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    Angel Barracks

    What level of quality do you expect from a set of rules and is this expectation fixed?

    If buying a full-on set of rules from a big established firm such as GW, Warlord, Osprey etc. I expect it to be perfect in terms of grammar and layout, typos, and so on.
    (Or at least what I think is perfect…)
    Clear and concise examples and a nice easy to follow layout.

    If buying from a small company, such as a one man band style affair, I am more forgiving, assuming it is not priced as a full on professional set would be.
    If you are a one man band charging the same as GW, it best be good!

    If it is free, all I really want is to be able to understand it.

    Would someone describing their rules with there rather than their, and your rather than you’re put you off from even buying?

    craig cartmell

    Charles and I run a two-man band.
    When we wrote IHMN we relied on ourselves to proof read our work and, Osprey’s editor.
    We had to publish an errata.
    Since then we have had three friends (Mark, Russ and Dean) proof and sense read our books and, our quality has improved enormously. An up-to-date copy of MS Word can be a godsend. Its grammar and spelling capability has come on leaps and bounds and helps you eliminate many of the ‘sillies’.
    We also play test our rules with our local clubs, which can be painful for the ego, but improves the games considerably.
    It does not cost much to quality check your work, even if you are part-timers like us.
    Quality of layout and appearance is another thing altogether. Although we would like to, we cannot afford professional artists to fill our books with state of the art graphics. So we rely on eye-candy photos of nice miniatures in nice terrain. Some we do ourselves, but many of these are given to us for free by friends and fellow gamers (big shout-out to the peerless Kev Dallimore here).
    We have been paying a professional layout artist though (Millsy of Cobalt Peak Design) and this is money well spent for it is a serious skill-set we do not have ourselves.


    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    Steve Johnson

    I find the Osprey rules are much easier to follow and are well layed out compared to Warlord Games. The latter are wonderful eye candy but, at times, trying to find a rule etc can be a pain. Also bigger does not mean better in terms of typos; GW being a case in point.

    Phil Dutré

    “A set of rules” means different things to different wargamers. Even for the same wargamer, when evolving over time.

    These days, I don’t care anymore about rulesets being “complete” or “supported” or “playtested”. I am interested in their original design ideas, and how I might use them in my own rules – which revolve around scenarios and story-telling elements. That also carries over in your expectations about a commercial product.

    I guess it also strongly depends whether you consider a set of rules to be applicable in all possible situations during the game, or ratehr as a set of guidelines on how to play your own game.

    But I do understand that if your wargaming is of the form “my 100pts warband vs your 100pts warband on randomly generated terrain”, you’re looking for something else in a ruleset than I do.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Phil Dutré.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/


    I think it all depends on what you / we want individually or collectively from a rule set,

    example 1 – I bought “Bolt Action” a few years back I did not notice any glaring errors in the rule set.  I liked the production and aspects of the rules, this rule set is supported by lots of supplements, figures and equipment (very clever marketing strategy from “Warlord Games”) all you want for WW2 at one stop.

    example 2 – I bought “Rapid Fire” 20 plus years ago I did not notice any glaring errors in the rule set, several supplements over several years (only in recent years more marketing strategy support).  You had to find your own figures and equipment but that was part of the fun.

    I have never played “Bolt Action” yet, but I have played “Rapid Fire” (thought not for two years) for 20 odd years.  I do not have an answer why I picked one up and played it strait away, yet another one equally well produced I read, enjoyed reading but have never played it?

    Not Connard Sage

    I’ll tell you what I don’t expect.

    Crap like this.



    …and rules like Black Powder. I don’t want a ‘tool kit’, I want a set of rules.




    "I'm not signing that"

    Not Connard Sage

    About 12 or more years ago, I bought a set of ACW naval rules. I opened them eagerly to read as we were looking for something different from what we had been playing. I got through a page and was so put off by the poor grammar that I put them on my rules bookshelf and haven’t really taken them down since.


    Did they have the initials H. I. by any chance? 😉

    "I'm not signing that"

    Keith Barker

    I bought…

    Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Expansion 5: Generals, Marshals, Tacticians

    They seem to have forgotten to proof read.

    Some of the rules were wrong, because they missed punctuation, and thus they didn’t mean what was intended.

    You expect a company like GMT to be professional.

    PS it wasn’t “American” punctuation, it was bad grammar.

    John D Salt

    As far as I am concerned, Phil Dutré hit the unslotted linear-action fibre-intrusive fastener squarely on the head when he said

    I am interested in their original design ideas, and how I might use them in my own rules

    Phil Barker has said that a book is worth buying for a single new insight, and I would say the same about rules — one good or interesting new idea, and I regard it as a worthwhile acquisition. Mind, I have not bought many sets of wargames rules recently, as the trend seems for some years to have been towards eye-candy and graphical plushness rather than well-thought-out rules ideas. Some sets of free rules I have seen contain ideas I would happily have paid a tenner for; some sets of free rules have left me feeling that the purchase price was a rip-off.

    While I am in general a complete grammar and spelling fascist, I try not to let the odd typo put me off. I recall the enormous pleasure I got back in the old days from John Hill’s early CGC games — “Kasserine Pass”, “Overlord”, the first edition “Bar-Lev”. These were pretty slapdash in production, first introduced me to the idea that some people imagine “irregardless” to be a word, and the graphics were horrible. Nor did the rules contain much that was innovative; John Hill deliberately used well-established game mechanisms to make learning the thing easier, and on one occasion infamously instructed the players to “take any reasonable supply rule”. But the breathless enthusiasm of the rules writing made them fun to read, and the games somehow had that alchemical magic that made them enormous fun to play, irregardless of the distortions of scale, orbat and vocabulary perpetrated by the designer on the way.

    All the best,


    Sane Max

    Would someone describing their rules with there rather than their, and your rather than you’re put you off from even buying?

    In the 21st century grammer and spellung in anything I am expected to read had better be perfect. On typo is a ‘tut’. More than that and it goes in the Bin. There is one middling-sized wargames company whose figures are lovely, just my cup of tea. But the rules they produce make me so very, very angry. I have named and shamed them too many times, if I do it again people will think I have some sort of personal issue with them.



    I would expect a certain standard of literacy and quality control from anything I’m paying money for. But when it comes to game rules, it’s not a dealbreaker in the way it would be with, say, a novel. It doesn’t really matter if there are a couple of typos or spelling errors in a game book, unless they come along in an important rules passage and confuse everything.

    From that perspective, I’d rather have a writer who couldn’t spell but knew how to express himself clearly than one who could spell perfectly but could only communicate in Barkerese.

    It’s difficult to tell what sort of editorial oversight there is on game rulebooks but it’s worth remembering that these are not for the most part turned out by publishing houses who can employ whole teams of people just to check spelling, grammar and the like. I think we have to expect a lower standard of proofreading than one would get from an academic book or a novel.

    Are some rulebooks too expensive? Well… maybe. But then again if I’m feeling bored or tired and don’t want to tax my brain I’m always happy to leaf through the Pike and Shotte rulebook for a few minutes because the finish of the book makes it a pleasaurable experience. I’ve never done that with, say, Polemos, although I think the latter is probably a superior ruleset. As such I don’t begrudge the glossy Warlord books their price tag because I feel like I get something out of them that isn’t just gaming content.

    There is a limit though. After about 2000 I gradually began to get infuriated with how increasingly and unnecessarily expensive GW rulebooks were: £50 is too much for a rulebook, no matter how nice that rulebook is.

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