by Mike Clifford
I have raised the subject of rules more times than Vinny Jones has squeezed balls. A further warning is necessary for two recent pitiful additions which I shall add to the EEC rules mountain.
Firstly, Tyranno Ex from Avalon Hill. Perhaps Don Greenwood would explain what went wrong. Here is an established game (from German outfit Moskito), which had an admirable English rule set courtesy Herr Mellor. I had previously played, and enjoyed, the game before attempting the AH version. However, their rule book defeated us. The confusion between 'turns, moves, game turns, player moves, etc' is inexplicable and unacceptable.
And another beef. Tyranno Ex retails at £24.95 in the UK. I suspect that this was imported when the $ was around two to the £. In terms of components, you get a mounted mapboard and some card sets. AH's effort looks like fifteen quids worth, at best. In a bookcase version (why isn't it?), it could do battle with Win, Place & Show, Candidate, Acquire, etc. The Moskito edition (cheaper in the UK) remains better value, and that's a ridiculous situation.
Tarawa: Bloody Betio is from 3W, hardly the power outfit of articulate rule books. Overall, the game can be sorted out into some semblance of order, but only after overcoming the confusing scenario set-ups. For example, the rules say use the historical set-up and reinforcements, but this can only be found under the heading Reinforcement Schedule. This is the sort of irritating and shoddy rules' editing which consigns games to the attic.
I wonder if it might be worthwhile initiating a 'Rule Set Of The Year' award. My nominations for 1992 (and a bit) would be Stalingrad Pocket (The Gamers Inc), Elfenroads (White Wind), History Of The World (Ragnar Bros) and The Sport Of Kings (Lambourne).
In the recent past, and despite its complexity, Days of Decision can be played 'out of the box'. Of the German games, those with Oberleutnant Webley's translations can be guaranteed
'ambiguity-free'. The best wargames company is The Gamers (with Avalon Hill pushing them close), whilst continentals Hans Im Gluck, Jumbo, Piatnik and Moskito generally avoid confusion. On the family front, Ravensburger are without peer, and Gibsons reliable.
Finally, I wonder why our brethren from the EEC and beyond fail to initiate translations from the outset. White Wind manage it (even their newsletter is in English and German). Chauvinism apart, English is still the world language, and if the crowds at Essen are a gauge, there would be no shortage of volunteers.
On to a report from Spiel '92, Essen or back to the review of Books & Magazines.
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