Home Forums General General But there are no rules for that

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  • #157615
    Mike
    Keymaster

     

    On a recent topic it was mentioned:

    I often just make things up as we go along, rules can’t cover everything.

    This got me thinking about house rules and how there is no rule around when we make up or change a rule.
    I have made house rules for some situations, but in some cases where there are no rules to allow X we just say, well then you can’t do X.
    I mean if we made house rules for everything that was theoretically possible the game could take forever.

    If you want to do something but the rules don’t allow it, is that it, or do you make a house rule?

    #157627
    Kitfox
    Participant

    It depends very much on the type and scale of the game for me.  For larger “army” battles I tend to stick with the rules as written for the most part to avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary detail and keep the game flowing.  For skirmish gaming on the other hand I’m more towards the “anything goes” end of the spectrum as they lend themselves to a more detailed narrative and for the most part the weird and wonderful actions add to the enjoyment.  I do find it goes better though if the game has an umpire / referee who is used t making quick (and consistent) rulings on what is possible and what isn’t.

    Death to all fanatics!

    #157639
    irishserb
    Participant

    Generally, with groups that I’ve been a part of, whoever is running the game simply fills in the blanks as needed.  Never been an issue, whether they are playing in the game or not.

    #157666
    MartinR
    Participant

    I think it depends on the context, I’m always a bit reluctant to fiddle with the basic game mechanisms, particularly things like unit activation, as they are often core to how the whole system works – even if the players are saying ‘why can’t I shoot at that unit waltzing past me’.

    Other stuff I’ll happily fudge away. Our rule of thumb is if we forget to use a rule and nothing breaks, then it probably wasn’t a useful rule anyway.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #157686
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    As I nearly always play the rules that I am one of the authors of, (with the other author as my playing partner) we usually play the rules as written, discuss the result, decide what we think should have happened, then I amend the working copy of rules.  If possible, we like amendments tested in play before I update the rules available (for free) on t’Internet to the io group members.

    We also tend to play-test new troop types before publishing, for instance, the “Kerns” for the 17th Century Pike and Shot supplement should be appearing soon for the benefit of those who have the Ulster army of the Federation of Kilkenny.

    #157688
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    When such things occur in a game, we tend to go with the most likely outcome, so we can carry on playing. No rules can cover every conceivable situation, so this solution works for us.

    #157699
    deephorse
    Participant

    I’ve been in the endless loop of “the rules don’t say you can do that”, and “but the rules don’t say that you can’t either” before, and it never ends well.  Mostly because one of my regular opponents is extremely stubborn.  However, because all our games are played at my house, and I’ve had the time to set everything up, we usually go with my interpretation, though I am open to reasoned views to the contrary.

    As for tinkering with rules, I do it all the time.  A pet hate is rules containing mechanisms that just do not reflect reality. Well, reality as I see it.  But, as Martin points out, this tinkering can have unexpected consequences if you’re not careful.  So my changes tend to be small, and are agreed with players beforehand.

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #157710

    It plays into my argument that rules these days are too complex/fiddly.  A simple set of rules have fewer moving parts and are less likely to be “rules lawyered.”   Most actions should be allowed unless that action would violate one of the few rules a simple set would provide.

    For example, Niel Thomas’ OHW provides simple movement rules.  You can make a turn before and after movement but you must move directly forward.  If you ask if you can make a sideways move, the answer would be “no”.  However, you could make a turn, move in that sideways direction and then turn again to face, presumably, the enemy.   It really simplifies how movement works and leaves little to ambiguity.

    DBA has long been touted as a simple wargame but the movement rules are ambiguous at best.  However, if you play it on a grid, the game becomes truly simple!

    Most authors who make these high polish and highly detailed rules could learn something from designers of simple wargame rules.  You go through many, many more iterations to get to the same result.

     

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #157713
    Patrice
    Participant

    I think it’s normal to change rules when needed – or at least for some details, without modifying the overall system: that could create problems.

    Another condition is that the changes do not add long processes which will take more time to resolve and to play.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #157718
    McKinstry
    Participant

    I am blessed with a gaming group that is more than happy to apply common sense and a general spirit of sportsmanship when an issue arises that doesn’t seem covered by the rules or we simply cannot find the answer in a poorly indexed set.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #157731
    MartinR
    Participant

    For example, Niel Thomas’ OHW provides simple movement rules.

    I love OHW for that very reason.  Somehow he has a knack for coming up with mechanisms where the players have meaningful decisions to make, but which aren’t about making the game mechanisms work.

    Simple is good, particularly in a remote gaming environment with several players on the call.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #157800
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    It plays into my argument that rules these days are too complex/fiddly.

    Ever played Shock of Impact/Challenger/Harpoon/Empire/To the Sound of the Guns/WRG7?

    Most rules these days are far simpler than those horrors from the 1980s. They tend to work better too, although they don’t appeal as much the the rivet counters. Which is A Good Thing, because the rivet counters tend not to infest games that use them, preferring to take five moves to form a square with one of their battalions because ‘realism’.

    Anyway, there are few impasse in a decent set of rules that can’t be solved by a dice roll to give a binary outcome. Anyone who says different is probably rivet counter and thus best avoided 🙂

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #157820

    Ever played Shock of Impact/Challenger/Harpoon/Empire/To the Sound of the Guns/WRG7?

    Played 2nd ed Empire switching (rather unwisely!) from System 7/Fire and steel.  We never finished a game.  I noted that playing Empire as a division scale game was not so unwieldy.   Ultimately, it is complex in the name of realism.

    A friend of mine bought harpoon and we tried to learn the rules.  The rules are the very definition of impenetrable.  He then discovered the Harpoon computer game and never looked back.  That speaks volumes to the complexity of Harpoon.

    GW started the ball rolling back to simplicity.  I do fear the pendulum is swinging back toward  complex though this time by layering many, many simple mechanisms on top of one another.

     

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #157825
    John D Salt
    Participant

    DBA has long been touted as a simple wargame but the movement rules are ambiguous at best.

    How are the DBA movement rules ambiguous, do tell?

    All the best,

    John.

    #157826
    deephorse
    Participant

     

    Ever played Shock of Impact/Challenger/Harpoon/Empire/To the Sound of the Guns/WRG7?

    Thought about it/No/Yes/No/No/Yes/No.

    I enjoyed playing Harpoon, and spent many a night shift hour copying the ship data sheets on the works photocopier.

    TTSOTG generated the shortest game I’ve ever played.  During the course of turn 2 something happened (I no longer know what) that caused the game to dissolve into an intractable argument, from which it never recovered.

    My opponent was well known as a difficult person to deal with.  He worked for the local authority on one of their ‘out of hours’ response teams.  This meant that he could accurately judge distances to the millimetre by eye alone.  This probably came from all the boarding up of doors and windows that they did.  He would also take advantage of the slightest terrain error on the tabletop.  Most people would accept that if there was a row of hills across the width of a table, then that row was deemed to extend from table edge to table edge.  Not this man.  If there was so much as a couple of millimetres between the edge of a hill, and the edge of the table, then he would treat that gap as flat land and move his troops through it.  This was the only time I ever played against him by myself, and how this came about I cannot remember.  It was a matchup I never repeated.

    But Harpoon?  I loved it!

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #157829
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    DBA has long been touted as a simple wargame but the movement rules are ambiguous at best.

    How are the DBA movement rules ambiguous, do tell? All the best, John.

     

    Barker, in his endless quest for ‘precision’, came up with a game that was like chess but not confined to a gridded board like chess is. Having thus hamstrung himself he then proceeded to introduce all sorts of geometric wrangling.

    It works, just, for DBA due to its low element count, but it makes DBMM a feckin’ nightmare.

    Curiously DBN doesn’t seem to suffer the same problem, but Barker wasn’t involved.

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #157832
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Barker, in his endless quest for ‘precision’, came up with a game that was like chess but not confined to a gridded board like chess is. Having thus hamstrung himself he then proceeded to introduce all sorts of geometric wrangling.

    What “geometric wrangling” do you have in mind? Please be specific.

    Having never had the slightest difficulty with the movement rules in any edition of DBA I’ve played, I find it hard to picture the difficulties other people have if they are not explicitly stated.

    All the best,

    John.

    #157876

    DBA has long been touted as a simple wargame but the movement rules are ambiguous at best.

    How are the DBA movement rules ambiguous, do tell? All the best, John.

    Ask 10 people online how to handle how groups move into contact.  I’d bet you will get 3+ conflicting answers.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #157910
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    DBA has long been touted as a simple wargame but the movement rules are ambiguous at best.

    How are the DBA movement rules ambiguous, do tell? All the best, John.

    Ask 10 people online how to handle how groups move into contact. I’d bet you will get 3+ conflicting answers.

     

    Thanks for that, saved me the bother 😀

    I’ve seen some DBA games get a bit heated over movement rules interpretation. I play HotT and DBN, and they don’t seem to suffer in the same way.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #161954
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    Barker, in his endless quest for ‘precision’, came up with a game that was like chess but not confined to a gridded board like chess is. Having thus hamstrung himself he then proceeded to introduce all sorts of geometric wrangling.

    What “geometric wrangling” do you have in mind? Please be specific. Having never had the slightest difficulty with the movement rules in any edition of DBA I’ve played, I find it hard to picture the difficulties other people have if they are not explicitly stated. All the best, John.

    An example that springs to mind is the internet discussion that gained notoriety as the Khazar Mounted Drill Team. Possibly old enough to have happened on Usenet (The pre-web forum for the Internet).

    Discussion raged for months concerning whether a column of troops could turn to flank and end up in line – all as part of a group move.

    It included discussions of whether the aspect ratio of unit bases would help / hinder the process (Chariots and Elephants being better suited to that sort of thing than infantry (obvs).

     

    Another geometric wrangle, borne of clashing measurement systems (I’m noting if not topical), rather than arcane language, was whether an element could “shut the door” on a flank after eliminating the enemy to its front.

    Oddities of millimetre basing, but inch movement meant this worked in 25mm but not in 15mm (or vice versa – it was so long ago).

    #161987
    jeffers
    Participant

    I introduced OHW to my old group and the gamesmanship completely disappeared. I made a couple of minor tweaks to make it more Napoleonic, but nothing that would run counter to the original purpose.

    One rule I nabbed from elsewhere (V&B, I think) was the ‘free pivot’. All units move in a straight line but have one free pivot; a second costs half a move. In other words, you can shift a unit up to half a move from the current position without needing any complex rules to do it. I have two exceptions: charging cavalry can only pivot once at the start of the move and slow units – Austrian, Russian, scruffy militia etc – are denied the free pivot. This means you have to think more about placement for that devastating cavalry charge and historically sluggish armies.

    I’m sure I’ve written this before, but I’m getting old.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #162012
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    For most of the groups I’ve played with, the only reason not to have several house rules is that the game isn’t worth playing.

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

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