Sunday 4 August 2013

"The rules"

Some questions for you to think about:

  • Are the rules as printed gospel?
  • If you find a bit of a set of rules you don't like or disagree with, will you change it?
  • Will you change things like scales etc to fit your figures/table?
  • If you find the rules don't cover a situation, what do you do?
  • Does it depend on whose rules they are?
  • Does it depend on whether they're 'tournament' rules and whether you ever play them as such?
  • Do you actually record your local changes anywhere? Does your club?

Just been pondering this a bit after some discussions on various groups. It does seem for me to depend on the rules, and to a degree the intent of the writer as to how prescriptive and precise they are.

The other question that amuses and intrigues me is the number of times the question "will X rules work with Y scale figures?" gets asked, which kind of goes hand in hand with the above. It's a bit odd, since as far as I can tell the answer is always going to be either 'yes', or 'yes but you might need to tweak one or more of ground scales, figure basing and unit size', and which answer applies is going to be as much down to the asker's personal preferences as anything. And, I guess, whether they're afraid to change the rules!

Personally (for example) I wouldn't play Chain of Command at 6mm, since the ground scale is roughly equal to 15mm and without changing that it'd look silly. BUT, you could, by changing inches to cm everywhere in the rules, and playing on a 3'x2" or even 2' square table.

[Drafted to the background of wife and sister-in-law planning tomorrow's assault on the Magic Kingdom as if it were a military operation. I'm so going to need a vacation when this is over.]


  1. Interesting. As you probably know I tend to treat any set of rules as a kit of parts, and feel little inhibition about tweaking them. In fact I am quite capable of taking two sets of rules and 'hybridising' them to together to see what comes out. Good luck with the assault on the Magic kingdom.

  2. I have done my fair share of Disney Death Marches with well motivated people. I feel your pain.

  3. My problem is in embellishing rules I haven't even finished reading and thinking how it would be nice if they did this, or incorporated that. Somehow this leads to me never actually playing them. I need to sort that out. Oh and I can totally sympathize with needing a vacation after your vacation.

  4. I'm an inveterate rules hacker, but I do make a point of making sure I've played through a few times with the rules I'm thinking of changing -- sometimes I've read them wrong, sometimes there's an optional rule that already gives the effect I'm after.

  5. I bend and twist rules to suit. Sometimes they break, but usually the favourites will require less work to make them what I'm after and work despite any changes. I'm a tinkerer within a play-through or two of a ruleset.

    This is because I game with only a few people, I imagine lots more grief is caused by house rules if you're playing at a big club.

    1. I also hate rule-lawyering. I have a memory of someone trying to interpret a rule in a way that seemed so preposterously powerful, it could not have been what the designers meant. I came close to walking away from that game. Rules-authors are not infallible and I will seek the spirit, not the letter of the rules.

    2. I've been in the same situation - and had the umpire uphold the dumb-ass interpretation of my opponent. I played out the game (lost) but it led to my eventual abandonment of that particular rule set (DBM). I certainly never played in a comp again with this rule set.

      I had no particular quarrel with the rules design. But the thing got rules-lawyered to death, for mine: stupid interpretations of any given rule; so many amendments the rules lawyers were always a step ahead; ill-considered amendments to the original rules that created new problems... Furthermore, I was finding the games becoming too stereotyped, and even winning games wasn't much fun.

  6. Mostly I leave them be. I have taken bits of rules to make whole new sets up but I have changed a couple of rules in the past


  7. Rules ? These games have rules ? Oy Vey....

  8. Not much in favour of changing rules or part of them, for fear that they may end up totally unbalanced and useless. A different consideration is the interpretation of the rules or an adaptation to some specific feature of an army or a scenario.

    PS: On assaulting the Magic Kingdom, here you have a step-by-step guide by a USMC Sgt

  9. I write my own rule sets for the most part. Except WW2 - (Command decision and Panzer Marsch) and probably Ancientsd, though there I haven't a rule set to play with...


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