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Places in the rules needing attention


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#1 Joelist

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:09 AM

Having given the rules a couple of good read throughs I can already see at least two places where I hope we can get errata:

1) The rule prohibiting the writing down of anything needs to be junked. Not only does it directly contradict the intent of the original Dune rules but it is hugely unfair in game play, as it punishes people with shorter memories and rewards those with longer ones. Dune/Rex is supposed to vbe a strategy game not a memory game.

2) In the same vein, the rule prohibitng any secret communications needs to be reworded to allow them but with a time limit. Otherwise it renders allies incapable of effective cooperation if their powers involve secret information (for example Jol-Nar can't tell his allies a card is good/bad without telling everyone else). Again this rule reduces strategy in the game .

Has anyone seen others? Really besides these I like a lot of what was done (like fine tuning the Bene Gesserit/Xcha "voice").

 



#2 Steve-O

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 12:34 PM

Joelist said:

Having given the rules a couple of good read throughs I can already see at least two places where I hope we can get errata:

Neither of those are things that need errata.  Those are just things that you don't like.

Errata is for correcting or clarifying rules that are not well understood.  House rules are for changing rules that are perfectly clear, but unfavourable to the individual who is reading them.

Just for the record, the original Dune rules ONLY allowed Atreides to write things down, and then ONLY the treachery cards that came up for bid during the auction.  So if not being able to write things down "punishes players with short memories" then even the original Dune punished everyone except Atreides.

 

PS: I don't disagree with making these particular house rules, I'm just saying they're clearly house rules, not "errata that FFG needs to address."



#3 Joelist

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:47 PM

Except that I was not proposing a house rule but saying that both rules need to be removed from the official rules because their game effects are tremendously negative. Such a removal would constitute errata.

You are correct that in Dune only Atreides writes things down, and for example only letting Jol-Nar do it here would be fine also. To do otherwise converts Rex from a strategy game into a memory game.

The no secret communications rule is pure nonsense. It does not only hurt Jol Nar but makes cooperative play by Alliances effectively impossible if the plan relies in any way on shared information. For example, one player has the shield negator but the question is when to use it. Well, in Rex the only way to ask their allies is to let the whole board know they have the card and also what the plan is.

I know FFG likes to avoid having writing in their games but this particular game engine absolutely needs both the written records (for Jol Nar) and the ability to confer privately in order to function properly.



#4 Dolus

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:37 AM

I agree with Steve-O on this.

 

I would support these changes, but it would and could only be considered errata if FFG made those changes officially and had every intention of players playing strictly with those rules. Otherwise, they are house rules. In other words, rules we choose to play by, but are not official. FFG has little to no reason to implement these house rules into the official rules. I would imagine something this significant would have been thought through during playtesting and/or design, but we will never know. FFG has some reason for making the rules the way they did, but it doesn't break the game or make the game ambiguous or confusing, so there's no incentive to make this change. Regardless, I would still be happy to play with these house rules, and I would be happy if FFG backed them, but I don't think they will.

 

 

As far as the actual question, what errata does there need to be? I haven't seen any holes yet, myself. I haven't noticed anything broken or confusing.



#5 Adam

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:04 PM

Actually, that is NOT correct.  The rules do not prohibit note taking for anyone.  Note taking isn't even mentioned in the rulebook.  Someone, not from Future Pasttimes, Eon, or Avalon Hill, posted tournament rules (Brad Johnson, I think?), and one of these rules was to allow only Atreides to take notes.  This was to speed up games in time-restricted settings, I think, but I'm not sure. 

If you look up Q&A with Peter Olotka or Jack Kitteridge, Jack said anyone can take notes, whether on cards or spice.  I don't know that they were actually saying "We intended for everyone to take notes" or "We didn't think to mention this, so sure, why not?"  The following is a link to the Q&A.  Note that it is formatted confusingly.  The asterisk indicates what the interviewer thought the answer would be.  The printed letter afterwards is what Mr. Kitteridge responded with.

http://www.starbasej...ckKittredge.txt

I was under the impression that they were just giving answers based on a literal reading not based on their own intent, as seems to be their general M. O.  I personally don't care for note taking or excessive private conversation.  We will probably play that you have a minute to talk with your ally during a nexus if we can't take the complete lack of private discussion.

Also, as Steve-O said, this has nothing to do with errata.  House rule it if you like.  The FFG police aren't going to come take your game away.  Few games get house rules as much as Eon games.  And it's hardly the only rule difference from Dune, so I don't see why it being different means it should be changed back.  Why don't we change shipment rules and the deck consistency, too?  It's fine like it is.  No reason that your personal preference needs to be how everyone plays.  Play how you want. 



#6 Steve-O

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:19 PM

Joelist said:

 

Except that I was not proposing a house rule but saying that both rules need to be removed from the official rules because their game effects are tremendously negative. Such a removal would constitute errata.

 

 

Yes, except that the rules as present are not in any way unclear.  If FFG had intended to allow writing things down or having secret conversations, they would have written that in the rules.  The fact that they wrote the opposite was quite intentional on their part.  Therefore these are not things the NEED to be removed, just things that YOU WANT to be removed.  And they CAN be removed (quite easily) by way of house rules.  If you and your friends want to play the game differently than how the rulebook says it should be played, you can do that.  No one from FFG is going to break down the door and put a gun to your head.

Joelist said:

 

You are correct that in Dune only Atreides writes things down, and for example only letting Jol-Nar do it here would be fine also. To do otherwise converts Rex from a strategy game into a memory game.

 

 

I don't understand.  How is Dune NOT a "memory game" for everyone except Atreides when Atreides is the only one allowed to write anything down?  ONE out of SIX factions has the ability to write things down, that means FIVE out of SIX are reliant on memory.  Besides which, there's no guarantee that Atreides (Jol-Nar) will even be PART of the game if you're playing with fewer than 6, in which case ALL players would be reliant on memory.

You talk like this rule change would affect the ENTIRE GAME when in fact it would only affect ONE FACTION.  I really don't see how such a minor change to one faction converts the WHOLE GAME from "strategy" to "memory."  Besides which, I think most serious gamers would recognize that one's ability to pay attention and remember things IS and SHOULD BE an important part of any strategy game.  That leads me to believe that your real problem is just that Rex is not EXACTLY the same game as Dune is.

Which is fine, by the way; you're entitled to your opinion.  Just don't go pretending it's a flaw with the rules when really it's just a difference of opinion between what you want and what FFG wanted (because, obviously, they made the choices they did for a reason, too.)

Joelist said:

 

The no secret communications rule is pure nonsense. It does not only hurt Jol Nar but makes cooperative play by Alliances effectively impossible if the plan relies in any way on shared information. For example, one player has the shield negator but the question is when to use it. Well, in Rex the only way to ask their allies is to let the whole board know they have the card and also what the plan is.

 

 

1) I don't see how the inability to hold secret discussions hurts Jol-Nar any more than it hurts everyone else.

2) Last I checked, there was no rule against showing other people your cards.  The information is secret in general, but you're allowed to make it public (or semi-public) by showing your kit to whomever you want.  Other players will know you're up to SOMETHING, but done right you can avoid giving away the specifics of your game plan.  Bottom line, they'll know you're up to SOMETHING if you leave the room to have a private conversation with your allies, too.

Joelist said:

 

I know FFG likes to avoid having writing in their games but this particular game engine absolutely needs both the written records (for Jol Nar) and the ability to confer privately in order to function properly.

 

 

As I said before, I generally agree that these things are key elements of Dune, and I will most likely institute house rules to allow them in Rex, too.  I will not, however, badger FFG to make these changes official, because I (and the people I game with) are perfectly capable of coming to common agreements about such things.  It doesn't need to printed in black and white in the rulebook in order for us to recognize the value in a little subtlety.  Neither does it ruin the game if someone wants us to play without these house rules once in a while.

 

Edit: Having read Adam's reply (that was made while I was writing my post) I see that the official rules do not prohibit other factions from writing things down.  I'm reasonably certain you'll jump on that as justification for your original claim, so I'll just take this opportunity to remind you that you were apparently fine with JUST giving notes to Jol-Nar.  Which sort of highlights the fact that you just want Rex to be Dune, moreso than you care about writing things down.



#7 Adam

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:23 PM

I'm surprised more people haven't complained about the rule prohibiting showing cards.  I thought that was a pretty interesting aspect of Dune.  It would get around much of the need to have secret discussions, too.  If I show my ally the shield negator, he can pretty much deduce what I'm asking him, nod yes or no, and that's the end of it.  Showing cards publicly as a means to intimidate people was also fun times.  As with all the new rules though, I'm going to try it FFG's way first.  I don't suspect we'll make many changes if any at my table.

We have actually played Dune without private discussions before (though we still showed cards and bribed at any time), and it was surprisingly interesting.  Some allies struggled to develop impromptu sign language when others weren't looking.  Others like myself tried to bluff with bold statements to my ally that might not be completely true but should scare others who might assume I wouldn't lie to my own ally, or try to suggest with little hints that will hopefully be only obvious to the ally (admittedly difficult, depending on how well you know the person).  All of this might still be better if you had say one minute per nexus for private talk, but we'll see.  Everyone enjoyed that game just as much as previous games, and it certainly went by much faster, taking maybe two hours tops.



#8 Treguard

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:39 AM

I was chuckling with the increasingly judicious usage of caps.

Steve-O you so funny.



#9 Steve-O

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:59 PM

Treguard said:

I was chuckling with the increasingly judicious usage of caps.

Steve-O you so funny.

Naturally, I find that making certain words bigger makes them easier to spell-check.  =P



#10 Joelist

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:41 AM

Reading the thread (thanks for the replies - I was unable to get back in until today) I think I am seeing people referring to Dune rules and others thinking they are Rex rules.

The Rex rules state on Page 20:

Secrecy


Players are never allowed to show their Traitor and
Strategy cards to other players. Players are, however, free
to tell other players this information or even lie about it.


The number of units and leaders in players' reserves, the
strength of the leaders, the number (but not the type) of
Strategy cards in their hands, and their available influence
are all public knowledge, and cannot be kept secret from
the other players.
 

Players cannot discuss strategies secretly with each other,
even if they are allied. All discussions must take place
openly in front of all players.
 

Players cannot write down information to remember it.
For example, players must remember the Traitor cards they
decided not to keep. Likewise, the Jol-Nar player cannot
write down the Strategy cards that players are bidding on.

 

Thus my assessment of what is in the rules is accurate. It looks like earlier in the thread a poster referred to rules from Dune and some others mistook it as Rex.

 

As to my comments on them, the reason that this transforms Rex into a memory game (for the Jol Nar at least) is that their racial power is dependent on secret information. They are supposed to know all the cards bid on and so forth. So what happens is that if the Jol Nar player happens to be blessed with a really good memory then their racial power is pretty nice. If on the other hand they are not so blessed then it is not much of a power. So all because of this section the Jol Nar (unique among the players) is either buffed or severely nerfed in a totally inconsistent manner depending solely on the mnemics proficiency of the player. By definition that makes it a memory game.

 

The requirement of all discussions being open is equally ill founded. The example I gave earlier of it making it VERY hard for Alliances to coordinate their actions is just one. How about the fact that Jol Nar cannot let the allies know whether a card is bid-worthy without telling everyone?



#11 Adam

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 04:50 PM

All players want to remember things, not just Jol-Nar.  We never write notes while playing Dune -- I highly doubt most groups do -- and Atreides still wins often.  The difference between memory for the Atreides is that they have to start remembering cards at bidding round.  Everyone else sees cards in combat round and has to remember them from then on to play well. The same skill, different timing.  A Bene Gesserit player with a great memory is even scarier in Dune than an equally skilled Atreides.  Knowing exactly what to Voice against everyone is ridiculously powerful.  I try to recall spice counts for players when bribery doesn't obfuscate the totals so I can predict who will be able to ship where, at least until the game is close and people are more willing to donate spice.

And really, you just need to remember the combat cards, which isn't hard -- again, everyone else is trying to do the same.  The public discussion rule hurts everyone, so it's not a balance issue.  The last few times we played (and this was before Rex's rules were published), we started playing this way, actually, and it was a fun challenge.  Some tried to signal each other when no one was looking.  I like to find subtle ways to suggest ideas to my ally, or give false information to mess with people who think I wouldn't lie to my ally.

I'm sure you can think of creative ways to get messages across the table.  You could always try to spell out stuff with influence chips if no one's looking.  Or, if you're Jol-Nar, use the card that your ally purchased most recently as a reference point and say things like, "If there is a card you should bid on, I will say the __th letter of your previous card aloud" and say random letters for the cards they shouldn't bid on; no one else at the table will know when you're saying a random letter and when you're using the code.   Clumsy if the Jol-Nar doesn't remember the last card they bought or how to spell it, but it'd work for me, and I'm sure someone else can think of something better that wouldn't potentially reveal the reference card to clever code breakers.  If you know the person well, just think of some word you can use as a similar reference that no one else at the table would know. 

If Rex catches on as much as I think it will, I may suggest using Diplomacy rules, which sort of fits Rex's rules: talk as secretively or openly as you like, but anyone can attempt to spy on your discussions any way they can.  In that way, no discussion is truly secret since others have the option of eavesdropping.

I like Dune's rules, but I don't think Rex's no notes and secret discussion rule is the harbinger of doom fans have made it out to be.  It is going to be different, and it's going to be a challenge for those used to playing a certain way.  Be creative and you'll figure ways to cheat the system.  ...or just play the old way, nothing stopping anyone.

 



#12 Steve-O

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:12 AM

Joelist said:

 

As to my comments on them, the reason that this transforms Rex into a memory game (for the Jol Nar at least)

 

 

Apology accepted.  That was the crux of my argument against what you were saying before.  You were making it sound like this rule changed the entire game into a memory contest, when in fact it only seriously impacted the Atreides/Jol-Nar.

Now that we've sorted that out, I believe the only point we disagree on is how much FFG needs to address these rules when those who dislike them (such as both of us) can just as easily institute a house rule reversing them.






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