Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Rule Book for Play Testing? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Michael M.
United States
Bloomington-Normal
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've finally done it. I've designed every single component for the beta version of my competitive deck building game! Muahahaha! All that is needed now is for me to print out and cut the various cards and paste the board together, but once that's done it's time to play test!

...or is it?

You see, one thing I can't crack is rule books. I don't know why. I consider myself a pretty competent writer, heck I've even won some awards for it. And I certainly have a very clear idea in my head of what my rules are. But when it comes to writing it down... I just can't!

Now I'm not asking for help writing with the rule book or editing it. What I am asking is if those of you who have play tested your early designs used manuals or just verbally explained the game to your friends? I feel very comfortable, and competent, doing the latter. But part of what I wanted to do was a "hands off" play test where I didn't get involved.

I still think it would be ideal to do this at some point, as that allows me to "play test" the rule book as well, and how well it conveys setup and gameplay rules. But at this stage, is that just too big of a distraction? Should I just wing it with explaining to my friends how the game works? Any advice would be great!

(A few BGGers will be the guinea pigs for this project, and would be on the receiving end of some free pizza. You know who you are.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I usually explain the rules personally for the initial playtest so I don't waste time on the rulebook if the game doesn't work or requires major revisions.

But you should eventually do some playtests where people try to learn the game from the rulebook alone.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Falcon Arendell

Raleigh
North Carolina
msg tools
Avatar
mb
Before blind playtesting, I have taught the games verbally every time we playtested them. However, I made myself write the rules first, before ever playtesting, and the games were better for it. You can learn things by putting it down on paper (even in a form that you could never use for blind playtesting). Also, for me, it helps organize how I am going to teach the game, and helps create the language (terminology) of the game. There may be elements that seem very natural in your head, but if you have trouble explaining them in writing, your playtesters will probably have trouble following the instructions as well.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Filip W.
Sweden
Linköping
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Euros are better with dice!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Verbal first, then blind testing with rules.

M_Strauss wrote:
You see, one thing I can't crack is rule books. I don't know why. I consider myself a pretty competent writer, heck I've even won some awards for it. And I certainly have a very clear idea in my head of what my rules are. But when it comes to writing it down... I just can't!


I've come to appreciate that explaining games is something completely different from making them. I've got a friend who's a great game explainer - now when I want to write rules I go to him, teach him the game and then watch him explain it to people. Then I rewrite my rule text based on what he did.

Interestingly enough the text, while better at explaining the game, often seems "out of whack" to me - it's not something that I would have written myself...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.