Guidelines on writing rules for games
For simple rule writing we suggest you might like to try the following steps. Always try to keep your rules as concise as is reasonably practical. Remember at all times that most games players do not associate reading rules with fun, and that needlessly lengthy rules can deter people from playing a game. Never assume that anything is obvious. If you wish, add explanatory diagrams if it is appropriate. Always use plain English. Include one set of rules for each player.
- Give the Title of the game as a main heading.
- As a sub heading state the number of players, and the appropriate target age range, i.e. A game for two to four players, 6 years and upwards.
- List the Contents
- State The object of the game.
- State How to set up the game before play commences.
State How to play the game.
(i) Firstly, describe the order of play. i.e. Play is in clockwise rounds. Each round consists of one turn per player.
(ii) Secondly, describe the method of game play once the game has begun. i.e. At each turn the player rolls the dice and then moves their playing piece clockwise around the board.As far as is reasonably possible state the rules relating to the method of play in an order which would be likely to reflect how the game play will develop.
(iii) Make sure that the rules cover every possible occurrence.
- Finally, state How to win the game.
Having completed your rules arrange to play test your game, preferably with participants who have never played the game previously. Allow the participants to play the game without any prompting from yourself whatsoever, encouraging them to use only your written instructions for guidance of how to play the game.
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