After the euphoric high of opening a new board game, probably the next strongest emotion is the swell of despair as you process just how thick the rule book to the intricate and theme-laden game you’ve just bought actually is. And often times, the density of that rule book teams up with its cunning partner poor organization to make figuring out how to play the game clear as mud. But don’t despair. There is help available.
I’ve sung the praises of Universal Head’s rules reference sheets before while playing Arkham Horror and Android. Since then, Universal Head’s work has migrated to the Esoteric Order of Gamers, where the repository of games covered has only grown in the past couple years. When I acquire a new title completely unplayed, know I’m going to be learning something new or will be teaching a complex game to a newcomer, the Esoteric Order of Games is my first stop. Universal Head’s summary sheets have just the right mix of solid graphic design and strong structure to pack a whole game into what is usually a few double-sided sheets and a half-page of turn order details.
If you’ve ever paged through a rule book and been completely baffled by the turn order, or directed to see another section that you can’t find, you have got to check out Universal Head’s work. The references for Android: Netrunner and Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game live in a manila folder right next to the rule books, and that folder never leaves my game bag. When a question comes up, Universal Head can almost always answer it faster than consulting the rule book. The reference sheets are just that good.