Rulebook Sanity Test: Land of Mine


Good day. I hope I am allowed to ask you for help outside the course lessons.
I’d like to request help to sanity check the rulebook of a game: Land of Mine.

Land of Mine is a game-pieces-only tabletop game;
it has no cards, no boards, no printed game component.
I think the easiest way to describe it is “a complex version of Pick-Up Sticks.”

It is a turn-based strategic dexterity game for 3 to 5 players.
The theme of the game is war–or, more precisely, postwar.

To sanity-test, I need brutally honest comments to know if
(1) the game can be understood just by reading the rulebook, and
(2) what questions built up in your mind as you were reading it.

I wanted to accomplish at least two things.
First is to create a player experience wherein any play area still feels like a game board and that placing of the game pieces are still important despite the lack of a real game board.
The other is to create a game that is both dexterity-based and strategic.

Things to consider when sanity-testing Land of Mine:

  • The entire game is placed inside a black bag–rather than inside a box.
  • The size of the rulebook/manual is 3.5 in by 5.0 in, about the size of a folded wallet.
  • The layout of the game manual assumes the reader will open it and see two pages, hence, I uploaded a two-page view of the manual. I realized not all PDF reader allows two-page view option. This means the first page you’ll see shows the front cover and the back cover of the manual.

Here’s the link to the PDF copies:

Thanks much. :slight_smile:


On a glance the PDF looks good. I have not yet gone through fully. Will update once i have done that


Hey K-Maq,

I gone through you rulebook and I have some honest feedback for you.


  • Very Well Designed
  • Artwork looks good, works well with the theme


  • Too Long, This may be personal opinion as I have not played some of new broad games which also have long rule book.

  • The rule book at the beginning excite me but as go forward reading it, my interest level keeps dropping as it starts becoming more of mechanical instructions, like how do i get this machine together rather let than let kick some landmine and get that treasure.

  • Reduce the victory condition, it should be one victory condition and different way of reaching it, as different victory condition means isolate the game and player.

  • I would recommend some for of broad, just a rule book and piece make it hard get the feel of the game, even if give paper based board or rulebook turns into a paper board would be better.

Hope the feedback is useful


Thanks a lot for the feedback. I really need those kinds of feedback because, from my perspective, I understand the whole flow of gameplay. So it really helps to know that the interest level drops and that it is too long for the reader.

I might retain the victory conditions though as I wanted to give a 4X mechanism to the game. I’ll see what I can do with more responses from other people.

Thanks a lot. :slight_smile: I might need help with other things soon. I appreciate it. :slight_smile:


Hi K-Maq! Sorry it’s taken me a few days, bu here are some thoughts for you.

I love that this is a small bag game with no board. Small box (or bag) games are often very interesting.

On that note, I don’t think you need to tell the players to remove the player manual they’re reading from the bag. Unless they’re in the bag, of course. You can also simplify some of the language in that section - you probably don’t need, “Players choose from the available color assignments”. You could just say “Have everyone pick a color”.

Simplifying the victory conditions by having the banner image beneath it is a really nice touch.

The dexterity mechanic is lovely. I have some questions on it though; how many hands may I use? If I knock a mine and it also hits another player#s pieces, do they suffer? What happens is someone knocks the table?

I don’t know that you need the trade mechanic? In my experience, trade options rarely actually happen in games that don’t have a strong economic component. It’s a lovely option, but it feels like your essential experience is “tread carefully” rather than “make shrewd deals” - if you remove trading entirely from your game I think the main effect will be to make the rules shorter.

The stoning mechanic is great, but might need clarifying. How hard can I throw? From how far away? Is flicking allowed? (Would flicking be better? If you place the stone next to a follower or captain and flick it from there, it strengthens the importance of placing the followers well)

Speaking of followers, I like them a lot, but I’m wondering if they’re over-complicating the game. What if there was only one type of follower without special powers? (say just the solider or just the colonist?) What happens if you remove followers entirely?

Overall this feels like a really fun and solid game. Great use of components and play space. Try and simplify the manual a little (which I know this forum post is part of) and see if you can remove elements without losing the game. All in all, really impressive stuff!


Aye, sir.

I really appreciate it when you comment and react and scrutinize to the detail, especially when you ask clarifications to the rules. Thanks so much, Sir Yann. :slight_smile:

I really need to improve the way I word them. I still approach too technical in writing these rather than more reader friendly, so thanks to that comment.

I like your idea of flicking next to a Follower. I placed a mechanic of removing an Influence if the stone or landmine hits a Follower to make players careful and “gentle” in playing the game.

Regarding the trading and complicated Followers, they were initially off the plan. Originally, this was a quick casual game.

But I was challenged by the idea of creating a full “main course” game with game pieces only. Hence, I wanted to create a game in the level of resource and territory management. But without boards and printed components, it’s a challenge to not only keep track of resources but also to NOT think of it as a quick casual game.

The Followers make up for the territory management. But without a visible game board, I still wanted the players to still think of their play area as if it had tiles and territories, rather than let them just place pieces anywhere, they would have to consider well where to position the figures. This, I think, is the importance of Missionary, as its adjacency would endanger the poorly positioned figures.

Overall, the design was in the hopes of fitting the grand experience of resource management and strategic territorial tile deployment inside a very handy bag. It’s like one pouch that fits a complex game but without the hassle of setting up and administration.

Sadly, I do not know how well I have achieved those intended player experiences as I haven’t tried the whole game itself due to lack of components. The game was originally for a contest in The Game Crafter, so the game pieces are available, but the price and shipping is not yet in my budget.

I know it’s not advisable (and I do not recommend it also) to create a publish-ready manual without even playtesting the game, so a lot of thanks for appreciating my efforts in the creating the rulebook. :slight_smile:


I completely understand the drive to make a “full course” game, but I’d point out that complexity and depth aren’t always the same thing. You might find that you have as rich an experience with fewer mechanics (and it’ll be easier to learn and run).

Either way - playtesting is crucial :slight_smile:


This is good wisdom. Thanks. :slight_smile:

Btw, just to make it clear, I really meant “main course” game 'cause I remembered the contest was emphasizing NOT to make a game that was just an “appetizer” or a warm-up game.