Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Good Heavens, Lovey, A Yalu Man!

Now that I'm trying to access most of my wargame rules via the iPad, I'm learning some interesting things. First off, the rules for The Burning Blue, which look fine on my Mac in PDF format, look like Latin on my iPad, probably a font thing (and I plan to try a PDF reader other than GoodReader to see if that's the problem).

But the most hilarious thing I've seen yet is the rules for Yalu, from Compass Games, published this past spring (2010).

Yalu was originally published in the 70's, and covers the Chinese reaction to the UN forces in Korea crossing the Yalu River after decisively whupping the North Korean forces after the surprise landings in Inchon. The new edition includes the original edition, a move I applaud as it gives those of us interested in the design process a chance to see exactly how a design can evolve over time. The original map, rules, and even the counters (albeit on the flip side of the new counters) are all in the box.

However, the rules are organized so that if you start at one end of the rules, you get the "Classic" version, and if you "flip" the rules over, you get the "Deluxe" version. That means at some point in the middle of the rules book you get both sets of rules/notes but one is upside down.

When Compass put out the rules in PDF format, they didn't remember this part, so they used the rules as printed. That means the Deluxe rules are right side up, and the Classic rules are, well, upside down.

You can change this pretty easily in most PDF readers, of course, but it's kind of funny.

What's even funnier is that on an iPad, your first response is to turn the iPad upside down to read the different ruleset. Of course, if you haven't locked the screen not to rotate, it flips the copy around to the original downside up orientation in a helpful and pretty hilarious manner. Actually made my wife laugh about a wargame, which is fairly hard to accomplish. You have to lock the screen to read the Classic rules, which is easy to do, but I could see some barely computer-literate wargamers struggling with this even on a PC.

I let Compass know about this and they were unaware of the issue, probably because few people have bothered to try to look at the Classic rules in PDF form, or else just worked around it. While they may or may not do something about it (it would required taking the existing rules and separating them, requiring that they do an extra step every time they publish a new version of these rules, which I consider to be unlikely), but it's nice that they took the time to at least answer me. I can name at least a couple of other wargame companies that aren't that responsive unless you mention that they're unresponsive online.

That was a joke, btw.

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