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Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your
Rulebook Awesome
1. Say how you win.
2. Give components some love.
3. Use concrete language.
4. Keep related elements close.
5. Make what’s...
Joshua Yearsley
Joshua Yearsley
Two Things
Structure
Structure
Lorem ipsum.
Blah blah.
Yadda yadda.
Text
Alright, get on with it!
1. Portion Your Rules
“Rules-ese”
NO: Cover every edge
case, question, gray area,
and quibble perfectly.
NO: Cover every edge
case, question, gray area,
and quibble perfectly.
WHY? Because it makes
the essentials harder to
gras...
NO: Cover every edge
case, question, gray area,
and quibble perfectly.
INSTEAD: Build a simple,
solid, intuitive foundatio...
Build a simple, solid,
intuitive foundation.
Build a simple, solid,
intuitive foundation.
Make a Learn to Play book.
12 pages…
Rulebook
Rulebook
24 pages…
36 pages…
Rulebook
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
Rulebook
2. Signal Importance
Mechanics Strategy
FAQsTips
Reference
Body Sidebars Examples
Body Sidebars Examples
Critical Non-critical
Common
Uncommon
Rulebook
Critical Non-critical
Common
Uncommon
Rulebook
Critical Non-critical
Common
Uncommon
Learn to Play
Critical Non-critical
Common
Uncommon
Rules
Reference
Critical Non-critical
Common
Uncommon
Rules
Reference
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
STOP
STOP
Basic Rules
Additional Rules
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
STOP
STOP
Cards exist.
Cards are used for X
during X.
Full anatomy and
description of cards....
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
3. Build a robust index
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
Narrative
Conceptual
Learn to Play
Rules
Reference
Narrative
Conceptual
Complete
Linked
A, B, C…
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
What it is.
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
What it does.
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
What it related.
4. Use tutorials carefully
Tutorial
Text
Tutorial
Text
Rules
Text
Tutorial
Text
Rules
Text
Tutorial
Text
Tutorial
Text
Rules
Text
Tutorial
Text
Basic
Game
Basic
Game
Run
Tutorial
Game
Structure
Lorem ipsum.
Blah blah.
Yadda yadda.
Text
5. Use appropriate sentence types
Declarative
Imperative
Declarative
Imperative
Declarative
Imperative
Function
Declarative
“This happens.”
Declarative
Imperative
Imperative
“Do this.”
Declarative
Imperative
To play a Chaos card, a player simply
does the following:
Chaos in the Old World
Declarative
To play a Chaos card, a player simply
does the following:
1. Chooses a card from his hand of
Chaos cards.
Chaos in the Old...
To play a Chaos card, a player simply
does the following:
1. Chooses a card from his hand of
Chaos cards.
2. Pays the sele...
To play a Chaos card, a player simply
does the following:
1. Chooses a card from his hand of
Chaos cards.
2. Pays the sele...
To play a Chaos card, a player simply
does the following:
1. Chooses a card from his hand of
Chaos cards.
2. Pays the sele...
Imperative
To play a Chaos card, you:
1. Choose a card from your hand of
Chaos cards.
2. Pay the selected card’s cost.
3. ...
Imperative
To play a Chaos card:
1. Choose a card from your hand of
Chaos cards.
2. Pay the selected card’s cost.
3. Place...
He?
She?
They?
Xi?
You!
(implicit)
Declarative Imperative
(Third-person subject) (Second-person subject)
Imperative good?
Declarative bad?
Imperative good?
Declarative bad?
✔
✔
“Any player may grab the Totem.”
“All players flip their tiles at once.”
✔
6. Chunk concepts
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
Cuba Libre
Nominalized
Titles
Cuba Libre
Chunked
Well-ish
Chunked
Badly
Cuba Libre
7. Separate actions and concepts
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
Action Rules
When a hunter performs a move
action, he moves his figure on the
board to indicate his...
✔
Fury of Dracula (3E)
Concept
Rules
Definitions / Concepts
Mechanic Mechanic
Interaction
Definitions / Concepts
Mechanic Mechanic
Interaction
Move Action
Definitions / Concepts
Mechanic Mechanic
Interaction
“What are locations?”
Concept
Action
SplitIntegrate
Action
Concept
Concept
Action
SplitIntegrate
Concept
Action
Action
Action
8. Define golden rules
You can do X.
You can do X.
You can’t
do X.
Definitions / Concepts
Mechanic Mechanic
Interaction
✔Imperial
Assault
If a card or mission uses the
word cannot, that effect is
absolute and cannot be
overridden by other eff...
Definitions / Concepts
Mechanic Mechanic
Interaction
Thank you!
Questions?
www.joshuayearsley.com
@joshuayearsley
editor@joshuayearsley.com
First presentation: http://bit.ly/1...
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015
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Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015

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A presentation by Joshua Yearsley, a professional rulebook editor and writer (www.joshuayearsley.com) at Metatopia 2015 on how to improve your game's rulebook.

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Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome - Metatopia 2015

  1. 1. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  2. 2. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  3. 3. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  4. 4. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  5. 5. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  6. 6. Ten (More) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
  7. 7. 1. Say how you win. 2. Give components some love. 3. Use concrete language. 4. Keep related elements close. 5. Make what’s important obvious. 6. Talk like a human. 7. Be consistent. Painfully consistent. 8. Go big, then small. 9. Silo that info. 10. Use all your tools. Link at end.
  8. 8. Joshua Yearsley
  9. 9. Joshua Yearsley
  10. 10. Two Things
  11. 11. Structure
  12. 12. Structure Lorem ipsum. Blah blah. Yadda yadda. Text
  13. 13. Alright, get on with it!
  14. 14. 1. Portion Your Rules
  15. 15. “Rules-ese”
  16. 16. NO: Cover every edge case, question, gray area, and quibble perfectly.
  17. 17. NO: Cover every edge case, question, gray area, and quibble perfectly. WHY? Because it makes the essentials harder to grasp.
  18. 18. NO: Cover every edge case, question, gray area, and quibble perfectly. INSTEAD: Build a simple, solid, intuitive foundation.
  19. 19. Build a simple, solid, intuitive foundation.
  20. 20. Build a simple, solid, intuitive foundation. Make a Learn to Play book.
  21. 21. 12 pages… Rulebook
  22. 22. Rulebook 24 pages…
  23. 23. 36 pages… Rulebook
  24. 24. Learn to Play Rules Reference Rulebook
  25. 25. 2. Signal Importance
  26. 26. Mechanics Strategy FAQsTips Reference
  27. 27. Body Sidebars Examples
  28. 28. Body Sidebars Examples
  29. 29. Critical Non-critical Common Uncommon Rulebook
  30. 30. Critical Non-critical Common Uncommon Rulebook
  31. 31. Critical Non-critical Common Uncommon Learn to Play
  32. 32. Critical Non-critical Common Uncommon Rules Reference
  33. 33. Critical Non-critical Common Uncommon Rules Reference
  34. 34. Learn to Play Rules Reference STOP STOP Basic Rules Additional Rules
  35. 35. Learn to Play Rules Reference STOP STOP Cards exist. Cards are used for X during X. Full anatomy and description of cards. Card interactions. Card rules exceptions. Extended card play examples.
  36. 36. Learn to Play Rules Reference
  37. 37. 3. Build a robust index
  38. 38. Learn to Play Rules Reference
  39. 39. Learn to Play Rules Reference Narrative Conceptual
  40. 40. Learn to Play Rules Reference Narrative Conceptual Complete Linked
  41. 41. A, B, C…
  42. 42. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E) What it is.
  43. 43. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E) What it does.
  44. 44. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E) What it related.
  45. 45. 4. Use tutorials carefully
  46. 46. Tutorial Text
  47. 47. Tutorial Text Rules Text
  48. 48. Tutorial Text Rules Text Tutorial Text
  49. 49. Tutorial Text Rules Text Tutorial Text
  50. 50. Basic Game
  51. 51. Basic Game Run Tutorial Game
  52. 52. Structure Lorem ipsum. Blah blah. Yadda yadda. Text
  53. 53. 5. Use appropriate sentence types
  54. 54. Declarative Imperative
  55. 55. Declarative Imperative
  56. 56. Declarative Imperative Function
  57. 57. Declarative
  58. 58. “This happens.” Declarative
  59. 59. Imperative
  60. 60. Imperative “Do this.”
  61. 61. Declarative Imperative
  62. 62. To play a Chaos card, a player simply does the following: Chaos in the Old World Declarative
  63. 63. To play a Chaos card, a player simply does the following: 1. Chooses a card from his hand of Chaos cards. Chaos in the Old World Declarative
  64. 64. To play a Chaos card, a player simply does the following: 1. Chooses a card from his hand of Chaos cards. 2. Pays the selected card’s cost. Chaos in the Old World Declarative
  65. 65. To play a Chaos card, a player simply does the following: 1. Chooses a card from his hand of Chaos cards. 2. Pays the selected card’s cost. 3. Places the card on an empty card space on any of the board’s nine regions and carries out its effects. Chaos in the Old World Declarative
  66. 66. To play a Chaos card, a player simply does the following: 1. Chooses a card from his hand of Chaos cards. 2. Pays the selected card’s cost. 3. Places the card on an empty card space on any of the board’s nine regions and carries out its effects. Chaos in the Old World Declarative
  67. 67. Imperative To play a Chaos card, you: 1. Choose a card from your hand of Chaos cards. 2. Pay the selected card’s cost. 3. Place the card on an empty card space on any of the board’s nine regions and carry out its effects.
  68. 68. Imperative To play a Chaos card: 1. Choose a card from your hand of Chaos cards. 2. Pay the selected card’s cost. 3. Place the card on an empty card space on any of the board’s nine regions and carry out its effects. ✔
  69. 69. He? She? They? Xi? You! (implicit) Declarative Imperative (Third-person subject) (Second-person subject)
  70. 70. Imperative good? Declarative bad?
  71. 71. Imperative good? Declarative bad?
  72. 72.
  73. 73.
  74. 74. “Any player may grab the Totem.” “All players flip their tiles at once.” ✔
  75. 75. 6. Chunk concepts
  76. 76. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E)
  77. 77. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E)
  78. 78. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E)
  79. 79. Cuba Libre
  80. 80. Nominalized Titles Cuba Libre
  81. 81. Chunked Well-ish Chunked Badly Cuba Libre
  82. 82. 7. Separate actions and concepts
  83. 83. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E) Action Rules When a hunter performs a move action, he moves his figure on the board to indicate his new location, which must be either a city or a sea zone (see “What Are Locations?”).
  84. 84. ✔ Fury of Dracula (3E) Concept Rules
  85. 85. Definitions / Concepts Mechanic Mechanic Interaction
  86. 86. Definitions / Concepts Mechanic Mechanic Interaction Move Action
  87. 87. Definitions / Concepts Mechanic Mechanic Interaction “What are locations?”
  88. 88. Concept Action SplitIntegrate Action Concept
  89. 89. Concept Action SplitIntegrate Concept Action Action Action
  90. 90. 8. Define golden rules
  91. 91. You can do X.
  92. 92. You can do X. You can’t do X.
  93. 93. Definitions / Concepts Mechanic Mechanic Interaction
  94. 94. ✔Imperial Assault If a card or mission uses the word cannot, that effect is absolute and cannot be overridden by other effects.
  95. 95. Definitions / Concepts Mechanic Mechanic Interaction
  96. 96. Thank you! Questions? www.joshuayearsley.com @joshuayearsley editor@joshuayearsley.com First presentation: http://bit.ly/1Qlz7S1

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