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EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use

 Post subject: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:54 am 
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[UPDATE 07 October 2018: This project is now LIVE - see https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp. Enjoy!]

I've been lurking for a while, and this is my first post. I bring good tidings for anyone who agrees with these sentiments from the "If you could change the rules..." thread:

Quote:
Look, I think the main rule book can tweak to be clearer and less ambiguous..So small changes etc..

Quote:
Oh I would first just rewrite the rulebook not to change rules, but to write them in formal description logic axioms.

Quote:
I don't think there's much that should be changed. They definitely could use rewriting for clarity. Supposedly they were written by English native speaker but...

Quote:
[regarding aircraft rules] lets make the section clear

Quote:
One thing I’d like to see (in addition to most above) is rewriting/updating the rules to include what is clarified in the FAQ and such.


I have overhauled the rules to make them clearer. At the moment I call this the EA Rules Revamp. Same rules, just easier to use (rationalised, less ambiguous, more user-friendly structure). Not only that but I also output to three versions from the same source: a website version, an Android app version and a PDF version. See my screencast demo of the Android app below (slightly out of date now, work is ongoing).

DEMONSTRATION SCREENCAST (MP4 file in my OneDrive): https://1drv.ms/v/s!AkeN0R8v-Af4k7tvKy_2W9fPChI6LA (I'll probably break this link at some point in the coming weeks or months but it should work fine for you for now)

Such a demo can't really convey the improvements to the text, but you get the idea.

I'm thinking of sharing this soon via a domain that I'll set up for the purpose. I've been thinking of setting up a WordPress hobby blog anyway, so I could nest it within that and perhaps use the blog to notify/explain/discuss updates/issue reporting/etcetera. Or do you have any better ideas I should consider?

I don't know how Games Workshop will look upon it. Their IP policy gives some helpful guidelines but still leaves a lot of grey areas, and my understanding of IP/copyright rules is inadequate. I'm clear that my version is a totally unofficial fan effort to overhaul for usability (and to reference other community resources) and that no challenge to their IP is intended. So I hope they will be content to leave well alone, as they seem to with respect to the republishing of their original texts on the NetEA and EpicUK websites. I guess worst case GW will hit me with a cease and desist letter and I'll have to take it down, but I'd rather not get into that position :-(

I did consider approaching GW directly, but their IP policy basically says "don't bother us unless you have a licensing proposition" - and this isn't really something that fits into that. I have made a back-door enquiry through an old contact but nothing has come of it.

Thoughts? Do you care? What future do you see for such a project? As long as you found it reliable, would you use a more convenient but non-official rewrite by some random person you've never heard of?

Eric

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EA Rules Revamp: Same Epic Armageddon rules, but easier to use! (Unofficial) https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp Want to help improve it? https://thehobby.zone/issue-tracker/?bugcatid=24


Last edited by MeBrainBeDrained on Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:06 am 
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Maybe. I would probably want to know who the chap was and what experience he had with the game first.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:31 am 
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Fair enough - although I would argue that the more important point, seeing as I'm not actually changing the rules, is that in my professional life I am an experienced technical writer. This means that I am well used to taking something baffling and making it easier to understand and use without changing the intended meaning*.

*Of course, normally I'd have access to the developers, to check ambiguities and such. I don't in this case, but I've found that there is enough in the source and the FAQs for me to work with seeing as I already understand the hobby.

The proof is in the pudding I think.

Still, a few brief points on my gaming biography might be in order:
    * Started tabletop wargaming at age 11 with Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 2nd edition, sometime around 1986
    * Owned and played many GW games over the years, especially in the 1990s. But I played more 2nd edition Epic than anything else. Played just a little 3rd edition (Epic 40,000) when it came out.
    * In the late 1990s I played a central role in turning the GW Bath store into one of GW's best performing stores at the time. Mostly played 40k and Fantasy Battles during this period. Was offered a job at the HQ but had other ideas.
    * Had a long hiatus during which I only played the occasional bit of Fantasy Battles, Necromunda or Blood Bowl.
    * In 2016, decided to get back into tabletop wargaming. Warm feelings about Epic resurfaced. Discovered Epic Armageddon which I'd totally missed. Got some of my friends friends into it (they also played some old-school Epic back in the day) and have been collecting and playing since.

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EA Rules Revamp: Same Epic Armageddon rules, but easier to use! (Unofficial) https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp Want to help improve it? https://thehobby.zone/issue-tracker/?bugcatid=24


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:33 am 
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I thought the FAQ cleared up any ambiguity?


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:35 am 
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MeBrainBeDrained wrote:
Fair enough - although I would argue that the more important point, seeing as I'm not actually changing the rules, is that in my professional life I am an experienced technical writer. This means that I am well used to taking something baffling and making it easier to understand and use without changing the intended meaning*.

*Of course, normally I'd have access to the developers, to check ambiguities and such. I don't in this case, but I've found that there is enough in the source and the FAQs for me to work with seeing as I already understand the hobby.

The proof is in the pudding I think.

Still, a few brief points on my gaming biography might be in order:
    * Started tabletop wargaming at age 11 with Warhammer Fantasy Battles, 2nd edition, sometime around 1986
    * Owned and played many GW games over the years, especially in the 1990s. But I played more 2nd edition Epic than anything else. Played just a little 3rd edition (Epic 40,000) when it came out.
    * In the late 1990s I played a central role in turning the GW Bath store into one of GW's best performing stores at the time. Mostly played 40k and Fantasy Battles during this period. Was offered a job at the HQ but had other ideas.
    * Had a long hiatus during which I only played the occasional bit of Fantasy Battles, Necromunda or Blood Bowl.
    * In 2016, decided to get back into tabletop wargaming. Warm feelings about Epic resurfaced. Discovered Epic Armageddon which I'd totally missed. Got some of my friends friends into it (they also played some old-school Epic back in the day) and have been collecting and playing since.


So you havent played a lot of EA in conjunction with the FAQ yet feel qualified to re-write/simplify it - could you post an original extract next to your simplified version?


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:55 am 
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In my opinion, rule-writing has a lot more in common with legal texts than with technical texts or instructions... To write water-tight rules you must have a bit of a lawyer in you. And a convoluted rule might actually be the most simple way of doing a specific thing (meaning that any simplification will in fact be a change of the rules). There's also the issue that some words have a very specific meaning that only becomes clear in the context of other parts of the rules.

I've yet to read your simplified version, but I fear that inconsistencies in the rules at this point are best dealt with through errata and FAQ.

What I would like to see however is a "quick start" rules explainer supplement for epic, a bit like what Fantasy Flight Games includes for a lot of their games. This could explain the main rules (which I definitely agree could be better written) and for example point out common exploits or misunderstandings in different armies, and perhaps some strategies to deal with them.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:56 am 
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junkstar wrote:
could you post an original extract next to your simplified version?

Would be interested in seeing this as well (app demo might be all well and good, but it's the rules that matter). Engagement/assaults sections?

Very interested in seeing a rules re-write. I don't care if you play EA or not, personally, I care if the re-write is good! Be interested to see how many of the ambiguities you can fix from an outside perspective.
(I think technical writing is cool, anyway)

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:01 am 
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I think samples of before and after clarification would be neat. You can't make the rules any worse written after all. I don't think there's any need for gate-keeping behaviors disturbingly being shown here but at the same time I will echo the need for good contact with the SMEs, such as Dave and the ACs to actually make anything accurate with the inevitable decisions that would need to made in any project of this nature...

You can't IP rule mechanics, just their unique expression. Therefore depending in how deep the rewrite was GW might not have anything to say about it. I'll point out that the Exodus Wars rules were a clean room version of the EA mechanics with some additions/changes on obviously crap EA design choices.

PS obvious not everyone in this thread actually seems to understand what technical writing is as a skilled profession.

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Last edited by jimmyzimms on Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:26 am 
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Would make sense for AC's and those interested parties to 'proof read' the simplified version? Could you post the pdf for scrutiny?


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:50 pm 
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jimmyzimms wrote:
PS obvious not everyone in this thread actually seems to understand what technical writing is as a skilled profession.


Grammerly....


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:52 pm 
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junkstar wrote:
Would make sense for AC's and those interested parties to 'proof read' the simplified version? Could you post the pdf for scrutiny?

this is a great idea. I'd actually suggest Dave first, being the keeper of that thing and then passing around thereafter.

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Wow. Long story made short, this little idea has attracted some quite unnecessary hostility (more so in personal messages on Facebook...).

As a result I'm starting to regret inviting comment at this stage. ::) Perhaps I should've just waited a little longer and skipped straight to "here it is, love it or hate it!".

Please remember — this is entirely an OPTIONAL resource, something I've done for ME that I'm choosing to share as others might also find it helpful. It is NOT AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT to your hobby or a challenge to the 'official tournament approved' versions of things. Seriously people... ::)

To those who are more positive, at least in principle (you haven't really seen it yet of course) and who have more constructive points to make — thank you, and I hope you find value in it.

So, proof-reading and endless debate be damned — I'll publish soon when it suits me and you can use it if you like it, or not if you don't. If it gains enough (respectful) interest then of course I'll be happy to engage with the rest of the community and take ideas on board.

Watch this space, if you care. Feel free to walk away and never look back if you don't.

(Please keep in mind that I do have a life away from all this and that this will continue to be a 'work in progress' even when published.)

jimmyzimms wrote:
PS obvious not everyone in this thread actually seems to understand what technical writing is as a skilled profession.
Amen, 100% right brother. Grammerly indeed... (and anyway, it's spelled 'Grammarly', which is something you actually could catch with such a tool...)

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EA Rules Revamp: Same Epic Armageddon rules, but easier to use! (Unofficial) https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp Want to help improve it? https://thehobby.zone/issue-tracker/?bugcatid=24


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:50 pm 
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Keep us updated, keen to see the results.

In fact I'd now like to see and compare the rules re-written by a technical writer, a programmer or systems engineering type, a lawyer (if you insist), and an instructional/information designer. Would be great to compare approaches (im in the latter camp).

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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:01 pm 
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Will do Apocolocyntosis.

I'm somewhat limited by time and by the software I'm using (and very limited coding knowledge), but I too would be interested in how those other professions would approach it.

I expect to refine it more over time, while still not changing the actual intention of the rules. (A few rules do appear to be different at first glance, but they actually reflect a very close examination of several competing pieces of text that appeared in different parts of the rules and FAQs).

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EA Rules Revamp: Same Epic Armageddon rules, but easier to use! (Unofficial) https://thehobby.zone/resources/ea-rules-revamp Want to help improve it? https://thehobby.zone/issue-tracker/?bugcatid=24


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 Post subject: Re: EA Rules Revamp - same rules, but easier to use
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:10 pm 
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Well.. that's not nice to hear...

My hat off to you, sir for doing it..and yes I believe it needs doing, after 15 years..

I got about 9 weeks recovery period after having heart surgery, so happy to have proof read....If have some done by that stage..

Apocolocyntosis wrote:
In fact I'd now like to see and compare the rules re-written by a technical writer, a programmer or systems engineering type, a lawyer (if you insist), and an instructional/information designer. Would be great to compare approaches (im in the latter camp).


That would be interesting to see... ;D

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