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Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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Getting the rules wrong
mini me + poo
lovingboth

Yesterday, someone found out they'd been playing a favourite board game wrongly / 'not according to the printed rules'. In this case, the missed rule makes a better game and the judgement involved is half the skill in something that has a lot of luck already.

But lots of people ignore rules. Few people play Monopoly without adding some variant or other, usually making it a worse game* by increasing the money supply or reducing limits on houses or.. Even the current rights owners have been guilty of that, including by adding another die to make it easier to land on squares you want to land on / easier to avoid ones you don't.

I've been taught games wrongly – the classic example was the game where the owner had missed that each turn you could do only one of four things and thought you could do all four, every turn. The game didn't last long…

Some people make a fortune out of it: Othello is Reversi with a restriction saying you have to start with one of two opening positions. Somehow, the Japanese patent office granted a patent on it anyway and the 'inventor' cleaned up.

Some games are improved by tweaks. I think one favourite has one mechanism, a favourite of the designer, too many and so do without it.

What's your missed / ignored / improved rule story?

* Feel free to substitute 'an even worse'…

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/568496.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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I would love to play Monopoly with the proper rules, but growing up when people played it, I think school friends weren't good enough at maths to want to try percentages. However I did have Monopoly for the BBC Micro (three spaces at a time showed on the screen, as wide rectangles, so Advancing to Mayfair or Going to Jail could take a while, about a second a space...) and got good at beating that.

Ticket to Ride has confusing rules about ferry routes - usually you need the right combo of colours of cards for a route, so three yellow cards for three yellow spaces. Ferries require locomotive cards, so the spaces might be two locos and three yellow, so ideally you use two loco cards and three yellows. However you are also allowed, only on ferry routes, to use any three coloured cards as a loco. You are also allowed, only on ferry routes, to use locos in place of coloured cards. So the obvious corollary is that you can use any three coloured cards as a substitite for a particular colour card.
However the makers have apparently come out to say that wasn't their intention, but I'm not sure exactly what the restriction is - I think the idea is that if you should have two locos and three yellow, you can't use both exceptions at once, but I'm really not sure (lots of bgg debate about it as well, and I can't find the rule stated in German).

Ankh-Morpork is an excellent game but if you play it a few dozen times (as Conflux and his brother and I have), you start spotting anyone about to take over 5 areas/have minions in 10 areas/create 8 areas of trouble, from a way away, meaning that only Chrysoprase (needs $50) and Vimes (needs the game to end with no-one else winning) can win.
So we re-balanced the 3-player version to require the 3 Lords to take over 4 areas, worth at least $36, Veterinari to have 9 areas with minions, Chrysoprase to need $60, and the Dragon King to need 7 areas with trouble markers. Needs more testing and I think would be too easy for people who didn't know all the tricks of the game, but works for us.

There's an official Android version of Monopoly that's very pretty but has appalling AI. It's particularly bad when the bots do deals with each other: 'Oh, you need that? I think I'll charge you £10..' while you scream 'Noooo! Don't give them the one they need to complete that set for less than you paid for it!' at it.

It also has a pile of bad variants, including 'fines on No Parking', and 'no limits on the number of houses'.


I infamously don't count Ticket to Ride as a train game, but it is a light route / set-building game, so I have the Android version of that too. I can't see the 'three same colour trains = one loco' rule anywhere in the rule sets for Europe or Asia - which map does have that?

When I started playing Railway Rivals - which is :) - by post many years ago, it turned out that I had been interpreting 'pay 3 to build cross a river' as 'pay an extra 3, in addition to the usual cost', thanks to lots of board wargames where it's an additional cost for movement.

The designer was running the game, went 'oops', and changed the next edition of the rules to make it clearer that it was 'pay an extra two' with the benefit that you could now build into a hill across a river.

The Nordic version. It's designed for 2 or 3 players, and Conflux and I have played it slightly obsessively since Djm4 bought it for us for Christmas, with him joining in every couple weeks. I think Switzerland has the same feature and also is designed for 2 players.
We're now recording scores (Conflux decided this was a good idea only *after* I was leading 5-1 this month), so of course the first recorded score is when I managed to get a whole 7 points and he got a good 196 (neither of us has managed to get over 200 nor a negative score yet). One more turn and I would have redeemed the situation and possibly won, albeit doing the 4-point Oslo-Stockholm route via Narvik. I texted Djm4 for his amusement, and should have predicted the answer:
"I've actually travelled Oslo-Stockholm via Narvik..."!

I'm thinking Carcassonne without farmers might be a good way to get the kids into it.

I recently played Munchkin where people didn't argue about what you could pull out during a fight and you could use any card in front of you or in your hand at any moment, which made it way less rules-lawyery and sped the game up no end, which improved it immensely.

I did enjoy a game of Diplomacy via email around 2000 - Steve Demant was GMing it and I have no idea who any of the other players were. We did two moves a week mostly and got a 3-way draw after about 9 months.

Ah, I might have the Swiss DLC but not claimed it - the number of online players is very definitely 'original US > US 1910 > Europe > anything else'.

Having played a copy of the 'new' Z-Man rather than Rio Grande Carcassonne at the Big Bi Fun Day this year, this is more or less what they do: 'basic' game with no farmers and 'advanced' with.

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