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"House rules, optional rules, what are they and why?" Topic


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09 Oct 2021 4:29 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "House rules, optional rules what are they and why." to "House rules, optional rules, what are they and why?"

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Comments or corrections?

UshCha09 Oct 2021 1:38 a.m. PST

Now I confess we don't have "House Rules" but we have some player specific rules. These are not written down and are things like you can't move ANY of your defending troops if not on a per-programmed route (which is an unwritten rule in of itself) until some element has seen the enemy and reported up the chain. These are specific player rules those in our group who don't want a headache don't use these rules they are VERY simple but add more challenge to the game overall. So are these what you call "house rules"?

OR

are house rules to cover bits of somebody else's rules that were just plain daft or don't accord with your perception of history/reality?

As for optional rules these to us, are written and fully defined but again are optional, as though simple and easy make the game both more interesting but more complex tactically. We have one set for WW2/to 1980's (typically) where communication by runner is represented. In smaller games the authors use it as it does improve the correlation with reality but does add noticeably to the background workload and adds more constraints on the ideal defense if field telephones are not available.

What is your take on these types of rules what and why?

Ater thought, I guess back in the early 2000's Maneouvre Group were "House Rules" themselves as they were written but in development (not Published till 2008).

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 2:29 a.m. PST

In some groups I've played with, the house rules develop around a particularly troublesome player or two, to stop the complaining or the game from being ruined for everybody else by temper tantrums.

I usually develop house rules to:

  1. add chrome to a set of rules that isn't quite right for the period or scenario; or
  2. fix mechanics I find inefficient or onerous.

My favorite games usually get only a few house rules, but sometimes I add so many I wind up with a different game. I think the only games I don't add any house rules to are games I don't want to play.

- Ix

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 2:49 a.m. PST

We use them to customize the game to our particular taste. For example, A rule in MLW states a regiment which crosses a fence goes into disorder. We didn't like it so we changed it. Now if a unit crosses a fence it cost two inches of movement and the unit does not go into disorder.

We don't have rules for players such as written orders or restricting communication because we don't want to take the time to write down orders and we like to communicate to each other. We approach multi-player games as a team sport. Not everyone playing their own individual game.

UshCha09 Oct 2021 4:17 a.m. PST

Old Contemptible. –

Your fist is what I would assume house rules to be.


I play multi player games very rarely, however my experience of them is that they are more chaotic than real armys. Mutiny is almost de-facto. Players "Getting Stuck In" when they should be holding or almost refusing to attack when required, and knowledge of the period and its tactics is negligible for most players. Writing orders would be pointless if they are to be ignored. Perhaps why I play so few it's just not for me.

Decebalus09 Oct 2021 5:14 a.m. PST

In my vocabulary optional rules are official options in the rulebook. House rules, like others have written, are rules your playgroup uses to fix rules you don't like. Using a bigger table with DBA is an optional rule, it is an alternative in the rule book. Forbidding two columns to attack a line in Black Powder is a house rule to fix the dominance of columns in close combat.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2021 10:41 a.m. PST

There are also Gentlemen's Agreements.
I just played in a WWII naval game last Saturday.
It was night. My Japanese radar had a range of 10,000 fewer yards than the dastardly Americans.
His battleships were there, on the table, out of radar range, so I just continued on my merry way. After the Wilkes Barre lit up the Tone with star shell, his battleships opened up. Well, now I knew they were there. As a Gentleman, I refrained from altering my course until I officially knew they were there.
Not in the home brew rules, but we are all Gentlemen, n'est ce pas?

UshCha09 Oct 2021 10:54 a.m. PST

John the OFM – yup that is what I call player specific, some love it some hate it.

Col Durnford09 Oct 2021 12:22 p.m. PST

In my current favorite set of rules Skirmish Wargaming, card are drawn for all actions. I shamelessly stole the troop quality idea for Force on Force and use custom decks (deleting some higher value cards). My RLI uses a full deck and ZANLA uses ace thru 8.

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