I've been going through all the existing publications with a view to organizing the compendium I am planning. Format and organization is an issue that I am confronting as I try to reorganise and in some cases re-write the LOS
rules. So I wanted to turn to the membership (or would that be the LOF, "legions of fans"
) to get their input on what they find most comfortable, practical, intuitive and whathaveyou.
This was not a problem in the LOS publications because the basic rules were basic enough, and the follow-on publications added material in a piecemeal fashion. We had to confront it directly in PS, so I guess that is where the evaluation can start.
Back in the day, Marco owned all the Squad
Leader rules and supplements, while my poison was the complete Doomsday Edition of Star Fleet Battles. On the one hand, they sufffered from some pretty severe rules-bloat that we wanted to avoid in LOS, but we admired the organization that they imposed on the rule chaos with their numbering systems that would have given Dewey and his decimals an aneurism. In SQ and SFB, the rules were actually designed to be binder-bound so you could remove and insert rules as they became introduced or updated (this is the same way that lawyers update their own "rules" for various fields of law). With a web release, LOS3e will be downloaded and printed, then probably punched and bindered.
So the first question is: does rules numbering help?
Does it help you find the rule you want or could you find it just as quickly with a good (or better) index or glossary?
How much is too much in terms of updates and errata? Would a numbered/bindered system address the issue more efficiently, or can players keep a grip on new material as it becomes available? How many updates are too many?
Just as an interlude, I wanted to mention the peculiarities of UPVs. They were updated everytime we had a new publication and I expect that to be the case new material is released, especially the non-powered trooper and vehicle supplement that will not be named after an existing video game company or white supremecist group.
There is a rock-paper-scissor effect with new weapons and circumstances that is engaged everytime you change something. Until I develop the UUPV system (Ultimate UPV) there will be updates everytime there are new rules or weapon systems are introduced. (And conceptually, I am working on it; tentatively titled KPMV which considers troop allocations among non-powered, powered, and vehicle units, adjusting for unit
mobility and cluttered terrain. Anyways, until then, UPVs will keep changing. (And - where are you Tony Lin
- that is the subject of another discussion)
On the up side, UPVs are simple to address because the stats for every figure will fit on just a few sheets of paper and that can be posted online for people to download and print out .
So, will a numbering system that makes the rules look more like computer code actually help anyone play the game? Would a reliance on prose and indexing be more useful?
The second question is about an evaluation of the format that I came up with for Planetstorm: Succinct rule in bold, explanation in standard type and examples (as many as deemed necessary) in italics. I came up with the idea before I went to law school, but - surprisingly or not - many legal manuals follow the same format (legal rule in bold, discussion in regular type, and citations of actual legal cases in italics.)
It just seemed so intuitive to me. Does anyone have suggestions or comments in this respect?