Have you heard this before? Suggest a new game and most players balk at it. While most players don’t like learning new rules, part of that balk is the expense of buying all those new books for the gamesystem the GM has recently fallen in love with. Sometimes the world background in the game is so deep that until you study it enough to get a PHD in it, you need to keep refering back to the books. Sometimes players must hold the rules like talismans against bad GMing. In short, there are problems because there are not enough rules going to go around.
The solution? QuickBooks.
Quickbooks are photocopies of important pages of rules bound together for ease of use. These usally run five to thirty pages. I have used three ring binders, punch clips, and any number of binding systems found at a better stationary/ office store.
Personally, I have made a GM copy for core rules and combat rules to save wear and tear on my personal books. The rules are now in the order in which I commonly need them and has tabs to make finding them easier. In short it is a personal reference. (note: These are copies for personal use and should never be sold. )
This solution was originally implimented in a Role-Master group I was familiar with. Role-Master is terribly chart bound, as each character will be using one to three charts per attack action. There is a lot of flipping around. Using Quickbooks, they managed to cut the time spent in combat to 1/4th of what it was before. Once they eliminate the flip factor and became proficient with their books, they were faster than most gamers in combat. The idea expanded. They created RuleBinders for each character/player, a GenBinder and a WorldBinder for the troupe.
Every player would have a rulebinder of their own, using photocopies of certain key pages of the rules. These pages would include the basic resolution rules and any “over view” pages, and any rule pages that the specific character might need. So rather than looking up pg 47 every time you wanted to use their abilities, you would have Pg47 right there.
Some of the players made CombatBinders (or combat binder sections) that summarized or had all the used combat rules (and any charts for equipment). Magic using characters will make MagicBinders, which contain the spell rules they use and their spell writeups.
As a GM, I recommend that the GM made copies of key rules and the combat rules and made their own quick book appropriate to GMing. It saves wear and tear on your regularly used rule books. As an aside, since I am both a tightwad AND running games no longer in print, saving my master rule books this way is a good idea.
Even if a player has the rulebook, making a quick book can put needed information at their fingertips.
Character Gen Binders included copies of all the rule needed for character generation and character advancement. In the group I know, the GM made two of these for the group. This gave them three books for the 10 or so players to make characters and expend advancements.
This book was a photocopy of all those key pages of world source material and flavor text PLUS a copy of the GM’s world pack. This book ended up being the most used of the GM copies, as players would spend the time to “look things up” because it was easy to get to.
Now some players will combine the quick books they needed into one UBER-BINDER. This is okay to do, but be warned that it will never be in your hands when you need it because some other players is using another section.
Keep in mind that eventually all these binders will be as expensive as actually buying the books, if not more. So you need to keep the production of books to a minimum. However, it is a good idea if you just want to “try out” a game. If everyone likes it, then people will buy the rules. If they don’t, only the GM is out the cash. Besides, if you don’t support your friendly game company, they will stop making cool new stuff for your beloved games.
So if your players don’t have that book, make some quick books and run them to your heart’s content.