Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dealing With Errata

A few days ago, I received my copy of Infinity Code for the Double Cross RPG. Included in the package was a piece of cardstock.  On one side was printed, "INFINITY CODE ERRATA," with a few points of errata on the back. It really took me back.

Errata happens. I don't think I've ever seen a single game product without something wrong - a typo, images over text, White Wolf's infamous Page XX, a translation error, a poor word choice. These things happen.

Different publishers deal with errata in different ways. One publisher used to mail stickers of the "corrected" paragraphs that you stuck directly into your book (on top of the misprinted/erroneous paragraphs). Most publishers would have errata sheets available - just send them a self-addressed stamped envelope and a list of products you needed the errata for, and they'd get them on their way to you. Many will still do this, actually. But most publishers have put errata on their websites for download. Easier. Faster. Cheaper for all involved.  Steve Jackson Games, for example, has this wonderful page of errata. If you scroll down the page, they even have a form for reporting errata and a mailing list for folks who want to stay informed of errors.

If the product in question is a PDF product via DTRPG, it's a relatively simple matter to update the PDF.  Personally, I prefer it when publishers add a "Change log" to the tail end of the PDF so we know what errata was changed with the update. But that's a personal thing.

Board games have errata, too.  Sometimes game-changing errata. When Paladins and Dragons was translated, I misunderstood one terrain type and changed "any" to "each" for the Pentagram Room. It makes a dramatic change to the rules, and it was my fault.

My copy of Ghost Stories included a little slip of paper informing me that one of the cards had a description in the rulebook that said "to 1" when it should have been "by 1." This was corrected in later printings - but the errata was caught prior to shipment.

Claustrophobia had its infamous Red Text issue, where the French just said "once" - and the English translation tried to be clearer and said "once per game" when it should have been "once per round."  Another big difference, and one that has reportedly been corrected in later printings.

In both of these cases, the word got out on BoardGameGeek. And many publishers are using BGG's files section to host their errata and FAQs. Sometimes it's on the publisher's site and on BGG (which is the ideal, as there are gamers who have never been to BGG).

But how often do we think to look for errata with a board game?  I sure don't. Even though I know it exists. I know it's out there.

I'll grab RPG Errata as fast as I can and will file it into an errata folder I have stashed away somewhere. But - again - it rarely occurs to me to look for the board game stuff.

I should probably fix that.

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