Author Topic: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official  (Read 21211 times)

Chad_YMG

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First off, I'd like to thank UvulaBob, one of our recent converts, for this rules rewrite:


https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B3a3JtrKhxD6YjNmNjI3MjItZjcwZS00YzQ5LTk2ZGMtZDdjMTE3Nzg5YWJj&hl=en&authkey=COjS-cEC

I think he's made a big improvement on our original version, even after Niko's substantial improvement on the real original.  As I told him, I wanted to show it around before deciding whether to go live with it and everyone I've shown it to has liked it.  So now, I'd like each of you to read through it and note any errors/typos, unclear rules or suggestions for improvement so we can make this our new, official rulebook.
David Humphrey está todavía en la Colina 217.
      - From Spanish translation of Hill 218 rules

Zelc

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Some things off the top of my head:

- The Standing Orders section should be moved up.  It should be right before or right after the Movement section, IMO.

- Psychology sounds weird.  Change to morale, maybe? :)



Also, I feel like we should have a quickstart section.  Here's a quick outline:

- Stress these are the quickstart rules, and the language won't be as precise as the actual rules.
- Select your army: use one of the quick start armies.
- Deploy your army.
- Give standing orders.  Quickly describe standing orders in plain English.  Suggest setting ranged units to R 7" and everything else to C.
- Move units.  Quickly explain player discretion in determining how units move.
- Describe what can be done with command actions.
- Describe combat resolution.
- Summarize combat modifiers.

UvulaBob

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I've definitely been pondering where to put Standing Orders. I don't know about most people, but when I'm learning a war game I want to know two things: How do I move and how do I kill the enemy? The goal of the movement section is to inform players how units actually get from Point A to Point B, and the Standing Orders section is supposed to show players how each unit determines what Point B is. The current 3.0 rulebook mixes standing orders in with Movement, and I felt that diluted the chapter so much that people would give up halfway through. So my solution was to give Movement, Combat, Psychology (morale?) their own section and cover Standing Orders after the three chapters that cover the heart of the game. However, I'm very open to suggestions as to where the Standing Order section should go in relation to movement.

And on the same topic, a quick start section would be a great idea. How can we get players moving units around and killing each other in as little time as possible?

As far as the name of the Psychology/Courage/Morale section goes, the name of the section in the current book is "Courage Phase" but the layout of that book is an attempt to walk a player chronologically through a turn. I was thinking of calling the section "Courage" but that word has a very specific meaning in the game, and there are other words that evoke the same idea. Admittedly, Psychology might not be the best one. Morale could work just as easily.

Some things off the top of my head:

- The Standing Orders section should be moved up.  It should be right before or right after the Movement section, IMO.

- Psychology sounds weird.  Change to morale, maybe? :)



Also, I feel like we should have a quickstart section.  Here's a quick outline:

- Stress these are the quickstart rules, and the language won't be as precise as the actual rules.
- Select your army: use one of the quick start armies.
- Deploy your army.
- Give standing orders.  Quickly describe standing orders in plain English.  Suggest setting ranged units to R 7" and everything else to C.
- Move units.  Quickly explain player discretion in determining how units move.
- Describe what can be done with command actions.
- Describe combat resolution.
- Summarize combat modifiers.

Zelc

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EDIT:
I've definitely been pondering where to put Standing Orders. I don't know about most people, but when I'm learning a war game I want to know two things: How do I move and how do I kill the enemy? The goal of the movement section is to inform players how units actually get from Point A to Point B, and the Standing Orders section is supposed to show players how each unit determines what Point B is.
The very beginning of the Movement section references Standing Orders.  I think they should be close together, because Standing Orders determine how units move or don't move.

Some other thoughts:
Quote
WHAT IS THIS GAME?

Battleground: Fantasy Warfare is a point-based miniatures game – but without the miniatures. Battleground uses cards rather than painted models to represent your forces. This means a much lower price as well as easier transportation and setup, but don’t be fooled – this is not a ?light? war game or a CCG.  Battleground is a serious, award-winning wargame that will challenge you at every step, from army design and deployment to tactical maneuvers and command decisions until battle’s end.
I think this is great for a sales pitch or a review, but it seems a bit too promo for the intro to the rulebook.  I think the "Basics of Play" section could be used as the intro, with a sentence at the beginning about how this is a point-based miniatures game with an emphasis on tactical maneuvering (or something like that).

Actually, can you put a version of this into Google docs or send it as a Word doc so we can easily make proofread revisions?  I'm noticing various minor grammatical items that probably aren't worth pointing out one by one.  We can agree on some format for making revisions (red and strike-throughs?)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 11:58:15 AM by Zelc »

UvulaBob

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Actually, can you put a version of this into Google docs or send it as a Word doc so we can easily make proofread revisions?  I'm noticing various minor grammatical items that probably aren't worth pointing out one by one.  We can agree on some format for making revisions (red and strike-throughs?)

The original document is in Microsoft Publisher, which doesn't translate into Word very well. I suppose I could put the original Publisher document on Google Docs, but then you'd need Publisher to edit it and even then there's no way to track changes.

For now, it's probably best to just compile a list of changes and then post or PM them to me.

lazyj

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Heh. Humpherys is a pale shade of lame.  ;D

I like it, and I know how much work that is, so it is MOST appreciated.

I would agree that Standing Orders are so important to Movement - and so unique to this system - that I would put them up next to Movement.

There was one little part that was a bit odd to me, and not very clear. From the Combat / Command Card section:

Quote
Note: Command cards change a unit’s stats, not the target numbers.
So, if your target number is -1 and you play a command card that
gives your unit +2 to the relevant stat, your target number becomes 1,
not 3.

I know how that's supposed to work, but I'm getting lost in the explanation. Maybe something more definite?

Command cards change a unit's stats, not the target numbers. So for example a unit of High Elves Celestial Guard has a Defensive skill of 4 and your Hawkshold Peasants have an Offensive Skill of 4. Your Peasants are fighting to their Rear, for an additional -1 to hit. 4 - 1 - 4 = -1 for your Peasants to hit the High Elves. You decide to play Accuracy and increase your Offensive Skill +2. 4 - 1 - 4 + 2 = 1 for your Peasants to hit the High Elves.

I'm not sure that's the best solution, as you haven't been that specific anywhere else and it's a little weird to suddenly break out into that much detail. But I think something a little more concrete needs to happen in the original to make it easier to follow.

But that's about all I saw. Seriously great job.

Zelc

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I think there may be a problem with the way Impossible Path is worded.

Quote
IMPOSSIBLE PATH
If the shortest path for a unit to follow under its current standing order is permanently impossible (usually due to impassable terrain) that unit must use the current fastest path.

Consider a side-by-side line of units that stretches from 3.5" from the right edge of the battle field to the left edge of the battlefield.  At the right end of your line behind the front line, you have some cavalry which travels faster than the line units.  Normally, you can have that cavalry unit take the shortest path rule and just follow the unit in front of it.  If we now add some impassible terrain in front of that cavalry (even if it's far away on the opponent side of the board), the cavalry unit must take the fastest path and swing out ahead of the line.

Maybe we should write something to the effect that the shortest path cannot pass over impassable terrain.  That way, the shortest path rule can't be used for "hold" fast units until you decide to invoke the indirect path rule.  However, another unit can still block the shortest path and herd the faster unit.

UvulaBob

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I think there may be a problem with the way Impossible Path is worded.

Quote
IMPOSSIBLE PATH
If the shortest path for a unit to follow under its current standing order is permanently impossible (usually due to impassable terrain) that unit must use the current fastest path.

Consider a side-by-side line of units that stretches from 3.5" from the right edge of the battle field to the left edge of the battlefield.  At the right end of your line behind the front line, you have some cavalry which travels faster than the line units.  Normally, you can have that cavalry unit take the shortest path rule and just follow the unit in front of it.  If we now add some impassible terrain in front of that cavalry (even if it's far away on the opponent side of the board), the cavalry unit must take the fastest path and swing out ahead of the line.

Maybe we should write something to the effect that the shortest path cannot pass over impassable terrain.  That way, the shortest path rule can't be used for "hold" fast units until you decide to invoke the indirect path rule.  However, another unit can still block the shortest path and herd the faster unit.

I'm pretty sure the rules cover that scenario, but can you post a picture to make sure I understand what you're talking about? Something simple, like in MS Paint would be fine.

Zelc

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http://imgur.com/UN2wB

In both scenarios, assume there's an enemy line stretching across the board.

Zelc

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By the way, here's a possible rewrite of the pathing rules section.  This would replace everything on page 10 from Unusual Movements to Impossible Path.  I think we can safely cut out a section.  Note this also changes the way pathing interacts with movement-enhancing terrain like roads, which currently don't seem to be considered in the Current Fastest Path rules.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Indirect Path Rule

The squad commanders in charge of your units will try to follow your orders as best they can, leading their units directly to their Standing Order objectives.  Units on a Standing Order will take either the Shortest Path or the Current Fastest Path to their objective (these two path rules are explained below).  Usually, these paths are the same.  However, there will be times where the Shortest Path and Current Fastest Path will be different due to obstructing friendly units or movement-affecting terrain.  If that is the case, each turn when you move the unit, you may decide whether the unit follows the Shortest Path or the Current Fastest Path that turn without spending a Command Action.

These paths do not consider enemy units.  If there is an enemy unit blocking the selected path to the unit’s objective, the unit must either seek to final rush the enemy unit (if on a Close Standing Order) or stop next to the enemy unit (if on a Hold, Range, or Follow Standing Order).

Shortest Path

The Shortest Path between a unit and its destination is the one that reduces the distance between the two by the greatest amount.  The unit stops if it contacts a friendly unit which blocks further progress along this path.

Current Fastest Path

The Current Fastest Path is the path that would allow a unit to reach its objective in the fewest number of turns, regardless of the distance traveled.  The unit assumes that friendly units will stay in place between now and the time it reaches its destination.  If there are multiple paths tied for the fastest, units will follow the path that reduces the distance between the two by the greatest amount, otherwise you may choose which path the unit will follow.

Impassable Terrain

The Shortest Path cannot cross over impassable terrain or otherwise be impossible to travel (the Shortest Path can cross over friendly units as they are assumed to be mobile).  The Shortest Path to an objective will always travel around impassable terrain.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 12:19:00 AM by Zelc »

UvulaBob

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Re: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2011, 11:42:16 AM »
OK, I've looked at your diagram and you're totally right about the behavior of the fast unit. Assuming that the path drawn in the second picture is indeed the current fastest path for that unit to take to the closest enemy, then it would definitely result in the faster unit running out ahead of the line. The way around that is to move the slower units in front of it first, since units can move in any order you want (all other things being equal, such as for Final Rushes). At that point, you would be creating a kind of barrier for the faster unit to stay behind - at least until the point where running around the line or the giant hole in the ground becomes the current fastest path again.

The best way to stop your faster unit from doing what you don't want is to take direct control of it for a turn or to assign it a Follow order.

That said, I definitely think the rulebook would be well served to have an example section covering all the common scenarios that can make people wonder if they're putting the different pieces of the movement rules together.

UvulaBob

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Re: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2011, 12:42:48 PM »
Also, here's the whole Unusual Movement section re-done according to your suggestions.

Quote

UNUSUAL MOVEMENTS

Normally, units moving in such a way will always attempt to take the shortest path to their objective. However, units may need to perform unusual movements when they are trying to fulfill the movement portion of a standing order or are otherwise not under your direct control.

SHORTEST PATH
The shortest path between a unit and its destination is the one that reduces the distance between the two by the greatest amount.  If this movement would bring your unit  into contact with another unit, it stops moving. If it would contact movement-reducing terrain, then your unit will have its Movement Category reduced according to the Terrain rules.

CURRENT FASTEST PATH
The Current Fastest Path is one that would allow a unit to reach its objective in the fewest number of turns, regardless of the distance traveled.  The unit assumes that friendly units will stay in place between now and the time it reaches its destination.  If there are multiple paths tied for the fastest, units will follow the path that reduces the distance to its objective by the greatest amount. Otherwise, you may choose which path the unit will follow. 

INDIRECT PATH
The squad commanders in charge of your units will try to follow your orders as best they can, leading their units directly to their Standing Order objectives along the shortest path.  Most of the time, the Shortest Path will also be the Current Fastest Path. However, sometimes the two paths are different due to obstructing friendly units or movement-affecting terrain.

If this is the case, then in each movement phase you may decide whether a unit in such a situation follows the Shortest Path or the Current Fastest Path to its objective for that turn without having to spend a Command Action. You don’t have to remember which choice you made for this turn, and you can make a new choice on each subsequent turn (assuming the conditions still allow it).

Restrictions
This rule does not consider enemy units, so ignore them when deciding which path to take to your objective. If the chosen path has an enemy unit blocking it, your unit must either move with the intention of performing a final rush on that enemy unit (if on a Close Standing Order) or stopping next to the enemy unit (if on a Hold, Range, or Follow Standing Order).

IMPOSSIBLE PATH
If the shortest path for a unit to follow under its current standing order is permanently impossible (usually due to impassable terrain) that unit is able to see this kind of terrain coming in advance and will act immediately. The unit must use the Current Fastest Path on this turn.

For example, if there is impassable terrain along a unit’s shortest path, it won’t wait until it collides with the obstacle to move around it. It will instead immediately take the Current Fastest Path around it, if able.

Units that are moving outside of Standing Orders (but not under direct control) might make movement decisions differently according to their situation (such as routing or being forced to move by a spell or other effect). See those sections for details.     

Zelc

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Re: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2011, 01:10:29 PM »
OK, I've looked at your diagram and you're totally right about the behavior of the fast unit. Assuming that the path drawn in the second picture is indeed the current fastest path for that unit to take to the closest enemy, then it would definitely result in the faster unit running out ahead of the line.
I don't think this was in version 3.0 of the rules.  I think in 3.0, the impassable terrain modifies the shortest path, rather than force the unit to take the current fastest path.  That would require units to path around impassable terrain, but they would still have the option to remain behind the line as usual.

Also, I think it'd help improve the readability of the rulebook if we put the options right in front of that block of rules, possibly changing the number of sections and the names of the sections.  In version 3.0 of the rules, a reader has to go through 6 paragraphs in Unusual Movement before they learn they can take the direct path vs. the fastest path.  In my proposed re-write, people get a general understanding of what they can do by the second sentence, and their options are basically explained in the first paragraph.

I realized I did put in a rule re-write, in that units can choose to take the current fastest path without obstructions.  This comes into play, say, if there's a road to the left edge of the map, and Chariots lined up unobstructed across from enemy Peasants just to the right of the road.  Under the current rules, it takes a Command Action or the point objective modifier to get the Chariots on the road, whereas in what I wrote, the Chariots can decide to go on the road w/o a Command Action.  I think this makes more sense and makes the rules a bit cleaner, but I'm not sure what the implications are for play, or if we want to make this rule change.

UvulaBob

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Re: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2011, 02:05:52 PM »
I don't think this was in version 3.0 of the rules.  I think in 3.0, the impassable terrain modifies the shortest path, rather than force the unit to take the current fastest path.  That would require units to path around impassable terrain, but they would still have the option to remain behind the line as usual.

The rulebook says this:

Quote
Impossible Path
If the otherwise optimal path for a unit to take under orders is permanently impossible (most likely due to terrain) that unit must use the shortest clear path instead.

The problem is that "shortest clear path" is never defined, and is never mentioned again. After some discussion in a couple of other threads, I decided to go with considering "shortest clear path" and "current fastest route" to be the same thing. Maybe they're not. If so, then the Impossible Path rule just requires units to take the Current Fastest Path rather than butt up against a cliff face. If Shortest Clear Path and Current Fastest Route are, in fact, different then we need to get some definitions established before we figure out how they relate to the Impossible Path rule.

Also, I think it'd help improve the readability of the rulebook if we put the options right in front of that block of rules, possibly changing the number of sections and the names of the sections.  In version 3.0 of the rules, a reader has to go through 6 paragraphs in Unusual Movement before they learn they can take the direct path vs. the fastest path.  In my proposed re-write, people get a general understanding of what they can do by the second sentence, and their options are basically explained in the first paragraph.

I've been tossing this around in my head as well. The whole thing is kind of circular. The Indirect Path rule talks about deciding between the Shortest Path and the Current Fastest Path, but if we define those terms first we risk the reader not understanding why they're relevant right away. Tough call!

I realized I did put in a rule re-write, in that units can choose to take the current fastest path without obstructions.  This comes into play, say, if there's a road to the left edge of the map, and Chariots lined up unobstructed across from enemy Peasants just to the right of the road.  Under the current rules, it takes a Command Action or the point objective modifier to get the Chariots on the road, whereas in what I wrote, the Chariots can decide to go on the road w/o a Command Action.  I think this makes more sense and makes the rules a bit cleaner, but I'm not sure what the implications are for play, or if we want to make this rule change.

I'll need another picture to explain what you're describing but for what it's worth, I understand the intent of the rules to be that when deciding which path is the Current Fastest Path, they'll always take the number of turns to reach its objective into consideration first, and actual distance reduced between it and its objective second. So if moving on a road will get a unit to its objective faster than not, then it'll move that extra distance to get to that road in order to haul ass later on.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 02:09:04 PM by UvulaBob »

Zelc

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Re: Proofreading/editing UvulaBob's rules rewrite so it can become official
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2011, 10:05:44 PM »
On Impossible Path, would saying the Shortest Path can't cross and must go around impassable terrain be enough?

On the general wording of the movements section, I think either way would work.  If we put the movement definitions first, I think we should at least put a quick two sentences before that saying these are the two ways your units will move under a Standing Order.  I like my version better (but I'm biased! :D ) because 1) it's shorter, 2) it clearly explains the choice players can make with how their units under Standing Orders move (making the choice every round is functionally the same as making it only when the paths are different but easier to explain), and 3) I think the movement paths are self-explanatory enough that people have an easier time if we explain their choice every round then go into the definitions.  Whichever order we choose, I think we can cut down the length of this section dramatically, and improve the clarity of the rules in the process.

Also, I think we should change the title "Unusual Movement".  Units will be following these two paths every turn!  Maybe change it to "Movement under Standing Orders"?

Quote
I understand the intent of the rules to be that when deciding which path is the Current Fastest Path, they'll always take the number of turns to reach its objective into consideration first, and actual distance reduced between it and its objective second. So if moving on a road will get a unit to its objective faster than not, then it'll move that extra distance to get to that road in order to haul ass later on.
I think you're right and I misunderstood earlier.