The following guidelines were drafted by Ron_Hale-Evans? and Dave Adams, with some help from Marty_Hale-Evans?, and posted to the Seattle Cosmic mailing list on 18 September 2001. Comments were solicited, but no one disagreed with the rules as drafted, so I am posting them here essentially verbatim. Please do not alter the text of the guidelines. If you have a comment, add it to the Comments section below, or bring it up on the mailing list.
Seattle Cosmic Guidelines
- What we used to call "learning games" will be called "regular games", "ordinary games", "normal games", etc., and what we used to call "regular games" will be called "hardcore games".
- In regular games, it is considered good form to help players out with strategic advice if you see they are having a hard time. This is to level the playing field, since many people do not have fun during a game if they cannot see the strategies and tactics available to them for some reason (such as being new to the game). It is still considered bad form to give strategic advice to a strong player -- unless it is bad advice. :) But the main guideline in a regular game is, "Lighten up!" The emphasis is on everyone having a better time socially.
- In hardcore games, giving strategic advice to other players is considered bad form. Other guidelines in hardcore games may also apply, such as "you laid it, you played it" -- i.e., no taking back moves. Some people don't think this kind of game is fun. Some do. If you don't, don't play this way. The emphasis is on giving hardcore gamers a chance to compete and hone their strategic skills in a fair environment.
- It is essential to distinguish hardcore games from regular games at the start, so that players can make an informed choice. One way to do this is by saying, "Anybody want to play a hardcore game of Settlers?" (or whatever other game you happen to want to play). Don't blindside people with a hardcore game; if you want to play one, make it clear that you do, but don't insist on a hardcore game if no one else is in the mood for one.
- To clarify, it is essential that players understand and share the guidelines of the game they are going to play, whatever those guidelines may be. They can even be a mix of the hardcore style and the regular style -- such as allowing strategic advice, but not allowing moves to be taken back -- so long as everyone understands and agrees before the game begins.
- However, in cases of confusion or disagreement, a regular game is assumed. That is to say, regular games are the default, and hardcore games are the exception, and hardcore guidelines must be explicitly agreed upon by all players.
- The scores of all games will be recorded in session reports wherever possible, not just those of hardcore games. It will always be mentioned when a game was a hardcore game, and may sometimes be mentioned that a game was not. Prizes will be awarded for all games.
- Experimenting with different playing styles, such as the semi-hardcore mixture mentioned above, or completely new styles that we haven't thought of yet, might be fun to do, as long as we keep an open mind, a friendly attitude, and a light touch.
It's been a long time since we visited these (since one week after 9/11, in fact). I thought of a couple of things that should be added recently, but I can't remember what they are right now. Anyway, people might like to check out the Groundrules for Gaming article from The Games Journal for a thought-provoking look at what another group is doing.