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Subject: Any Tips on Becoming a Rules Designer? rss

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River Tam
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My dream job is to design and write rules for board games. I have experience writing policies and procedures, have a degree in English, and love teaching games, so this makes a ton of sense to me.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can break in? I want to reach out to some publishers, but would like to provide a sample of what I can do. Since I obviously can't send them rules for existing games, I'm not sure what would work best.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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There are subforums for game design on this very page https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...
 
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River Tam
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Mashpotassium wrote:
There are subforums for game design on this very page https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...


Thanks!
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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It sounds like what you're describing is editing, not design or development (or even necessarily graphic design and layout) -- that's what "English degree" and "writing procedures" would suggest to me, anyway.

I have no idea whether publishers hire out for that sort of thing, but you might consider getting your feet wet by following games in development here on BGG and asking the designer if they'd like an independent set of eyes to critique/revise their rules. Things targeting Kickstarter would be good candidates for that.
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Dan Mansfield
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The game designer is the person who writes the rules; a rule book editor (which is what I believe you are interested in becoming) is the person who helps the game designer clarify the rules so that they make sense to the average gamer.

I volunteered to edit a game that was under development and headed to Kickstarter, and did not charge for my services. You may likely need to do the same in order to make a name for yourself before expecting compensation. It's not a lucrative business, but it is satisfying to see a game develop and play a small role in getting the game out into the market.
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Isaac Shalev
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Volunteer first. There are a ton of designers who need help writing and editing rules. Do a few of those and build a portfolio. Publishers most certainly do hire rules editors, and while you won't earn a ton of money, it's a way to be part of the business. If you can bundle your editing services with skills in layout and graphics, so you become a one-stop rulebook shop, you might do even better.
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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Learn to love the taste of Ramen.

More seriously, try to pick up some freelance copywriting work (in any field) to build up your portfolio. If you can afford it, maybe look at a proofreading qualification. Very few publishers seem to be willing to pay professional rates solely for proofreaders (and my god, does it show), but it's a really useful string to your bow for any kind of writing work.
 
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
Learn to love the taste of Ramen.

More seriously, try to pick up some freelance copywriting work (in any field) to build up your portfolio. If you can afford it, maybe look at a proofreading qualification. Very few publishers seem to be willing to pay professional rates solely for proofreaders (and my god, does it show), but it's a really useful string to your bow for any kind of writing work.
I must respectfully disagree a bit about this comment. Not the ramen part which is 100% accurate.

In the book/magazine industry at least proofreading skills (or lack thereof) have nothing to do with consideration about writing skills.
Maybe the game industry differs here but for books/mags writing and proofing/copyediting are not linked in terms of who might be hired.

N.B. There are copyediting and proofreading courses that someone can take which may serve well to get hired when you're starting out. At least the person doing the hiring will know you know the basics.

Also agree it would be necessary to volunteer to get some of this work under your belt before trying to get hired.
 
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