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New rulebook need feedback

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Adam Leamey
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Joined: 02/23/2017

Hello all it's been a while I've been very busy with life and working on a variety of things including a new rulebook for my boardgame I would like some feedback to help improve it. I am looking for mostly any sections that are hard t understand or are just out of place.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6qkvWCihkRHWkZIX1hSbUlnTlE

The Professor
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Greetings and suggestions

Adam,

AS someone who regularly greets newcomers, I wanted to welcome you to BGDF. While this is a site where many members often contribute their ideas to others, I would ask you to show a bit more discretion before greeting everyone and immediately asking folks to check out and provide feedback on a 32 page rulebook. First, and this is generally speaking, it's best to get to know you a bit and see what you can contribute to the community before asking for assistance. Second, engage in some of the conversations. Finally, and this is a bit more specific to your rules. AS a designer and developer, your rules need fine-tuning and an overall reduction in the number of pages by at least half given the type of game you're presenting. Anyway, just some thoughts from a BGDF regular.

Cheers,
Joe

WinsmithGames
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I've said this twice in two

I've said this twice in two days now, so I see a pattern... Joe is right! (Empirical evidence that he is a smart man...)

We all have ideas we want to bounce off others, and we are all busy. So you have to understand that it's disrespectful of other people's time to ask for such a lengthy task when you haven't done anything to earn their time/energy.

I admit that I've been guilty of it too, but you should build some community involvement before you expect others to go out of their way for you. Maybe respond to a couple other peoples' posts, and then post a SHORT post/question of your own, like "Hey Guys, what do you think of think of my game concept? Fighting sentai robots."

Agreed with Joe again on the rules. They are too wordy. For example:

During a player activation 1 player is selected to activate. Players can always select the
order of which players activate. If its your First Game it is recommended to decide the
first player via dice roll or have someone who has played the game before start.

This shouldn't be more than a short sentence, but it's an entire paragraph.

Small tip: Don't refer to it as a Large Reference Card... Large has a negative connotation there.

Anyways, I hope to see you in the forums!
David

Adam Leamey
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Joined: 02/23/2017
Thank you for both replying.

Thank you for both replying. I will say I joined this community in February and have posted here and made some friends before this post.

But I take your point on being disrespectful that was certainly not my intent and if i have upset people I can only apologise

Rick L
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You got the wrong guy!

Very gracious response Adam, and to the Professor and Winsmithgames, that's good advice about the etiquette of requesting feedback from the community.

However, I don't know why Adam is being called out & chastised here - a quick check of his posting track will clearly show how much he has contributed to this forum since he's been on. Additionally, I don't know how any regulars here could have missed all of his posts welcoming new members and offering insights into many projects.

Adam was the first person here to offer to play test my game on Tabletopia with me, and his knowledge of games and game mechanics has been invaluable to me - I have a much better game now because of him - I can't thank you enough Adam!

His Spectrum Force game is really coming along - sound mechanics, great cooperative game play, and cool thematic elements. It's at the point where the focus can turn to the nitty gritty stuff like editing the rule book.

I'll be reading through it soon, and see how it compares to past versions & see what else I can offer for feedback. Glad that you've already got some helpful feedback from the above posts too - this is a game that we'll all be seeing on the store shelves one day, so it'll be cool to be able to say "hey, we know that guy and helped him with his manual!" Lol!

X3M
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The rules

IMHO. For someone requesting to look at the rules. I say it is a well deserved request. Many more than me, I thing everyone agrees on that.

You know he is almost finished. Because he shows the rules.
How many people do that here?

And he contributed a lot too. Sometimes his posts show that they are well thought out.

The only thing I see is that he got a bit absend in the past few weeks.
Also, I think he is the type of guy to dissappear in the background a bit from time to time.
No shame there, it happens to everyone. And most of us have reasons back at home.

Simply give the guy a helping hand from time to time. And if not, let it rest.

***

Regarding your request.

I have looked at your rules.
Some hints are in place.

Try to use shorter sentences.
Cut the big ones up in shorter ones.
Interpunction is very important too.
Don't be afraid: Make it a 'kids' game.

I said something about "exhaust". But apparantly, this is a word well known on the other side of the ocean. Sorry for the language barrier.

***

In short.
Cut the sentences in smaller pieces.
Use simpler words.

Sorry, I did not get any further then page 12 @ the moment. But if you start adjusting. I am happy to look at it again. Just PM me if you are ready.

Number of pages.... yeah, they are right. Try to see if you can simplify how some rules are described.

BHFuturist
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Deep breaths everyone :)

I do understand The Professor's reaction to Adam's post but I don't think it was a completely fair assessment in this case.

Just speculating... But it could be that The Professor just missed some of Adam's earlier posts because he was busy working and marketing the Tradewars game when Adam first joined (it was about the same time)...

Sometimes members here react poorly to such requests because what The Professor is describing does happen a lot on this forum. Without a profile image and with the generic opening line "Hello all" The Professor might have mistaken Adam as one of the many newcomers only looking for help and not as willing to contribute. Most of the "regulars" on the site have a profile image to help distinguish them and make it easier to identify and remember them.

The Professor is a really nice and helpful guy and the forum does need someone willing to do the dubious task of throwing a wet blanket or two on some of the more eager newcomers.

I do hope the members here take a look at the rules and give some feedback. The Professors feedback was spot on as the rules are too long and not yet as approachable as they need to be. Writing clear and concise rules is not an easy task. When the designer is not a writer it is many times harder. I think this rulebook (like many other rulebooks in board gaming at large) need an editor to step in and do a re-write.

I also hope everyone can just take a deep breath and move on.

C. M. Perry
@BHFuturist

joebergmann
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Hey Adam!

On first blush, I agree with the Professor and others, it's too long. Interestingly, it's exactly how I would write a manual. :) Do you happen to be an engineer? I am, and so far all my game rules have looked like machine operator manuals! haha! It's a hard habit to break. I think it's great that you are putting it out there for review. These guys are a great source of information and suggestions.

Of course, now I'm wondering if I commented and said "Hi" enough to warrant asking about my game stuff... :O

Edit... I also just added my picture, even though I look goofy...

Joe

Rick L
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All good

I do apologize if my earlier post came across as confrontational - I didn't mean it to. I just wanted to make sure Adam's contributions to the community don't get lost in all the shuffle. Like BHFuturist mentioned, avatars & other online conveniences sometimes make it hard to keep track of who's who! I've changed my avatar here & even my username (used to be Mokheshur)

Well it looks like a lot of consistency in the comments on the rulebook here too - that makes it easier to know where to focus for revision! I still need to take a closer look at this version, but the last one seemed pretty clear.

Adam Leamey
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I used to be a software

I used to be a software engineer so I am not always the best at expressing a simple rule in a simple fashion I tend to explain all the clauses and things surrounding the rule. I do want to trim the book down it is big. Part of the reason I posted it here was to get this kind of feedback.

I will try and be a bit more active on the forums I've been busy with stuff it's taking me weeks to get this new rulebook finished but I want to try and help others as I have had help from various people.

The Professor
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mea culpa

Adam,

It appears as though you've been out here for awhile, so I certainly apologize for my comments, as you're clearly not the intended audience.

Rick L.

You were spot-on in your assessment so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Cheers,
Joe

WinsmithGames
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Hey Adam, I am sorry, too. I

Hey Adam, I am sorry, too. I don't mean to false accuse either. I didn't recognize your name and assumed by the OP and The Prof's response. Sorry for jumping to conclusions.

As an engineer too, I'm guilty of overexplaining. I'd focus on narrowing the rules down so the game is simpler to understand.

Sorry again...
David

The Odd Fox
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Thumbs up

I wish there was a like button or something like that because I would totally hit that for The Professor and WinsmithGames! Very classy responses. In fact everyone on this thread has my praise for their responses! I really love this community for the kinds of things I'm seeing here!

Rick L
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awesomeness

This really is an awesome site for fellow game designers! To the Professor and to Winsmith games, I again apologize if my wording sounded harsh - you both have shown plenty of support to me and others, and I would just as gladly stand up for both of you in recognizing and reminding everyone of your contributions to all our efforts! Same for everyone in this thread :)

Adam, I like the additions of all the card graphics and examples - looking good! There are a few little rule changes that look like good moves, like being able to save one unused energy for another turn, and the cleanse action.

I think there would be a good way to shorten some of the explanations and connect a few of the areas - such as action cards, attack and defense dice, and the battle phase. Seems like those are kind of far apart in the manual, but I'll have to give it some thought and message you.

WinsmithGames
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Thanks Rick. I've got thick

Thanks Rick. I've got thick skin, so no worries. And sometimes I need to hear feedback like that.

Adam, here are some quick suggestions just as I glance through again (I don't have the time or energy now to go through it in detail):

  • The first 3 pages can probably be condensed down to 1 page
  • I'd put the Table of Contents before the Components List.
  • Focus on condensing text to be concise and still clear.

For example, you can revise The Victory Conditions Section to be as short as,

"The first player to defeat the opponent's leader (by reducing their health to 0) wins. Note: Certain scenarios may alter the winning conditions."

And you don't need the Defeat Section; that's already explained in the sentence above.

The other content/rules in those sections belong elsewhere in the rules (such as the Spectrum Power).

I'd focus on condensing the rules down as much as possible. The reason why is one of the largest barriers-to-entry for new board gamers and new games is the rules. And a larger rulebook is intimidating.

Best of luck. Keep us in the loop.
David

The Professor
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Useful items

Odd Fox & Rick,

Thank you ~ it really is a great community!

Adam,

To echo David's comments, I would certainly condense the component list to one page. This will be attained through the magic of a good graphic artist who can maintain the fidelity of the images even in a smaller size. Always think about layout...i.e. if you have to have two pages for the set-up of the main area and each player's area, have that appear on a two page spread. Use well written lists instead of paragraphs which can potentially confuse newcomers and lengthens the overall rule-set.

Cheers,
Joe

Adam Leamey
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First of all let me say thank

First of all let me say thank you all I know i have a big rule book and I appreciate you all spending your time to look through it and help me improve it I can't describe how much I appreciate the time and help I receive here.

In regards to the feedback given I have taken it on board and am currently in the process of condensing the rules as well as organizing the data better.

I must say its very hard writing a rulebook I wanted to make sure i covered everything but a lot of my explanations are to lengthy. I now know what to do to condense the information and hopefully the next version will have a lower page count I will keep everyone updated and thank you all again.

questccg
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Take a look at TGC's Sanity Test

I know I've stressed in another thread - but I will repeat it here! Try to take advantage of "The Game Crafter"'s "Sanity Tests":

http://help.thegamecrafter.com/article/145-sanity-tests

It costs ONLY $30 USD, your rulebook will be reviewed by a Professional who will critique and help re-structure your rulebook to a version more consistent with Game Rulebooks in general.

It's going to be HARD to score 70% (because you are not necessarily selling on TGC - so some points cannot be scored)... But get feedback, revise and then review again... You can maybe do this 2 times until your score is near 70%...

Best to deal with a Professional who will review it and try to get it in a state that most rulebooks should be in.

Cheers.

Update: And YES, I have used the service 3 times. At first it was HARD to accept that I needed to "re-format" my rulebook... but I understood what was expected of me and I made those changes for the better. It's best to get the advice from a Professional... IMHO.

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