From: Out of the Silent Planet
Yes, but most games being published by Matrix games have an active AAR prior to release. Does this not facilitate in a similar way to a company publishing the rules? Afterall with an AAR you can also ask questions about the game, mechanics, interface etc, etc...
For me, personally, a good AAR from a decent beta tester goes a long, long way to selling me the game. Much moreso than if I had the manual or even a demo.
Thank you very much for your response to my post.
AAR's are indeed helpful, and can be very good ways to convey information about the game to prospective buyers.
I am thinking, however, of those who have already purchased the game and would like to research a question which has come up in play without the manual handy, or are interested in finding an opponent for a HtH game and want to share the rules beforehand.
This is a big factor in my own personal decison-making, both of what to buy (and of what to play HtH) next.
GMT's "Living Rules" practice is exemplary in this regard, and is responsible for much of my support of that company. I believe such practices help build the hobby.
(I know there are games I would have never bought unless someone had asked me to play it with them first. After reading the rules and playing once or twice, I would discover it was a good game and go out & purchase it.)
It is unfortunate that the actions of a relative few (the "pirates") preclude this for many companies. (The same is also true for the music publishers.) To mitigate this, perhaps a "delayed release" system could be tried for the manuals.
That way, later consumers could read over the rules and be able to make a fully informed decision whether this is the right game for them. (One of the first questions I usually see on a forum is "Should I buy this game?". With the rules on-line, one can more readily make that decision.) Also, many campaign games last weeks, if not months; having the updated rules online, incorporating changelogs, etc. (even at a later time) can be very conducive to continued play.
I see that other publishers (even some Matrix is affiliated with, like AGEod) have examined this issue and come to the same conclusion, posting their rulesets online.