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Deputy

Award for most confusing rules game

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I really want to like this game, but it seems the makers do everything in their power to make it challenging before play even begins. The rulebook is as confusing as the videos on YouTube.

 

For example...on page 6 of the rulebook under #3 Domains

"Each player takes three cards that are not being used in this game and places them face-down next to his deck."

 

Great...WHERE are these cards supposed to come from???? Is the player supposed to LOOK at these cards or not? If he is allowed to look at them, how should he choose which cards to use? Is it okay to use story cards? Icon cards? Unique cards? Conspiracy cards? Event cards? 

 

C'mon designers, throw us a bone. The rules are supposed to HELP people, not confuse them. We shouldn't need to call in the old gods to decipher rules. :(  

Panzerbjrn2 likes this

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Any three cards you aren't using. You may be over thinking this one. These are just cards to mark your domains and to cover up cards you have resourced, except for the resource icons.

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Any three cards you aren't using. You may be over thinking this one. These are just cards to mark your domains and to cover up cards you have resourced, except for the resource icons.

Thank you. I wish the rules would have said that. I appreciate the quick reply.

 

Dep

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The rule booklet that accompanies the core set definitely has it's shortcomings. I think the game would benefit greatly if a new rule book were printed with corrections and additions. Just the inclusion of a timing flow chart and card errata would be a big improvement. I agree Jhaelen, including two sets of domain cards in the Core Set seems like a no-brainer!

 

With that being said, the title of this topic 'Award for most confusing rules game' is misleading and could possibly scare away future players that are poking around trying to get a feel for the game and community.   :o

 

So if you are one of those Cthulhu curious individuals, I've been playing this game for years at a fairly high level and many people would agree that this game is one of the most intuitive card games available. More intuitive than most if not all of the other LCGs. As you can see there are plenty of experienced and friendly players that are happy to answer questions and provide guidance. So what are you waiting for? Dive in!  :P

Edited by Hybrid

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The rule booklet that accompanies the core set definitely has it's shortcomings. I think the game would benefit greatly if a new rule book were printed with corrections and additions. Just the inclusion of a timing flow chart and card errata would be a big improvement. I agree Jhaelen, including two sets of domain cards in the Core Set seems like a no-brainer!

 

With that being said, the title of this topic 'Award for most confusing rules game' is misleading and could possibly scare away future players that are poking around trying to get a feel for the game and community.   :o

 

So if you are one of those Cthulhu curious individuals, I've been playing this game for years at a fairly high level and many people would agree that this game is one of the most intuitive card games available. More intuitive than most if not all of the other LCGs. As you can see there are plenty of experienced and friendly players that are happy to answer questions and provide guidance. So what are you waiting for? Dive in!  :P

 

Here's the catch to the intuitve thing...it kinda makes the rule book sound like a suggestion book instead of an instruction manual. I mean if that's the way the game is supposed to be played, fine. But do you really want to be playing the game wrong for years and then find out that all those games you thought you won were actually losses? And new players, and I mean new players who haven't EVER played this type of game before, really can't depend on intuition to make sure they are doing things right. I have played Magic the Gathering Online for many years. Sometimes the rules on those cards are confusing, but the computer enforces the way the game is played, so new players can "muddle through" until they get an understanding of the cards. That can't happen with this game. And there is nobody to consult when I am actually in the middle of this game. So written rules that are CLEAR and easy to understand are mandatory. Even the YouTube video was no help with my question. All it does is make visual exactly what it says in the rule book. I guess it's there for those who have lost the art of reading. :lol:

Perhaps the game needs an online FAQ that is updated at least weekly...I dunno.

Edited by Deputy

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As I said and I don't deny, the core rule book is inadequate. Regardless of if a game does or does not have a well thought out and executed rule book, intuitive core mechanics are paramount. Of course we don't want to depend solely upon how much sense a game makes just by symbols and card text, I don't believe I suggested this and if I did I apologize. With any game of this sophistication there will be facets that are not properly explained in the initial rules, subsequent faqs and on line videos. That's where the game's community comes in. We've got a pretty good community around here. I'm not sure the title of this topic serves it well though.  :unsure:

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The topic of the thread may be a strong opinion, but I posted it because, at the time, my frustration level was quite high. The frustration has morphed into disappointment that they are STILL selling this game with these confusing and obtuse rules. I mean even the FAQ they put out doesn't really resolve much. Don't get me wrong, I WANT to like this game. I am a big fan of Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. This game COULD blow away Magic The Gathering, but it seems to handicap itself. Go read the complaints on Amazon and other websites about this game. I bought it IN SPITE of the complaints. But now I see that many of them are correct. Maybe they need to get a guy to write the rulebook that HASN'T been playing the game for years and doesn't already know all the ins and outs of the game. That way it would be clearer and more descriptive and he would know what newbs would be asking. I don't want to play this game with a computer on the game table so that I can keep referencing different mechanics that are left out of the manual. For the price this game sells for, and the number of years it has been available, there is no excuse for having a rulebook that is so incomplete and confusing.

Edited by Deputy

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While the rule book is insufficient once you delve a bit deeper into the game, I feel that the FAQ actually has answers to almost every question that might come up. It's a big document, though. Unfortunately, the CoC LCG isn't the only game suffering from that problem. Compare it with Arkham Horror and you'll find it's pretty much the same situation (except the FAQ is even bigger!).

 

I'd like to stress, though, that with the help of the online community, you should typically be able to solve most questions very quickly. In particular, I'd recommend to check out the CoC articles over at CardGameDB. Quite recently two article series started covering both general concepts and the more intricate timing rules. Well worth reading, even if you're not new to the game.

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I would deeply like to see a seperate rule book and domain card package come out. I do not mean a rule book from the basic set, but a seperate book that has all the current rules and other helpful tidbits. I would buy it in a minute!

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Well the game was so confusing I just gave up on it. Yes, I could have probably "interpreted" the rules and come up with a variation of the game that may or may not have been what the designers intended, but I am not into playing that kind of game. I need some clear, precise, hard-set rules that I can refer to if I have a question, not rules that are 100% open to interpretation and can change depending on WHO you are playing the game with. An example of a game of that type is Magic the Gathering Online. If there is confusion in the procedures shown on the cards, you have experts online you can ask for immediate clarifications. And the rules apply equally to everyone every time you play the game. What surprises me is the makers of this game are most likely aware of the problem with the rules and haven't made any attempt to clarify them. I would gladly BUY a book that explained the exact detail of how to play if it was available. But instead they depend on folks who are helpful online but NOT always available for consultation. Am I supposed to bring along a laptop computer every time I go somewhere where I don't have access to these folks?  Do I have to sign on my own computer before starting every game in case a question comes up that nobody knows the answer to? Has this game morphed into a combination offline/online card game? That hardly sounds like a fun evening. :(

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An example of a game of that type is Magic the Gathering Online. If there is confusion in the procedures shown on the cards, you have experts online you can ask for immediate clarifications. And the rules apply equally to everyone every time you play the game.

Well, apart from the ready availability of rules experts (or players, for that matter), I don't see any significant differences between CoC and MtG in that regard. The latter has more polished rule books, but if you've never run into tricky card interactions that require expert knowledge to resolve, you simply haven't been playing it long enough.

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I've been playing since it first started up. If there is a "tricky card interaction" you can easily get an answer to it by people who KNOW what the true answer is, not an interpretation from fellow players. That makes all the difference. Not saying sometimes a card description or it's actual effect never comes as a surprise, but it IS explained by consulting the experts who really know the answer.

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Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time of it, Deputy.  Alas, very few games have the income - and therefore the support budget - that Magic: The Gathering has.  Still, Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is a game that I believe is worth the effort!

 

Remember, this is only a game.  If you and your opponent can't agree on how a particular interaction should work, just flip a coin and then play on.  Afterwards, you can always request an official ruling by selecting the 'Rules Questions' option in the small print at the bottom of this page, so that you know for next time.  (My advice is to ask on the forums though - if a quick Google search doesn't turn up the answer first - and if the experienced and helpful players on the forums aren't certain either then you/they can seek an official ruling. ...Reason being that you're likely to get a quicker response from someone else who has already asked and/or knows the answer, and as FFG's official rules support is done by a single person - Damon Stone - I'd advocate for not over-using him.)

Edited by jasonconlon

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Jason: I understand the "it's just a game" thing. Only thing that really pees me off is I bought a lot of supporting cards because it looked like this game had a lot of promise. And I guess it you are flexible to the point of not really caring if there are hard and set rules, it COULD be fun for some folks. But flipping a coin just doesn't cut it for me. And asking on the forums seems the equivalent of flipping a coin. I find it both surprising and disappointing that a game this popular depends on ONE person for rules explanation. Sure would be easier to just write a decent rule book and end all this confusion. I mean this game HAS been out for quite a while now. Seems that by now someone would have made a suggestion to the powers-that-be to retire the current mess of a rule book and go back to the drawing boards.

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I've been playing since it first started up. If there is a "tricky card interaction" you can easily get an answer to it by people who KNOW what the true answer is, not an interpretation from fellow players.

And who would those people be? Just because they have an official sounding title doesn't mean they cannot give wrong rule answers. E.g. anyone can apply to become a DCI Certified Judge and making the tests required for it.

 

Effectively, those Judges _are_ (or have been) fellow players. It's up to you whether you trust their rules knowledge or not. Their title may allow them to give 'official answers', but that doesn't make them infallible.

 

Of course WotC has set up an elaborate training program to ensure that rule questions are answered with a certain 'quality', but since we're talking about human beings, there's still a margin for errors.

 

There's no denying, though, that CoC is less well supported, which is only logical considering FFG's resources and the number of players.

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I find it both surprising and disappointing that a game this popular depends on ONE person for rules explanation.

FFG are able to get away with it because so few people ever actually submit questions for official rulings, with the majority of questions answered fast and satisfactorily in the forums.

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jhaelen: White the people answering the questions on MTGO may not and probably are not the people who created the cards or the game, their answers HAVE to accurately reflect the actions of the cards, or they wouldn't make any sense. And they DO. The answers on this forum are totally dependent on each individual's OPINION of what a cards says to do. That's a different situation entirely. You literally have hundreds of opinions with hundreds of variations of game play for EACH GAME..

 

Jason: That harks back to the "flexibility" thing and if you are willing to accept an answer because it makes things "easier" or "more playable" or fits in with what you like and not necessarily what the game rules are. Might as well just toss the rulebook and base the whole game on whatever the players want the rules to be. If you find that acceptable, then that's cool. I don't.  

Edited by Deputy

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jhaelen: White the people answering the questions on MTGO may not and probably are not the people who created the cards or the game, their answers HAVE to accurately reflect the actions of the cards, or they wouldn't make any sense. And they DO. The answers on this forum are totally dependent on each individual's OPINION of what a cards says to do. That's a different situation entirely. You literally have hundreds of opinions with hundreds of variations of game play for EACH GAME..

Hyperbole much? If anything you'll maybe see two conflicting opinions. And if those two parties cannot agree on one interpretation, one of them will contact FFG for an official answer.

 

Anyway, you see, I get it: You prefer playing MtG. Fine. You don't have to come up with weird justifications. You have my blessings. Now head over to the MtG forums and don't look back.

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Deputy, I think I understand where you're coming from. One of the fellas in my playgroup is a M:tG player, and he - rightly - bemoans Call of Cthulhu's issues with templating (i.e. inconsistent wording between cards; wording that can be quite similar but means very different things, like "commit" during the normal commitment step vs "is committed" bypassing the normal exhaust to commit step). There's no denying that Magic is a polished* game - they have the years of experience and the budget for extensive playtesting to make sure of it!

The current set of Call of Cthulhu cards stretch back as far as 2006 (with the reprinting of the original asylum packs as the Forgotten Lore cycle), and unlike collectible card games like M:tG, the Living Card Game model doesn't have a format rotation - so that's 8 years of card releases all in one big pool, which unfortunately have resulted in some of the inconsistencies between cards; and FFG only errata when they feel it's absolutely necessary.

In short, you're right to expect more of other card games - M:tG has set the bar high - and to point out Call of Cthulhu's shortcomings. If someone doesn't say something, nothing will change, so good on you for putting your thoughts out there, Deputy! I agree that areas of the rulebook (and FAQ for that matter) could be improved, but it's nowhere near as bad as "Might as well just toss the rulebook and base the whole game on whatever the players want the rules to be."

Answers to tricky interactions can be had - though not as instantly as you might get from MTGO - even official ones on the occasion there's disagreement on the topic between friendly forum users. Most of the forum users who take the time to assist with advice are aware of things like the detailed action timing chart in the FAQ, and can step you through it to determine what would likely be the correct outcome.

If the niggle of tricky interactions is stopping you from enjoying this otherwise great game, and you feel you can't be "flexible" when the questions do arise mid-game, then I'm sad to say that perhaps jhaelen's harsh advice is the right thing for you.

* 'polished' - in terms of consistent templating - is not to say that I think M:tG is the better game. I actually enjoy Call of Cthulhu far more, with its innovative resourcing system, flexible faction combinations, and other challenging decisions.

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I find it odd that the CCG version of CoC had special cards to mark your domains, but the LCG version got rid of them and instead gave us that board (that nobody uses) to place your story cards on and those cthulhu figures (that are cool, but we usualy just use glass beads instead).

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Jason: You have nailed it! But I am going to withdraw from further comments, replies, or criticism of CoC. Too many folks are obviously enjoying it, and I don't want to be a "downer" on their game. Perhaps in the future they will come out with new rules and I will be able to play and enjoy. :)

 

Dep

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Jason: You have nailed it! But I am going to withdraw from further comments, replies, or criticism of CoC. Too many folks are obviously enjoying it, and I don't want to be a "downer" on their game. Perhaps in the future they will come out with new rules and I will be able to play and enjoy. :)

 

Dep

Deputy,

 

Just FYI, I was also in the same boat.  I really felt that the rules were vague and open to interpretation by the players and I am a stickler on know the rules.   I just played a game yesterday and using the Seekers of Knowledge cards and I was just mind-boggled about using the Prophecy cards.   I've read the rules about using Prophecy Cards about 10 times, had my son read it, couldn't make sense (but I will post here asking about it!)

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Update:  I finally figured out how the Prophecy Card works!  I realized it is an event card, so you play and then you are done with it.

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