Skip to Content

Getting the Rules Down

15 replies [Last post]
Anonymous

Hi, I have a whole game in my head, but I'm finding it hard to write down the rules. Is their any articiles, software, etc. that could help me? Oh, and if it matters, the game I have invented is a settleing/colonizing game.

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

Hi! Have you made some sort of prototype (no matter how crude) and playtested it (even just by yourself)? I find that the easiest way to sift through ideas is to experiment with actuall pieces that I can move and see and use. The rules of the game take a more concrete shape at which point the rules tend to flow more naturally. There are a lot of great threads about production and prototypes and playtesting.

That's where I would suggest you start if you haven't already done these things.

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

No, I havn't made a prototype. I wanted to write down the rules so I could orginize my ideas. I was wondering if there is any kind of template or something like that.

rkalajian
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Getting the Rules Down

I find the best way to do things is to just dump all my ideas in notepad or something, no matter how messy.

After I get it all down I try and clean things up and sort things out. If you really want to get technical you can try downloading a template for a design document, but that's a little overkill in my opinion.

Going back to what I said before, I've got about 10 txt files with just rules dumped into them just waiting to get sorted out :)

ensor
Offline
Joined: 08/23/2008
Getting the Rules Down

I found this on the DaVinci Games website (through a news article on the front page) which gives a very good template for writing rules, describing the standard sections of number of players, goal, initial setup, how to play, game end conditions, etc, that might help you out. It's a zip file with a pdf inside.

http://www.davincigames.com/download/how_to_write_a_standard_rulebook.zip

I agree with SiskNY, writing rules is much easier once you've playtested the game a few times, either solitare or with others, so you know what's really important to convey to the players. I always find things I missed in my first write of the rules. Good luck writing,

Mark

Zzzzz
Zzzzz's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Getting the Rules Down

One suggestion would be to look at a few other games and find a layout that is appealing to you.

I would then start using Word/Notpad/etc and create my own template based on the things I liked from the other game rules.

Dralius
Dralius's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
Getting the Rules Down

If you’re the type of person that loses their train of thought while writing but can talk a blue streak about your idea you might try getting a recorder and discuss the game with a friend or just ramble into the microphone. Then you can play it back and write down the good parts. I have found this useful for writing papers when I just could not get my ideas flowing.

Brykovian
Brykovian's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Getting the Rules Down

I prefer to start with a more generalized "design doc" ... which not only will (hopefully) be reduced down to a rules booklet at some point, but will allow me to go into concept descriptions, detailed step-by-step items that helps me out as the designer, and during playtesting and prep for self-production.

-Bryk

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

Be very clear with may and must.

Define and explain concepts in order. I hate having to read ahead to understand what i am reading.

If there's hierarchy in your rules, make sure it is very clear. For example, if phase 3 has 2 parts, make sure it's visually obvious they are both part of phase 3, and which is part 1 and part 2. Also indicate which things are order dependent and which are not.

Lots of examples. Lots of pictures.

Run them by others who don't know anything about the game. They will flush out the holes for you. It's impossible to see clarity problems when the entire game is in your head.

RookieDesign
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Getting the Rules Down

Unless your game is very simple or you have a great vision very clear in your head, I think you'll have to go through a brainstorm process.

I did it for my first game. I throw tons of idea on paper. I must say that I cut most of them. My game isn't even looking like my great idea. That's ok for me. The process evolve into something better. (I hope).

I don't think you should start with the rules. Start with ideas on paper, a theme, a mechanic.

Once you're ready to write the rule after you played the game a bit and explain it to your friend, write them down. Write every game components, every preparation steps and every playing steps in DETAIL.

Be very hard on yourself. If you can't do it, ask for advice from a technical writer or somebody used to write paper like purchase order and such. Ask the Game Workshop Board here.

Be consistent. Name every piece of the board or card carefully and use the same name all over the document.

Give examples. Show pictures. (That are the last part of writting rules)

Good luck.

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

Excellent advice, RookieDesign, every item! I think you deserve a promotion!

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

Zzzzz wrote:
One suggestion would be to look at a few other games and find a layout that is appealing to you.

Great advice!! I read through (rather I pour over) the rules to other games and look for problems withe the layout, explanations, etc. I read them over and think to myself how I would do it different if I were writing rules.

Of course, I tend to go a little too far somethimes, but I always feel that it is a little better to explain to much than too little. ; )

Anonymous
Getting the Rules Down

The nest way to get the rules down in my opinion is to use Powerpoint (but not as a presentation, but to print).

First thing you do is explain what you can do in a turn Step by step. The define any ambigious terms. Then try to play it with a friend and take notes on any situations that come up.

I really think printing a powerpoint helps.

DarkDream
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Getting the Rules Down

Here is a good link of what I believe are good examples of writing rules:

http://www.alanemrich.com/PGD/Week_05/PGD_Week05Homework.htm

The context of this link is within a board game design class. The examples given are of a war game nature, but I believe the concepts of writing good rules for other board games still apply.

--DarkDream

Zzzzz
Zzzzz's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/20/2008
Getting the Rules Down

DarkDream wrote:
Here is a good link of what I believe are good examples of writing rules:

Those are some good examples.... nice find.

TruMobius
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Getting the Rules Down

Quote:
If you’re the type of person that loses their train of thought while writing but can talk a blue streak about your idea you might try getting a recorder and discuss the game with a friend or just ramble into the microphone. Then you can play it back and write down the good parts.

8O I can't belive I never thought of that, oh thats a great idea....note to self get personal recorder

the the

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut