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Unsure about board game rules? Tips for handling your dilemma

Updated: Jan 16

We've all been there... you've been playing a game for a while now and then one evening a scenario comes up that is just weird and you don't know what to do. You search the board game rules and no matter how hard you try you can't find something that covers this weird scenario you've ended up in (or worse you find numerous rules that cover parts of the problem but don't agree with each other).

So what do you do?

As with anything in life, there are always choices and which one suits you will depend on your play style as a game group. I'll discuss a few of them here and hopefully make it a bit smoother next time this happens to you.

Option the first.... come up with a ruling and move on.

This is usually the simplest way to move forward, as it really doesn't matter as this scenario is probably never going to happen again anyway. How you make the ruling is up to you, and will largely depend on your game philosophy (do you think the rules are instructions of what's allowed or a list of what you can't do?); The important part here is that you don't spend forever arguing, a quick ruling won't break your game, but an hour debate is likely to ruin your evening.

...a quick ruling won't break your game, but an hour debate is likely to ruin your evening.

A man, and two women playing a game clearly arguing

Okay so it is too important to just wing it, let's move onto option number two... Check the forums.

However unique you think your situation is, chances are it has happened already and it will have been discussed (usually to death) on at least one of the many board game forums out there in internet land.

Have a search and see what the community has done before you, even if you have found that special snowflake scenario there is probably something similar that can help give you some perspective.

Game developers are a new breed now too and many keep an active presence on the forums to provide clarity and can provide that official ruling for what they intended and how it should work.

The downside is you can spend an age searching and be no nearer to an answer and of course beware of 'the trolls'.

...beware of 'the trolls'

Okay so the forums don't have an answer... what now?

You could always try emailing the developer directly.

Okay, this won't give you an answer that night but it usually allows people to agree to a temporary ruling while your pedantic rules lawyer waits for the official response. Always keep this in your back pocket to get the game moving again.

Do you have a rules dilemma you want us to weigh in on? Then drop us a message on our discord and get the 'official' position of the Diary of a Lincoln Geek team.

You can also check out our reference for common Board Game Terminology in our ABC of Board Game Terms

From the friendly DoaLG rules lawyer,

George E Ohh

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