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Looking for Feedback: Are these rules laid out such that they are usable?

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Ristora
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Hello fellow designers!

I have a micro card game (30 Cards) that I designed and have written rules for. I was hoping to get some feedback on them, specifically regarding whether or not you think that with these rules and the cards for the game, you could figure out how to play without further instruction.
I've attached a .pdf with the rules.

I really appreciate those who take the time to help on this :)

EDIT: New Rules (v1.4) are posted taking into account the first 20 replies and includes cleaner formatting.
EDIT: New Rules (v1.5) are posted taking into account the first 23 replies.
EDIT: New Rules (v1.6) are posted taking into account the first 25 replies.
EDIT: New Rules (v1.7) are posted.
EDIT: New Rules (v1.9) are posted. Contains major formatting changes. Anonymousmagic is working on a final format which should be posted later today! Thanks Anonymousmagic!
EDIT: New Rules (v2.0) posted. Thanks Anonymousmagic for the formatting!

Hiddius
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Ok, some pointers. I got

Ok, some pointers.

I got confused, reading the rules, as suddenly they said that you are working as a team with someone.
So, is it a 4 player FFA or some kind of 2v2. Or is it playable 2v2v2v2?

And "Continuing clockwise, players continue to either pass or play cards face up until play
has reached the original passing player, or a player plays an Assassin (Note: An Assassin may be played
only if there is at least one card already played towards controlling the trick)."

Do you mean that as soon as 1 player passes, and it's him again, it's over? So it's not until each player has passed/assassin comes out?

And these cards that you put face down, are they turned face up and destroys the "face-up cards that counts to the tally". Or what happens too them?

anonymousmagic
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1) The rules don't explain

1) The rules don't explain how teams are formed or how they are seated around the table.

2) The explanation of the cards in the rules, mention Hemlock 1 as killing the king and Hemlock 2 killing the current monarch (whoever that is). I would expect all Hemlock cards to have the same effect (the latter you mentioned).

This is exactly the sort of deduction/hidden info game I like, but it's hard to get a group of 4 people together who like the same kind of games. Could this also work as a 2-player variant game?

Ristora
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Working on the issues pointed

Working on the issues pointed out. Will post back with update.

Thanks guys!!!

Ristora
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Hiddius wrote:Do you mean

--Rules Updated--

Hiddius wrote:

Do you mean that as soon as 1 player passes, and it's him again, it's over? So it's not until each player has passed/assassin comes out?

That is correct. I added a little note clarifying this.

Hiddius wrote:

And these cards that you put face down, are they turned face up and destroys the "face-up cards that counts to the tally". Or what happens too them?

It stated in the first version of the rules that I posted: The assigned card is placed face down on the King it is assigned to and remains there, face down, until the end of the game.
Is your comment that this is unclear or did you just miss it? :)

Anomymousmagic: I added a diagram to the rules to explain how teams are formed and where people are seated. It is surprisingly hard to explain such a thing in precise terms!
The game definitely has the capability to be morphed into a two player game, but I suspect it will require bastardization equivalent or greater to that which occurs to original Euchre when playing its 2 player variant. hahah

anonymousmagic
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Ristora, you said the rules

Ristora, you said the rules have been updated and that you placed a diagram in the rules about the teams. I can't see it, but maybe I'm too rushed to take note at the moment. Are you positive, we have the most recent links?

Ristora
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Try it now

I changed the file name in case it was just loading a cached version.

The diagram is in the "Setup" section.

Hiddius
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I mean the other cards that

I mean the other cards that are put face down. I get that the original card is set under the targeted king, but the other cards?

Ristora
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The face down cards do not

The face down cards do not affect the round tally. They only affect other face down cards assigned to the same King at the end of the game. Face down Lead cards are assigned to a King at the end of each round and at the end of the game these cards are flipped up and resolution occurs. :)

Hiddius
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I'm still confused. But I

I'm still confused. But I guess it makes sense when you have the game infront of you.
Or it's just me who's dumb ^^

So at the start of the turn, a lead card is assigned face down. Each other player, in a rotating order, assigns either cards face up or down. The face up cards are counted towards tally, and the face down cards are then assigned WITH the lead card to the targeted king.

When the game is "over", each face down card (this includes the Lead AND the other cards that were put face down during the rounds prior) attached to each king is revealed, and effects on the cards resolve.

Ristora
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Clarification

Here is where I wasn't clear in the original rules. The only card placed face down is the Lead card. All others are placed face up. I made a note of this in the v1.2 rules that are linked in the thread :) I also added a game summary at the start that should set the context for the game. If you have the time and patience to read the latest rules, I would be grateful.

Hiddius
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Ristora wrote:Here is where I

Ristora wrote:
Here is where I wasn't clear in the original rules. The only card placed face down is the Lead card. All others are placed face up. I made a note of this in the v1.2 rules that are linked in the thread :)

Just saw that. Great, now it makes SO much more sense.
Seems like an interesting game, I'd try it for sure. But I'm more of a CCG player, so I get bored quite easily by board games in general. So my opinions shouldn't matter :D

I guess you just want the rules to be easily understood? So I guess you've playtested it.

Ristora
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Yes, the game has been

Yes, the game has been extensively play tested with 3 of my friends. Trust me when I tell you that they 'think it is a really good game' it holds some weight--they are very critical lol Regardless, I'm going to do a small print run of 3 copies of the game and send them out to people to play test blindly, hence my concern for the clarity of the rules.

Hiddius
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Isn't it quite unfair if a

Isn't it quite unfair if a single team gets all the assassins? Cuz they seem to be the best card, UNLESS an opponents plays a inquisitor or in general a high scoring card.

Ristora
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If a single team gets all the

If a single team gets all the assassins, it is actually a detriment. Only 1 assassin can be used per round since it ends the round.

Edit: Note that the assassin doesn't automatically win you the trick, it just triggers the tallying.

anonymousmagic
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I'll take a closer look to

I'll take a closer look to see if the rules are absolutely clear now. :)

anonymousmagic
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After reading the rules in

After reading the rules in depth, I have a few more comments:

1) In the main description you use the word portent. Maybe it's just because English is my second language, but it doesn't sound like a commonly used word. You might want to consider changing it.

2) The exchange of cards offers the players the chance to communicate with their partners, but the rules never mention potential signals and whether those are the sole opportunity of communication. Are partners allowed to talk to each other regarding their hands or are secret signals the intended way to go?

3) You mentioned a red row, blue row and abilities pile. The rules would be clearer if you put them in the diagram.

4) In section 4 you mention playing cards face up to contribute to the points in a trick or face up for their abilities. To me it's unclear where you should place them. If everything except the lead is placed face up, I would rephrase and say that the lead card is face down and that everything else is placed face up to avoid repeating it too much.

5) In what order are assigned cards resolved? It makes quite a difference if the monarch is replaced before or after a second bunch of hemlock is resolved.

6) I like the cards overview, but for clarity, I would make separate lines. 1 line for the points to the trick, 1 for the ability and 1 for how it resolves after being assigned on a king. Separating those things makes those rules easier to look up in the rush of adding the scores.

I really like the idea and you're really just putting on the finishing touches. I hope you finish this one :)

Good luck!

Ristora
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1: Changed Word. 2:

1: Changed Word.
2: Clarification made.
3: Diagram included.
4: Reworded.
5: Made card resolution instructions more explicit.
6: Formatted accordingly.

Thank Anonymousmagic! If you still have steam, check out the newly posted 1.3 rules and tell me what you think :)

anonymousmagic
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Could you re-up the card

Could you re-up the card designs as well (separately). Maybe I have some comments on those too.
I'll check on the new rules as soon as I can.

Ristora
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I actually sent the card

I actually sent the card designs to Hiddius and based on his feedback am reworking them. I'll post when I'm done, but it might not be till this afternoon.

anonymousmagic
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Right now, I can only really

Right now, I can only really finds spelling and formatting issues. I'll give myself some time to mull it over and post later tonight (in my time zone that means within about 7 hours).

Ristora
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Card Designs

Here is a link to the cards https://docs.google.com/a/alumni.uwo.ca/file/d/0B-9KT9j8zRJaVE9QRFZrTW9O...
Be sure to download the file rather than perusing it in Google Docs--for some reason the colour of the suit icons are washed away in Google Doc's viewer. Thank to Hiddius for formatting suggestions.

anonymousmagic
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I have to compare my notes to

I have to compare my notes to the latest version, but it's almost time to get to bed. My response will be delayed until tomorrow morning.

anonymousmagic
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1.4 comments

Here are my latest thoughts:

1) I would shorten the introduction section (especially if that means you can limit your rulebook to 4 pages).
2) I would format the cards section in 3 rows of 3 cards (again to save space, but also to make the rulebook a little more aesthetically pleasing).
3) In the gameplay phases section, I would refer to point 5 as "assignment" rather than "assign". All sections have nouns as names, with this one as the only exception.
4) The last line of section 2b is confusing. I would simplify: "After dealing, the number of cards in each players' hand should not differ more than 1 card."
5) For the section on Play. Would it make sense to place each scoring pile in front of a player of that team, rather than the way you drew it?
6) In "determining winners" you should open with "Assigned cards' end game abilities", because you're referring to multiple cards that have such abilities.
7) The king description in the card overview lists king and queen alive as 3 points, but doesn't say what happens if you have just a king or a knight and a queen.
8) Hemlock is not included in the playable cards section here.
9) I would format that last section in a sort of two column thing. Card name to the left and all the scoring and abilities to the right. No spaces in the horizontal line next to the name.

Ristora
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Changes made

Thanks Anonymousmagic for your feedback! I'll upload a v1.5 with the following changes.

1: Shortened a little bit and made other changes to get the rules down to 4 pages.
2: I think I did what you meant here.
3: Actually, I intended them all to be read as verbs. I changed it to assignment for now anyway though.
4: Done.
5: I think players could do that if they wanted to. I like the idea of a centralized play area. I've thought about creating a play mat that clearly shows which types of cards are played where. They play mat would essentially look like the diagram.
6: Good catch, changed.
7: Fixed.
8: Included now.
9: I made a table

anonymousmagic
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Nitpicks

Hi Ristora,

Is it okay if I bother you with some nitpicks again.

1) I notice that not every section has the same letter size or header formatting. It looks a lot cleaner if the formatting is consistent throughout. Any chance of adding actual bullet points to the list of game components?

2) Since they're listed underneath, I don't think you need the list of gameplay phases. Just call that header gameplay and go ahead by listing each step as it comes up.

3) It looks like point 1 is indented more than the others in that section.

4) Instead of bolding and underlining the titles of the columns in the tables, I think it looks cleaner to only bold and have the titles in a cell on the table as well. (Keep playable and un-playable cards in separate tables though).

Do you know what booklet or document size you intend to use already? Do you want to release on TheGameCrafter are is this heading for game publishers?

Ristora
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Changes Made

Ok, addressed the issues you mentioned and uploaded a newer version of the rules. I don't think I addressed the issue of inconsistent formatting though because I can't find the inconsistencies. If you want, I can send you an editable version of the rules.

I have not looked into booklet templates at all. I didn't believe the rules were ready for that kind of finishing touch :)
Do you have a recommendation or a link to rule book templates?

I'm don't think I'll be publishing with The Game Crafter, unless someone can persuade me otherwise. I'm thinking my best bet is to get these rules completed, send them to play testers for blind play testing, adjust based on feedback and make sure the game isn't broken in some way that I've missed, and then start a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising enough money to hire graphics designer/artist from BGDF or BGG community and to do 1 relatively high volume print run of the game. I want to get my cards printed with Printers Studio. I made a custom deck of cards from them for another game I was working on and the cards were PHENOMENAL.

Thanks again anonymousmagic for all your help.

anonymousmagic
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If you're not planning on

If you're not planning on publishing with thegamecrafter, I don't have a template recommendation. The best way to go here is to choose a printer first, then pick the template that goes with whatever they print. I suggest asking Printers Studio if they have a template available if it is possible for them to print a rulebook along with the cards...

P.S. You've got a PM.

Ristora
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Booklet

I just checked out The Game Crafter's booklets, and I think it would be fine printing off the booklets from them.https://www.thegamecrafter.com/publish/product/SmallBooklet

EDIT: And this would be a perfect fit! https://www.thegamecrafter.com/publish/product/PokerTuckBox36

radioactivemouse
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From what I've seen in

From what I've seen in version 2.0, I've noticed some things you could adjust in your game rules.

Before I go on, I just want to establish that people normally go to the rules on two separate occasions: When they are learning the game and when they are referencing the game to clarify the rules.

I know this is fairly obvious and I don't want to sound belittling, but I just want to use this as a platform for my suggestions.

1) Right after your introduction, you should probably talk about any new terms you want to introduce and an explanation of the components including symbols, a card anatomy, and board layout (not setup).

2) Right after your explanation of the components, you should lay out the sequence of play. Don't go into an explanation yet, just let them know how the game is going to flow.

The first two suggestions put the player in a sort of "safe island", where there's nothing demanded of the player yet. In a way, you are letting them "smell" the game and getting their anticipation going to play the game. This will also be a place where a player can easily see the sequence of play and be reminded of how the game is played without having to hunt every part down.

3) The next section should have a very detailed explanation of the sequence of play, step by step. This will be the place your players will read when they are learning the game AND reference during the game to seek out answers to questions. Here is where you would insert the play example, diagrams, and setup as it directly pertains to the detailed explanation of the sequence of play.

Then, at the end, you can put in a glossary of terms and/or variants of play. These can be referenced by the player later on.

This is not something that I'm taking out of my butt. It's called the Case System (developed in 1970) and it was a way of explaining complex war game rules. In addition, you'll notice a lot of board/card game rules have this format.

Hope this helps.

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