Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
44 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Best Rule Book (In Your Humble Opinion) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: rules_discussion [+] [View All]
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
https://www.facebook.com/amuse.ment.92
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's on a game design and I'm wondering about the final format for the rules book. Does anyone have an example to mind where a game's rule book absolutely nails it? If so please shout and let me know why this one works for you.

Thanks in advance.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C Bazler
United States
Bronx
New York
flag msg tools
"Come, and trip it as you go..."
badge
"...on the light fantastic toe."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Gallerist

Extremely clear explanations, well-organized, nicely illustrated.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Aggravating people worldwide since 1964
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My favorite is Russian Railroads.

1. Logical, straightforward layout

2. Clear pictures and examples

3. Well written

4. Pleasing to the eyes

5 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Johannes Hihn
Germany
Walddorfhäslach
Baden-Württemberg
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I really dig the approach Fantasy Flight Games is taking with their recent releases. Their newer games come with a really condensed rule book to get you started quickly and for everything else there's extensive rules reference book with a detailed index which let's you usually find anything you need no know in seconds.
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Shipley
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
the liberal unsavory type
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We played Attika a couple nights ago and had to refresh myself on the rules and remarked how good they were. It is a fairly simple game, but worth taking a look at for a great example of how to lay things out.

It has clear section headers to find your place, liberal use of bold text to highlight important terms, and the right amount of example illustrations to show what is meant without interrupting the flow of the rules. I really like the part where the player can do one of two things, so the rules divide into two columns to help reinforce that.

And a very helpful thing at the end of the rules is a list of a few things often forgotten in a first game.
3 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Reynolds
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I was just talking about this with a friend, and for me it was Roll Player.

1: Overview of game
2: List of components
3: Description of each component and how it scores/why its there
4: Set up
5: Overview of a round - including a breakdown of each phase
6: How to gain gold*
7: Game End Trigger
8: Final scoring
9: The back cover is a Quick Reference

It seems like a lot, but there are only 16 pages in the book and it is a very readable type and at least double-spaced haha. But because it was broken down into more categories instead of less each piece made more sense and how everything connected made more sense. You felt like you already had a game under your belt after you read it even though there were no example turns in the book.

*I included this because even though all the ways to gain gold were already mentioned in earlier sections this was helpful because if someone was looking for a way to gain gold during the game they didn't have to re-read all the rules.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
jhNz wrote:
I really dig the approach Fantasy Flight Games is taking with their recent releases. Their newer games come with a really condensed rule book to get you started quickly and for everything else there's extensive rules reference book with a detailed index which let's you usually find anything you need no know in seconds.


Yes...I love the format of their detailed alphabetical cross-referenced rule book. I first encountered this in Star Wars: Rebellion.

The big problem with comparing "best rule books" is that some games are small with simple rules and some games are big and have lots of complex rules.

Better would be to have categories:
1. Best small rule book (4 pages or less)
2. Best medium rule book (5 to 12 pages)
3. Best large rule book with (13 to 20 pages)
4. Best really large rule book (21 pages or more)

Otherwise you are comparing apples with oranges. Simple rules are easy to explain clearly. Complex intertwined rules are much more of a challenge to explain clearly. It is much harder to explain new novel concepts clearly to players than to explain familiar concepts. Also some game rules can be explained clearly with examples and images whereas others don't lend themselves to such explanations.

The most entertaining rulebook that I have read was for Space Alert even though I found it hard to follow the actual rules.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nicholas Hjelmberg
Sweden
Saltsjö-Boo
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dominant Species

It starts with an overview and then go through one action at the time with a detailed and illustrated example to illustrate it.
13 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A M
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've just been going through Race for the Galaxy, and the rule book is fantastic. Lots of signposts and cues, the hallmarks of clear writing. The book also italicizes and offsets important concepts, and has a sidebar on each page with a summary of the major points.
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Francisco Arena
Brazil
Mogi das Cruzes
São Paulo
flag msg tools
TOASTY !!!
badge
FLAWLESS VICTORY
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nhjelmberg wrote:
Dominant Species
It starts with an overview and then go through one action at the time with a detailed and illustrated example to illustrate it.


Dominant Species, hands down!

Matt Leacock's rulebooks are usually pretty nice as well.
4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
United States
Davidsonville
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb

    Warriors of God has an excellent rule book in my opinion for a number of reasons. A free pdf copy can be found here -- http://www.multimanpublishing.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=...

    It does an excellent job keeping the reader confident that they're understanding as they read, reinforcing lessons taught with practical examples and having each section of the rule book link itself to the section prior in a way that unifies the message.

    I wrote an article years back on Fortress: Ameritrash that called out Warriors of God, Arkham Horror which has a huge set of phases and exceptions but still manages to be playable because of the body of its rule book, Ingenious which is very short but very cleanly written and presented, and Memoir '44 for some examples of how it cleans up potentially vague cases. But I think Warriors of God is a particularly good example, and even has some humor thrown in.

             S.


4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Proper-Lee
United States
Levittown
NY
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've found the Alea-style rules have been the best. They have the rules printed and a column along the sides that summarizes the rules being described.

The Castles of Burgundy is a good example of this.
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Feel free to GeekMail me your QOTD suggestions!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jhNz wrote:
I really dig the approach Fantasy Flight Games is taking with their recent releases. Their newer games come with a really condensed rule book to get you started quickly and for everything else there's extensive rules reference book with a detailed index which let's you usually find anything you need no know in seconds.


I would second this. Even games with somewhat dense rules have become pretty easy to follow thanks to their well writt n rulebooks.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C Bazler
United States
Bronx
New York
flag msg tools
"Come, and trip it as you go..."
badge
"...on the light fantastic toe."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ghostpants wrote:
jhNz wrote:
I really dig the approach Fantasy Flight Games is taking with their recent releases. Their newer games come with a really condensed rule book to get you started quickly and for everything else there's extensive rules reference book with a detailed index which let's you usually find anything you need no know in seconds.


I would second this. Even games with somewhat dense rules have become pretty easy to follow thanks to their well writt n rulebooks.


I'll be one to say I'm not a fan of this model. The problem isn't with the first game, when it is easy to start up; it's with the second game and beyond, when you need to look up a rule, and not everything in the "Learn to Play" starter book is duplicated in the exhaustive "Rules" book. So you have to search around in two books, to find a rule that would have been easy to find if they had just been printed traditionally.
4 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Magdalena Rosa
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mb
I like a fun rulebook

CGE have some good ones:
Alchemists
Dungeon Petz
Galaxy Trucker

I also agree with the earlier post about the latest Fantasy Flight rulebooks.
6 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marc Davis
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've always held up the Viticulture: Essential Edition rulebook as the best. It's clear, logical, and succinct.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
kimchi fried rice
United States
Uptown
New York
flag msg tools
AKIMBO!
badge
반갑습니다!
Avatar
mb
Gloomhaven has the best back-page, rules cheat sheet imo. All key words, icons, and card types clearly visible, along with page references for detailed rules. The page reference makes the 52 page rulebook a breeze to navigate.

4 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Chartrand
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Love all these opinions for RB's! Keep em coming
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Oliver
United States
Argyle
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
xBino wrote:
Gloomhaven has the best back-page, rules cheat sheet imo. All key words, icons, and card types clearly visible, along with page references for detailed rules. The page reference makes the 52 page rulebook a breeze to navigate.



Yes, this is a perfect example of a cheat sheet.

Also, pretty much all of Donald X. Vaccarino's rule books are great.

The have components, rules, examples, individual card/component breakdown, and common interactions between cards/components.
2 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Case
England
Epsom
Surrey
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
https://www.facebook.com/amuse.ment.92
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks guys. There's a decent list to work through there.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adrian Pillai
France
Paris
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rubberchicken wrote:
The most entertaining rulebook that I have read was for Space Alert even though I found it hard to follow the actual rules.


Just for clarity, I think Space Alert has a handbook (20 pages, funny, tutorial style playthrough of game designed more for new owners/players) and a rulebook (8 pages, dry as Martian dust, more a rules reference).

rubberchicken wrote:
Better would be to have categories:
1. Best small rule book (4 pages or less)
2. Best medium rule book (5 to 12 pages)
3. Best large rule book with (13 to 20 pages)
4. Best really large rule book (21 pages or more)


+1 with this. I'm looking for best written card game/simple game rulebook examples myself. The two I am currently referencing are King of Tokyo and Sushi Go!, but funny thing, both these games while simple, actually created some confusion somehow when I introed it to others.

Granted they were used to Monopolyesque games and I was trying to set them free but still, a good rulebook shouldn't need a more experienced gamer to clarify, right?

I wonder what the best written card game rulebook is.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I offer a +1 for the Space Alert/Fantasy Flight style of a tutorial book and indexed reference book.

For a single book, I recall off the top of my head that Cry Havoc had a well-organized book. It's not the best-written ever, as there have a been a number of questions based on common scenarios that have come up during play that weren't addressed in the book. But it was well-organized in the same sequence that you would use to teach the game, and I felt confident I could play it after reading the book through.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Willett
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Dominant Species I remember fondly. Then again, I might be mixing it up with the Player Aids. Dominant Species has the best player aids out there because they are a strong distillation of the rules. Since reading the rules once, I never had to read them again because the player aid does such a good job.

Great question though.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Fenerty
United Kingdom
Southport
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I don't know if Century: Spice Road counts: it doesn't have a rule-book, just an A4 card with the rules on it! whistle

It's a really simple rule-set, put down in an uncomplicated manner and clearly laid out.

Some games might have wasted acres of print for less clarity (Doctor Who: The Game of Time & Space, I'm looking at you...).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
nukesniper wrote:
Dominant Species I remember fondly. Then again, I might be mixing it up with the Player Aids. Dominant Species has the best player aids out there because they are a strong distillation of the rules. Since reading the rules once, I never had to read them again because the player aid does such a good job.

Great question though.


If I remember well, "Dominant Species" is a very sequential game. You do step 1, then 2, then 3, etc. Games like that are much easier in terms of writing rule books. It is much more challenging to write clear rules about a game with lots of exceptions, lots of conditions for each action, lots of intertwined rules.

When people people say that a rule book is well written they often mean that the rules are easy to explain. A poorly written rule book takes rules that should be easy to explain and makes them hard to understand.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
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.