[before we played we had to see] if we agreed on what [ the rules] meant
And what a culture of fucktardism that pantomime produced. My jaw-dropping moment of clarity came while observing two second year science and engineering college undergrads arguing range over a game of Wonkhammer 401K. The thorny issue that had them fighting? Whether 4" was greater than 4".
I'm not making that up.
The rule was clear that such-and-such happened differently at more than 4" range. The models were exactly 4" apart.
Neither young chap was amenable to the argument It's math, lads: 4" ! > 4".
I realized that the vague and useless rules GW repeatedly put out then break with add-ons and "clarifications" induce brain cells to spontaneously die off when you try and make sense of them.
Amusingly, a few days later one of those young men came across me and another senior playing a game of Star Soldier (call it a futuristic Squad Leader), and when he saw the 25 page rulebook for it he was appalled we'd play such a game.
We pointed out that the players were not expected to learn each rule before playing, that the rules were internally "hyperlinked" for fast look up so you could have open-book games, and that the rules worked mostly like real physics would so there were few surprises in store.
We also added that there were almost no contingencies that could arise in-game for which there was no unambiguous rule, because the people who designed it had the playability front and center and eschewed such nonsense as "play to the spirit, not the rules as written", and they knew how to properly play test their stuff. Way to go SPI.
The young guy couldn't hear us. All he could hear was "need to read".