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Rulebook proofreading

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HandwrittenAnthony
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Hey BGDFers!

So we're closing in on release for Halfling Heist now, and it's time to review the rulebook. I have an early version of the rulebook available, and would appreciate some early proofreaders!

Please note that this is sans layout - we'll be adding all of the pretty columns and diagrams soon, for now this is just text.

The rulebook .pdf can be found at the bottom of the HH page - http://www.handwrittengames.com/games/halfling-heist - or directly from http://www.handwrittengames.com/index.php/download_file/view/56/

As always, all feedback welcome.

Orangebeard
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Draft Comments

Would the original Italian word "scappare" read better than the word "scarper"?

Would "randomly fill every Bar and Table..." be better explained with "randomly select 1 food from the shuffle bag and place it on a Bar/Table square. Repeat until all squares are filled"

Given the rule about moving/collecting food in adjacent squares, should there be a specific order in which the food squares are filled?

Under "Starting the Game", could you better explain how Halflings are placed on starting squares? Can they choose any square? It does seem like there may be an advantage to placing first and moving first; is this enough of an advantage to unbalance the game?

Why would a Halfling ever voluntarily stop collecting food? Is there a limit to what they can carry before they have to bag it?

Should Dropped food go in the Halfings square rather than an adjacent square? That would give them the option to pick it up next turn or leave it and run.

Under Additional Notes you say Food cannot move diagnonally; does that mean a halfling cannot Drop food on a diagnol square?

I can't find any reference to City Watch cards prior to the Additional Notes section; are these cards in the Brawl deck? Do the cards have instructions for placement on the exits?

"Whenever another Halfling is moved multiple squares (example: the Thrown Brawl card) the Halfling cannot be backtracked onto a square it has already landed on during the displacement."

To clarify, you mean to say that a Halfling that was thrown 3 squares cannot run back to the point from which they were thrown over the same 3 squares?

I am not clear on how this ends; if a Halfling that is caught in the bar when the Watch arrives doesn't score, and the watch arrives when a Halfling steps on a brawl square with no remaining cards in the Brawl deck, does that mean that the Halfing that "ends" the game never scores? Is it possible to avoid Brawl square indefinitely? If this happens, is there another mechanic in place to force an end to the game?

I like your "Objective" section; clear, concise, fun to read

The component list is always nice

Overall, I like the amount of information in each section. Enough to read and reference quickly without getting overwhelmed.

I think with the game board and components in front of me, I would have had no issues understanding how to play on the first read.

Nice job!

HandwrittenAnthony
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Excellent, thanks Orangebeard!

Great comprehensive feedback, thanks Orangebeard.

Quote:
Would the original Italian word "scappare" read better than the word "scarper"?

I'm surprised how often this has come up! I'm not certain where I picked up scarper, but I was certain it was a mainstream term. Especially given that I haven't seen that many indie heist movies.

I might have to use "scram" instead.

Quote:
Would "randomly fill every Bar and Table..." be better explained with "randomly select 1 food from the shuffle bag and place it on a Bar/Table square. Repeat until all squares are filled"

Agreed, that reads more plainly.

Quote:
Under "Starting the Game", could you better explain how Halflings are placed on starting squares? Can they choose any square? It does seem like there may be an advantage to placing first and moving first; is this enough of an advantage to unbalance the game?

Strangely there is a slight advantage in going first, but not because of this. You can see the board layout here:

http://www.handwrittengames.com/files/cache/2a0cc3f4b936d517951f287f9a5b...

The eight starting squares are the two lots of 2x2 without the Brawl cloud towards the bottom of the picture. As movement is free between all of those squares, the only advantage to gain is whether you choose the left or right hand side (and with the new board layout, the disadvantage of that right-hand side is counterbalanced by a newly placed exit along the right wall).

I am doing some speed testing right this very moment, and am considering awarding player 3 and 4 a starting Luck card to make up for the going order advantage - but given the way the game plays, I'm not yet convinced going first is a game-breaker.

Quote:
Why would a Halfling ever voluntarily stop collecting food? Is there a limit to what they can carry before they have to bag it?

Two circumstances, but they're pretty rare. The first is where a Halfling would stop halfway along a table to block another Halfling's free movement, forcing them to navigate around and into the Brawl. The second is when the Brawl deck is low, a Halfling may decide to not risk the Brawl for some displaced Food and stick with Food that is on free spaces only.

It seemed prudent to mention that you can voluntarily stop and Bag before collecting all the Food, so that players would know it's legit if one of these circumstances - as rare as they are - comes up.

Quote:
Should Dropped food go in the Halfings square rather than an adjacent square? That would give them the option to pick it up next turn or leave it and run.

I've tried three methods for Dropping Food: on the same square as you've suggested, on an adjacent square of the player's choosing, and a die-roll displacement of the right-opponent's choosing.

The same square option is a lot easier for players to understand, but it had the side effect of holding up a Halfling's movement. Some player's essentially felt cheated out of their turn: instead of moving, they just got to pick up a piece of Food that was "already theirs", and then passed play on to the next player.

Dropping food to an adjacent square gives the player an option of choice, and potentially a chance to strategise. "I can Drop this Food next to this full Table and start a collection run," kind of thing.

I think what's missing from the rules at the moment is clarification of whether adjacent means cardinal directions only (like movement), or including diagonals as well (which is contrary to the universal movement rules).

Quote:
Under Additional Notes you say Food cannot move diagnonally; does that mean a halfling cannot Drop food on a diagnol square?

Ah!, looks like I got ahead of myself here. =)

I'm actually undecided on this, mainly since as stated above allowing a diagonal Drop is contradictory to the universal movement laws.

Most players haven't had an issue with Dropping in four directions, so I think I'm going to keep it at that, but please let me know if you have any thoughts!

Quote:
"Whenever another Halfling is moved multiple squares (example: the Thrown Brawl card) the Halfling cannot be backtracked onto a square it has already landed on during the displacement."

To clarify, you mean to say that a Halfling that was thrown 3 squares cannot run back to the point from which they were thrown over the same 3 squares?

No: this was my clumsy way of saying "You can't jump back and forth between two squares if you roll a six." I couldn't find any standardised way of saying "no backtracking" in any game grammar threads, so this is what I have so far.

Again, any thoughts are more than welcome. =)

Quote:
I am not clear on how this ends; if a Halfling that is caught in the bar when the Watch arrives doesn't score, and the watch arrives when a Halfling steps on a brawl square with no remaining cards in the Brawl deck, does that mean that the Halfing that "ends" the game never scores? Is it possible to avoid Brawl square indefinitely? If this happens, is there another mechanic in place to force an end to the game?

Ideally all Halflings will escape the tavern before the Brawl deck is depleted, but it's surprising how quickly the end of the game can sneak up on you when you think you have just enough time to get one more chicken drumstick.

On top of that, there are cards in the Luck deck that allow you to "Ignore the next Brawl square", which are handy for maneuvering the Brawl when there are no cards left in the deck.

I guess there should also be a statement that says to some extent "the game also ends if all Halflings have successfully escaped the Brawl" to remove any ambiguity.

Thanks very much for the feedback Orangebeard. It's incredibly helpful having people cold read your rules to see if everything comes across clear enough.

For anyone else playing at home, the newest edition with plenty of BGG grammar goblinery (sans the updates from this discussion thus far) is here: http://www.handwrittengames.com/index.php/download_file/view/57/

HandwrittenAnthony
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Rulebook update!

Update: We have a final copy of the rulebook, all laid out and given a splash of paint.

You can find a link to the rulebook here:

http://www.handwrittengames.com/games/halfling-heist/rulebook/

Matthew Rodgers
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Page 3

The orphan under Collecting and Bagging is bothering me, but otherwise looks very solid.

HandwrittenAnthony
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Cheers Matthew. =) I do like

Cheers Matthew. =)

I do like that clothesline illustration, it's got some nice movement to it. It looks brutal, but remember: they're squishy Halflings! They'll just bounce back and steal your sandwich later.

Matthew Rodgers
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No, sorry the typographic

No, sorry the typographic orphan: a single word of a paragraph being split between columns. Didn't even think of the illustration causing confusion.

HandwrittenAnthony
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Aaah! That makes sense -

Aaah! That makes sense - thanks for the heads-up. =)

Orangebeard
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last thoughts?

This looks really tight - nice job!

A couple of last thoughts...If I have to drop/sacrifice food, and I have food in hand that isn't bagged, does the drop/sacrifice come from my hand or my bag? Or would the mechanics/cards in the game prevent this from happening naturally?

Under "Starting the Game", the bottom section of the first column ("Resolving a Brawl card will dictate...) looks a little choppy; I am guessing there wasn't enough room in the column for the whole text? Could "Stop or Continue..." be on a single line? As opposed to a tab/indent would a line space between "Halfling must;" and "Stop or..." work?

Under "Additional Notes" the line "It can be rough for the Halfling that has be the fourth fellow..." doesn't read quite right; could it be shortened to "It can be rough if you are the last fellow to wade through..."

Under "Escape the Brawl", I think there should be a comma in this line "...when the Halfling steps onto a Brawl square but their are no cards..."

I THINK all uses of capitalized "Stop" and lower case "stop" are correct; another pair of eyes to check this might not be a bad idea; I noticed "move" and "step" are used to refer to movement of pawns; does this need to be consistent throughout? I didn't see any other inconsistent use of words (e.g. can't vs cannot), but again, another pair of eyes might help;

I printed it out in black/white and the images in the rulebook are still clear - then I read it backwards...still clear!

HandwrittenAnthony
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Thanks Orangebeard!

Thanks again Orangebeard. =)

Orangebeard wrote:
If I have to drop/sacrifice food, and I have food in hand that isn't bagged, does the drop/sacrifice come from my hand or my bag? Or would the mechanics/cards in the game prevent this from happening naturally?

This is naturally prevented by the mechanics in most cases. There are some fringe cases where this could require a ruling, however it should be rare enough that the players should be able to rule it themselves - logically it would go Move, Brawl, Drop most recent food which is unbagged. I'll more than likely add fringe ruling cases online as required.

I'll talk to my designer about the other layout changes. We'll make some edits in a few weeks no doubt. =)

Thanks for checking them out in print as well. I'm providing a black and white basic version that gets printed with the game, which then has links to that full colour illustrated version online. Thankfully that means we can adjust that online document as required!

AndyGB
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Very small notes

Hi HWAnthony,

This looks very good to me. I took a quick spin through and have just a couple of small notes.

-On Page 2, Starting the Game, 4th paragraph, in the second column, I think it would be better to read "...(generally including draw one Luck card:...". Inserting "card" will bring it in line with other uses of "Luck" and "Brawl" which are always (?) followed by "card".

-Noticed on Page 3 in Collecting and Bagging but worth going through the whole document for, is the occasional switch from "you" to "player." "You" makes sense in the Introduction, and even to some extent in the first Paragraph of Collecting and Bagging, though it is 'the player' almost everywhere else. However, in the 2nd paragraph of A Halfling's Luck, I think "your" looks out of place.

-I may have just missed the logic due to reading q uickly, but the 3rd paragraph of City Watch indicates that you can be moved through an exit due to a Brawl card and can Opt to pay to exit. What happens if you don't opt to pay? Still moved? Or just come to rest before the door?

-in Additional Notes / Movement 3rd paragraph, that is still awkward about ...moved back onto a square they had already been during...". I'd maybe say "already occupied" or "already been on/in"?

Otherwise Very awesome work!

Cheers,
AndyGB

HandwrittenAnthony
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Hey AndyGB! Awesome, thanks

Hey AndyGB!

Awesome, thanks for the feedback. All great edits - I'll make those changes along with Orangebeard's suggestions and will have the file updated next week.

Thankfully we've still got some time before the public release (June 19th!), so this rulebook should be in top shape by the time the game is available to the public.

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