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Is this rulebook clear?

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harmon89
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I've been working a quick little social deduction game for 3-8 players that plays in around 30 minutes. Any suggestions on how to make the rulebook more clear, or improve in any way, let me know! Thanks so much guys. :-)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=16ICtWjEoh3SUwtJbVh7HkSjk49hXVZsj

ceethreepio
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Some thoughts

Hi,

Looks really nice. Here are some thoughts as I go through the pages. Note, it's totally off the top of my head, and as always I'm not intending to be or sound mean or anything, so take it for all that it's worth :)

1. Front page - lovely illustration, nice font, good colours. Why doesn't this page have all the usual icons indicating player count, age range, etc, designer, etc. Someone might take a picture of this and post it on Instagram. And no-one will know very much about your game. This page should definitely sell.

2. Page 2. Change the word 'story' :) It sounds like you are these are the headers from when you were scoping out the document. If this is the story, the fiction, the basis for the game, then at least call it the name of the game!

3. Page - the actual story. "It's about that time of year." What time? "Sherman Shark should be arriving ... " cool, is he going on holiday or some kind of migration? "The residents have been preparing ..." cool, like a underwater street party? "Added Protection?" Do they not like him? Does he damage the reef then? Or does he eat the inhabitants? Are we talking about a fat dozy shark who crashes into a coral reef and damages it or a Jaws-esque murderer who stalks the reef every Oct 31st?

"Over time the two communities" - what communities? They are called residents earlier, suggesting they all live together? "everyone secretly has their preference of which reef they want to be the best one" ... the best one, in a shark attack? Shark-proofed? I'm not sure that's a 'secret' preference. Surely everyone knows where you live in the reef? It sounds more like a sensible preference. "When the shark attacks" ? Is that a certainty then? "Peaceful cove" ? I thought it was two coral reefs? "guilty of favouritism?" Surely reach resident lives in one of the two reefs? Feels a little odd to be called out for favouritism ..

Essentially I'm saying your story setup needs work :D.

4. This game feels like it's aimed at kids. So the rules feel a bit hard to follow. I think they could do with some editing/rewriting? E.g. let's look at Setup.1. Try this:

1. Take out all the preference cards and turn them face up so you can see them . For a:
- 3 or 4 player game, take 2 red and 2 blue preference cards and put the others back in the box.
- 5 or 6 player game, take 3 red and 3 blue preference cards and put the others back in the box.
- 7 or 8 player game, take all the preferences cards.
Turn the chosen cards face down and shuffle them. Deal out 1 card to each player. If you have 1 left over, put it aside. You won't use it this round.

To me, that reads easier and is easier to follow than the original text. What do you think?

5. After saying in the Setup.2 text that the 'suspicion card backs should match the character', in the example image, the 'fish' suspicion card backs don't match the 'Octopus' Character Card.

Argh, sorry, it's late, I have to stop. I gotta get some sleep! The game looks gorgeous!

Nick

harmon89
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Thanks for the feedback

Thanks Nick!

You're right, I need to get some of that basic info onto the front page. Of course it will be on the box, but I'll get it on the rulebook too. Thanks for the reminder.

Yeah, I know the rules are pretty rough right now. I tend to complicate things more than I need to.

I like your suggestions for the first couple of pages. :-) BTW, the reason why the "suspicion" cards don't match the character card is because I was showing the backs of all the cards. (All the character cards have an octopus back.) On the last page of the rulebook you can see the 8 characters in the game. I guess I should show the front of the character card so that it is easier to see that the suspicion card matches the character card.

Thanks again for taking the time to look at it.

riverole
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Hi! I took a look at the

Hi!

I took a look at the rules. First of all, the whole graphic design looks pretty good and pretty professional!
Regarding the rules themselves, I had a bit of trouble understanding the gather phase. I have some comments and suggestions. Of course, take whatever makes sense (or nothing at all!). The game seems pretty polished and it looks pretty good, so these are just my suggestions:

  1. In the setup you say that every player gets 1 two point piece. However, in the image later it shows 2 one point pieces. Probably you want to stick to either one, so it's not confusing.
  2. Kind of a nitpick but choosing the first player for the first round could be a silly thing (rather than a more complicated thing), such as: the last person that listened a song related to sharks (baby shark nananana, XD), or the last person to swim in the ocean, etc... Kind of similar to Azul or other games, so you eliminate another bit of complexity.
  3. It really took me a second read to figure out how people was not able to guess straight away what is your preference card, since you're playing the cards. That is because the coral cards are played face down. Maybe it might be obvious for some people but it wasn't for me (until I saw the picture in the example), :P, so I would imagine that it would help to mention that way before (maybe even in bold?).
  4. Can a player cards of different colors in the same turn? That might not be super clear and feels kind of important.
  5. You are not indicating in the example that you get points when you play the cards, which might be a bit confusing, I think it would help.
  6. Where you are explaining at the beginning that you choose a row, you might want to explain why, since it's a bit confusing in the first read that this just determines what cards you are going to be allowed to play, so you might want to emphasize that there, or even before.

Thanks for sharing your prototype with us!

harmon89
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Stellar suggestions

Riverole, thanks so much for those GREAT and very helpful ideas and suggestions. I'm hoping to update the rules in the next couple days, taking you and Nick's suggestions to heart.

Jay103
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harmon89 wrote:Thanks Nick!

harmon89 wrote:
Thanks Nick!

You're right, I need to get some of that basic info onto the front page. Of course it will be on the box, but I'll get it on the rulebook too. Thanks for the reminder.


I haven't looked at anything yet, but the box is the box.. it's not the rules. Assume people are reading the rules, and not the box :)

harmon89
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I've updated the rulebook in

I've updated the rulebook in the original post to reflect the suggestions made so far. Let me know if the story, setup, and gather phase seem more clear or less clear. :-)

evansmind244
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Shark Cleaning Station

I agree that choosing the first player should be easier to figure out. With the existing rules I was wondering what happened to the Reef Cards once you find the first player? Discard or back to the bottom of the pile?

You already got some excellent feedback on the rules!!

Sharks actually go to reefs to get cleaned, and most of their feeding takes place during feeding frenzies in blue water with other Pelagic species of fish. Reef Sharks are a little different but.....
I don't know how difficult it would be to change the theme to the Reef preparing for the Annual Shark Cleaning station but.........it does reflect what really happens on a reef which is always good for kids to learn.
The game design is awesome!! I've posted my Rules for Holiday Fever over here-------> http://www.bgdf.com/node/22205 if you want to check them out I'd be ever so grateful!! Thanks.

harmon89
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Thanks evansmind for your

Thanks evansmind for your suggestion. I'll see if I can fit the shark cleaning station idea into the story.

I'll be sure to check out your rules too. :-)

Jay103
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Definitely needs some heavy

Definitely needs some heavy editing just for spelling and grammar ("devastating" on the very first line, for example)

Instead of saying to "take out" preference cards, talk about using them, because right now it at first makes me think I have a small pile of them, and then I remove 2 and put them away, where you really mean to USE two and put the rest away.

Then "turn the chosen cards face down".. I'd avoid "chosen", because really there wasn't a choice, was there? just say "preference cards". Is the leftover card a secret or public knowledge?

Steps 1 and 2 both say to give each player a preference card. Step 2 isn't at all clear if these are random deals.. maybe that doesn't matter, but it certainly looks like it does for the preference card.

Step 4 is missing.

Step 5 should probably come before the big illustration.

That grid is a big pain in the butt. So many rules! Is it supposed to be random? What happens when a rule is violated, like 2 greys in the same row? Or if the whole grid is fine but has no red in it?

After that... I'm sorry, but I have no real idea what is going on.

Red and blue reef preference? The reefs appear to be "large" and "small", so .. I don't get that at all. I don't see why you put a card on either reef, or what it means to have a preference. Or why George is throwing people off by using oranges or whatever.

harmon89
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Yeah, I had a feeling the

Yeah, I had a feeling the gather phase was unclear and more complicated than it needed to be.

Really all I'm trying to say is that each coral card you play will either have your team symbol on it (your preference card tells you what "team" your on) or it will have the other team symbol on it.

If you are playing a card that has your team symbol on it, you put the card in the "large coral pile". If you are playing a card that doesn't have your team symbol on it, you put the card in the "small coral pile."

Is that anymore clear, or still just as confusing?

I find people don't have any trouble when I'm explaining in person and pointing at things, so I'd eventually like to get the rules to be as clear as if I was explaining it in person.

questccg
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Hmm... Some formatting

Usually after Components and Set-Up, you state the Game's Victory Objectives. Most Designers are told to STATE the Victory Conditions EARLY because before players want to read the rules, they want to understand HOW to WIN. I get why you put it at the END of your rules (Chronologically) ... But that's not usually the "proper" format used by TableTop Games.

I'm not telling you to change it. I'm just explaining the FORMAT MOST and you can even look at Roll & Move games which clearly state the paths to a Victory as one of the first sections in the rulebook.

To repeat: Introduction, Components, Set-Up and then Victory Conditions... And then Rules (like Player's Turn, Keywords and lastly Housekeeping).

But feel free to ignore this, if it doesn't fit your "design".

Cheers!

riverole
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Hi! So I took another read at

Hi!
So I took another read at your new version of the manual. I also agree that there's a bunch of spelling and grammar errors in the first paragraph that definitely need to be fixed. I cannot copy and paste (probably on purpose), so it's hard for me to write them here, plus I am an ESL, so you might get it worse with my advice, :P.

I think I understand the game now, and I think it could actually be fun to play. A suggestion (and of course, take this with a grain of salt since I have not played the game), is that maybe the coral cards in the small and big pile might be a bit confusing and make the rules and the game a bit more complicated to understand. I get that it adds another layer of possible ways for you to figure out the other's preference card, but given that you shuffle them at the end and there might be quite a bit in a 6 7 or 8 player game, it seems way easier and probably to guess based on the cubes that they put. This way, you could remove of that part of the game which is kind of confusing to me, and it's basically only: select card/s and put cubes (and then just discard them). I know that might make the game a bit simpler, but since it's probably aimed at a younger audience, that might be ok. You could add another turn more or so in the gather phase, so then there's a bit more of strategy on who has what.

Another variation you could do, would be that in the suspicion phase you could do something like: whoever checks first for a preference card, then gets more points, up until the end where you get 0. This way, you can kind of risk it and try to be the first one to guess, but if you don't guess it, you lose , but if you wait then there's more chances that you get it right (since the preference cards are being revealed).

Anyways, that's my five cents! But to your question, yes I think I understand the gather phase now!

Thanks!

Otterlabs
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Hi! Might be a little late to

Hi! Might be a little late to the game on this, but overall I really like the layout and graphics! Just a few additional thoughts:

- Add page numbers
- Page 4 (Gather Phase, first paragraph): Remove "play begins with the starting player" and cut it down to "The game starts with the player who most recently swam in the ocean."
- Page 4: (Gather Phase), rather than referring to players as "they", change this to second person "you". For example, "on your turn, you'll score 1 point for every coral card you play from your hand." This helps reader envision themselves playing the game and streamlines the language.
- Page 7: This might be a personal preference thing, but the flavor text gets in the way of the more important text on how to use those cards. I'd switch the order and maybe italicize the flavor/personality text to de-emphasize it. Another thing to consider is if you even need this page, since the directions for how to these cards is on the cards themselves. I've played with a 'guide' for action cards before, and no one ever used them. Just some food for thought!

harmon89
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Thanks for the suggestions

Thanks for the suggestions guys! I like everyone's ideas.

Riverole, I'll have to experiment with your simplified idea of discarding the cards you play without anyone ever seeing the cards.

It would be interesting to see if there would be enough information to deduce who is who. Perhaps if as you suggest there is a 3rd round there would be enough information to figure something out.

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