31 Mar

13 Tips on Writing Rule Books

As a board game reviewer, a frequent board game teacher, and a thrifty board game buyer, I read a lot of rulebooks. A lot, a lot, a lot of rulebooks. Which is a shame, because many of them are bad.

– FarmerLenny @ iSlaytheDragon

Lenny, over att iSlaytheDragon is frustrated with badly written rule books. Which is why he’s put together a short, sweet, 13 point guide to writing rule books which will kill every bad rule book stone dead within the next couple of days.

That’s right, we’re coming for you [deleted-for-security-reasons]!

Lenny, I hear your pain, brother!

Linky:  Laying Down the Law (a guide to rulebook writing) @ iSlaytheDragon

18 Mar

All You Need – And Don’t Need – For Your First Solo Playtest

Bagdad first playtest, only pen, paper and cubes

Bagdad first playtest, only pen, paper and cubesOk, so you’ve got a idea and you want to move on to the next step. That step is a solo playtest, which is exactly what it sounds like: you playing the game by yourself.

Grab a pen, some paper and whatever extra components you need and have laying around (if you don’t have them, just make them with the pen and paper). Make sure you’ve got half an hour to spare and sit down at your favorite table and play through the game until you realize that it’s pointless to go on. I’m recommending half an hour since that’s the longest it has ever taken me to break a game in a first playtest.

Ok, here are some things you DON’T need for your first playtest: Read More

21 Jan

Writing rules the web page way

Clash of Culture rules - a list using graphics

Clash of Cultures Amazon rules – a list using graphics

You get a new game. You tear off the shrink, gently pry open the lid, inhale that beautiful new-game-chemicals stench, grab the rules and work your way through them, cover-to-cover, word-by-word, underlining and making little notes in the margins.

Or not. If you’re anything like the average gamer you’ll fiddle with the bits first. Then you’ll enjoy the pictures on the covers for a little while. Then you scan the rules, maybe looking for what a particular bit does. Only then you’ll read the rules.

Except that you won’t read the rules. You’ll scan them, skimming as much as you can while still retaining the information. When you hit a snag you’ll backtrack, looking for a clarification.

Are you really reading? Read More