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xking

Do you think AoS rules are badly written?

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So I recently encountered a video by doom and darkness on GW's rules writing. 

And it got me thinking. What is the consensus on the AoS rules. Do you think they are good, bad or decent?

( I'm not talkin about what armies you think should or should not exist, this is more a question on rules writing itself for AoS)

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I think the rules of the game are excellent, provide a great playing experience, and tell the story effectively. 

I think the breakdown comes inside the factions when certain units are poorly defined in their own narrative and end up as neither here nor there type units in the game. Which is not something you can point for. 

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The writting is absolut okay and most of the time clear, the rules itself range from medicore to bad. I've allways the feeling that AOS is still in a alpha testing phase.  But the Models are awesome.

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The rules writing could be better. Compared to something like Magic: the Gathering’s Comprehensive Rules, GW still has a way to go.

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Rules seem pretty well written, easy to understand and smooth to play through. Some battletomes balance can be a little bit wonky upon outset but GW have shown they're willing to adjust where needed to accomodate and actively take on player feedback. For me this is the best playing GW game to date.

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Nope, it's a great game.  Certainly the best GW has ever come up with 

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Some of the rule sentence structure is bizarre, but I have a feeling this could be designed  this way to help with consistency in language translations.

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The grammatical and clarity elements are better than they have been at any time in the 30+ years I've been playing GW games, but they still could use help. There are just too many places where a reader could reach a conclusion at odds with what the writer may have meant or, worse yet, at odds with what the opponent thinks the words mean.

I have a very hard time asking my opponents to abandon their legitimate (based on the grammar) reading of a rule even if 90% of other gamers don't read it how they did.

This is why FAQs and errata are so important. If a rule needs to be tightened up in its wording, it's good we have a way to do that.

Another weak aspect of the rules writing is the add-on/evolving nature of things. Because design ideas change and supplements get added, inconsistencies creep in - to the point where something that should be super easy, like building an army list, can be overwhelming and easy to get wrong.

 

TLDR, it's better now, but could really use help.

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Posted (edited)

For reference

+++ MOD EDIT +++ TGA is a family friendly forum, please ensure that videos titles don't break the profanity rules before posting.

 

Edited by RuneBrush
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A few thoughts:

1) GW still needs to approach rules in a much more formal structure. More recently we've seen them defining the order of events within the turn sequence in order to clarify how abiltiies with certain battletomes work, esp when they work in conjunction with other battletome abilities. This shows that clearly there ARE some more formal understandings, but its not clearly communicated within the rules as they are currently structured in the core document (rule book). 

2) IF GW improved the above I think a lotof confusion, esp when two abilities affect the same core rule in different ways, would clear up on their own. 

3) Language choice - sometimes GW writes rules in a very casual sense without giving a strict definition of the terms as they relate to the game. This can result in, at times, miss interpretations which can lead to confusion. Now I will freely admit that some people do overplay these and do jump at very odd conclusions which are very abnormal and often this is done more for causing drama than anything else. 

4) INDEX - GW rules need a freaking index. Even though they are short not all the information is always where you think it is. A great example is that in matched play you can only have 1 of any named endless spell in play per army. at a time. However  this is only mentioned in the army building segment of the matched play rules and no where in the page that details endless spells. In fact that page actually says you can take as many as you have models for. It was clearly written for open/narrative not matched, but doesn't highlight that fact.

5) As I just noted GW needs to clarify their rules more strictly in terms of the 3 modes of play that they have created. The most suitable would be to define the rules purely for matched play and then introduce the other two modes after with their own specific modifications/options to the matched play standard. This make sense as most treat matched play as "standard" and its the only mode that has a unified approach. Allowing open and narrative to bolt onto the top is much more sensible than trying the other way around. 

6) Naming. Endless Spells come to mind here (once again) because GW hasn't fully given them clear lines between regular spells and endless spells. This means that people get confused when things like range boosters don't work on endless spells, but counterspells do etc.... Again these are things errata/FAQ have started to clear up, but could have been avoided entirely by GW being stricter in tehir outline writing.

 

 

Personally my impression is that GW has made huge improvements in their rules, but at the same time still have some core issues. My impression is that GW's writers are so experienced and used to playing each other that they operate with a set understanding of the rules that they fail to formally communicate through their written rules because they don't "see" the need to because its almost an unwritten rule for them. Terrain and how its handled would be a good example; but also things like the specific formal turn sequences and the like. 

What annoys most is that many of these things can be done, many are quite simple and often just require a more formal approach to writing than GW has historically used. One only has to look at Magic the Gathering for a much more structured and formal approach to rules; a game system where the rules themselves are often not left in dispute during games, but rather the interaction of a dozen or more cards changing things (warhammer is simpler its normally only one or two that conflict). 

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Some of 'em. Certain battletomes are terrible (Kharadron, Stormcast) certain units are basically unfixable by points because of their design (vanguard hunters, blood stalkers), the Realm of Battle rules are a nightmare unless you HEAVILY houserule them.

The core of the game is more or less fine though.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Overread said:

) As I just noted GW needs to clarify their rules more strictly in terms of the 3 modes of play that they have created. The most suitable would be to define the rules purely for matched play and then introduce the other two modes after with their own specific modifications/options to the matched play standard. This make sense as most treat matched play as "standard" and its the only mode that has a unified approach. Allowing open and narrative to bolt onto the top is much more sensible than trying the other way around. 

I'm actually very glad they don't do that. Matched Play is not the standard. Nor is Narrative. Nor is Open.

If they wrote everything as MP is the standard, it would likely go even further toward tournament players claiming that their way is right/best. By keeping the rules less specific as they are introduced, then adding in restrictions as they are needed, they keep a structure of "base" + add-ons, which I think is entirely appropriate.

Now then, that said, heck yes an index is needed. The limitation on endless spell in MP absolutely should only be mentioned in the MP rules, as that's the only play mode where it applies, but the index should have all references to endless spell listed under one entry.

Edited by Sleboda
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38 minutes ago, Sleboda said:

If they wrote everything as MP is the standard, it would likely go even further toward tournament players claiming that their way is right/best. 

This! So much, this! Without a doubt, Matched Play is talked about online more than the other to ways to play. Ironically Matched Play is the least complex way to play if you want to then discuss the game online with strangers. Everyone has an assumed baseline for comparison in the form of the armies and lists played at the latest big tournament. 

On the other hand it's quite hard to discuss my friend's latest Narrative or Open Play event with strangers who don't know anything about the battleplans, special rules used, army restrictions, and so on. Without joining my gaming group there's not much you can know or that we can discuss. Unless you are patticipating in the latest global NEO event! Check 'em out! They're great!

Sadly the most common mistake I've seen from the online Warhammer community is the assumption that, because people frequently talk about Matched Play online, that proves everyone only plays Matched Play. There are likely far more people playing a mash-up of Open, Narrative, and Matched AoS with friends in their garage or at their FLGS. Those people matter even if their play style isn't discussed online as frequently as the Matched Play crowd.  In my opinion, the best move GW's made is pivoting towards three ways to play and really supporting each!

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Posted (edited)

Try having a conversation about open or narrative play online and it fast gets very confusing because both modes have no defined characteristics that give a universal grounding to work from.

 

Matched play should be the standard that the rules are written for, and by and large they are written for matched play. Thereafter GW can introduce the other two modes; narrative is basically matched play with interconnected battle elements; the matched play form the base and then you bolt on stories and things like regiments gaining experience or buying units between matches etc.... It's much easier to write things from a single unified solid common ground and then modify than it is to do it the other way around. 

Marketing, local focus and other aspects will keep open and narrative in the mix. 

 

It's much easier to say "here are the limits, here are the rules" then present open play. "It's the same rules you just read but now you can play it open style."

 

Of course if they cleaned things up such as making things like endless spells and limits clearer even in teh matched play section, then it might resolve both issues. However it was done improving clarity is the core. 

 

 

Edited by Overread
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Posted (edited)

I don’t think having a precisely written ruleset (like Magic) would turn the game more away from Open and Narrative gaming. Both those need a precise ruleset as well, and while Magic is very competitive, one of it’s most popular formats is Commander, a definitively kitchen table format. 

I’m of course talking about the wording of rules right now, not powerlevels. I think there’s been a mix of both in the thread that sometimes make it hard to discuss because they aren’t the same issue.

Edited by Platypus
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Posted (edited)

The core rules are great.

the issue is within the warscrolls (too many bad ones or Scrolls don’t lack a purpose), Allegiance Abilities and terribly off (or random) point values

 

the wording is often lacking as well hence all the FAQ entries.

Edited by JackStreicher

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12 minutes ago, Platypus said:

I don’t think having a precisely written ruleset (like Magic) would turn the game more away from Open and Narrative gaming. Both those need a precise ruleset as well, and while Magic is very competitive, one of it’s most popular formats is Commander, a definitively kitchen table format. 

Exactly its much easier to adapt, modify and homebrew the rules if the rules start out really strong and well written from the get-go. Because then when you make a house rule or change things or drop things you've a far better idea of what those changes will result in. So sure you can say "lets play open without the terrain rules" and you instantly know what kind of effect its going to have on the game

Basically if you treat matched play as the core central approach and polish it up then its much easier to present the other modes of play. Heck Narrative is just matched with context and sometimes a campaign of linked battles; having tight rules makes it much easier to then have regiments bought between matches; to scale wins and loses to army size etc... 

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I can expand on this if someone wants. But for a d6 game it does do things very well and overall is one of the better systems I’ve played with its core rules. 

Really the only way to improve is if they upped the sides of the dice to make the game easier to balance.

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The rules are generally fine but the way they are sometimes written is very poor. Grammatical messes, no clarity on options, sentences that can be interpreted multiple ways. It all leads to confusion or opportunities to use ridiculous loopholes. Talking of holes they just accidentally made skaven gnawholes illegal to use. (Explained perfectly in pic attached)

IMG-20190615-WA0002.jpg

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For the most part I feel like the clarity of the rules is pretty solid as of 2.0 and their move to using a rubric of consistent terms in their writing is great. 

The problem comes down to a few things. Firstly they need to follow Jervis' own mantra of "Kill Your Darlings" more. As an example, look at the Beastlord's Command Ability:

Quote

COMMAND ABILITIES Grisly Trophy: With a roar of triumph, the Beastlord raises a severed head into the air.

You can use this command ability in the combat phase if any attacks made by a friendly Beastlord with this command ability resulted in an enemy model being slain that phase. If you do so, until the end of that phase, you can re-roll wound rolls for attacks made by friendly Brayherd units wholly within 18" of that Beastlord. If any attacks made by that Beastlord resulted in an enemy Hero or Monster being slain that phase, you can re-roll both hit rolls and wound rolls for attacks made by friendly Brayherd units wholly within 18" of that Beastlord instead.

 

This rule is neither concise, and it's a mess to keep track of, or even pay attention to. This rule would be a "Darling" under Jervis' own description and either needs to be rewritten from the ground up, or killed and replaced with something else.

And this isn't the only example of this in the game, it's just the easiest one for my to remember off the top of my head since it's part of my current army.

The internal balance is pretty spotty too. I love the idea of bonuses that encourage certain builds but most books push us towards a single build that is so much better over the others that it trickles down out of the competitive scene as well. As an example (from BoC again), Gavespawn is so heads and shoulders better than the other Greatfreys and basically it's Gavespawn or nothing. And it's not like it's the Hagg Nar of the book, but it shows there was a clear effort for the idea everyone was excited for, but less effort was put into Dark Walkers (whose relic is meh, but is otherwise decent) and Allherd (which is basically garbage despite being the one that lore wise should represent most of the BoC armies on the table and has ended up represented none of them).

 

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1 hour ago, Laststand said:

The rules are generally fine but the way they are sometimes written is very poor. Grammatical messes, no clarity on options, sentences that can be interpreted multiple ways. It all leads to confusion or opportunities to use ridiculous loopholes. Talking of holes they just accidentally made skaven gnawholes illegal to use. (Explained perfectly in pic attached)

 

image.png.3068630a1587a3e91847b64614430741.png

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Posted (edited)

But these new scenery placements rules aren’t core rules, right? That’s the issue, the gnawhole warscroll doesn’t overwrite it.

Edited by Platypus

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