Monday, August 14, 2006

Oh Yeah, By the Way

While wandering around at the local Gamers Paradise, I was surprised to find that Deflexion, otherwise known as the game with the frickin' lasers, has somehow made it out as a mass market game. I was sort of under the impression that this was a garage shop, internet-order-only kind of thing. Maybe it still is, but kudos to getting shelf space.

One of the real nice things about Deflection is that the rule set is EXCEEDINGLY simple. You either move or rotate a piece, and then fire off your laser. That's it. There's an additional rule that allows a certain type of piece to swap positions with another piece. It's not quite an "Oh yeah, by the way" rule.

What's an "Oh yeah, by the way" rule? Well, it's my definition for some kind of rule that magically happens in the middle of a game when explaining the game to someone for the first time, that makes sense to sort of omit during the initial rule explanations, often because it has a tendency to be "broken" with regards to the rest of the ruleset, or because you don't want to swamp the other players with additional, one-use info. The classic example of this is the "en passant" rule in Chess. Why a pawn can suddenly move and capture completely differently from the rest of the world only in a very specific instance makes no sense. Well, until you want to use it. I'm not even sure why that rule exists. Castling in chess also falls into this category. A weird, one time only, not quite a swap, of a rook and king only permitted if the king hasn't moved yet. Why add that? At least, thematically it sort of makes sense; watch the king RUNAWAY! to hide in his castle while his peons fight on.

OYBTW rules are one of the reasons that Tigris and Euphrates bugs me to no end, even though I think it's a pretty good game, which seems to have a countless amount of them.

Or maybe the special powers of colors should be just thought of as that, special powers. But, I hardly consider "can only be played on the river" to be very special, versus Red's "I take control if there are no others power", or Green's "I take the goodies" power. And I don't even remember what black's power is, but I'm sure it's special.

In gerneal, I think OYBTW rules should be kept to a minimum; if the rule is so specialized that it only occurs under very specific circumstances, it shouldn't be there at all.


Blogger sedjtroll said...

For the record, the Black leader's power in T&E is "I get the point if the right guy's not present"... not Red. Red's special 'power' is that there are a bazillion (plus or minus) of them in the bag, and it can add strength for both internal and external conflicts.

10:42 PM  

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