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    Posted this on FB:

    “When you purchase a rule set for wargaming what type of book do your prefer most?

    Spiral Bound

    Leave your answers in the comment section”

    My instant thought was PDF.
    More often it is cheaper than a physical book.
    It is almost certainly going to arrive sooner.

    Spiral seemed a popular reply.
    I am guessing as you can leave it open without damaging the spine to refer to it?
    But for me, anything that needs referring to that much and or does not have a QRS is not my cup of tea these days.

    What about your thoughts?


    I like soft- and hardcover rules. I dislike spiralbound because it does not always sit well on the shelf. I quite like pdfs for simplicity and because I can chuck it on my phone and read the rules without having to carry anything extra with me, but retention of digital media is an issue for me. I can get a sense of the rules but I don’t remember them well if I only read them in digital format. I find it quicker to learn and refer to rules in physical format so I usually wind up printing out pdfs for use at the table. I bought a cheap comb binder and laminator from Wilkos for this purpose. I’ve not yet got to grips with using pdf or Kindle rules at the table. A QRS is essential and should be constructed so that you don’t need to refer to the rules book except in cases of extreme doubt.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.



    Soft cover.

    Not even close.

    Every time.


    I feel really strongly about this.

    Second choice to softcover… stab myself in the eye with a brick… eat my miniatures… quit the hobby.


    Soft cover. Not even close. Every time. Absolutely. I feel really strongly about this. Second choice to softcover… stab myself in the eye with a brick… eat my miniatures… quit the hobby.

    errrr. okey dokey.


    John D Salt

    Mr. Picky concurs with Irishserb’s eminently sensible and dramatically presented opinion.

    All the best,


    Olaf Meys

    Hardcover or softcover, followed by pdf. Spiral? It’s just WRONG.

    wargames review site...


    PDF. I load it onto my tablet for reference. Also ebooks (I love that the Osprey rules are available on Kindle)

    I’m a rules collector but I rarely play the ones I buy. Instead, I read through them and steal good ideas for inclusion in my home brew rules. I will then write and print a QRS of my rules for actual gameplay.


    I own hardback, softcover, spiral bound, and .pdf rules.  I prefer softcover.  I really don’t like having a .pdf as my only option.

    Less enthusiasm, please. This is Britain.

    Steve Johnson

    Never, ever pdf, as I love to have the book to hand rather than a tablet etc. Softcover works for me as any rules that can’t be played from the QRS, after a few games have issues IMHO.


    I have no preference between any of the dead tree formats. All are good. That said, I’ve never owned, read or used any spiral bound ruleset as I’ve simply never come across one. Who makes spiral bound rulesets? Are they even a thing? Are they something very old school?

    Most of all I prefer PDF for the practicality, convenience and price. But I’m not immune to the feeling of luxury that comes from a high-production-value rulebook in actual printed form, in my actual hands. It does need to have high production values though (“gloss” and all) or it defeats the purpose of not just getting it in PDF.

    Gone Fishing

    That said, I’ve never owned, read or used any spiral bound ruleset as I’ve simply never come across one. Who makes spiral bound rulesets?

    Two Hour Wargames is one that comes to mind.

    I like either softback or hardback rules, and spiral bound are nice too – they lay nice and flat, which is a good thing. The only rules I tend to avoid are PDF only – I just don’t like ’em, much preferring to have a properly printed set in my hands…

    Shaun Travers

    PDF is my preference as I can read them anywhere without having to carry a load of rulebooks around.  For the others – I have a few hundred rules sets floating from hardback to softback to spiral.  I have no real preference between these three.  I am not fond of ebooks compared to PDF for rules as I find i can relate to PDFs as they are the equivalent of rulebook pages, while an ebook is the content displayed a different way and find it too hard to navigate.  The one I do not like, and I think I have only a few of these, are the ones that come hole punched and you have to put them in your own binder.  I don’t like binders very much  Or the ones that have charts larger than the rulebook – looking at you Milgamex Ancient Warfare in particular.


    I am fine with soft or hard cover, ideally with a PDF backup. Spiral simply fall apart/wear poorly for me.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    Tony S

    I’ve been in printing for many years now, and I have found that most people do not know what the different bindings actually are.

    Spiral bound never fall apart, although if done poorly you may need to screw the coil back a bit sometimes.  Although I guess if you’re a bit rough with the page turning, perhaps the paper could rip from the binding.  I haven’t bought Two Hours Wargames in quite some time, but none of my rules from THW were ever spiral bound.  They were Cerlox (see below).

    So, this is what spiral bound actually is.  Very robust, stays flat and you can turn the pages easily.  Different  colours and sizes are available.

    This is Wiro.  Same of thing, but uses metal wire instead of plastic coil.  A bit more expensive, but IMHO, the best type of binding for wargaming rules.  Peter Pig use this type nowadays.

    Lastly, the cheapest type is something called Cerlox.  I think a lot of people are calling this “spiral” when they refer to rules falling apart, or the pages not turning well because they get hung up on the tabs.  It is the cheapest type of binding, and the most common.  It is also, again just my humble opinion, not terribly good.

    As for the original post, I tend to like actual printed books for reading, and admiring the pretty photos.  However, it is rapidly becoming cost prohibitive to buy all the expensive printed rules nowadays for me.  Especially if the rules are from the US.  Because of the appallingly high prices for postage from the States, I never ever buy anything – rules or miniatures – from there anymore.

    As well, I can make my own QRS from PDFs by cut and pasting the needed various tables, or just print out the relevant pages from the rules.  A lot of rules I’ll print out on drilled paper and store them in binders.  Not as nice as printing out a PDF and getting it spiral bound, but for companies that produce a lot of supplements or are continually evolving or are part of a “family” of rules, it’s nice to keep it all together in one volume, or easily throw out the rules that changed in Version 1.12.   All my Nordic Weasel rules are that way!  And a lot of TooFatLardies, as I can print out the related articles from their specials and store them with the pertinent rules.

    So, I guess I prefer PDFs nowadays!

    Mike Headden

    I’m with irishserb …. though frankly he’s not as fervent about as I’d like 😀

    Hardbacks add cost to no great advantage IMHO, spiral bound disintegrate too easily and I loathe pdf’s with a passion

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    Russell Phillips

    It’s a toss-up between paperback and PDF for me. I have been known to buy a set of rules in both (I really appreciate it when the PDF is available for a minimal extra cost). I much prefer ePub or Mobi over PDF for the digital version, but they’re not very common in rules 🙁

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