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"Rules Tinkering" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 Nov 2019 7:22 p.m. PST

On a scale of 0 (not a tinkerer) to 10 (I'm always changing things!), how much do you change the rules of the miniature games you play?

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2019 7:43 p.m. PST

3 though it depends on the rule set

Yellow Admiral26 Nov 2019 7:58 p.m. PST

The question needs reframing. How often one tinkers is not necessarily related to how much is changed.

I am constantly messing with all the rules I play, but I generally leave the core mechanics alone and fool around with period chrome and scenario-specific conditions. I'd rate my changes 8-9 by frequency and a 2-4 by severity.

- Ix

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2019 8:50 p.m. PST

I think Yellow Admiral makes a good point.

My ratings are probably frequency about 6 and severity about 2.

UshCha26 Nov 2019 9:46 p.m. PST

3 time in 10 years with the basic rules. If you did a good job it would be never. Ours are changing as our knowledge and experience has highlighted places we can improve.

Scenario rules are different they are more about specific conditions to be met as part of the scenario, part worn troops, complex demolition tasks or tasks sufficently out of the ordinary that they need some additional agregation. We have guidelines but as an example, if a team is to recover parts of a radar system than blow it up, as in the Brueval raid, timeings will need to be specific, only general engineering is covered by the basic rules.

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2019 10:28 p.m. PST

I'll agree with Yellow Admiral, short answer is "it depends"

Piyan Glupak27 Nov 2019 12:44 a.m. PST

Probably in the range 1 to 3. I have done it, for instance, using larger playing areas with versions of DBA prior to version 3. If I play a commercial set of rules, I get irritated if I have to alter them too much to get a reasonable game. I am also wary of taking them too far from the published rules in case I get an opportunity to play with someone new.

If they are my own rules, I update them after the playing session and discussion with my playing partner.

On the other hand, scenario specific rules are another matter.

Green Tiger27 Nov 2019 2:28 a.m. PST

10! Sometimes I just strip out a mechanism I like and use
it somewhere else…

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 2:59 a.m. PST

Recently I decided to try out just using new (to me) rules as they were printed. Sadly that didn't last long and I'm back to 10 again.

I'm OK with using 'as written' if they work (e.g. DBA) but so few rules fit the way I see things or, as has happened most recently, they don't do the period or conflict I'm interested in. If I like the mechanism I'm happy to work on mods to get what I want.

Hardly ever play outside a limited circle of mates so compatibility with other players isn't an issue for me.

advocate27 Nov 2019 3:48 a.m. PST

Used to be a 6; now I'm down to a 2. Unless you count buying "To Ur is human" in order to try and use it for a different period!

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 5:27 a.m. PST

Well, we mostly play QILS, which is designed with rules that allow you to tailor the rules. So does changing the rules the way the rules allows count? Also, WRT the reframing discussion above, I would count neither "scenarios" nor "unit stats" as part of the rules. The rules don't contain victory conditions, and tweaking with the units' capabilities has a "rule of thumb" for maintaining balance. Same goes for terrain … there are rules for how terrain works and guidelines for how to implement.

So, beyond working within the rules on these things, nearly every scenario has a unique, outside the rules, "rule" for units, terrain, or the scenario itself. Maybe two. This works well because the rules themselves are simple enough to explain in a couple minutes, so adding one or two bits is easy enough tow work with. And, generally, the aupplemental rules are generally "intuitive" and "obvious", e.g., the Amazon natives take less terrain penalty for movement than the Spanish. So you may not automatically think to do this, but once it is said, there is a logic I=within the milieu that makes it easy to integrate with the rest of the rules.

The reason things like that are not accounted for in the rules is so the rules don't have a hundred different words for snow. In reality (less than hyperbole), I have rungames with about a dozen different "types" of snow (that is, a dozen unique sets of combat effect conditions for different scenarios). So, you could go with "light snow" and "heavy snow". Then add "new" or "old" in front of that"and "frozne" or "unfrozen" to get eight conditions (of which one or two may never be used). Oh, yeah, we need to add "deep" snow … was that more or less than "heavy snow"? And so on.

So, if we're not counting the things that are designed to be tweaked and things that are not rules in the first place …

about 0.5 +/-0.125

rustymusket27 Nov 2019 5:52 a.m. PST

1

Timmo uk27 Nov 2019 5:54 a.m. PST

9. I've only found one rule set that I've never felt the need to tinker with. Adapting rules is an enjoyable part of the hobby for me.

Legion 427 Nov 2019 6:53 a.m. PST

It depends on the rule set. But in some cases we changed things to make it more realistic, accurate, etc.

Fat Wally27 Nov 2019 7:36 a.m. PST

1

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 8:01 a.m. PST

Nine on all counts.

KSmyth27 Nov 2019 8:06 a.m. PST

Maybe a 4. I like Daniel Mersey's rules and they are meant to be tinkered with.

Dynaman878927 Nov 2019 8:27 a.m. PST

1 – but practically 0. I don't consider scenario specific rules to be tinkering as such. Other than the boardgame Panzer if I have to change the rules to make it "work" then I just toss the game.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 9:29 a.m. PST

Our group has never met a rule set with which we have not tinkered. But as others have stated, mostly we have left the core rules alone.

Jim

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 10:02 a.m. PST

Since I always write my own rules for every period I game with,I guess I tinker with them until I get it just right to our liking.

I first study the period and tactics then I write the rules with the flavor of the period and weapons, all the while keeping it as simple and playable as possible.

Then I play test the rules with the guys who game with me and get their input. Then I make the changes that need to be made.

Then We have a full blown Battle and discover other changes that need to be made, all the while either eliminating complicated rules or adding rules to keep it in period.

Then, when we feel comfortable, we go ahead and play with them only making slight changes occasionally if we find something that needs tweaking.

We are satisfied to keep them simple because we do have a number of new players coming and going. Besides, we like playing with toy soldiers more then getting everything perfect.

Corporal Fagen27 Nov 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

4

14Bore27 Nov 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

3 going to 4

Andy ONeill27 Nov 2019 12:16 p.m. PST

10

Dragon Gunner27 Nov 2019 2:40 p.m. PST

2 for scenario specific issues or equipment not covered in the ruleset (i.e. smoke grenades etc…)

However I have met a couple of people with bible sized additions / tinkerings of existing rule sets they call "house rules". The tinkering is so excessive the original ruleset is no longer recognizable. The house rules will be sprung on you in the middle of the game to guarantee your loss…

I have also met one guy that tinkered with the original ruleset to give his chosen army unfair advantages.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 2:45 p.m. PST

Since I play mostly solo, I do tend to change or fudge things to suit, so probably a 6 at least.

Russ Lockwood27 Nov 2019 3:25 p.m. PST

10.

von Schwartz30 Nov 2019 6:00 p.m. PST

Leave the basic core rules intact and tinker around the edges, 2-3.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2019 9:12 a.m. PST

Does a 10 mean I tinker mightily with every rules set, or am cannibalizing them for my own rules?

I rarely change rules except through scenarios. I see a game design as an organic whole, which was tested as such. tinkering successfully often means knowing what the rules were originally designed to do [which gamers too often don't know] and any result of tinkering is rarely tested to any extent themselves.

Wolfhag01 Dec 2019 1:33 p.m. PST

I've found unless you really know what the designer abstracted, left out or concentrated on it's pretty hard to tinker with a good ruleset. Especially using a D6 as there is not much room for modifiers.

Wolfhag

John Michael Priest02 Dec 2019 5:22 a.m. PST

I tinker often with my own rules set, constantly checking to see if I can tweak it to make it more playable. I think that scenarios cans be used to fine tune the basic rules.

Legion 402 Dec 2019 4:40 p.m. PST

Especially using a D6 as there is not much room for modifiers.
True, with 1d6 some play 1 is always a miss and 6 always a hit. Regardless of modifiers.

We used a 1d6 system where all modifiers do have an effect. If you needed a 7 you had to roll a 6 followed by a 4-6.

An 8 – roll a 6 followed by a 5,6.

A 9 – roll a 6 followed by a 6.

Does give a d6 system a little more depth.

Wolfhag02 Dec 2019 8:49 p.m. PST

My game uses a single D20 die roll to determine the probabilities. To get % chances less than 5% if a 1 is rolled, roll the D20 again. A 1-4=1%, 2-8=2%, 9-12=3%, 13-16=4% and 17-20=5%.

Wolfhag

UshCha03 Dec 2019 12:59 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, is correct tinkering rarely works. If you are perpetually tinkering then the rule set does not suit you and proably never will. A good rules set should have been properly thought out and tested so should rearely need any changes. If you are tinkering my suggestion is, give it up and start from scratch, listing in detail what you want your rules to do, typical scenarios and what typical results should be for firing, command and control and terrain. The rules are the answer, first you need to know what the question is. I am amazed by the nuber of folk who start with "A 6 on a D6 is a hit" without understanding what the overall result they want is.

To be honest if you think you know a result to 1% you are kidding yourself. 5% is quite fine but at least it allows agegation of benerficial positives that are significant. But even that can be overdone.

Legion 403 Dec 2019 9:42 a.m. PST

I can certainly see the advantages of using the d20 though. Based on the scale of the game, etc.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2019 6:12 p.m. PST

Generally, I 'tinker' through scenarios rather than changing or adding rules and mechanics.

I am quite serious about how much gamers don't know about why a game mechanism is included the way it is.

I have mentioned several times the F&F 'Command Radius' rule that opened my eyes to this, though since then have seen it many, many places. I have even seen gamers insist that a rule means 'X' when the designer has specifically stated it was designed to represent 'Y'.

Most of the cases I've seen of gamers changing rules is because they think a given rule is 'unrealistic' rather than 'unfun.' Yet, they don't know what part of 'reality' the design was attempting to capture with the rule.

UshCha05 Dec 2019 3:31 a.m. PST

Mc Laddie,
I have been astonded about the total lack of any knowledge of the period some players have. They do not even consider reality as they have no idea and sometimes no interest in the period other than to paint the toys. Its a approach so far from mine I realize I have nothing in common. To me they may as well be football fans, a sport similarly I have no knowledge of nor wish to have.

Legion 405 Dec 2019 5:04 a.m. PST

I have to agree with much of that. I know sometimes when talking to other gamers using military terms, etc. They seems confused … ? I'd think no matter what period you game you should learn something about it, e.g. tactics, etc.

John Michael Priest05 Dec 2019 5:14 a.m. PST

I used miniature wargaming in my history classes to teach tactics and backed them up with historical examples. Time and again, I saw the students replicate the same mistakes as the participants. We then discussed how the fighting evolved.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2019 9:38 a.m. PST

3-4

Wolfhag05 Dec 2019 1:35 p.m. PST

I've found it confused most players when you start using the historic terminology and nomenclature. There is a learning curve they have to go through. I had to dumb it down.

Wolfhag

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Dec 2019 6:19 a.m. PST

I've found it confused most players when you start using the historic terminology and nomenclature. There is a learning curve they have to go through. I had to dumb it down.

I think you just have to explain your terms. Whether you use abstract "rules" entities or "real world" entities, the learning curve is the same, e.g., you have the same amount of information to convey. You can't skip it just because you are using the "correct" terms.

Even the "correct" terms equate to some referent entity on the board. So when you say "brigade", you don't mean the historical group of soldiers, you mean this specific group of minis for this game.

I like using the word "brigade" in this example. Is a 19th Century Austrian brigade the same as a 20th Century American brigade? Is a 20th Century Austrian brigade the same as a 20th Century American brigade? Is an early 20th Century Austrian brigade the same as a late 20th Century brigade? Is a late 1992 Austrian infantry brigade the same as a 1992 Austrian armour brigade?

Are any of those things the same as what is on the board to play them?

It's just that we have to explain our terms, no matter the origin.

Using terms that are the same as used for the things represented has advantages and disadvantages (like any other approach). If people have the same understanding of what a brigade is within this context, you integrate their past knowledge into the game without providing that knowledge. If people have different understandings of what a brigade is within this context, you integrate their past knowledge into the game without providing that knowledge.

"If" is the biggest word in the English language.

John Michael Priest06 Dec 2019 6:46 a.m. PST

I agree. Gaming is also an educational experience.

Legion 406 Dec 2019 9:29 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2019 9:34 a.m. PST

I've found it confused most players when you start using the historic terminology and nomenclature. There is a learning curve they have to go through. I had to dumb it down.

Wolfhag:
I agree with etotheipi. Learning the game is a process that involves terminology and nomenclarture. It can't be avoided. Confusion is a part of learning anything new. Wargames use terminology from the real world as well as specific to the game… a double learning curve if they have no knowledge of say a brigade--or a counter-understanding of brigade from the historical meaning.

In that sense, even Shutes and Ladders is an educational experience.

However, learning and mastery of the game is part of the fun. Then there is the secondary learning that is so valuable. For instance, my sons learned world geography playing risk. They weren't trying to, it was part of the game.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP06 Dec 2019 9:46 a.m. PST

I have been astonded about the total lack of any knowledge of the period some players have. They do not even consider reality as they have no idea and sometimes no interest in the period other than to paint the toys. Its a approach so far from mine I realize I have nothing in common. To me they may as well be football fans, a sport similarly I have no knowledge of nor wish to have.

UshCha:

Do you watch football now and again with friends, just the same?

I often compare wargaming to Radio Controlled Airplanes. There are those who fly ready-made models on a Sunday now and then who have no interest in learning how to build them, areodynamics or the types of planes or their history.

Yet, all gamers and RC modelers have to start someplace, and most RC modelers start with ready-made models ignorant of any other aspect of the hobby. They then move on to more sophisticated approaches, semi-scale, scale and super detailed true scale. Each hobbyist grows in knowledge and stops at the level they chose.

Every new hobbyist quickly learns the nature of each level/type of plane and its challenges.

Our hobby has no such strata. GMT's Command and Colors Napoleonics designer claims the same level of 'historicity' as Napoleon's Battles, AOE or Empire rules. Read the games' introductions and designer's notes. The knowledge level expectations and offerings of the game [and thus the gamer] is assumed/claimed to be the same across the board. It is just one point of several where our hobby hasn't grown up.

So, in RC radio controlled modeling, no one is surprised or concerned by the 'ignorance' of the ready-made model group. Each level has its own needed expertise.

UshCha07 Dec 2019 9:24 a.m. PST

Football never, watching it would make watching paint dry look exciting as far as I am concerned.

as for RC planes even the beginners have to learn like me over several planes (1.min 30sec between re-builds.

Wargamers expect to have a good game from day one. Never going to happen, like expecting to learn to fly RC without having any appreciation of sticks and stuff, even an RC plane man has to learn what minimum control speed is or crash very quickly.

Blackhorse MP07 Dec 2019 10:05 a.m. PST

2 on commercially produced rules and about 9 for my home-brewed rules.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2019 10:06 a.m. PST

as for RC planes even the beginners have to learn like me over several planes (1.min 30sec between re-builds.)

UshCha:
I didn't say there wasn't a learning curve. ALL games have a learning curve. If you are suggesting there isn't one, or that wargamers anticipate no learning curve, maybe we are talking about unrealistic expectations on someone's part. Where does that come from?

Wargamers expect to have a good game from day one. Never going to happen, like expecting to learn to fly RC without having any appreciation of sticks and stuff, even an RC plane man has to learn what minimum control speed is or crash very quickly.

The key word here is 'minimum.' In the parlance here, the requirements to fly for the first time are 'dumbed down.'
No requirement to know all the control surfaces work--in fact beginner planes have 1 control surface, no requirement to know basic areodynamics, let alone how to build RC planes. And of course, the learning is much harder without help.

The expectation of having a 'good game' and having to learn the game are not the same for new gamers, even with a gamemaster at a convention… just purposely easier, to "get the gamers playing as soon as possible."

We all have to learn the games to fully enjoy the games. That takes time. We can do it in stages of complexity or attempt to go from 0-60 all at once. Guess which is much, much harder.

Our games are of varying complexity and knowledge to play. To have one learning curve expectation or demand a growth pattern of 0 to 60 is unrealistic at best.

The majority of RC flyers are the ready-built, occasional Sunday flyers. The same is true of wargamers, ignorant as they are. Almost all hobbies are like that. It is like a hard core True Scale flyer complaining about the ignorance of the occasional Sunday flyer. You need to see the reasons for that lack of knowledge and how MOST hobbies handle it.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2019 10:09 a.m. PST

I would imagine that one kind of 'tinkering' with rules is making them simpler for new gamers… like at conventions.

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