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Batman: Gotham City Chronicles Rulebook - Draft version 1.0.1

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Rules question:

VI-A-2

  1. LIFE POINTS: This value indicates the number of

    life points of each character. Most characters only have one life point. Those who have several have their own token which is used on the com- mand post to track their current life points.

  • 15.  REINFORCEMENT COST: This value represents the number of reinforcement points that the villain must pay to bring back a character whose model is in the character pool (see Reinforcements). A character tile without a reinforcement cost indi- cates that the characters of this tile cannot be bought back into play.

 

  • Penguin's Gang has a Life Point value of 1 and a Reinforcement Cost value of 2.
  • Red Hood's Gang has a Life Point value of 5 and a Reinforcement Cost value of 1.
  • Red Hood (villain) has a Life Point value of 5 and a Reinforcement Cost value of N/A.
  • Penguin has a Life Point value of 4 and a Reinforcement Cost value of N/A.

 

087d22ce969a3fddbe609bbf3f1f6b62_origina 

d6472a965439b3c7cb6948f2dbbe83d6_origina1d807e5b53d836b4c1bac5da2b801b9c_origina

29ab301596aee3be68c06918c26444b2_origina 

 

Can I safely assume that this is incorrect?

 

 

Edited by Duciris
Wasn't finished

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Section X:

LISTE DES COMPÉTENCES

I'm not reading the french version :happy:, so I must assume that this was intended to be in english.  And also, that it is intended to be, "List of Skills."

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Yikes, that rule book was a bit of a turn off. One of the longest rule books in my collection (when compared to other board games, not RPG’s), complex rules with many terms and steps, and really really high vocabulary. I’m sure I can work my way through it eventually, but walking other players, or non adult players, through it sounds like a massive challenge. Especially players that are already approaching the game cautiously for whatever reason. I’m a teacher, so I’m very familiar with reading levels, this is definitely in the college range. I really wish you could tone it down a bit, so it would be slightly more welcoming to people who are a bit less harcore. This rule book is really intense.

It would really benefit from some synonyms.

Maybe a quickstart guide.

Maybe bumping some rules to an “advanced rules” section. 

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These are some words and phrases that most popped out at me, as things that would benefit from being toned down if possible:

delimited 

facilitate the determination

promontory

demobilization

saturation 

 

There is so much complex English language in this game. I really think it could be simplified and still have clarity. This would just make the game more inviting to a larger number of players. 

 

I think most players would just want a tutorial video and a reference section. 

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First, thank you for allowing us to preview this early version of the Batman rulebook. After the frustrations with the Conan rulebook, I'm sure you realize that we in the gaming community are hoping that the Batman rulebook will be significantly improved. Based on my first pass, I'll share the following observations…

 

First, the good:

  • The typefaces used are very readable. Typesetting also looks much improved. We are hoping not to see the large, awkward gaps of space between words (sometimes called "rivers") that ended up on the final Conan tiles and equipment cards as they look very amateurish. A good designer with a strong command of typography will know how to avoid this.
  • The color scheme is quite nice. The gray, black, white and yellow have a nice "tech" feel. Section headers pop and are fairly easy to find on the page. Pages 8 and 12 are good examples of proper use of color and type to delineate visual hierarchies.
  • The 2-column format generally works for the book, but it's best reserved for rules, glossaries and indexes (i.e., text-heavy sections). A reader will expect to read the left column first from top to bottom and then jump to the top of the right column. However, there are pages where you break from this pattern, which creates a confusing path for the reader to follow. Pages 16 and 25 are examples of how not to use columns.

Now, the areas of improvement:

  • This rule book is really dense and complex and it's going to turn a lot of people off. In Conan, you were criticized for being too vague and cryptic with rules, which led to far too many questions and frustrations about basic game play. With Batman, I feel the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Rules are over explained and pedantic. Your audience will be far better served by visual examples (more on that below). I strongly recommend the development of a "Tutorial Scenario", or a separate "Quick Start" rule book, that walks first timers through the basics of game play, step by step.
  • As a bilingual person, it's obvious to me, yet again, that the English rule book is a direct translation from French. Please, please, please hire a professional editor who is a native speaker of English to write, edit and proofread this book and all of your game components. Already, on many pages of the Batman rule book, I can see the same awkward phrasing that plagued your Conan rule book: It's things like "Turn of the Side with the Initiative" and "Actions of the Heroes", which should read "Player With Initiative Activates" and "Hero Actions", respectively, for example. This is not a minor issue, guys. It's hugely important for the success of your game and for the market perception of Monolith as a serious international game developer. There's an art to writing amazing rule books (see FFG's Imperial Assault Core Rulebook as an example of an excellent rule book), and it takes serious skill to translate rules into meaningful language. It still amazes me that so many game developers tend to deprioritize this.
  • There are places where the French is still in the English book. (Still see this problem in Conan as well.) See pages 16, 41, 48 as examples. Again, proofreading should fix this.
  • Complex, multi-step examples require a different visual treatment from your standard game rule design treatment. Don't embed examples "inline" in a column surrounded by rules text, such as on pages 21, 24 and 38. That's really confusing because it interrupts the flow of the rule sequence you're attempting to describe. Better to list the entire sequence and then follow it up with a standalone example afterward. Rules first, example second. Text first. Visuals second.
  • You need more visual "how-to" examples—such as the example of the "Jim Gordon Attack" sequence on page 16—for things like the Ranged Attack and Complex Manipulation sequences on pages 17, 19, 36-37, which look too much like a flow chart. In addition to using full color photos, your examples should be given a more distinctive design treatment so they don't blend in with the rest of the game rules. It's good that your designer is establishing white, italic text on gray text boxes exclusively for visual examples, but that's not enough to make them really stand out. Break out of the standard column widths and give examples generous full page widths. Examples should have bolder, more colorful headers, such as "Example of Attack Sequence". Keep the text instructions on the left and the images on the right instead of stacking everything. And be consistent with this treatment throughout the book.
  • White space is your friend. It really looks like your designer is trying to cram everything into every available space on every page. It's getting very dense and looking like a tech manual or engineering text book. Pages 31-40 look almost identical and are really difficult to get through, for example. Give the book some breathing room. Don't be afraid to end sections halfway down the page with white space below. Or start a new section halfway down a page with a nice full width art illustration above it. Insert divider pages with full page art and a major section header (like "The Heroes") to create logical section breaks. Yes, it adds to page count and perhaps a bit more to print costs, but it's worth it for practicality and usability.
  • The Skills List and the Traits List - Don't bury game rules within lists! As in Conan, the use of Skills and Traits is a strategic part of game play. It should therefore be explained earlier in the rule book so players know when it's appropriate to apply a skill or trait. When, exactly, do you activate a skill or trait? At what point in combat do you apply modifiers? Which skills get priority over others? How do you resolve conflicting skills or traits? Who gets priority? A good example of "How to Activate a Hero's Skills" would be useful and will save you loads of time dealing with FAQs on BGG.
  • Table of Contents? How about a detailed glossary at the back to help gamers jump to a section within the book using a keyword like "hindering" or "complex manipulation", etc.?

 

Please accept these observations as constructive criticism. I'm really excited about this game and am hoping it's a tremendous hit for Monolith. I'm happy to provide more feedback on any part of the game if it will contribute to your success. Hope others chime in as well. Cheers!

Edited by Nav
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These are the errors I noticed when I translated the instructions into Polish, of course I can be wrong:

 

Page 8
A wall is indicated in the game boards rules and is not marked by a line on the board. it blocks lines of sight...

Should be capitalized? :)

 

Page 19
Spend Energy Cubes
The hero chooses the number of cubes they wish
to spend on this complex manipulation, with a
minimum of one cube, and moves them from their
reserve zone to their manipulation space. This corresponds
to the attack intensity.

This is not an attack. The FR version is a hero.

 

Page 19

Create the Dice Pool
The attacker creates their dice pool, taking as many
dice of their manipulation characteristic as the
number of cubes just spent.characteristic a

This is not an attack. The FR version is a hero.

It's an unnecessary piece of text at the end. :)

 

Page 21
Indication : She first has to get closer by performing a simple move, with hindering. This costs her  1 move point. She still has 1 move point left in her pool of move points.

During in this particular case movement there are no hindering, or they are and amount to 0. :)

 

Page 37
Create the Dice Pool
The villain creates their dice pool by taking the dice indicated by the previously chosen characteristic of the attacker.

Same as above.

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A small one, but I think in the intro “the Dark Knight and his sidekicks” should read “the Dark Knight and his allies”

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I am reading through the rulebook. A lot of things are fairly clear but I think that is probably because I have watched every playthrough vid etc. I feel if you are reading the rulebook in of itself it has a tendency to be a bit "wordy"/dense. A similar issue arises when converting from Spanish to English.

For Example (pg. 12 of 58) under Spend Energy Cubes -

"The attacker cannot spend energy cubes on the
melee attack space if doing so would raise the total
number of energy cubes on the action space above
its exertion limit."

Instead:

"The attacker can spend cubes on the melee attack up to their exertion limit"

The next sentence about the limit being reached covers other eventualities.

 

Another possible clarification for pg 11 of 58 in 5 Heroes Actions:

After having performed the action:

I believe another bullet point maybe could be added saying,

-> The acting hero performs another action

-> If at least one other hero ......etc

 

I will try and add more suggestions as I read through the pdf. Or people are free to disagree with my suggestions :wink:

 

 

Edited by Gleesman
Spelling

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Another small issue, the following sentence: (pg 12 of 58 Spend Energy Cubes)

The attacker chooses the number of cubes they wish to
spend on this attack, with a minimum of one cube, and
moves them from their reserve zone to their melee
attack space. This corresponds to the attack intensity.

 

I´m finding it difficult to understand what the "this" in the final sentence refers to. There are a number of possible subjects from the previous sentence that "this" could be referencing. With the dice having differing colours and each colour being stronger or weaker(white up to black), differing types of attack could have differing intensities......

:smile:

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@Gleesman  What they're trying to say is that the more energy cubes a player spends on an attack, the greater the intensity, or strength, of the attack. One energy cube is a minimum intensity attack, while the maximum intensity is capped at the attacker's exertion limit. So, in this case, the word "this" refers to the player's action of determining the number of energy cubes to assign to the attack.

 

Clear as mud, right? The rule would be better written as follows:

 

The attacker chooses the number of energy cubes they wish to spend on this attack and moves them from their Reserve Zone to their Melee Attack space. The more energy cubes spent on the attack, the greater the intensity of the attack. A minimum of one cube is required to initiate an attack. The maximum number of cubes spent on an attack cannot exceed the hero's exertion limit.

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Hello, all.

 

First of all, thanks for chiming in. It’s clear you guys are digging in and doing a lot of work, and that’s much appreciated. I have read all of these comments carefully and will be noting them when we look back at the book. We really do want to highlight that this is a work-in-progress. Because of the concerns around the Conan rulebook we really wanted to allow people to have a look at this and be able to comment before it was too late. We still have plenty of time to tweak the syntax, titles, and terminology used. Perhaps we gave you a rougher draft than we should have, but this is the exact kind of feedback we’re looking for.

 

@Nav, a special thank you for your efforts. You pointed out a few things that were actually supposed to have been fixed but were somehow lost in the edits. I assure you, we’re looking closely at your points. 

 

Again, thanks for the feedback and keep it coming. We assure you, this is a work-in-progress.

 

Matt John

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@Matt John S My pleasure, Matt! I'm a graphics designer, typesetter and editor by day and avid tabletop gamer and hobbyist by night, so it's hard for me to hold back when I see a document with room for improvement. Even harder still when the subject matter is of great personal interest to me, like Conan and Batman. Glad you guys are listening, and I totally get that this is a WiP. I'm optimistic this project will be awesome. Let me know if you need my eyeballs on any other part of the game. I won't let anything get by me!  :bloqueur:

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@Nav, thanks again. We'll be popping up another version after the campaign ends and asking for further feedback, so I'm hoping we'll have your eyes again. 

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When it comes to the 'list of competences' I would try to make a more logical order. So bundle all icons with fists, bundle all range/gun icons. Because when you will look one of the abilities up you will search for either 'fists' or 'feet'-related icons for example.

 

Edited by K4rl Dntch
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I read somewhere in the comments (on Kickstarter I believe) that people had issues with the words manipulation, delimited, promontory and some others.

 

Delimited is a fantastic word but not very commonly used in English and many people (native English speakers included) would de unaware of its meaning. I would suggest substituting with "surrounded/encircled/marked out/bordered"

Promontory - has the same issue as delimited- could be substituted with "Inaccessible/ (highground or elevated area)"

Manipulation I feel is perfect, I cant really come up with a good substitute :smile:

Thought - in the explanation berfore the though section of the rulebook you use "reasoning". Because of the meaning of the action involved "Complex Reasoning" and "Automatic Reasoning" would make it much clearer, and be more accurate in terms of English, as to the action being used instead of Complex Thought and Automatic Thought.

 

Finally maybe "Intuitive" or "Natural" instead of Automatic. I just feel that the word Automatic doesn´t mesh/fit with the action you are trying to do. Automatic gives the sense that it happens by itself, without interaction - which isn´t really true. (I know you don´t roll dice but you do have to spend cubes to complete it)

 

Cheers

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17 hours ago, Nav said:
  •  Please, please, please hire a professional editor who is a native speaker of English to write, edit and proofread this book and all of your game components.

 

Dear Monolith,

 

I am a professional translator and proofreader who also happens to be very experienced with game rules. After the valuable experience you had with Conan, it pleases me greatly to see that you want to make Batman's rules at good and airtight as possible. The first rough draft may seem discouraging to unprofessional readers, but I can already see that a lot of good work has been done to improve the way you do things.

 

However, this really does seem like a very early draft, and I'm sorry to say it's done by someone whose English is not up to the task. The phrasing is too often unnecessarily cumbersome, so it takes effort to read the rules.

 

If you'd like to do as good Nav here suggests, I am available for work as proofreader and editor of the English version of the rules. I'm not proficient enough in French to do the same for the French edition, but I understand French well enough to compare the texts. Naturally, I do not work for free. I'm not what you might consider a "budget choice" as a proofreader and editor. But you will get the quality you're paying for. And, as I wish the Batman game to succeed as much as you do, I'm willing to negotiate for a discount for you guys.

 

If you're interested, please contact me.

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Thanks again, all. Great points and very helpful. @The Captain most of the adjustments made to this draft were tense and pluralization corrections and making the steps sound more like commands or, simply put, steps (though I already see a few title sections that need to change). The phrasing, as you point out, still does need some work. Mostly, we were going for accuracy on this pass and finesse and accessibility will be the next priority. 

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12 hours ago, Nav said:

@Matt John S Count on it. Here to help.

 

@Nav, I’m really encouraged to see that Monolith is listening to your feedback. Everything you said was spot on. 

 

@Matt John S - you all need to absolutely nail this rule book for the English audience. It’s fantastic that you all are listening to feedback like this. I hope you take Nav’s changes to heart and really use an experienced native English editor!

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Firstly, I think its great that Monolith is providing early drafts of the rulebook for feedback.

 

I'll reiterate that the text is currently too wordy and needs to be simplified for clarity. 

 

I won't point out typos or misspelt words as this is a WiP document, however I will question the use of the same icon for Harmless and Moral Code in the list of traits.

 

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This is a great first iteration of the rules; as long as it's a first iteration. I hope we see new updates every few weeks so that we can continue to provide feedback and I really hope they get someone who is a professional to do a proper English pass, because this game would be unapproachable by one of it's target audiences, the younger players.

 

I do worry a little about scenarios, because I expect those wont be put up for public perusal before release, and if those aren't done well, there could be issues.

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This is possibly less about the rules and more about some villain tiles we've seen, but on page 60, in the List of Traits, there's an icon for the trait of Fly. I don't see that icon on the Firefly tile that was revealed today on Kickstarter or the Man-Bat tile that was revealed on Facebook awhile back. Do the tiles still need this updated, or do they not have Fly for some reason? Or did I somehow miss it? Just wanted to bring this up, because I didn't see it mentioned elsewhere. 

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First of all I want to say that I am really excited about the game. And I’m looking forward to the rest of the campaign and next year when it comes out.

I do have some suggestions on the rulebook. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t.

 

I will start with the hero board on page 12.

1- I don’t like that the numbers are all over the place. I don’t like that I have to search where a certain number is and I would rather have it be left to right top to bottom.

(For example the 7, 3, 4 at the top right makes no sense to me.)

 

2- And for the action spaces you could use 8.a, 8.b, etcetera. So there are fewer numbers which might make it a little clearer.

 

3- Suggestion: Encumbrance —> Weight penalty

 

4- With the Villain command board (page 30), because there are way less numbers on the board it bothers me less.

5- But for the river tiles (page 31) I would just change the ‘Tile Level’ to number 2 (is now 16) and shift all the other numbers. It’s just easier to find that way. 

 

6- For the list of skills. I would bundle the skills like “attack-skills / movement-skills / manipulation-skills / etcetera". So that the skill would be easier to find when in the middle of a game.

 

7- I also would start with naming the type of skill before explaining how it works. For example “Type: automatic manipulation”. This way it’s immediately clear what type of skill you are dealing with.

 

Now in the introduction of the list of skills you could also explain:

8- that heroes may only use skills they actually posses.

9- how the skill level works.

10- what the difference is between an automatic or a complex skill. So you don't have to explain it for every skill.

 

11-  I understand you want to be thorough but try not to over-explain every skill.

For example:

CONDITIONS:
- the possessor of the skill performs the action. (I don't think this needs to be explained)
- the possessor of the skill declares its use. (I don't think this needs to be explained)
- the possessor of the skill has not already used it during this turn. (to me this is the only necessary condition that needs to be explained)

 

12- instead of 'the possessor of the skill' I would just say "the hero" or "the character"

 

13- It is said before but having a native english speaker read through the rulebook would help making it better, but maybe you should wait until you are closer to finishing the rulebook.

 

Just some thoughts hope this will help!

 

Keep up the good work!

Cheers,

K4rel

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