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Bunch of monkeys rules

Rules during work

Well it feels like the monkeys is messing around with my rules right now.

When I was young, the rules of a board game was printed on the inside of the box cover. The font was sometimes so small that you needed a magnifying glass to read it. There was no pictures or in game examples, just a lot of rules.

Internet wasn't around, so if there was something impossible to understand, you made up your own rules. By the time those rules was as many as the original rules. Many of the original rules was replaced or totally altered.

Now days the rules is expecting to be so easy that the chimpanzee Ola would understand them. Well that is actually a great help when writing the rules. If you think your player as a bunch of monkeys (not that hey are) and try to write the rules for them, you would be near perfect set of rules. If my game ever will be published, I will dedicate the rules to the chimpanzee Ola.

Well, now I have to rewrite a couple rules... again.


Chimps can't afford my games!

...not that I expect my first couple of games to retail for more than $25 :)

But still, there is probably an approach that is a little less offensive to your prospective customers.
I view writing rules as I would writing a math textbook (which I have considered, as I am a vocational math instructor):
Things will go terribly wrong if I can't remember that the reader knows NOTHING about the game (or math topic) before picking up the rulebook. I've played/run my most developed game dozens of times, so it's easy for me to gloss over seemingly "obvious" things when writing/explaining the rules.

Another difficulty is finding a balance between concise language (my desire to have a shorter rulebook) and thorough, unambiguous examples. It is tempting to start defining a bunch of new terms ("movement points", "actions", etc.) for the purpose of brevity throughout the rulebook, but then I get into Analysis mode (in the sense of Real Analysis) and things get very terse/dry!

Anywho. I'm not really sure what the purpose of the OP is... suggestion? Asking for advice? In any case, you have my contribution.

So true :) It was just a

So true :) It was just a feeling I had during the writing the rules.

I have a background as company coordinator with responsibility of the ISO 9001 and 14000 system. Lots of writing instructions, routines and interpret the standardization. I am also a board game demonstrator at CalCon, so I gets lots of games every year to learn and teach others.

The most recent game was a good example of a game that the rules was written for older and experienced players. Even I had problem to understand some of the rules, because some stuff was so obvious for those who has been created and play tested the game. After a two runs of test, everything was obvious for me to. But a small annoying feeling was left during game play. -Why couldn't they just have put that in a easier way- feeling.

The thing with written rules is that the are not flexible. you have to pin point your main group of players. Is it the parents who is not geeks who is going to teach the kids? Is it hard core gamers who love a nine hour long game in a smelly bunker who going to read the rules and so on.

In my case it probably will be many of the non board game geek parents and social gamers who loves to do crochet and talk a lot during the game.

The purpose of my little blog is to write of some frustration, share some thoughts and as like you, to get some reflections. And it is nice to know that you not are alone out in the darkness, on the edge of the board game.

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blog | by Dr. Radut