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Gladiator Rules Draft

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Ludomancer
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Hey guys, I would like someone (or several someones) to read over my final text draft for my Gladiators board game. I'm going to be handing them over to an art/design company soon (along with my other assets), so the text needs to be finalized.

My main concerns are:
1) Is it clear and understandable?
2) Are there any bits which could be cut?
3) Do you think you could play the game based on these rules?

http://www.angelfire.com/droid/black_d1/Gstuff/Gladiator_Rules_and_Instr...

Warning: The doc is 14 pages of text. Turns out the game is really easy to teach (takes noobs about 10 minutes to 'get it') but really hard to describe.

Warning 2: There are five important terms which will be replaced by icons: ATT will be replaced by a sword icon, DEF will be a shield icon, MOV will be a footprint, SPE will be a starburst, and AD will be a sword-and-shield combined icon.

Note: Yellow highlights are for things I have to update, or for info which isn't final.

If you would like to see a sample character, check out this link:
http://www.bgdf.com/node/5050

If you would like to see some sample cards, check out this link:
http://www.bgdf.com/node/5043

If you would like to see the board layout, check out this link:
http://www.bgdf.com/node/5093

Grall Ritnos
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Broken Link

Looks like your rules link might be broken. The other images look great though.

Ludomancer
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Fixed

Grall Ritnos wrote:
Looks like your rules link might be broken. The other images look great though.

Wow, thanks for the heads up! I forgot to put an underscore somewhere. The link works now.

Grall Ritnos
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Joined: 02/07/2011
A few notes

Overall, I think this game sounds very interesting, and something I would definitely enjoy playing. The game sounds like it has a fair amount of complexity without being overwhelming, but you do a great job of explaining things. Here are a few thoughts that stand out to me after one reading of your rules. Although these comments are primarily critical, I'd say overall you've done great work here.

1) Be very careful of words that can easily get confused. After my first reading, I found myself having to go back and check to learn the meaning of the terms attack, ability, move (something action a gladiator can do) and move (how characters get around the arena). I would strongly encourage you to limit the use of the word move to the relocation of characters. Perhaps moves should be called abilities, since I can't currently figure out what abilities are, but they are referenced a number of times in your rules. If nothing else, each of these words needs a glossary entry. Also, the terms Foe and Enemy are a bit confusing. You seem to use the term enemy deck throughout, but in the Gladiator entry in section 11, you mention Foe cards. I'm guessing this might be a typo?

2) Your various keywords are a bit confusing between the samples you put up and these rules. I'm assuming Caught/Entangled and Grounded/Fallen mean the same thing and underwent a shift at some point. For the record, I like the terms in the rules better. If you're going to wait until the end of the document to explain the meaning of your keywords, I would do everything possible to limit the use of them early in the document, while including a more comprehensive glossary entry. Right now I feel like I need to hunt all over to find the rules about any given term.

3) Having not seen the tracking card, I am confused by the effects of wounds. I'm assuming this information will be described on the card, but as of now I don't understand the penalties for being wounded or if it matters which body part receives a wound. Regardless, more detail about this should be given in the rules. Also, I may have missed this, but I don't recall seeing an instruction about whether or not wounds come off between matches. Is this lumped under remove all tokens from the arena? This should be more specific.

Those are the big issues that jump out at me. Good luck with continued development. This sounds like an exciting game.

Ludomancer
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Great comments!

Thanks a lot Gral, these are very helpful comments! I think I even noticed some of these myself at one point then forgot to fix them.
Just in case anybody else wants to read these instructions, I have a few comments about your comments.

1) If you look at the sample character card, there are two bullet points on top, under the description of the character, and four on the bottom. The two on top are the character's 'Abilities'. Every character has one ability that gives it its core play style, and one ability that awards you a bonus when you play the character a certain way. The bottom four bullet points are the 'Moves'.

I wanted different terms, because I'm thinking that I might create an expansion in the future where players can collect Equipment which can replace the 'moves' with new powers.

I agree that I should probably just use the word 'Abilities'. Maybe 'Core Abilities' can describe the two irreplaceable ones.

Foe vs Enemy: I struggled with this for some time. Guess it still isn't clear. There is a deck of Enemy cards, all of which attack players. Any ability that says 'target an Enemy' can only be used against these guys, not players. Everyone who is not your Ally is your Foe, including other players. Any ideas on how I can fix this confusing term clash?

2) Yeah, out using 'Grounded' to indicate your dude being knocked flat on his backside, and now I use Fallen. Same deal with with Entangled / Caught. I'm glad you like the new terms better. They're shorter and easier to write sentences with. The sample character still has the old terms on it.

Glossary: I was thinking of actually making the Glossary a separate peice of paper, instead of being at the back of the rules. This would let people understand my definitions as they are reading sentences that use the words. What do you think?

3) I have now posted my prototype Tracking card! See the link below. I agree that I should mention that there are 5 body parts you can wound, each has a slightly different penalty, and that if any player has 4 Wounds the Match ends.

http://www.bgdf.com/node/5100

Thanks fo the comments, it was a big help!

Grall Ritnos
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Clarifying terminology

I think the glossary as a separate insert is a great idea. It would be even more effective if in an introductory comment, you point to the glossary and encourage people to reference it as they read your main rules. I also think a shift you suggested from Abilities and Moves to Core Abilities and Abilities would be helpful.

As for the Enemy/Foe question, I would ask whether or not you need to split hairs between these two categories for your rules to work. If you really have abilities that shouldn't be used against other player gladiators, would it be possible instead to note in the description of those abilities that they can't be used against players, rather than using new and potentially confusing vocabulary? I haven't seen all of your cards, so its entirely possible that these distinctions are legitimate, but I would encourage you to at least think through this issue to determine if your implementation justifies the mental space necessary to separate these two very similar categories. If these categories can be combined, then everyone you don't like is an enemy, whether it is a non-Ally player or a card from the Enemy Deck.

Ludomancer
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Thanks

OK, Combat and I agree that separating the Glossary from everything else is a good idea. It shall be done.

As to the enemy/foe conundrum, I'll think about it a little more, but I'll probably end up clling everything a foe. (It's shorter than enemy and space is tight on the cards).

Thanks for all your help, your comments have been very useful!

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