Pearls in Rulebooks
Paulo Soledade
Portugal
Leiria
Leiria
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I often see brilliant phrases in rulebooks. This geeklist is the place where you should add your discover. Please do.
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1. Board Game: Last Train to Wensleydale [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:802]
Paulo Soledade
Portugal
Leiria
Leiria
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"If a player has expended all of his cubes on one bid then not only is he very stupid but he will not be able to bid in a second box."

This quote made me do this list. A brilliant sentence that not only makes sense it also puts everybody far away from that silly embarassing question: "What if I bid all my cubes in one single place?"
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2. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:2330] [Average Rating:6.02 Unranked]
Omar Germino
United States
Bartlett
Illinois
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"Decide who goes first by rolling the dice and arguing about the results and the meaning of this sentence and whether the fact that a word seems to be missing any effect."

Also

"Any other disputes should be settled by loud arguments among the players, with the owner of the game having the last word."
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3. Board Game: Illuminati: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:991]
Scott Pizio
United States
Fall River
Massachusetts
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Another year, another support drive, another silly Over text
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"We recommend you play the cheating game only with very good friends, or with people you will never see again..."
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4. Board Game: War on Terror [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:2230]
Kristian C.
Netherlands
Lepelstraat
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"We live in complex times. Thankfully, we've been given clear labels that explain the refined and enlightened world of geo-politics: Terrorists, tryants, evil, weapons of mass destruction. If you can follow Star Wars, you can understand the news."
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5. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:85]
Andrew Tullsen
United States
VANCOUVER
WA
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Some games are just filled with humor:

The game ends after Round 3, once all the rewards have been collected and all the penalties paid. Add up all your cosmic credits. If that number is 1 or more, you win!
Or course, the player who has the most credits is a bit more of a winner than everyone else.


Most space craft are protected from meteors by auto targeting gun turrets, self-guided missiles, or disintegration fields. Yours is protected by cannons made from sewer drills.
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6. Board Game: Automobile [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:195]
Esteban Fernandez
Spain
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Quote:
I’m not going to bore you with tips or strategies. The game is all about making money, you either have the talent to do that or you’re a teacher


On the last page of the rulebook

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7. Board Game: Let's Kill [Average Rating:5.35 Overall Rank:10437]
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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The rule book for this game was very humorous in so much that it was done like a regular rule book but a serial killer had got hold of it and crossed things out and wrote his own notes in the margins. As you read the rules his additions become this little evolving story about him living with his room mate and doing things and ending up killing the rooms mates cat and parents...and then the leaves a note to himself about "needing to find a new room mate." It was neat,
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8. Board Game: Devil Bunny Needs a Ham [Average Rating:5.39 Overall Rank:10608]
D a v i d B u r k e y
United States
Fort Smith
Arkansas
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I always enjoyed the humor in Cheapass Games rules. My favorites were from Devil Bunny Needs a Ham:

At the start:

Story: You are a cadre of wily sous-chefs, trying to scale a very tall building. Devil Bunny is enthusiastically preventing you from reaching the top because he needs a ham, and because he erroneously believes that this will help him.

And near the end of the rules:

You can also experiment with cheese, although it is primarily intended as a healthy snack.

There was also a great running gag with guinea pigs in the acknowledgments of several Cheapass Games. Some highlights:

Kill Doctor Lucky:

Assistant Design:...and various well-fed guinea pigs.

Give Me the Brain!:

Contributors:...and several more cute, cuddly and "technically beef" guinea pigs.

Lord of the Fries:

With the help from a freezer full of overworked and bloodshot undead snarling Berry-Pie gobbling guinea pigs.


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9. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:239]
Alistair Stafford
New Zealand
Auckland
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This snippet from the rule book is advice that could be carried over to many other games.
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10. Board Game: Successors (third edition) [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:550]
Aaron Cinzori
United States
Holland
Michigan
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From the rules on the royals: "Olympias, Cleopatra, and Thessalonice are females and can only be controlled if you can activate them."
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11. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1211]
Eric N
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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DEVELOPER’S NOTE: Ok, so what happens if there are friendly units in both half hexes and enemy units in one? You know what, I am not wasting 2 pages of rules for a situation that should never come up. Actually, I have never even heard of the Malaya hex being defended by a land unit at all, let alone an invasion of a defended Malaya hex. So if this does happen in your game, first of all, bang the player who did this over the head with the nearest available blunt instrument. Then use the above rule to work out the logic with your groggy opponent (don’t worry, in his current condition, he will accept anything you say).


Also:

NOTE: The US counter mix includes two one-step air units of blue color, representing US Marine Corps air units (instead of green for the US Army Air Force). There is no functional difference between the two colors. Why are they different? You need to meet more Marines if you don’t know.

But, this is the same game that has this counter:

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12. Board Game: Atlantic Star [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:764]
Tom Rosen
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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"Note: Because this game isn't about money but fame and self-respect, you cannot pay back any loans. If your money runs out before the end of the first round you have played badly. All you can do is rethink your strategy and try to persuade the other players to start the game again from the beginning!"

(from page 8 of this PDF file: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/15079)

It's a pretty good point, but harsh. If your money has run out that early then you must've done something wrong, and are effectively eliminated. Good luck trying to convince your opponents to start over laugh
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13. Board Game: Men of Iron [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1663]
Mo Caraher
Canada
Coquitlam
British Columbia
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From the notes for the Bannockburn scenario:

"King Robert did much for the morale of his army by defeating Henry of Bohun in a classic one-on-one battle. Henry lost when Robert's battle-axe slammed through Henry's helmet and cut his head in two. Very impressive."
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14. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:697]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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"There is only one Maurice Chevalier" - in the section discussing French chevalier (knight) units.
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15. Board Game: MegaCorps [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:7265]
Giles Pritchard
Australia
Shepparton
Victoria
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In Z-Man Games upcoming MegaCorps, the setting up for play rules says each player:

"...chooses a MegaCorp to play, and takes its control markers. If two players want the same MegaCorp, settle the dispute by any reasonable method. We recommend pistols at dawn."

Cheers,

Giles.

Update: Linked to new game page.
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16. Board Game: Afrika (second edition) [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:1297]
J. Santos
Spain
Santiago de Compostela
Galicia
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Units in Afrika represent brigades or divisions. There are also two special markers representing generals Rommel and O'Connor. Players can rebuild damaged units using replacement points. So, to avoid having a Giant Cyborg Zombie Rommel roaming the Libyan desert:

"Just because it must be said: Neither Rommel nor O'connor can be rebuilt using replacement points".


Also, regarding the movement of supplies:

"Truck points can be divided as you wish. For example, you could use 1 truck point to move 5 supplies 1 hex. Why you would want to do that, I don't know."
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17. Board Game: World at War: Eisenbach Gap [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:977]
Noel Houben
Netherlands
Voorburg
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Just one example:

"A Good Order AFV may conduct as many overruns as its Movement Factor allows, but may not overrun the same hex twice in the same impulse. It just looks silly."
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18. Board Game: Genji [Average Rating:5.87 Overall Rank:4603]
Cate
United States
Mequon
Wisconsin
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Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There's a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. - Leonard Cohen
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"Choose a starting player by taking turns telling a love story - tragic or heartwarming - from your personal experience (or in a pinch, someone else's). If everyone agrees you told the most romantic or moving love story, you get to choose who goes first. Alternatively, players may make a random Livery token draw."

We have not started the game yet because I am still working on my story. laugh
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19. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:65]
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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Quote:
We thank Mr Chuang for everything. Tour leader, German language section, Nanking (Nanjing). Highly recommended. He knows everything. Lengths of bridges, meaning of Buddhas, number of lorries in the province. On request also meaning of bridges, number of Buddhas and length of lorries. Some monument with five goats and a heap of 38 resistance fighters is the landmark of the town. Or perhaps only three goats and 58 figthers - anyway, there are basically more fighters than goats. And to tell the truth - that stuff about landmarks could also be said of Canton (Guangzhou) or Wuhan. But in Nanking there stood a thousand Buddha temple - the area most certainly has a landmark.
Yes, Mr Chuang is an outstanding tour guide. He casts his own Nanking aside into the Yang Tze and leads us into an unknown land: a rock concert, a psychiatric clinic and a private audience with magician. Only with the game was he not so outstanding. Naturally he knows them - he knows everything. Yet the strange card game which the people are playing everywhere in all the parks and squares seems to be frowned upon. Again and again he lures us away from the knots of people. The game can not be explained.
Tichu can not be explained.

(If we had believed that there would be no rules with this pack. But we brought Mr Chuang round. He drummed up a game in the backroom of the souvenir shop of the Confucian temple. At first we were only allowed to watch. Then we played and the Chinese experts gave us good advice. A first rate introduction to the game, by the way. We recommend this method of learning most warmly.)

Quote:
For Tactical Hints
You should find a Chinese bus driver. If that isn't feasible, we will give you some advice from our paltry game experience, which will exclude some of the playful wisdom of our Nanjing Chinese teachers, like dirty dog biscuits tasting delicious.
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20. Board Game: Roads & Boats [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:181]
Anni Foasberg
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If two geese and a paper are left on a tile, that is, if they are not being carried by a transporter, both geese and paper are used by the game and disappear. This leads to a great increase in metaphysical understanding which has no practical relevance in the game.

Yay, metaphysics!
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21. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:30] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Anni Foasberg
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You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small but pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! ... Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents, on your mother's side, would be delighted.

Okay, so it's in the "theme" part of the rulebook and doesn't describe actual rules, but it is pretty funny.
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22. Board Game: Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:535]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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In our family games, we keep game statistics and prefer not to use tie-breakers (giving all the tied players credit for the win). That's why I like this from "The Winner" section of this game's rules: "In the event of a tie (a rare occurrence), the Vikings are declared shield-brothers and may now go raid and strike fear into the hearts of the unwary together."
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23. Board Game: Scavenger Hunt [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:8203]
Gerald McDaniel
United States
Lakewood
Colorado
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The rule sheet for this game is a treasure of humorous quotes. Here are a few:

-- "Yes, it's true. The only action that you can normally do when in your lair is to drop off Carcasses. What can we say? There's only so much you can do from the comfort of your own hole. Or tree. Or whatever."

-- "This will raise the total value of your collection. If it brings you to the required points or above, congratulations: you've won! Hold your head high as the grandest of all corpse eaters!"

-- "If you find the behavior, locations, or diets of the creatures depicted within this game too unrealistic, put these rules down and go back to watching Animal Planet."

-- "No animals were harmed or Carcasses devoured in the creation of this product. Not many, anyway. Really. We promise."


Many of the cards in this game are hilarious, if you enjoy a macabre sense of humor.
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24. Board Game: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:1834]
Gregory Smith
United States
Newark
California
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This game is just full of pearls. For example, the section "Starting the Game" reads like this:

Quote:
Gather the company and count its members. If it is late in the evening then ask a manservant or a pot-boy to do it for you. Make sure that each player has a purse of coins before them equal to the total number of players - do not ask a servant to do this, servants being by nature a shifty and feckless lot who will as soon rob a man blind as help him our of a ditch, and I have been robbed in enough ditches to know. If your company numbers less than five, then give each man five coins. If your company numbers more than twenty, then think not of playing the game: instead I advise you to pool your purses, hire some mercenaries, and plan an invasion of Belgium.


The entire rules read like the quote above from beginning to end. Here is a section on character generation:

Quote:
Character Generation:
My publisher claims that he has consulted with the greatest living authorities on such matters, and tells me that it is necessary for games such as mine to have a section of this ilk. I am hoping that these few lines will suffice, and that my publisher will have been so far in his cups last night that he will recognize the heading above and will not notice, his eyes still befuddled by cheap gin, that I have merely made a few pointed observations to my readers on the perils of dealing with such Grub Street types.




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25. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus Expansion [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Laszlo Toth
Hungary
Budapest
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Quote:
There are various effects in this expansion that will result
in the execution of a character, most notably the “Airlock”
location on Pegasus.


... then the rulebook adds some explanation:

Quote:
Being executed is extremely unpleasant
and should be avoided at all costs.


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