Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I just had to "go" there!

I couldn't help myself.  After listening to the WWPD podcast and then wading in on the discussion regarding rules, I just popped.

I am getting pretty frustrated with rules and interpretations.  I am THE FIRST to admit that I am by no means a rules expert.  Quite the opposite.  If you want proof, read my earlier posts!!

But I have an issue with the fact that MALFTF is longer than the rulebook.  I repectfully disagree with another poster that says that is not the case.  Yes, MALFTF has to repeat the questions.  But the rulebook has all those pretty pictures and boxes!!  And they are very good pictures!!

But here is my post (reprinted with my own permission):

Consider this an open letter to Battlefront.

I just posted on the topic regarding aircraft concealment and I used an analogy that is really troubling me.

The rules of golf are fairly short and are published as a pamphlet / book in the USA (USGA). The page size is smaller than the soft cover FoW rulebook and my copy is bound together by staples (granted it is a little old).

But the clarification to the rules look like the Encyclopedia Brittanica. The test to be a rules official is very difficult because of the rules exceptions and clarifications.

The FoW rulebook is a good size. But MALFTF is bigger!! You must remember that the rules have extra "content" at the end. So we have rules, then clarification to the rules that are even longer.

Now do not get me wrong - I think Phil has done a really, really good job with rules that make the game fun to play. And I am not looking to make more rules or complicated rules. I do need a reminder periodically that FoW is a game. However, I would like concise and clear rules.

But a game that has 103 pages of rules clarifications, followed by 42 pages of rules clarifications of the add-on books just seems to be a little "off." The last thing I want to do in a tournament is pull out the rulebook, then pull out MALFTF, then pull out emails from Phil to either prove or disprove a point. Imagine the lively discussion over concealment from aircraft during an actual tournament.

And what is puzzling even further is that great players and posters here are split on many of the rule interpretations. I trust my fellow players more than I trust my own interpretation of the rules. So when I see trusted players on two different sides, I start to scratch my head and think the issue is not the players, but rather the actual rules.

Just my (frustrated) opinion.


Ahhh.  I feel better now.


  1. I hear your frustration! But let me comment here:

    #1- discussing (read: arguing) the rules for a wargame is sort of a meta-hobby. For every minute spent discussing the rules on our podcast, we spend at least an hour of playing Flames of War rules argument free! I've been to many many tournaments, and these things that get hammered to death on the forums seldom if ever even come up in "real life"- you just roll a die and move along.

    #2- The rules clarifications of MALFTF are essentially fan-created, simply compiling Phil's forum responses. You can't really complain about it's length- the more he responds the more stuff gets added to it! Sure it's a great resource for understanding the WHY, and occasionally getting a good clarification, but to go back to #1- MALFTF rarely comes up to affect a game!

    #3- Players and posters are split on the rules because the rules are written by a small group of humans, then endlessly scrutinized by a large group of humans with nothing better to do! This is common- see: Law Amendments, Academic and literary scholars, historians, etc etc!

    #4- A large reason you see these discussions really has to do with how large FOW has really gotten- and that's a good thing! it means you can go have a game with a huge variety of people! Silver lining I suppose?

    My advice if it's stressing you out- don't bother reading the rules forums. It won't make you a worse player. Go play some games and ignore forum argument! Being the catalyst for this whole airplane rule ordeal, you know what I'd do in a situation with someone who interprets it differently? Suggest we roll a die. If they're really vehement about their interpretation, I'd let them run with it. This is a game, no reason to get my blood pressure up :)

    I hope our rules discussions on the podcast won't turn you away from WWPD- we have a lot of cool things planned!

  2. Idie!

    I appreciate your comments. I certainly don't want to have this get blown out of proportion. I really enjoy the game and much to my surpirse, I enjoy the painting part too. Arguing rules will not change that in the least.

    I also love the podcast. Nothing will change that either. Consider me a big supporter. I can't say "number one fan" because I saw Misery many years ago and had to give up that phrase!

    To be fair, I would actually enjoy a section on the rules.

    I found in my two tournament experiences and in the weekly games, that if you get some things clear in the beginning, it leads to a much better experience. I would hate to wait until your infantry moved out into the open and bring in my air support only to have you say they were still in cover. If that is the case, I would have brought it in sooner. I guess I have seen too many times that a player will blame the dice for losing. Odds are a part of the game, but so is superior tactics - witness the great conversation on your cast about the triangle and following up successes with reinforcements. Same is true for rules. If a rule interpretation is different, I have witnessed (first hand) severe disagreements.

    But you are right in that it is a game.

    Keep up the great work!!

  3. Believe me this isn't uncommon. Before I went exclusively FoW, I used to own around 200 board games. Several of my favorite board games the FAQ was way bigger then the Rule book.

  4. I just read your last post...I guess your problem isn't with the MALFTF itself...but the fact that its not official?

    yes that can be frustrating. I'm wondering if Phil has let that go, since the community has pretty much already doing this for BF?

    Its funny before that topic all got started I had mentioned that in my last 90 degree arc article.