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writing game rules

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johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi!

Any suggestions on how to write good rules!

Im mostly interested in handling the layout, which program should I use so I can take advantages of as much as possible of every page?

How do you make pictures to describe the rules? Im currently decribing all the rules with just plain text, and that makes it more complicated to understand!

How do you for example make a special column to the right, that is so commonly used, were you highlight the most important rules?

Im using word but i have a feeling that it isnt very good.

Thanks!

Johan

Malenchite
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

Heya,

I'm a big fan of Adobe, personally, specifically Adobe InDesign for page layout. If you're on a smaller budget, I've heard some good things about Serif Software: http://freeserifsoftware.com/

Malenchite

Johan
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Joined: 10/05/2008
writing game rules

I write all my rules in Word and then I move them to InDesign.
I use to work with Word and then used the PDF-maker (I think the name was). Word does not have all facilities that the other programs have, but you can do a lot in Word.

// Johan

DSfan
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

I use word for almost everything. Its quite a versitile program if you spend enough time with it. I type rules, make graphs/charts, even do my prototypes in word.

Justin

katie
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

I write rules using LaTeX, and for the diagrams I tend to either write them as raw PostScript, which I turn into EPS and include in the LaTeX document or I use Perl to turn diagram description files into PostScript.

LaTeX has the advantage of being, essentially, a programming language for talking about text. It has something of a learning cliff, but when you're done you can do fairly sophisticated things; my templates automatically generate backwards and forwards index entries, for example. ("Infantry, Movement" and also "Movement, Infantry"). I find this sort of thing makes it much easier to refactor rules -- I tend to write rulebooks like reference manuals, which is no good for beginner players. The other half edits them into more sensible order for "learning from".

I use the "Memoir" formatting system which gives a lot of flexibility of layout and will produce print-ready output, including things like crop-marks and binding spaces. I've never used that feature yet, but it's nice to know it's only a command away...

jkopena
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

I also use LaTeX for writing up rulebooks, and make figures mostly in Illustrator. Using LaTeX gives you a lot of flexibility to change format, handle an index, and so on.

Non-technically, I think the big thing is being redundant & verbose exactly where's it's helpful and no where else. Also, keep in mind that slight shifts in wording and style have huge effect. Bang! cames to mind, where a "BANG!" is different from a bang symbol and so on.

Scurra
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Joined: 09/11/2008
writing game rules

If you know how to use Word, you can produce remarkable results - certainly far better than many so-called DTP programs (the only advantage MS Publisher has is in handling A5 booklets, and there are plug-ins for Word that can do that too.)

Personally, I too use InDesign which is fine but can be somewhat overwhelming if you're not used to it (hmmm, I think I wrote something like that regarding the new BoardGameGeek ;-))

johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

I Looked at indesign, but i think im going to stick with word!

Edit: Its the easiest program to work with, but surely not the best

Thanks
johan

Emphyrio
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Joined: 02/10/2010
writing game rules

I've used Word quite a bit, but I find it very frustrating in many respects. It second-guesses me all the time, and I end up with a table that's nowhere near the text it's supposed to refer to, and which I can't move, for example.

InDesign isn't perfect either, but so far I like it a lot better than Word. You have complete control over where text goes, so you can do callouts, sidebars, irregular text areas, and so on. And they stay where you put them! It also has a handy feature where you can set up what are essentially page templates within a document, so that you can easily change not just paragraph styles but entire layouts for multiple pages at once.

johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

Hi,

I still dont know how to achieve pictures that describe the rules.
At the moment its just text, its hard to explain all the rules witout a single picture!

Does anyone now of a way to solve this? I guess its the fact i havent got any talent when it comes to drawing things that really puts limitations to what I can achieve, but there must be a smart way to solve it.

Could you perhaps set up the game and take pictures with a digitalcamera that adresses what you are trying to explain?

One picture tells more then a 1000 words right!

Has anyone else tried this, any suggestions!

Edit: It seems to be a good idea, saves lots of time and the results are very good

I guess im not the only one without talent when it comes to painting, how do you all adress this issue with pictures as a way of explaining the rules?

Thanks

Johan

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
writing game rules

First, I use latex. Latex is better if you have a lot of pages to write. If you rule book fit on 3 pages, use word, it would be more simple.

For the pictures to assist the rules, you do not need to take real picture. When you want to explain the rules you use diagramms. They generally only contains shape, lines and text. Any vertorial image editor would easily do the job, no bitmaps are required. I make my diagrams with corel draw.

johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

Larienna, i dont follow you.

What kind of diagram do you mean?
My point is that if you take a picture, it really takes a couple of minutes, you dont have to make any pictures yourself. Sorry if i got it all wrong! It would be very interesting to actually see a diagram.

At the moment its a mess since my printer HP 2550 L prints all the images reversed and i dont know what ton do!!!!

Johan

fashun_diva
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Joined: 12/31/1969
writing game rules

I personally have everything (layout + rules illustration) done in Adobe Illustrator, although it isn't a traditional publishing/layout program. It gives a very professional look and the illustrations rendered are very vibrant, crisp and clear (something photography often lacks).

(There's a photo someone uploaded of one of our rulebooks on BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/87589 ... Unfortunately you can't see the illustrations inside)

However, it's admittedly not the easiest program for a beginner. You might want to hook up with a student from a local design school to do the rule book for you if you want a very professional looking one.

Shadow17
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Word + adobe = Nice

I use word a lot. It's pretty easy to get all of the rules and text down.

Afterwards I spice it up with different programs like adobe Illustrator.

Also it's nice to look into rulebooks from official games to get a nice idea on how you wanna make it.

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