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Game Crafter's sanity test results

4 replies [Last post]
chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015

So I just received my review of the rules for my game Second Line from TGC.
Before I get to the score (which is out of a possible 100), let me mention what my main impressions of the service are:

1. Very thorough list of boxes they check when reviewing your rules. The template creates a deep dive into construction, clarity and comprehensiveness.

2. It's clear their reviewers take the time to read, re-read and understand as best they can your intentions for the game. Almost every scoring category had specific examples to back up their points for improvement.

3. If you're here to score high moreso than getting criticism and points on how to improve, your rules better be complete and ready-to-print. Plenty of images, concise formatting, and everything else that goes into your FINAL rules document will be required to score in the upper digits. I should also mention that 20 of the points come from "Shop Presentation," so unless your game is being sold on TGC's website with a full presentation including a video (5 points), I assume the highest one could score is 80/100.

Now to my particular score was...36/100.

I was admittedly at first a bit deflated, but then I read the feedback. Where I scored high was the categories of Requirements, Introduction, Component List, Setup and Clarity. I'm here to tell you what I did WRONG, so here goes!

My score would have been boosted with more pictures (7 points are given for Setup Pictures, which I did not have, so 0/7), but most importantly, my explanation of gameplay was nowhere near where it needed to be for someone who knows nothing of my game to understand...a factor which the reviewer mentioned was likely due to my being too close to the game. Sure, I get all the details and nuances of the game...but handing the rules to a fresh set of eyes really poked holes in my formatting. Important factors were outlined too vaguely, terminology was not consistent and led to confusing goals, and getting a solid grasp on what players are trying to do and how they're going to do it was VERY difficult for the reviewer. That was probably the biggest knock against my rules; the most critical information, understanding the purpose of the game, took too much effort to comprehend. Overall, my rules made the game seem WAY more complicated than it actually is, which is a terrible and necessary thing to hear.

In fact in the category of Overall Comprehension, I scored 1/4. To quote the review, "The order of your rules makes the game very difficult to understand without reading the entire document in full and cross-referencing different sections as you read."

Compare that to the Clarity category in which I scored 3/3, "You've got a good grasp of basic rules writing, and the game is obviously clear in your mind, but that clarity is not yet in the rules themselves based on how they are organized."

All in all, it was a great and very needed experience. Fantastic feedback with real attention and care put into it. I would suggest for those thinking about using this service, have someone with absolutely NO knowledge of your game read your rules first. If you're the only person who has read your rules, you're likely too close to the game to discern how organized and understandable they are. There are many here on BGDF who will offer their attention, so maybe give it a go here first, get some initial criticism, take it for what you will, THEN put it through the TGC mill. I think it will make the money spent a bit more worthwhile.

Here's a breakdown of the categories and my scoring:

Structure: 3/9
Requirements: 3/3
Introduction: 3/3
Overview: 1/3
Component List: 4/5
Component Pictures: 1/3
Setup: 8/10
Setup Pictures: 0/7
Game Play: 5/15 (most of the confusion was here!)
Game Play Pictures: 2/7
End Point: 2/6
Overall Comprehension: 1/4
Clarity: 3/3
Presentation: 0/2 (it was in MS Word, not a polished doc)

Ad: 0/3
Backdrop: 0/1
Logo: 0/1
Action Shots: 0/5
Description: 0/5
Video: 0/5

If anyone would like to know more about my particular rules and experience, I'd be happy to answer any questions!

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009

This is a great debrief, Chris. Thanks for the insight on how their process works - I'm sure they'll get a few more takers thanks to you!

Is there a chance you can link the rules document they saw, so readers can line up the score with an example?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Thanks for the "heads-up"!

In order to do a SALE on "The Game Crafter" (TGC), you need to have a Sanity score of 70+ points.

Explaining how you scored only 36 is a valuable contribution in knowing what I should expect. It makes me think I should use my rulebook AS-IS and run it to see how much WORK I need to put in - in order to reach the 70+ score.

I thank you for bringing this to my attention. Never realized how difficult it might be to have a rulebook reviewed. Clearly it's a process you need to repeat in order to be able to achieve a passing score.

Anyways thank you for sharing your experience!

chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
Here's a link to the rules I
chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
Happy to do it! It was a

Happy to do it! It was a great learning process...I'll definitely do it again!

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