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"Have you ever been a Rules Lawyer?" Topic

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647 hits since 29 Oct 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 7:56 a.m. PST

Yes you have. Don't deny it. grin

Lately I have often argued AGAINST my own best interests in a game, to help players who aren't as familiar with the rules.

But my most egregious incident was back in my tournament days. I had a full convention weekend of WRG tournaments. The Saturday tournament was Gush Renaissance. I had scoured the rules the week before, since I played it so seldom. I noticed that there was nothing in the rules prohibiting me from declaring a charge when under a mandatory retreat.
So I tried it.
My opponent just looked at me after I gave my rules "justification". He basically said that he was tired, had had a long drive, and if the game meant that much to me, he conceded.
That took the air out of my balloon, and cured me.

How about you? Are you now, or have you ever been the lowest form of pond scum?

Notice that this thread is not about dastardly opponents. If you try to tell us about what one guy tried to pull on you in a DBA tournament back in 1999, it shows that you cannot read instructions and are possibly illiterate as well.
This all about True Confessions.

It would also be interesting to hear from someone who IS a Rules lawyer and feels it is justified. I can see his point, up to a point.
Is there a difference between trying to "play it as written" and being a jerk?
After all, rules are a framework to play a game. You can't just ignore them because your group are jolly good fellows.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 8:02 a.m. PST

And I will call you on it if you try to tell us about dastardly opponents. Start your own thread if that's what you want to do.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 8:08 a.m. PST

An interesting corollary to this.
Suppose you're playing TSATF and you declare a charge. You roll the dice and you get 12". The opponent is 13" away. What does the group do? We point and laugh. The target then gleefully passes on firing cards, since he knows he's safe and can wait to shoot.
But what about 12-1/2"? 12-1/4"?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 8:11 a.m. PST

Most of my gaming has been in 3 gaming groups/clubs. In all 3 cases it's a very social, friendly place, even when the battle is at it's pitch. When rules are misunderstood or the GM makes a decision, we allow do-overs, changes and re-rolls. Some times we just leave it as is, knowing we did it "wrong."

I always argue in favor of realism. I let the GM decide on rules. Life is short enough.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 9:02 a.m. PST

Occasionally, but I usually lose the argument/conversation.

Ottoathome Inactive Member29 Oct 2017 9:21 a.m. PST


I've never been a competitive gamer and don't care if I win. One must be adamant about winning to adopt the anti-social behavior of a rules lawyer, or just be that way naturally.

Roderick Robertson Fezian29 Oct 2017 10:21 a.m. PST

I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian29 Oct 2017 10:48 a.m. PST

only in the aspect that I want to do it right, even if it is against my interests

Ceterman Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 10:59 a.m. PST

Nope. BUT, I too "have often argued AGAINST my own best interests in a game, to help players who aren't as familiar with the rules". That's just playing fair, IMHO.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

'rules were meant for the guidance of wise men and for blind obedience of fools' to para phrase somewhat. My life long moto.

RudyNelson29 Oct 2017 11:18 a.m. PST

When you are a game designer, you should act like a rules lawyer. It is better that you find all of the holes before you send a set of rules to the printer.
That is one problem with many current rules designers. They rush out a set of not ready for prime time rules rather than correct the glitches or even trash a set of unworkable mechanics.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 12:08 p.m. PST

Nope, not ever. I have pointed out real problems with a rule or something obvious that is not covered and that has lead to some serious arguments in the group. For example I once played an infamous yet wildly popular, supposedly science fiction rule set that had axes being thrown having almost twice the range of laser rifles. I stated that our commander must have issued us flashlight batteries to power our weapons. No one other than me seemed to think this was a problem. I also said that this was really a fantasy game as the laws of physics did not apply to the tabletop. I am with extra crispy on arguing for realism in making rules decisions.

PJ ONeill29 Oct 2017 12:09 p.m. PST

I try not to be one, as a player. As a GM I ask the inquiring player how he would feel if that interpretation was used against him.

Ottoathome Inactive Member29 Oct 2017 12:18 p.m. PST

Above my table is a sign.
"When I'm at your house I play by your rules." Most players get the hint.

A game is a social event which is to be pleasant for all. Pointing out an inconsistency or historical gaffe is fine. Pressing the point to have it done differently because it's what you want is over the line.

Kropotkin303 Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

In a game of Squad Leader the scenario said that the Cossacks had to occupy half the town, so as the Germans I burned the town down and withdrew. The Cossack player was displeased I think.

Was this Rule Lawyering or historical accuracy I wonder.

Great War Ace Inactive Member29 Oct 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

I confessed on the other thread before I opened this thread. So sue me.

Rules lawyers can play together. I want none of it. Anymore, that is.

My most egregious moment was way, way back at a con in Denver, an Art of War anachronistic tournament, i.e. you could field any ancmed army against any other ancmed army. Mine was Siculo-Norman (even though the term Siculo-Norman was years in my future), vs some guy's HYW English. I used tightly controlled movements involving feigned routs, deep within my lines, so that I could surround and wallop his nobility (heh! what was he doing fielding mounted English MAA in the first place?). He objected that he could not check to recover his senses/morale and conduct a retreat back to his own lines. I counter-objected that since he had failed his performance check in the first place, and was now pursuing me, he could not check, yet, to recover, since my "routing" cavalry were still within a charge and a half's distance of his pursuing cavalry. He thought that this whole use of the feigned routing rule was lame and ridiculous: no western cavalry would pursue such an obviously NOT routing group of cavalry into a cul de sac that they could see. And he was correct. But the rules allowed it. He lost badly and declared that he sure was glad that we would never have another opportunity to play together, because he wouldn't do it.

There, that's the fleshed out "confession."

Buck21529 Oct 2017 1:38 p.m. PST

Never crossed the bar for that position…

Legbiter29 Oct 2017 1:43 p.m. PST

I plead the fifth amendment.

Dynaman878929 Oct 2017 2:02 p.m. PST

Depends on your definition – if it is playing by the letter of the rules then yes and proud of it. If it is twisting the rules to benefit myself and then twisting the same rule back when it does not then I think I did so as a kid.

I'll drop a rule set that allows too much gamey stuff and only very rarely adjust them to to get around gamey stuff – keeping track of house rules is also a pain in the butt.

KSmyth29 Oct 2017 6:11 p.m. PST

Nah, i don't read the rules closely enough to be either effective or convincing. I'm the guy who usually gets taken advantage of by rules lawyers. But honestly I try to game with people who are more honorable than that.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2017 6:24 p.m. PST

I play to enjoy the game – but basic rules like distances are the rules – the rest of it – go with the flow

21eRegt29 Oct 2017 8:39 p.m. PST

I have, but only in the interest of getting it right, not to gain an advantage. I've also lawyered along the lines of "I'm sure what the author meant by this (rule) is XYZ."

basileus66 Inactive Member29 Oct 2017 10:23 p.m. PST

Yep. I have. In a game of Empire, Third Edition. My opponent was so clearly wrong that my only option was stubbornly refusing to accept his interpretation of the rules for charges. I wrote a letter -yes, it was that long ago!- to the designer and he answered me two months later agreeing with my interpretation of the rules. So, yes, sue me, I am a rule lawyer and proud of it. If rules are not important, then get rid of them altogether and do whatever the Bleeped text you want, but don't pretend to be using such-and-such ruleset.

Mick the Metalsmith Inactive Member30 Oct 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

Yes, because there are idiots who haven't read the rules, nor have the acumen to understand them if they did. I would not consider myself one who seeks out loopholes in service of a win at all cost approach. It usually is in response to those who conveniently ignore rules in their own win at all cost efforts.

Oberlindes Sol LIC30 Oct 2017 9:46 a.m. PST

My background as a wargamer definitely helped me with civil procedure class in law school!

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2017 7:22 p.m. PST

I have been with WRG 7th and games where one line of text makes a big difference. But really because it was done to me so often… lol And you have to be in teaching games. But most times not.

Chuckaroobob31 Oct 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

After watching a guy "get it wrong" with his Blood Angels Death Company for three games in a row, I pointed out he should read the second half of the sentence about how they can come back to life. The part that says it can't happen if the strength of the attacker is 8 or higher.

He called me a rules lawyer. Does that count?

Dynaman878931 Oct 2017 11:35 a.m. PST

No, it makes him a cheater if he does it again.

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