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The City of Kings rulebook, a 1 - 4 player cooperative fantasy adventure

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Frank West
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Hi there,

I would be grateful if you could spare the time to feedback on the current version of my rulebook (0.12) and highlight any errors you find.

Download rulebook 0.12 (pdf)

In addition to the rulebook there is a quick reference booklet that explains the details of quests, abilities, tokens and map tiles but I wont ask you to read that one as well just yet.

Thank you for your time!

WinsmithGames
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Hey Frank! I probably won't

Hey Frank!

I probably won't review the entire rulebook, but here are comments as I read through:

-I like the front art and graphic design. The first illustration is well done, and it's reminiscent of my favorite types of board games (fantasy, adventure, dungeon crawler).

-The Game, paragraph 2: The paragraph makes it sounds like players are just gathering resources to trade for gear. It's not until the next paragraph that you mention combat (the most fun part of fantasy adventure games). I'd reword these paragraphs to make the game sound more "epic".
"As you progress through the game, the enemies you face will get stronger." To be honest, the language is weak and uninteresting. Plus you distance the player from the game. The language should bring the game to life. Here's an example that has the same meaning but puts an more vivid image in the readyer's mind. "Monsters come in all forms as sizes. You must keep both your mind and sword sharp, if you plan to survive."

-Table of Contents: "To Win" comes before "To Lose" on Page 2

-Components: Worker 1 and Worker 2 tokens look the same. Is it just a placeholder image for now?

-I like the "Watch A Video" section. As a fan of learning games through knowledgeable players first, "How To Play" videos second, and rulebooks last, this is smart.

-The 7 Stories idea sounds neat, and the Heroic and Legendary challenges sound like an interesting option for additional replayability or for those who like taking the more difficult path.

-Looking at the number of components and how many components are required for setup (I'm on step #7 right now), I would recommend you say upfront how much table space you recommend players have. The character boards look HUGE, based on the image.
Some games require significantly more space than players expect, and that can cause frustration. Just a thought.

-Creature Abilities: "Each creature is generated at the point of encounter." It took me 2-3 reads to understand the meaning; its wording is confusing. Maybe it should read, "Creatures are placed on the board as they are encountered during gameplay, creating an ever changing environment."
"A typical creature will attack and heal, but creature abilities give creature's the ability to..."
-No apostrophe on creature's.
-"Creature abilities give creatures the ability... is redundant.
-Weakly written, here's this for a start: "Creatures have a vast array of abilities, from attacking, healing, summoning minions, casting devastating fireballs, and much more."

-One of the barriers of entry to dungeon crawlers and adventure games are the large rulebooks. Since the Creature Abilities are expressed in detail in the Reference book, I question whether you should have the examples section at all. It's not likely players are going to gain any useful information by reading the Example Creature Abilities. Maybe you can remove this section, which will make your rulebook that much smaller. (Hopefully you can find additional areas to thin the rulebook, which will attract, or at least not detract, players from being intimidated by a larger rulebook.)
Remember, short and sweet. Or Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Anyways, I need to go for the night. I'm sorry I can't go through more right now, but hopefully this is helps.

For a rulebook of this size and a game of this much content and depth, I'd highly recommend having a couple paid editors go through it. That would making a smart investment in your game (which looks fun, at first glance through the rules).

Frank West
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Hi WinsmithGames, Thank you

Hi WinsmithGames,

Thank you so much for taking the time to go through the rulebook! Your feedback is great and I will be working through it.

I'm going to break it up below and respond to the various points as I find it useful when reading other peoples posts to see the reasons for things and how the creator plans to address the issues.

WinsmithGames wrote:
Hey Frank!
-The Game, paragraph 2: The paragraph makes it sounds like players are just gathering resources to trade for gear. It's not until the next paragraph that you mention combat (the most fun part of fantasy adventure games). I'd reword these paragraphs to make the game sound more "epic".

This paragraph is trying to set the seen of you building up and preparing for combat, but perhaps it's not having that effect.

It's worth noting one of the unique selling points of the game is that players can take a "worker management" style role where they use workers as their primary character. This certainly isn't for everyone but it has it's own market and fits nicely alongside the explore/fight nature of the heroes.

I agree this paragraph could be better worded so I'll have a think about how to address this.

WinsmithGames wrote:
"As you progress through the game, the enemies you face will get stronger." To be honest, the language is weak and uninteresting. Plus you distance the player from the game. The language should bring the game to life. Here's an example that has the same meaning but puts an more vivid image in the readyer's mind. "Monsters come in all forms as sizes. You must keep both your mind and sword sharp, if you plan to survive."

Interesting, I had approached this section more of a "here's how the game works" rather than a thematic introduction to play.

I'm also trying to introduce the idea that creatures get stronger overtime as feedback suggest that seems to be less common in the genre (but exciting).

Like the above paragraph, there is probably a way to add more theme and epicness to this whilst saying the same things.

WinsmithGames wrote:
-Table of Contents: "To Win" comes before "To Lose" on Page 2

Good spot! This is auto generated by InDesign so I will see if I can work out the reason for it. I'm guessing it sets page content alphabetically but that would be annoying!

WinsmithGames wrote:

-Components: Worker 1 and Worker 2 tokens look the same. Is it just a placeholder image for now?

Yea, they will be different, just trying to decide on find designs and colours.

WinsmithGames wrote:

-I like the "Watch A Video" section. As a fan of learning games through knowledgeable players first, "How To Play" videos second, and rulebooks last, this is smart.

I'm completely the same, glad you like it!

WinsmithGames wrote:
-The 7 Stories idea sounds neat, and the Heroic and Legendary challenges sound like an interesting option for additional replayability or for those who like taking the more difficult path.

That's the idea! Glad you like it.

WinsmithGames wrote:

-Looking at the number of components and how many components are required for setup (I'm on step #7 right now), I would recommend you say upfront how much table space you recommend players have. The character boards look HUGE, based on the image.
Some games require significantly more space than players expect, and that can cause frustration. Just a thought.

I think this is really valid. When I first started working on the game I actually spoke with an architect to get an understanding of the average size of tables in 2 and 4 person homes. The game was designed to fit onto these dimensions and whilst it looks big it can certainly be fairly compact if you choose to layout it out like that.

This is the reason some sections like the Trade District, Temple and Quest Hubs have small headers allowing you to spread them around the table to anywhere you have space. It's also why everything goes on your character sheet, so you don't need to have lots of additional space around it.

With that said, having put this effort into the design of the game, it might be worth mentioning it somewhere to to help with this concern - As I expect several people will have it!

WinsmithGames wrote:

-Creature Abilities: "Each creature is generated at the point of encounter." It took me 2-3 reads to understand the meaning; its wording is confusing. Maybe it should read, "Creatures are placed on the board as they are encountered during gameplay, creating an ever changing environment."

I'll look into this one, I think the concept of creature generation is important as you create creatures by combining abilities so it's a bit more than placing it on the board. But maybe that's not important at this point and could be better explained.

WinsmithGames wrote:

"A typical creature will attack and heal, but creature abilities give creature's the ability to..."
-No apostrophe on creature's.
-"Creature abilities give creatures the ability... is redundant.
-Weakly written, here's this for a start: "Creatures have a vast array of abilities, from attacking, healing, summoning minions, casting devastating fireballs, and much more."

Sounds good!

WinsmithGames wrote:

-One of the barriers of entry to dungeon crawlers and adventure games are the large rulebooks. Since the Creature Abilities are expressed in detail in the Reference book, I question whether you should have the examples section at all. It's not likely players are going to gain any useful information by reading the Example Creature Abilities. Maybe you can remove this section, which will make your rulebook that much smaller. (Hopefully you can find additional areas to thin the rulebook, which will attract, or at least not detract, players from being intimidated by a larger rulebook.)
Remember, short and sweet. Or Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I agree with you on this one and only recently (maybe version 0.10?) added the examples. I was finding a lot of players were struggling to picture what abilities actually were and also several questioned where things like fire and minions came from. Listing them here as examples seems to help fix that problem making players more confident as they read through the rulebook.

I'm still in 2 minds though as like you say, it adds a chunk of stuff that isn't really needed at this point.

Perhaps making it look more like optional text could help with this.

WinsmithGames wrote:

Anyways, I need to go for the night. I'm sorry I can't go through more right now, but hopefully this is helps.

No need to apologise! I'm extremely grateful and hopefully you can tell from my comments that I will be making changes based off this.

WinsmithGames wrote:

For a rulebook of this size and a game of this much content and depth, I'd highly recommend having a couple paid editors go through it. That would making a smart investment in your game (which looks fun, at first glance through the rules).

I've actually already had 2 paid editors go through it, one from the UK and one from the US to help confirm US players wont be put off by my Englishness!

However I have continued to make small changes since then so I will certainly get another person to go through it before release.

Again thank you for all your feedback and hopefully my comments will help someone out there in some way!

WinsmithGames
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Hey Frank, are you on

Hey Frank, are you on Twitter? I'd like to follow you.

If you want to follow us, we are @WinsmithGames.

WinsmithGames
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Also, you are welcome. I am

Also, you are welcome. I am happy to help and will doubtlessly be asking the same of others one day, so I'm just passing it forward (in advance).

Frank West
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WinsmithGames wrote:Hey

WinsmithGames wrote:
Hey Frank, are you on Twitter? I'd like to follow you.

If you want to follow us, we are @WinsmithGames.

You'll find me on there as @tcokgame

WinsmithGames wrote:
Also, you are welcome. I am happy to help and will doubtlessly be asking the same of others one day, so I'm just passing it forward (in advance).

Seems a good way to do it! :)

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