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Rulebook editing style guide

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/23/2018

I've been dabbling in editing rulebooks and card text for board games, but I know that designers can't always afford to hire an editor for every prototype and small-scale project. However, even prototypes can benefit from great rulebooks, since they help everyone from playtesters to reviewers to potential publishers.

I wrote a free rulebook style guide for three reasons:
• to provide a useful resource for designers working on their own rules,
• to start conversations with writers, editors, and proofreaders about best practices, and
• to record the lessons learned from my own editing work.

The guide is long because it aims to be comprehensive, but you can start with the three important topics listed in the introduction, covering the principles of cognitive load, careful framing, and consistent templating. If you're reading on a computer or other large-screen device, I recommend using the live-scrolling outline at the left and jumping to topics of interest.

As an ever-learning student of language, I don't claim to have all the answers. My goal is to encourage thinking and discussion about issues that impact rulebooks. If you disagree with or find counterexamples for a recommended technique, please reach out and let me know!

Here's to better rules and happier players!

harmon89's picture
Joined: 01/13/2016
This is fantastic!

This is fantastic!

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Joined: 10/25/2014
Very nice!


Well done! As a professional proofreader/editor, this is exactly what designers need to have in their toolbox, long before I set eyes on their work.

Professor's Lab

KC's picture
Joined: 03/22/2019
Hi Curby, This is an

Hi Curby,
This is an excellent resource.
Many thanks!

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