Thursday, May 28, 2015

When rules go wrong

When rules go wrong.

If you are anything like me, first off I'm sorry, because that means you are a stickler for things making sense.  Especially in your rule books.  And it means you and other's like you are good at finding things in rule books that don't.  If you really are like me, again I'm sorry, but you have a friend or two that like pointing these things out to you and watching your head explode.  Well folks, get the duct tape ready to hold your head together, because 2CE found a dozy.  It comes from a game we've not talked about lately, but after a great trip to NY to play another club over Memorial Day, we'll probably be getting back into it.  The game is Dark Age, and the rule is as follows:

Ratchets can be fielded 6 for every 250  points you are playing, and cost 50 points each.

Ok, so some of you laughed, some cried, and some are a bit lost.  I'll start with the last group, at 50
points each you can only afford 5 every 250 points, but the force limit is 6, which it is impossible to ever achieve.

The problem with rules like this, is they make people who don't know the game question whether the rules set it any good, especially when basic math seems to escape the writers.  I'm one of those kind, if I can see it, why can't they?

Here, however, I think they writers have got a great rules set, quite refined and well balanced.  So how did they miss this?  I think in this case it was a series of rules interactions that lead to a this ridiculousness.  Let's start with the fact that blights can squadlink in groups of 6, thus the idea of allowing 6 to fielded at a time.  Then let's look at the fact that the force organization is done in unique, x in 250 points, x in 500 points, and x in 1000 points, and, if you accept that they want you to be able to field a bunch of these guys, you can see how the 250 points of this rule got added.  Lastly, 50 points each, why not 42?  It makes the other make work.  2 reasons that I can see here.  It seems a conscious choice of the designers to have all points in round fives (ie. 10, 15, 20, etc...) and most importantly 50 points is the balance point for blights.  At least as far as the designers are concerned, your mileage may vary (for my non American audience: kilometerage?).

When you look at the logic above you can see how they arrived where they did, and each part makes sense unto itself.  What seems to have failed is someone reading the card afterwards and going "Um, guys?"

So you might be asking, Belgarath97 what is the point?  The point is if nonsensical rules get to you, like they do me, sometimes it's worth trying to figure out how the designers got there before you ditch a rules set or system.  A more thorough look might reveal that a lot of thought went into a decision based on a lot of other decisions, and what was left felt wonky.  Personally if it had been me I'd have switched it to 5 in 250, but wonky as it feels currently, it works, and that is further proof that Dark Age is a really well rounded, and written, game.

Until next time...

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