Universal Head's 300 rules summaries
Universal Head
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Fourteen years ago, frustrated with having to re-read rulebooks every time I played a game, I started making rules summaries. I wanted a succinct summary of all the rules of a game on a two-sided sheet, without any of the examples, unnecessary text or repetition, in a standard format that would make re-learning a game as fast as possible. And I also wanted play reference sheets that made playing games faster and easier.

All this time later, and I just launched rules summary and reference number 300. THREE HUNDRED! Most of them are on BGG, but the entire collection is always update to date at my site the Esoteric Order of Gamers (www.orderofgamers.com).

I'm a professional graphic designer (www.universalhead.com) so I put a lot of work into making these things. I match the existing graphics and typefaces (except for the body text, which is always Trade Gothic medium). Each column of text always lines up at the bottom, and almost always the entire rules fit the allotted space exactly. That's not something you may notice consciously, but it takes a lot of work!

So here's a little trip down memory lane and a few of my favourites and not-so-favourites. Add your own if you like, with your own stories - I'd really love to hear them!

And if you want to support my continuing work (which includes hundreds of videos) or show your appreciation, I'm extremely grateful to those who sign up to support me on the Esoteric Order of Gamers Patreon page (www.patreon.com/esotericorder). Patreon is a great way to contribute to offsetting the expenses of content creators, and there are reward tiers that give you bonus content, personalised video thankyous, even a say in which games I cover.

Here's to the next 300, fellow gamers!


PS I know it's a way to show appreciation, which is nice, but I have no need at all for Geek Gold. If you really want to show your appreciation write a nice comment - but even better, buy me a coffee or two by making a contribution on my Patreon page!
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1. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1063]
Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame
Universal Head
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Here's where it all started, way back in 2005: the original Doom boardgame by FFG. I'd made a few small playaids, but the first version of this (2 separate files, B&W) was my first full summary.
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2. Board Game: Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4051]
Board Game: Blackbeard: The Golden Age of Piracy
Universal Head
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Luckily Merchants & Marauders now fulfills my pirate needs, because the rules for the Blackbeard re-issue were a hot mess that kept changing. Eventually I had to just give up on it, for the sake of my sanity!
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3. Board Game: Monsterpocalypse [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:1917] [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
Board Game: Monsterpocalypse
Universal Head
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Sometimes a summary expands into something far more epic. In the case of Monsterpocalypse, I didn't like the original unit cards, so designed my own. Of course if the game continues to expand, this can become quite a committment!
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4. Board Game: Prophecy [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1895]
Board Game: Prophecy
Universal Head
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For this one, I worked on the graphics for the Z-man Games re-issue, so of course I had to do a summary. I also created a variant board if you didn't like the one in the box.
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5. Board Game: Hybrid [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:3653]
Board Game: Hybrid
Universal Head
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I remember this one being one of the hardest I've ever done, due to a terrible French translation and rules I had to track down over various forums to confirm.

BTW, I get lots of requests from people wanting to do translations. Initially I helped out, but then it just took up too much time, so I now direct them to my BGG profile for the reasons why I don't send people files.
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6. Board Game: AT-43 Initiation Set: Operation Damocles [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:3229]
Board Game: AT-43 Initiation Set: Operation Damocles
Universal Head
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It may be a dead game, but I've spent more time on AT-43 than any other, redesigning every single unit card into a much better and more practical format. I did the same later for Rackham's other miniatures game, Confrontation.
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7. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:779]
Board Game: Tide of Iron
Universal Head
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I'm quite proud of this one, as I distilled some quite fiddly combat rules into a icon-based dice rolling reference that I think works really well.
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8. Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:11]
Board Game: War of the Ring: Second Edition
Universal Head
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My favourite game, and I constantly tinker with this summary and reference to make it easier to use.
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9. Board Game: Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:14528]
Board Game: Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster
Universal Head
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Game summaries and reference sheets: www.headlesshollow.com
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2013, and I launched the Esoteric Order of Gamers as a place to collect all my summaries and to talk about my love of thematic games. This one for Sedition Wars was one of the first to be posted there.

Now my site features 300 summaries and some 230 videos.
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10. Board Game: Dust Tactics [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2521] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Board Game: Dust Tactics
Universal Head
New Zealand
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Dust Tactics is a fun miniatures game, but it's been frustrating constantly updating the rules summaries every time they change the rules - not to mention the addition of Dust Warfare. I haven't yet had a chance to summarise the latest version, Dust 1947, but I probably will!
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11. Board Game: The Legend of Robin Hood [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:5544]
Board Game: The Legend of Robin Hood
Universal Head
New Zealand
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Here's where I really went overboard. Work must have been quiet around that time because I decided to graphically revamp an entire out of print game. Madness!
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12. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:510]
Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill
Universal Head
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Another crazy-huge project, I reformatted both scenario booklets in this game because there was such a huge errata!
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13. Board Game: Earth Reborn [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:443]
Board Game: Earth Reborn
Universal Head
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I really enjoy, though slightly begrudge, having to redesign what I perceive as badly designed game components. The character cards in this complex game got a full makeover.
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14. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:136] [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Memoir '44
Universal Head
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Personally, I couldn't play this game without this summary and reference, there are so many expansions. Malcolm 'Brummbar' Green came up with a clever little reference system and I ran with it in my own sheets.
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15. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:77]
Board Game: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Universal Head
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FFG and their endless expansions keep me constantly updating sheets! I've done scores of FFG game summaries over the years. I tried to ask them to send me some freebies, and it was initially implied I'd get each new game as it was released. Nothing happened, then I must have politely hassled them once too often, as Mr Petersen declared I should be doing summaries for fun and not renumeration. Which was frustrating, especially since I'd heard they were using my summaries at their play centre!

However, that frustration did inspire me to create the Esoteric Order of Gamers.
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16. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:110]
Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
Universal Head
New Zealand
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Expansions have brought this one up to version 7.1. Someone very early on suggested I use a version numbering system, and I'm very grateful to them for the idea.

I also have some foamcore insert plans on my site, of which this is the most popular.
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17. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:50]
Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Universal Head
New Zealand
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If there's one thing I enjoy it's summarising a difficult, confusing rulebook to make the game easy to learn and play. The first version of this game was a classic example.
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18. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:346]
Board Game: BattleLore
Universal Head
New Zealand
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I really got behind BattleLore, not only with a comprehensive summary and reference, but with an entire website, battleloremaster.com, which ran for a few years until DOW sold the game to FFG.
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19. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:320] [Average Rating:7.26 Unranked]
Board Game: Arkham Horror
Universal Head
New Zealand
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v7.6, and hopefully I'm finally done updating this given there's a new version out now. But I've always responded to every single typo or error notification I receive and fixed the relevant sheet accordingly.

838 likes, 166 comments, and thousands of downloads make this my most popular creation.
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20. Board Game: Folklore: The Affliction [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:1129]
Board Game: Folklore: The Affliction
Universal Head
New Zealand
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Finally (for now), here's number 300. I now sometimes create summaries for publishers running Kickstarter campaigns, so they can offer them as stretch goals.

I hope you've enjoyed my work, fellow gamers! It just goes to show this hobby is about more than just playing games ...
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21. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:178]
Board Game: Cyclades
Christian Monterroso
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
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If you are not having fun, then you are missing the point.
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https://www.orderofgamers.com/games/cyclades/
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22. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:125]
Board Game: A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)
Jonathan White
United States
Oviedo
Florida
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Microbadge: I play with green!Microbadge: I make my own insertsMicrobadge: I use Board Game Stats to log my gamesMicrobadge: The Dice Tower fanMicrobadge: U.S. National Parks fan
I would have never attempted to teach or play this game without your rules summary and player aids. Thank you!
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23. Board Game: Rex: Final Days of an Empire [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:766]
Board Game: Rex: Final Days of an Empire
Theaty Hannington
United States
Moscow
Idaho
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It was REX that put you on my map. (And then I went a bit overboard and printed another 20 out in one day.) These are mounted on cardstock and every player remembers and loves them. And you. We love you too. Thank you!
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24. Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:146]
Board Game: Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Charlie Sundt
United Kingdom
London
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This was my first board game Kickstarter experience, and what a positive one it was. The day it arrived I was so excited to play that I took the rules to bed with me to learn them, and then made a "How to Play" video - and somehow STILL missed one or two nuances that your rules summary helped clear up. Thank you.
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25. Board Game: Incursion [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:3534]
Board Game: Incursion
Andrew Cook
United States
Sheldon
Iowa
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One of my favorite games. I got into it when Space Hulk was out of print (again) and fell in love with the theme.
Your summary included with the game was great and the updates even more so.
Thanks!
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