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POLL: What Turns You Off Most About a Rulebook?


1089 votes were cast by total voters.


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Javier Barriopedro aka DokZ Inactive Member writes:

I would agree with The Beast Rabban on all but his 2 option, and only because he's a Harkonnen! =D

No, really: bad writing, poor editing and layout, will kill the rule book outright. Those three issues are my major turn offs. Disorganization and unstated scales would be the other two. As for bad art I just hate it, yet, I have lots of books with AWFUL art, so… it's not really a thing that makes me dump a system right away.


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VOTING RESULTS
AnswerVotes%Chart
bad art
30
3%
bar of chart
excessive jargon
34
3%
bar of chart
terrible production
51
5%
bar of chart
bad combat system
57
5%
bar of chart
command and control rules
5
0%
bar of chart
extensive complexity
59
5%
bar of chart
bad writing/editing
139
13%
bar of chart
über-dystopic fluff
16
1%
bar of chart
gory artwork
5
0%
bar of chart
unstated scales
10
1%
bar of chart
too much fluff
15
1%
bar of chart
unattractive presentation
14
1%
bar of chart
no index
67
6%
bar of chart
insufficient examples
58
5%
bar of chart
disorganized presentation
104
10%
bar of chart
too difficult
20
2%
bar of chart
lack of designer's notes
7
1%
bar of chart
lack of fluff
4
0%
bar of chart
too arrogant
15
1%
bar of chart
too many charts
21
2%
bar of chart
too much hype
11
1%
bar of chart
overly slick production values
10
1%
bar of chart
legalese
29
3%
bar of chart
incomplete scenarios
2
0%
bar of chart
unexplained terms
48
4%
bar of chart
points system
4
0%
bar of chart
fluff and rules mixed together
24
2%
bar of chart
too much like another ruleset
3
0%
bar of chart
too hard to get started
19
2%
bar of chart
too much record-keeping
52
5%
bar of chart
poor or missing reference sheets
30
3%
bar of chart
too many markers
17
2%
bar of chart
no color photos
4
0%
bar of chart
too boring
7
1%
bar of chart
too few army lists
4
0%
bar of chart
excessive game length
16
1%
bar of chart
not accessible to new players
12
1%
bar of chart
too many jokes
8
1%
bar of chart
too difficult to read
45
4%
bar of chart
no photos of miniatures
13
1%
bar of chart
POLL IS CLOSED
POLL DESCRIPTION

IronMike wonders:

A good rulebook should make you want to play the game that it's supplying the rules for. A BAD rulebook on the other hand will make you put it back on the shelf of your favorite FLGS and look for something else. My big question is: What part of a rulebook hastens that return to the shelf if it's lacking?

(With additional options suggested by TMP members.)

bad art

In this day and age, rulebook art shouldn't look like it's scratched onto mimeograph sheets!

excessive jargon

If one of the first things in your rulebook is a page-long list of acronyms and their translations, the reader is in for a bumpy ride.

terrible production

You're asking me to pay $24.95 USD for something that looks like a rush job at the local Econoprint? Riiiiiiight.

bad combat system

That's the first thing I look at when I open a rulebook. If it is too complicated or is missing essential components (like opportunity fire) or has unbelievable components (like onboard aircraft in skirmish games), then I put it right back.

command and control rules

It that consists of only coherency rules, then the game is only a "maybe". If even that is missing, back on the shelf it goes.

extensive complexity

I look at the movement and combat rules, charts and sheets. The more ifs-ands-buts, etc., I see, the less the game is for me.

bad writing/editing

(Reputation can overcome this to make me purchase a game — I own DBA and Chronopia. But to this day, I've never played either one, and don't really want to. But I have played Warmaster, and want to play it again.) This is not to say a game has to be perfect — WM has errors — but easily read and understood without cringing at the butchery of my mother tongue.

über-dystopic fluff

If every faction in the game seem to be bent on turning the universe into a giant abbatoir, I'm done with it. (See Chronopia).

gory artwork

Less gore, more glory, please.

unstated scales

I like rules with real scales. If there isn't a time scale, a figure ratio, a ground scale, I'm pretty disinterested. In the case of highly abstracted rules, like DBA, I'll make an exception. They are pretty chesslike, but for other period-specific historical rules, I need scales.

too much fluff

I can't stand copious amounts of 'fluff'! I was particularly happy with my recent purchase of Alien Squad Leader as it contains no fluff at all! The author, Alex Self, states in reference as to why there is no background: "I'm sure wargamers are capable of making this up for themselves!" He's right!

unattractive presentation

If the rules are unattractive, that turns me off. As far as I'm concerned, most rules are pretty much the same as any others - sure, there are some dogs, and there are some really good ones. For me, though, I hate reading rules, and if there are lots of pretty pictures and stuff to distract me from the tedium, then I'm more happy.

no index

After torturing myself with Stargrunt II (which is a great game, by the way), I have never bought anything without an index. I only started enjoying SGII after downloading an index from a fan site. The fact that a fan made one says enough, really...

insufficient examples

I tend to shirk rules without examples of play.

disorganized presentation

And I tend to walk away when there is no apparent structure (like Phasing Move, Combat, Special Rules, etc.).

too difficult

This isn't a complexity vs. playability debate. Many easily-played rules have quite sophisticated and detailed mechanisms to handle various combat results. Still, a ruleset needs to be easy to read, understand, teach and play in order to get my vote.

lack of designer's notes

This is really helpful in trying to develop scenarios and cover things left out. It gives some idea as to how the designer was thinking, and lets me make more informed decisions in my attempts to build on to the rules.

lack of fluff

I disdain "bare to the bone" rulesets. I'm in this hobby for the stories and the moods, so I like lots of mood-setting pictures and fluff - and examples of play photographed with suitable miniatures and scenery (again, for setting the mood and giving me inspiration). A bare-boned ruleset makes me feel like I'm reading the instruction manual to my DVD player.

too arrogant

If the author does the "There's something wrong with every other ruleset, so I wrote up my own which is much better than everyone else's" routine, it's a major turn-off. In fact, I'm so tired of rules authors who think they can do it better than everyone who's already tried before, that this is largely why I like my rulesets to have either high production values or a sizeble fanbase. That way, I know the rules are backed up by more than just the author's own good intentions.

too many charts

More than a few charts and back on the shelf it goes.

too much hype

Overblown/pretentious claims of how 'hip', 'intense', 'edgy', 'manly', 'accurate', 'realistic', 'innovative' the rules are… generally puts me off… kind of like shops that put strobe-lights in their windows.

overly slick production values

I'm actually turned off by overly slick production values… something in me seems to think that if the layout/illustrations are too fancy, then the rules themselves must be lacking. That might just be nostalgia for the old days, when everything seemed much more homemade.

legalese

The parts with the tm's & R's and other legalese bits

incomplete scenarios

I hate when rules provide scenarios, a nicely drawn map to show you how to place terrain, and then never specify how large the table is.

unexplained terms

Reference to terms that are never explained or used elsewhere in the rules - they're usually artifacts from something the author was going to use but axed and then forgot to edit out.

points system

I dislike rules that use point systems.

fluff and rules mixed together

I hate searching for rules hidden between fluff. All move rules in on place, all combat in one place. I like how the Stargrunt rules were written.

too much like another ruleset

For examples, games that seem to be nothing more than Warhammer clones.

too hard to get started

It should be easy to find the sections on how to start the game and get set-up, and they should be consecutive chapters.

too much record-keeping

Massive mounts of necessary record keeping, and paperwork during play.

poor or missing reference sheets

Inadequate quick reference sheets which leave out crucial modifiers (terrain, movement, morale, combat values, etc.) listed in the rules and used frequently during play.

too many markers

The need for littering the table top with excessive amounts of additional impulse movement markers, casualty caps, etc.

no color photos

Anything devoid of inspirational full color photos to break up the tedium of reading through several dozen pages of text.

too boring

Boring writing styles which make the rules read like a technical manual.

too few army lists

Insufficient armies lists covering a specific period.

excessive game length

Any system which results in a typical game having to take much longer than two or three hours in order for a battle to be fought.

not accessible to new players

If the rule set can not be picked up and easily understood and played by someone who has never played a wargame before, and does not inspires them to want to play again, I usually do not play it regularly.

too many jokes

No 'clever' jokes, please.

too difficult to read

Eyebleed typefaces.

no photos of miniatures

I need to see a nice batch of photos of the miniatures involved in the game.