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Subject: Poll: Do rules have to be in the box? rss

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Dustin Culbertson
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Poll
Not sure about other folks, but I tend to download the pdf version (when I can find them) of rules for my games. Easy to read when on the go as well as check them on the phone while looking up a rule with ctrl+f.

If a game came out or was on Kickstarter that didn’t have rules in the box but had the pdf readily available (or better yet, a free app) would you still back it?
Does a hardcopy of the rules have to be in the box or would a pdf/app be enough?
Have to have a hardcopy
Electronic copy would work
      617 answers
Poll created by JonasVenture
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Olaf Slomp
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Wow 100% of the people think that an electronic version is enough!

Oh wait... I'm the only voter so far laugh
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Eric Francis
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For me it comes down to this: I'd rather hand a few sheets of paper across the table than my phone or other device, especially if it's to a stranger at a con or FLGS game night. That said, I really appreciate access to an electronic copy so I can peruse it on my computer at my convenience before playing, without having to dig out the rule book or cart it around for when I have a free moment.
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Adam Stapley
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I think there's something about the tactile nature of games that really puts people off of going digital as a replacement. The movement to innovate with digital design is hitting, and I think has its place, but simply replacing with digital is not why we play board games. If the same things CAN be easily done with physical, tactile elements, I think most board gamers would feel that it SHOULD be done with physical, tactile elements.
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Kelly Bass
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I would never knowingly buy/back a game without a hard copy of the rules, but I'm, no doubt, in a very small minority.

There was a recent thread about this exact topic, but I'm not sure what forum.

Edit: Okay, maybe not very small minority.
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Olaf Slomp
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I could just print the pdf if I wanted a hard copy.
Therefore, it wouldn't stop me from backing a great game.
And depending on the game, rules are not always so important to have available all the time.

Let's take the recent 7th Continent campaign as an example; you would check the rules once and then play for ages, chances of new players joining in are very low. Maybe an occasional rules question would pop up, but checking my phone would be fine in those cases.
If the 7th Continent had come without a rulebook, I don't think I would print the pdf, and it definitly wouldn't have stopped me from backing it.

In fact, I have other games for which I only have an electronic copy of the rules; first one that comes to kind is Tajemnicze Domostwo (Mysterium); I have the Polish edition which is just as useful to me as a game without a rulebook, so I only use the translation posted on BGG. I have never felt the need to print a copy of those rules.
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Nothing digital for me. Thank you.

I guess I am very strict on this one. Probably more than most of other people but I don't like mixing analog with digital. In fact if a game has an app I'm basically against buying it and it has to be really really awesome to change my mind, e.g. Mansion of Madness is not an option for me for this reason.

The thing is that every minor digital step will lead to fully digital board games in the long run. I imagine in five years from now somebody opens a poll here with the question: Do you need a real board or would it be fine for you to place your meeples on a digital one on your tablet lying flat on the table?

Online Poker is ok but it comes not even close to feel real chips and real cards with real people in a casino. Board games are meant to speak to all five senses and not only three of them.
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Gláucio Reis
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Taipan101 wrote:
Board games are meant to speak to all five senses and not only three of them.



I know there are games with edible components or that make you sniff things, but those are exceptions, not the norm. I'm glad to use just three senses when playing.
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Leo Zappa
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No hardcopy of rules in the box = no purchase for me.
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GSReis wrote:
Taipan101 wrote:
Board games are meant to speak to all five senses and not only three of them.



I know there are games with edible components or that make you sniff things, but those are exceptions, not the norm. I'm glad to use just three senses when playing.

You are right. I didn't mean it that way (and also got the numbers wrong).

I meant the smell of a new game when you open it the first time and drinks and snacks that usually go along when you sit with people at a table.

And the numbers: I meant using only two senses when you play digital because you basically just see and hear things and don't touch them. Sorry about mixing that up. Five is real high number and therefore hard for me to count that far
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J J
Australia
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This came up just a fortnight ago.

In short, yes, yes they do.

I don't care how fantastic the game is, if it does not come with a rulebook in the box then not only won't I buy it, I will do my damndest to ensure that nobody I know does so either.

This sort of thing not only must not be encouraged, it must be actively discouraged.
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Laura Creighton
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I want both. I want an online version I can search and a printed one to read. Since there is a good chance I will be translating the thing, hi res graphics in the e copy is great. If you are sending me an ecopy, i'd like a version to dl that still has the art and labels and text in layers because splitting them out is a pain. But I want every version of the game to come with some rules so that future generations will be able to play it if they find it, and not depend on an app that went obsolete long before they were born.
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Dustin Culbertson
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Wow! I wasn’t necessarily expecting the huge sway towards hardcopy. I enjoy having both but could do without a hardcopy if I had too. This is great feedback, especially for a would-be publisher like myself. Don’t get too cute; just because tech is moving forward doesn’t mean that it can replace a good set of rules on some fresh paper.
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John James
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Remember when they used to print rules on the inside of the box top? I hate that
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Kim Williams
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I voted I wouldn't back a game unless it came with physical rules, because if a company really was so keen to save some pennies on printing out rules it would put me off backing, as i'd be suspicious of what other corners they'd try and cut.

However, I have bought many games which only had non-English rules, knowing that I'd then have to print the English rules out from a BGG file, and that hasn't bothered me. I'd even buy a used game without rules, and do the same.

But I know I will want a hard copy version - I even like to print out FAQ etc. I find reading from anything other than paper is a greatly reduced experience, and certainly not conducive for learning complicated games.
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Steve
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Yes. And be available online.

Also, are you implying that it'd be normal to read an entire rulebook on your phone? Party game maybe, but for most that sounds awful. In particular I can't see many people over 40 doing that. Presbyopia's real and it hits everyone.
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Kai Herbertz
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Despite technology being readily available, the game has to be playable with just the things you find in the box (with the exception of app-based games like XCOM, of course. But for the most part, I want a board game to be a self contained thing I can take with me and not have to rely on additional hardware).

That said, I think it is perfectly fine to have concise, minimalistic rules in the box that allow you to play the game and have a more extensive rule book with examples, errata, and such as a PDF download somewhere.
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Laura Creighton
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Doomsword wrote:
Remember when they used to print rules on the inside of the box top? I hate that


THIS +1000!!! devil
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Doctor Tom
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Printing a rules book can be an extra expense, and no doubt is worse for the environment, first in terms of the production waste, and possibly also at the time of disposal.
However, with the exception of the complete annotated Carcassonne rules, which I keep on my phone, I don't like using digital, as my phone may die, I may not have signal, etc, and just generally prefer to be able to pull out a game and have the rules there.

Let's take a lead from modern video games, which have largely dispensed with manuals, and which tend to have their instructions/rules be self-contained within the game itself.
Let's push for rules to be ON the box!
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Hardcopy can still be read in 2117. Electronic files... that's disputable. Moving on.

(Which is not the same as saying that electronic files should be discouraged. By all means, make them available.)
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I am Abomination
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Great I bought a new game!

Great I can't play it because I don't have the Internet and a smartphone!

There you go.
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Adrian Pillai
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Hardcopy is a must for me because I hate reading on small devices... something that already happens often enough since with most games nowadays it usually takes 3 of us to read, reread and dispute what each rule actually means before we all whip out our phones to check bgg as to whom was right.

Now, kickstarter games might be able to get away from this since the developer/publisher can just email the rules to the backer. Alternatively, if a game had an app needed to play it, digital would probably suffice.

There might be a time where rules in the box may be replaced by video 'how to plays' especially if the rule books become phonebook size, but I think we're not close to that tipping point just yet.

Edit: with the low cost of DVD production, perhaps some games should switch to DVD rulebooks. The main menu acts as a contents page, and each chapter can cover 1 rule or mechanic. Something to think about, if your game is seriously complex.
 
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Russ Williams
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FWIW there was a thread asking & discussing the same question posted recently on Oct 21:
In the technological age in which we live...

(Which was a bit of a PITA to find now since it has a vague unhelpful clickbait subject ("In the technological age in which we live...") instead of a good clear subject like your thread...)
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Ren
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What's the next step, remove the dice from the box because you can use a random numbers generator instead?

Having a digital version of the rules is great, but if there is no physical rulebook in the box then it's a no buy for me.
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Russ Williams
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TomTi89 wrote:
Let's push for rules to be ON the box!

Hmm... that would force a lot of games to have extremely large boxes...!

OK for some abstract strategy games, though!
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