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Subject: OBG Episode 8 We Rule! rss

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Donald Dennis
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Episode 8's round table is about poorly expressed rules, and it will probably post tonight or tomorrow.

As a prequel I have some questions!

What games have you really had to struggle through the rules to understand? Are there any games that are incredible except for horribly expressed rules? Are there any files here on the geek that have really helped to get you past such a hump?

What makes a well designed set of rules or gets you into a game quicker?

Have you created any resources to help get other players into a game that they might otherwise be dissuaded from playing?


Added later:


For extended show notes check out:
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Erik & Donald rant about poorly designed rules books.
Scott & Donald on Gaming in Libraries [/b]
Stoplight Reviews
* Return of the Heroes(Though the review appears in segment 1.)
* Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord (Atlas Games) reviewed by Erik
* Incan Gold and Diamantreviewed by Scott & Donald
 
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Doug Faust
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Re: Episode 8
The game that comes to my mind right away is Theophrastus. It's a nifty little information game about alchemy. I tried it out at Origins a few years back, enjoyed it, bought it, and played it a few more times once I got home. However, I then made the mistake of leaving it on the shelf for a few months, at which point my knowledge of the rules was fading. And let me tell you, trying to re-learn the game from the rules was quite the challenge. Fortunately, I had enough memory of playing the game that I was able to figure things out. It's really a fun little game, but man, that rulebook, it's among the worst I've ever seen.
 
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Meg Kline
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Re: Episode 8
Walsfeo wrote:
What makes a well designed set of rules or gets you into a game quicker?


I'm one of those people who sits down with the rules and reads them all the way through several times before I ever sit down to play. Even given that, I *really* appreciate games that have a "quick start" or overview sheet... it helps me get a grip on the overall picture of what I'll be reading as I progress through the rest of the rulebook. Diagrams or illustrations are helpful too... I have spacial perception issues, so I can't always glean a lot from diagrams alone, but again, they help me get the general idea of game play.

I think that's part of why I've found BGWS so helpful. Scott does an absolutely fantastic job of providing a thorough (but not overwhelming) overview before he gets into the finer details. If only all rulebooks did the same!
 
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Jenn
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Re: Episode 8
Walsfeo wrote:

What makes a well designed set of rules or gets you into a game quicker?


I'm a very visual learner, so BGWS is a great resource to me. Beyond that, rules that give examples or show diagrams work well. Between a good set of rules and actually playing the game, the rules will click after a few plays.
 
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Todd Warnken
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Re: Episode 8
Attack! had really confusing rules especially for the resource cards. The first several times I read it I thought it said to discard the cards when you used the resources but I could not find the rules for getting the cards back. On the ninth or tenth read through it finally became clear that you tapped the cards to get the resources you didn't discard them.
 
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Donald Dennis
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Re: Episode 8
I'm sorry I didn't get the latest episode up last night. I had a problem when compiling all of the edited segments last night, several tracks were buggy and dropped sound, but I re edited it last night so think I got it fixed. I'll give the compiled episode a listen today while at work, and if all of its bits are there, I'll post it tonight.

Thanks for your tolerance of my nit-wittery.
 
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Donald Dennis
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Re: Episode 8
Galactic Destiny is one that needs a serious rules overhaul as well. I don't know if the game is any good, because the poor graphic design and poorly laid out rules don't really help players learn the game. Even though everyone has their own player mat.
 
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Jon
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On Board Games » Forums » General
Re: Episode 8
Sadly, many 2F-Spiele games suffer from difficult rules...at least, in their English/RGG printings. Fearsome Floors is OK, and Power Grid isn't too bad, but the rules for Funny Friends and Fearsome Foes are pretty tricky to navigate.
 
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Ben Lott
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Re: Episode 8
The games that come to my mind:

1) The Lord of the Rings. This is my favorite game, but we basically had the rule book sitting out on the table for the first 2 or 3 games because they were written so poorly. Also trying to find where something was mentioned was a disaster. Of course now that I have it all figured out I love the game and can teach it much better than the rules ever taught me.

2) Golfmania is a fun little filler game that I picked up recently. The rules are incredibly vague. In fact we have just adopted our own rules in order to solve the problems.

3) Arne is hands-down the worst rules set I ever read. Granted it was a English translation set of rules, but it made this simple little card game into the most confusing game I've ever played. Thankfully, I found a better-written set of rules on the publisher's website.
 
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Ward Vanden Berghe
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Re: Episode 8
Blott wrote:
1) The Lord of the Rings.

I certainly agree on this one being nominated.
It's especially painful when you can feel there's a great game behind it, and even more painful for a co-op game ideal te convert people into boardgaming ("games are to competitive, to confrontational, ....").
very hard to navigate, difficult to find the rule you're looking for, even when you know in wich part of the logical game-sequence you should be looking. I have read both dutch and english rules, and encountered the same problems. I think there's something basically wrong with the logical turnsequence of explanation.

on the whole I like rules where information is properly linked, when I get an explanation why something can not be done here, because it affects step N° so-and-so. that way I get a complete picture of the flow of play, even if I'm only halfway the rules
1 
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Ben Lott
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Hey guys, thanks for the shout-out! I was just trying to keep things up to date for you on the guild here, but I appreciate the praise.

Just an FYI for everyone here. If you have any interest in the games that are reviewed on the show I have added a link to each game on the guild home page. Just go to the front page of the guild and click on the game title you are interested in. No more of that tedious typing in the old search box just click and enjoy.


As for the content of episode #8, I really agree with you guys. A rules summary is essential in helping the players quickly find a forgotten rule. I wish all game companies would add these quick reference guides to their rulebooks. Also, I first used a resource here on the Geek when I purchased Citadels. Having a card with the roles in turn order is a vital item that was missing from the game. Also I have utilized the 2-player variant that was posted for Vegas Showdown. It's amazing how much people will do here to help out their fellow gamers!
 
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James Burns
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So while listening to the last episode, I have a question. There is a small library in my town with a Community room that groups can reserve to use. I have picked up the form to reserve the room and it has the following quote. 'this space can't be used for social functions' So therefore how would one argue the fact that board games aren't social? For after listening to the last episode I got an idea about how to justify it for they rent movies for recreation and have computers that people play games on. Therefore could I use the same arguement?

James
 
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Donald Dennis
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j-train1 wrote:
So while listening to the last episode, I have a question. There is a small library in my town with a Community room that groups can reserve to use. I have picked up the form to reserve the room and it has the following quote. 'this space can't be used for social functions' So therefore how would one argue the fact that board games aren't social? For after listening to the last episode I got an idea about how to justify it for they rent movies for recreation and have computers that people play games on. Therefore could I use the same arguement?


Interesting question. You might get some clarification from the library. By social they may mean "party" or "drinking" event. Find out what kind of events or groups meet there. If there is a knitting group, or book club, or whatever, then you might be able to refer to those groups as examples of events.

On the other hand, for board games you might be able to work the cultural or educational games.

Let us know how it works out for you. Also, if you want someone to send them the Library Game Lab link, let us know, perhaps it might get their interest.
 
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James Burns
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Walsfeo wrote:

Interesting question. You might get some clarification from the library. By social they may mean "party" or "drinking" event. Find out what kind of events or groups meet there. If there is a knitting group, or book club, or whatever, then you might be able to refer to those groups as examples of events.

On the other hand, for board games you might be able to work the cultural or educational games.

Let us know how it works out for you. Also, if you want someone to send them the Library Game Lab link, let us know, perhaps it might get their interest.


There is actually a Knitting group ,scrapbookers and a local business uses it as a room to do job interviews in.

I already though about using educational games as a gateway in, but alas most of my collection isn't of that category. It is pretty hard to say blasting the zombie to pieces is a learning experience.

Ok the quote is as follows "the community room may not be used for any event that is primarily social in nature."

james
 
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Donald Dennis
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j-train1 wrote:
Ok the quote is as follows "the community room may not be used for any event that is primarily social in nature."


Zombies huh? Perhaps tell them it is a survival simulation. I'd just come clean and let them know you wanted to host an exotic board game event that showcases modern developments in the board game hobby. Let them know you'd open it up to others and teach new players the game. They should be able to come to grasp with your needs.

Heck go up and ask if they have any books or articles on board games. Whomever you talk to might refer you to a librarian who has sympathetic interests.
 
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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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Aqua Romana seems to have bad rule books translations to all languages (but the original might be understandable).

Arkham Horror (the newest one) seems to still have a load of problem with the rules as we read around it thrice.

and some other

----

And I love the libary stuff, even though econmical reasons made me jump of the uni. program in Libary- and information science.... (Sadly)

But 2 things about the data (Well and that you are in the US):

It probably is much chess clubs and games that have limits such as age, which is what the libary that have boardgames here does. You can't be older than twenty something...

(Bastards)
 
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Donald Dennis
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virre wrote:
It probably is much chess clubs and games that have limits such as age, which is what the libary that have boardgames here does. You can't be older than twenty something...

I don't think most of the game groups, or library events, have an age limit, but that has not been backed up by research so feel free to disregard.

You may be right that most of the library board game programs are chess related, but even if that's all they support now at least they have a history of supporting games the can look back on. Success with one program probably means an easier conversion when proposing a new program.
 
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Scott Nicholson
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Walsfeo wrote:
virre wrote:
It probably is much chess clubs and games that have limits such as age, which is what the libary that have boardgames here does. You can't be older than twenty something...

I don't think most of the game groups, or library events, have an age limit, but that has not been backed up by research so feel free to disregard.


This depends upon the library and the goal of the program. Many folks running gaming programs in public libraries like to keep younger kids, older kids, and adults apart. I'm not sure that's always needed, but it may be a policy of their programs to avoid potential problems of mixing adults and non-parental-supervised kids.
 
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Donald Dennis
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snicholson wrote:
This depends upon the library and the goal of the program. Many folks running gaming programs in public libraries like to keep younger kids, older kids, and adults apart. I'm not sure that's always needed, but it may be a policy of their programs to avoid potential problems of mixing adults and non-parental-supervised kids.


That's true - Eli's video games tournaments in Ann Arbor are for younger folks. Mi culpa.

However, I think if there were board game events, that'd be a bit different.
 
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Donald Dennis
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We are rounding the corner towards the next episode, has anyone out there worked up a rules aid for one of their problem games? Or have you found one that supplements or replaces the original box components?
 
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