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

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Nikolas Crisci
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I think in most cases you should absolutly have a hardcopy thats why I voted for it. It is annoying to force me to have an additional device just for the rules. That said if you need to have a phone / other device anyway for the game, I could see that you get away with a rulebook on the device, espacally if you do it right. But that would mean more work not less work I think, because I imagine a rulebook app, not just a pdf. Anyway even then I would put a hardcopy of the rules inside the box just to prevent people getting upset, I just think that if you want to go with that you can only use devices that people need to use anyway for the game.
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John Breckenridge
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I'd wonder about the legality of it. If there are no rules in the box, can you still say you sold the customer a game, or did you just sell game components? There would probably have to be a big warning on the box like you see with expansions that tell you you need the base game to play.


Also, last week we had a big windstorm here and the power was out for three and a half days, but we could still play boardgames. If the rules were online only, that wouldn't work, unless we'd played it enough to memorize all the rules that matter. I have enough games that I usually have to refer to the rules to verify that I'm remembering how to set it up correctly.
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Jae
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JimboThulu61 wrote:
I absolutely must have a hard copy of the rules. I write/highlight in them.





You, sir, are a monster.
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"et son bucher se change en trone dans les cieux."
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Just a thought -- print a copy?

I think the game should have printed rules if you're paying for the package. My last two purchases were PnPs, and I printed copies of the rules (and wrote all over them Bagherra!!)
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Boaty McBoatface
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Will I have to upgrade my device?, will the rules be supported?, will it always be supported? What happens when a new OS comes out?

Sorry yes a hard copy of a set of rules is necessary.
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"et son bucher se change en trone dans les cieux."
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slatersteven wrote:
Will I have to upgrade my device?, will the rules be supported?, will it always be supported? What happens when a new OS comes out?

Sorry yes a hard copy of a set of rules is necessary.


I'll add that the opposite is a concern as well -- if the designer mucks up the rules will I have access to the old version? That's why I save or print versions I like.
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Bleicher
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russ wrote:
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!


I interpreted this in a more optimistic way - it would force a lot of games to have more elegant rules
 
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Russ Williams
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lbleicher wrote:
I interpreted this in a more optimistic way - it would force a lot of games to have more elegant rules

I love and frequently play some games with rules only a few sentences long, and I'm all for elegant rules which are as simple and clear and clean and short as possible!

But I also love and play some games which have dozens of pages of rules worth of inherent complexity necessary to the game's experience, and there's no way to condense that to one page without the game ceasing to be anything like what it is.


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - attributed to Albert Einstein
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I hate looking at PDF rules on my cell phone. From my experience:
- They are never formatted for such a small device so finding a rules reference is impossible (search only works if you know the word you should be looking for).
- Any time my phone screen turns off for too long or another app steals focus, when I get back to the PDF I have to wait for the document to reload.
- The whole document doesn't load at once so it cannot keep up with my scrolling.
- The screen is always turning off or dimming, prompting the constant need to swipe or unlock even if I am still reading the same section.
- Players are screwed if the phone battery dies and if a power cable is added, we then have to worry about the tripping hazard.
- The presence of one phone tempts other players to be messing around on their phones causing lots of distractions.

I MUST have a physical copy of the rulebook and yes, I want it to come in the box. From my experience, self-printed rulebooks:
- Often look like crap in comparison to professionally printed ones
- Can bleed ink on hands (and therefore all over my game)
- Cost me additional money to print regardless of how I get it printed
- Don't last nearly as long as most professionally printed rulebooks
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John "Omega" Williams
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lbleicher wrote:
russ wrote:
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!


I interpreted this in a more optimistic way - it would force a lot of games to have more elegant rules :D


In ages past rules were on the box! On the inside of the top. Ive still got one or two of those. Though Id have to dig them out to figure out exactly which ones.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Sagrilarus wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Will I have to upgrade my device?, will the rules be supported?, will it always be supported? What happens when a new OS comes out?

Sorry yes a hard copy of a set of rules is necessary.


I'll add that the opposite is a concern as well -- if the designer mucks up the rules will I have access to the old version? That's why I save or print versions I like.
Good point, this as well.
 
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Who Am I?
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I've previously purchased games that didn't include an English rulebook, but only if: (a) pricing was unbeatable, or the game wasn't available in my language, and (b) an English version was available online.

Despite that, I voted "hardcopy required". My default expectation is that everything needed to play the game should be included inside the box at time of purchase.



I'd be worried that the rules weren't really finished at time of printing, if not included in the box. It would be a big warning sign for me, and probably would prevent me from backing.

You'd definitely want to make the PDF file available during the campaign, if taking this route.
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John "Omega" Williams
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No Rules. No Sale.
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Steve
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fizolof wrote:
E.g. Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game has only Learn to Play booklet inside the box, and Rules Reference is available only online.
I see the point in this solution, as RR can be modified easily and freely (crucial to competitive players) without confusing players sticking to hardcopy (casual play on one Core Set).

Yes. This is an exception. Or half an exception. As someone who's played their competitive card games I find this is a good thing.
 
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"et son bucher se change en trone dans les cieux."
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Ryalyn wrote:
From my experience, self-printed rulebooks:
- Often look like crap in comparison to professionally printed ones
- Can bleed ink on hands (and therefore all over my game)
- Cost me additional money to print regardless of how I get it printed
- Don't last nearly as long as most professionally printed rulebooks


    I get quality results with a little care when I print, and I have a Laser Jet instead of an Ink Jet which won't bleed. In the long term Laser Jet is cheaper.

    As for how long printed copies last . . . to date all my rule books have lasted as long as I've needed them to, published or self printed, so I can't speak to that. Rule books don't wear out unless you're pretty brutal with them, and if that happens you're going to reach for a soft copy to print to replace it.

    But I'll agree in principle -- the box should contain everything you need to play the game short of a pencil if necessary. The rules may be the single most valuable component in the box. If you're selling a boxed game it needs the rules to be complete.

    For the record I'm not a "component quality" nut. So I really don't care about the physical aspect of the printing as long as it's clear. My home-printed copy of An Infamous Traffic's rulebook is every bit as useful as the one that comes in the publisher's box as far as I'm concerned. Also proved to be one hell of a lot cheaper (like, 75% cheaper).

             S.

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Matt Lee
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Ryalyn wrote:
I hate looking at PDF rules on my cell phone. From my experience:
- They are never formatted for such a small device so finding a rules reference is impossible (search only works if you know the word you should be looking for).
- Any time my phone screen turns off for too long or another app steals focus, when I get back to the PDF I have to wait for the document to reload.
- The whole document doesn't load at once so it cannot keep up with my scrolling.
- The screen is always turning off or dimming, prompting the constant need to swipe or unlock even if I am still reading the same section.
- Players are screwed if the phone battery dies and if a power cable is added, we then have to worry about the tripping hazard.
- The presence of one phone tempts other players to be messing around on their phones causing lots of distractions.


Most PDFs are not designed with the variety of device screen sizes in mind, so I find that on a phone, I'm constantly zooming in and out to make a section readable (fonts in multiple sizes or not the right size for the screen in use), and scrolling all around to make it usable on anything but a tablet size, and even then if the rulebook layout was designed for an abnormal shape/proportion.

Legible images in PDFs are a double edged sword: They may be clear, but turns the PDF into a monster in size, or it's lower in quality but then is unreadable when zoomed in.
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Bill Cook
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You can get a lot of rules on a box lid

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Steve
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EMBison wrote:
You can get a lot of rules on a box lid


That's elegance right there, boy.
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Eric Walters
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Marshal Enterprises has been going to this for their version of the La Bataille series. At first the company was putting in a disk with all the rules, a good number of the charts, and all sorts of historical reference material. But for LA BATAILLE DE PRUSSE, 1806, you get a password protected link. What is advertised is a Flipping Book file that is supposed to run on either Windows or Mac OS X. Despite working with the company, I could never get it to run on my iMac Desktop or my MacBook Air. Good news is that there were PDF versions of everything that I could print out. So that's what I did. It's what I did with the DVDs on the earlier games.

If I have to spend money on color ink cartridges and paper to print out game components, I'm not sure the savings is worth it. I'd rather have the printed paper components professionally done and in the box. Of course, I love having digital versions, too, that I can archive. With the advent of "Living Rules," I end up printing a lot of rulebooks after substantial revisions, at least until companies like GMT publish an update kit with the new rules (e.g., Here I Stand 500th Anniversary Update).

Not having printed rules is an inconvenience, but not a deal breaker.
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patrick mullen
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I can't really make a good case for not including the rules.

That said, I'm a bit surprised to see people complaining about having to go on the internet in order to play a game. We are having this discussion on the internet after all!

I almost never buy a new game and learn and play without hitting a website for a FAQ or an easy set up guide, or printing out a player aid, or watching a how to play, or even just to see what others have said about situations that come up. Only very simple games do I not turn to the internet for a little bit of help getting started, even when I am perfectly capable of learning the game from the rules alone.

And when me and my friends are playing a complicated game for the first time, invariably we will run into an edge case and go "ok, can someone go to BGG and see how these dang rules are supposed to be interpreted here?" with everyone whipping out their smartphones.

I can see the appeal of a board game not requiring modern technology, but a world without modern technology just isn't the one I currently live in.

So if a game were to be published with no hard copy of the rules, it wouldn't be an instant no buy. I know that I will be learning it from youtube anyway, like I usually do. I would raise an eyebrow, sure. Doesn't seem like you are gaining much by not printing one. But that fact alone wouldn't actually mean much to me.
 
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Sheep Tree
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I have to have a hard copy if I buy a game always! I don't generally like looking at PDFs on my phone but more importantly, my phone is so distracting to me that if I pull it out to look at PDF rules for a game, there's a serious danger of my forgetting about your game and playing with my phone instead. You can always offer both a hardcopy and PDF but I wouldn't forgo the hardcopy.
 
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Alex Loomis
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Olafslomp wrote:
Wow 100% of the people think that an electronic version is enough!

Oh wait... I'm the only voter so far laugh


Time has not been on your side
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Ryan Keane
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Ren3 wrote:
What's the next step, remove the dice from the box because you can use a random numbers generator instead?



That's an old step - Cheapass Games. I have a whole bucket of random number generators, from 1-4, 1-6, 1-8, 1-10...
 
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Ryan Keane
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I am fine with downloadable and printable rules if there is a good reason for not including them in the box, such as it's a small box card game with pretty complex rules like Pax games. I prefer nicely sized, readable rules and player aids that I have to print out myself, over tiny font, poorly spaced rules and no aids because that's what could fit in the box. Just make it clear in the Kickstarter what you are doing and why.

I have a physical copy of rules, errata, and FAQ's in my game boxes. Just a few small games in my photo case have no physical rules. But several of these included rules are my own print-outs. Printing out a copy of online-only rules is no different for me than punching out components.

I'm not a fan of box lid rules, although that's not common anymore anyway. Again, they're usually tiny font, crammed in, no color, no examples.

Many games have error in the rules and need official errata or FAQ, or at the very least would be improved by minor clarifications. But the publishers only bother addressing the big errors because they already have 1000's of copies out there with the old rules printed inside. Online-only rules allows the publisher to easily improve/correct/adjust the rules at any time.

On the flipside, most people enjoy opening a new box and having everything they need to play without having to go online, even if it will take them hours to punch and sort components or build miniatures. And many people like to complain. So as a publisher, I think 99% of the time you're better off including the rules.
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Russ Williams
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saluk wrote:
That said, I'm a bit surprised to see people complaining about having to go on the internet in order to play a game. We are having this discussion on the internet after all!

I'm a bit surprised by that argument.

We're having this discussion on the internet, therefore you should not be bothered if you had to go on the internet to read a book, to sit on a chair, to eat, to drink, to use the toilet, to have sex, to sleep, ...?

Quote:
Only very simple games do I not turn to the internet for a little bit of help getting started, even when I am perfectly capable of learning the game from the rules alone.

I often check the Rules forum at my computer too. It is great that I have that option. But I still read the rules from the included paper rulebook and have the rulebook at the table when I play.
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