How have you screwed up the rules?

I think the old forum had a thread like this, as I remember one, but can’t find it here.

What are some of the mistakes you’ve made when playing games, only to learn the correct way to play later?

I just learned today that in the Dirk Henn game Shogun, you are supposed to reveal the next face-down action card as soon as you have completed the first action, and so on. For those who don’t know, the action cards are shuffled, then the first five are placed face up, and the next five are face down. I have always played it as you only turned them face up once you got to that action. Oops.

Also, in Tokaido, somehow I have always screwed up the souvenir scoring, even though the rulebook is pretty clear about how it should go. I was scoring sets at the end of the game, when you are supposed to get points right when you claim the souvenir, depending on which number of the set it is (1 point for 1st, 3 for 2nd, etc.), and starting a new set if you already have a souvenir of that type. Played it wrong so many times before finally realizing the correct way to play the last time we pulled it out and I went through the rules again. Couldn’t believe how badly I had screwed it up before.

So, what facepalming have you all done over your misinterpretation of the rules?


“How can this game be so highly regarded when it’s so explicitly broken?!” - VictorViper in game 1-3 of Maracaibo before realizing the three-influence bonus on the explorer track isn’t a first-across-the-line benefit.


I’m not sure that there is a rule in Root that I haven’t got wrong at some point…


We played the whole of Pandemic Legacy Season 2 misunderstanding how the boats worked. Made the game so much more difficult than it probably should have been. Saying that, our final month came down to the wire, even tho’ we didn’t win it was exciting.

Oops, didn’t meant for that to be a reply to you, Discourse seems to have got confused…


I think me and my wife’s first five or so games of Burgle Bros had rules errors somewhere. Forgetting to take some cards out of the patrol deck because of lower player count, or forgetting to increase the guards’ speed after opening a safe, or playing alarms completely wrong, or playing alarms wrong in a different way… There are a lot of little fiddly bits for such a little box. Worth it though!


Wait what? How do boats work?

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If I recall correctly, for some reason we thought the boat routes couldn’t cross any red lines, whereas I think they could cross one? Not sure how we goofed that so badly.


Ok I will check all the boat rules before our next game. thanks :slight_smile:

Other than that we played Gloomhaven with monsters that were 2 levels stronger than they were supposed to be for good while.


Too many to remember. From the top of my head…
Gloomhaven, using more cards that I was allowed, made the game way easier, as I was not ever getting exhausted.
Arboretum, using a common discard pile instead of individual piles.
Brass: Lancashire: thinking you could not use two card as a single wild action as it is not in the player cards but the manual. Before that, not realizing that exhausting the cotton market blocked the cotton trade by sea for the rest of the era.
Root: forgetting that you cannot move from an area if you don’t rule it.

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Startups for me – I don’t now remember the details but I’ve been through three different understandings of the rules, each of which led to a playable game. (I think it was something about majority holdings and who pays whom what.)

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I think Gloomhaven has to be a huge one. We definitely played the rules on focus and monster movement wrong, and we’re continually getting confused about whether monsters should move or not if their card doesn’t have move on it (same with attack).


I taught a dozen or so people to play Condotierre telling them that the one player with cards left at the end of the round has to give them to the Condotierre. To be fair, this is exactly what the rules say, but I missed the part where the Condotierre is then supposed to shuffle them back into the deck.


it is very likely 99% of players get those movement rules wrong.


The other day I played Moon Adventure for the first time. Each turn you have to roll 2 or 3 D6 to determine your action points for the round. The included dice are very light wooden dice. I got frustrated quickly with them because they refused to roll anything higher than a 3. So I replaced them with some nice D6 from my collection.

I got some really good turns and was easily able to win the game. (It’s a coop)

When prepping for the second game, I noticed the original dice only had 1, 2 and 3… they were actually D3 not D6…

I still won the second game with the original dice.


We’ve been playing with a house ruled advantage system because the game owner doesn’t like it as designed. It makes certain characters way more powerful which kinda sucks.

We long gave up caring about the specifics of monster movement as well, though I think we’re doing it mostly properly.

I think Matt said something similar in his review, it’s a great box for having a good time even if you cock up the rules.


Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I got completely slaughtered by the first monster on one of the intro scenarios. I expect I put out the stronger versions for 4 players by mistake?

And Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth. Your standard move action lets you move TWO squares! Two! This makes a very big difference!


Too many to count. All faillings of mine.

But the most awful were:

Not mentioning how the Huts work in Blue Lagoon

I taught how to win in Power Grid is to have the most money - which is how it works on most economic games. Another weird thing that made PG seem like an economic game but actually resembles more like a snowballing Euro.

My club never let those 2 incidents die into obscurity.


I have to agree with @InkyBloc on Burgle Bros. Love the game, but we always forget one step in the whole thing when we have to resolve something.

The other one, is explicitly saying that you are NOT ALLOWED to draw from the discard and throw that same card away in your turn in Arboretum. When it is in fact very clear that you are allowed to, and it is a reliable strategy in the game; Getting that wrong made my friends stop seeing me as “the rule explainer” (even though I’m still doing it…)


This isn’t really a screw-up since it was intentional, but in the original 1986 version of Fortress America your infantry could be ferried to different territories by your mechanized units, but were unable to fight in the same turn. My buds and I thought that was nonsense, so we house-ruled that they could. When FFG rebooted the game in 2012, I was pleased to discover that our old house-rule was made canon. Vindication!


I mess up in Spirit Island too often. I keep forgetting to check target restrictions. Oceans Hungry Grasp is the worst for me… I love it in theory but in actual play I keep forgetting they can only target coastal for the most part.

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I haven’t played that one yet (or many of them, something I need to remedy), but it looked a touch confusing at first glance, so I’ve avoided it so far.