable.


I didn't say Helvetica was the best option, just that if you are tempted to make a creative or unreadable choice, it's not a bad option.

thogi wrote:
2) I know you were a bit down on the the honestly goofy white glove demos from Mayfair, but to be fair,
All I didn't like was the goofy white glove, but I really like everything else Mayfair does to help learn games. Which, given all the typos and errors they've had lately is a good idea.
 
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Corey
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On Board Games » Forums » News
Re: OBG 88: The Rules of Rules
I love your work! A really good show. And as a grammar dalek (we're more technologically advanced and less reality-encumbered than grammar nazis), I really enjoyed this latest programme. With that in mind, though, I note nary a mention of actual English in rulebooks.

Poor or even downright crappy grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. is rife in a surprisingly wide array of rulebooks.

Sometimes this is a function of inexperience (i.e. a non-native speaker translating rules originally written in another language), but even then, do they not have a copy of the Oxford Dictionary? A good guide to style?

Spleen vented. Carry on.
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