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    Angel BarracksAngel Barracks

    How much after sales support do you expect where rules are concerned?

    I am guessing a lot of people are happy to join either a general forum and pick the brains of other people that have the rules, and many companies of course have their own specific forum where you can talk directly to the author(s).

    Not Connard SageNot Connard Sage

    Errata if required.
    Other than that, I’m a big boy now and I can usually work stuff out for myself.

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."


    I pretty much like the ability to ask questions when a rules does not reflect my understanding of reality but since I have no compunctions about changing things I pretty much I interpret as I see best.


    Speaking from the other side of the counter, we were uncertain what gamers expected when it came to support, some join mailing lists, some seek out dedicated forums, some expect little at all, etc…

    So we try to make ourselves as available as possible.

    To-date we receive and answer questions via the following channels:

    • phone – not common, but it does happen
    • direct e-mail – fairly common
    • Yahoo! Groups mailing list – seems to go in bursts
    • various online forums – none dedicated
    • via Facebook – rare but it happens that we receive a question there

    We also try to provide a lot of supporting material on our website that players might care about, from stuff aimed more at pre-sales questions like 3rd-party reviews, samples of the rules, etc… to stuff you’ll need when playing, like the Quick Reference Guides in various scales and the Second Edition Errata.


    The Bandit

    Robey JenkinsRobey Jenkins

    As a gamer, I don’t expect much, but I do expect a company to respond to criticism and to answer queries promptly.

    As a designer, I get queries from a lot of directions.  Facebook is the most regular, but this forum, email and face-to-face at events are all good sources for queries.  I think it fulfils two important functions: first, it establishes a dialogue between the player and the designer that makes the experience of the game more collaborative and social; second, it provides vital feedback on the parts of the game that not only need work but in which players are most interested.  Because the bits they ask about most often are the bits they use most frequently, so it gives a designer an essential insight into what the community is doing with the game – which is frequently not what the designer intended!


    As a gamer…As a designer…

    And I’d agree with all of what Robey said.

    Timeliness of response to inquiry seems so amiss in many cases, we try to reply within a couple hours, I’ll tell people who stop by our vendor booth at conventions that if you e-mail us and haven’t heard back the following morning, we must not have received it. Normally we try to have an answer out immediately upon receiving the inquiry.

    People are asking you about your business and your product, it seems just horrible to make them wait any longer than necessary.


    The Bandit

    John D SaltJohn D Salt

    None. It’s not an operating system.

    SPI was always quite good at issuing errata, and WRG in the old days would sometimes dish out free amendment sheets — my copy of their 1950-75 armour and infantry rules (the first edition) has amendments made from such a one. Most other companies never bothered.

    The only time I can recall asking any rules questions was for GDW’s “Team Yankee”, whose rules were not as clear as they could have been, especially for a book tie-in game intended to attract non-wargamers into the sport. I got a very satisfactory reply. I also got a lovely letter from Bob O’Brien of the WRG when I wrote to him about “Seastrike”, but that wasn’t a rules query, it was a note saying what a brilliant game it was, and suggesting a couple of extensions.

    I suspect I am not alone among gamers of my age and weight in buying rules and games largely to steal ideas from, rather than necessarily to play.

    All the best,



    I miss Bob O’Brien.


    I don’t generally expect after-sales support for wargames rules, but it is nice to have and I am more inclined to seek it if I have paid a lot of money for a rules set. If there is a dedicated forum run by the designer(s), I join it and I expect responses to my questions, although I have had mixed results in that quarter. If you’re not going to respond, don’t offer the service. Most of my rules questions are about the intent of the rules, because that helps me understand and interpret them properly, and is immensely useful when playing other people who interpret the words on the page differently. This is where the discussion forums really come into their own.

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



    None for me, either. I never expected it in the pre-internet past, and don’t now.

    To be honest I can’t imagine any stumbling block in a rule set big enough that I would bother emailing the writers about it.   Most misunderstandings are usually cleared up by going back and re-reading the rules more carefully, and if that fails, just appealing to common sense.

    I’ve other uses for my time than spending it in email exchanges over wargames rules.


    Norm SNorm S

    Yes – I expect rule support where needed. I come from a boardgame background where both real and perceived errata has often been a problem.

    It really needs three things, a designer to  / developer to be available and open to answering questions, designers to work hard at trying to clear up all ambiguity before publication and gamers to read the rules properly before asking a question. If that balance can be achieved, I think things work out about right.

    There are time when I have been put off from buying a boardgame after visiting the games Q&A page, sometimes you can go through that Q&A and realise that half of it shouldn’t be there anyway, because the point is explained in the rules.

    I generally find figure game rules to have less errata, perhaps the beta versions pass through more hands and get better playtesting.

    For prolific designers, being available for questions must be a pain for their older designs, as the game was probably 3 games ago and they are now neck deep on a new design, so designers can find themselves in the position of not knowing the answer to a question without digging out the rules and getting ‘into’ the system again.

    For tournament games, official errata is more important, local decision making at a critical point is unlikely to go down well in such a competitive environment.

    The internet has made things pretty instant and so expectations of an instant reply to things have become the norm. Pre-internet, for the American imported boardgames, one had to write down the question in a way that could get a YES / NO reply, send the letter to the States and wait 3 months for an answer to be turned around, by which time you had moved on to the next shiny thing ……. that did at least encourage one to at least try and work it out yourself before reaching for the pen and you might start to avoid buying from a company with a reputation for frequent / unnecessary errata.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Norm SNorm S.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Norm SNorm S.

    Pretty much what John said. I’m a big boy now and can figure things out myself, make up something plausible or pick my friends brains.

    It is of course nice to be able to fire off queries should the need arise, and games forums are a good place for that.

    As I designer, I do get queries from time to time, either by email or through my blog, and I do reply. But as I give all this stuff away for free, don’t expect commercial levels of post sales service.

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

    Not Connard SageNot Connard Sage

    I generally find figure game rules to have less errata, perhaps the beta versions pass through more hands and get better playtesting. 


    I find that there are usually fewer ‘processes’, for want of a better word, in figure games rules than in boardgame rules. Which may be a partial explanation.


    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    craig cartmellcraig cartmell

    In our opinion as designers, it is incumbent upon us to provide support for a number of reasons. Some of these benefit the players and some benefit us, for example:

    1. You have paid good money for our games,
    2. We are not perfect and sometimes what we write does not make sense to those that read it,
    3. It is an excellent source of design feedback for us,
    4. We want people to enjoy our games as much as we do,
    5. It is free market research, and
    6. We like to encourage and support people to be creative with our rules.

    A designer who publishes and game and then abandons it, is doomed to see it fade away.


    The Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare

    Phil DutréPhil Dutré

    As a gamer, I don’t expect anything, and I don’t actively seek out “support”. I find it creates too much stress if you feel compelled to always look for the latest clarifications and rules updates. I want to enjoy a game, not be in a perpetual state of asking myself “Am I using the correct rules?”.

    Occasionally, when we play a game, we might have an issue we feel is important enough to find a more official clarification for. In that case, I might look for a FAQ or so online – for boardgames usually boardgamegeek. For miniature games, we never look anything up, we resolve the dispute ourselves.

    But support in real-time (as in I ask a question today, I want an answer tomorrow)? No. Some games I play have been published several years, if not decades ago. It’s a bit silly to still expect the original publishers being available to “support” the game. On-line communities or archives are good enough.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by Phil DutréPhil Dutré.

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