View Full Version : Are Quick-Start Rules Important?

Mr. Mask
2013-08-29, 01:04 PM
For a variety of systems, you see "Quick-Start Rules" samples freely available.

I don't know how many people try them or want them, how they effectively simplify their rules while conveying the same feeling but not giving the game away, or whether it's worth while.

Anyone have opinions or knowledge of this? I can't seem to find any articles on the subject.

Mark Hall
2013-08-29, 01:06 PM
I tend to be in favor of them, as they make a good way to introduce things to players who don't want to, or can't, shell out the cash for a full game.

2013-08-29, 04:09 PM
There are lots of game systems out there and you can find all kinds of reviews for most of them, but in the end you can only tell if you want to play a game once you've read the basic rules yourself.
And usually that means buying the book, which will easily cost 30 and may take a couple of days before you can get it at a store or have it delivered. And for people who already have a couple of games, such a blind purchase of something that might turn out to be something you don't like at all, that's just too much of an investment.

When I hear about a game that is recommended, I always look for some free basic rules, quick start rules, or preview sample. Before I pay something, I have to know what I'd be getting.
In a game store with a book, I can easily do that by flipping though it for a couple of minutes. But with smaller games that primarily sell as pdfs, you'd also have to have a free pdf to get a look.

So how important are they? Very!

2013-08-29, 05:12 PM
Same as above, I think quick-start rules like GURPS Lite, TROS's quick start, etc., are an excellent way to sell your game to the people who would actually be interested. But I also think they can be very useful for people who bought the actual game anyway: a sort of accretion of rules, where you start simple and add more rules as you go along. The Mentzer Basic D&D red box had this in the introductory adventure: you get introduced to rules and play concepts one at a time. (It's important to introduce new players not just to the rules, but also to the style of the game.) Aces & Eights does this pretty explicitly: you're supposed to start with the simple gunfight rules, then add more rules as you get more comfortable with the game. Twilight 2013 has three stages of rules (Stage II and Stage III rules are described in a box on the relevant page, with the Stage I rules in the main body of the text). This requires a pretty particular approach, where the rules are more or less modular and you can cut out or simplify parts without affecting others too much.

2013-08-29, 11:44 PM
I think they're extremely important. I won't blind buy a game unless it seems AMAZING. Like at the moment I'm really consideing the pdf for this game "Wild West Cinema". I downloaded the sample, but all it was was the " What is an RPG" chapter, no actual quickplay rules. So the game's still in the back of my head, but I didn't buy. Whereas other games I have downloaded the free pdf, "played" a combat or two with me as all the guys, and bought the full book the next day.
I don't feel they give the game away, you take cars for test drives, right? Besides I buy games mostly for the fluff. I want the book for characters, archetypes,setting, story ideas, etc. Giving away 3 PCs, with no rules to create more, and 2 types of villians isn't gjving away the game IMO.

Another example I just thought of is Fight!. I've been interested in that game for forever,but it seems like something you'd either get or not, and I don't want to seem cheap, but 10 bucks is 10 bucks, and I have other interests besides RPGs.

2013-08-30, 01:17 AM
Quick start rules are definitely important. I'm quite picky about even looking at new systems anymore without good reason, and having a short ruleset that I can quickly look through and give a play is very much a factor in how soon I look at a particular system.

Also, it is a lot easier to hand a player a (frequently free) quick-start guide so that they know the basics and how the rules work, rather than trying to paraphrase myself or give them the entire ~200 page book to read through.