How to Write Clear Rules (and game design documents)
What you'll learn
- Understand the purposes of rules writing
- Recognize "the enemy" of rules writers and what you can do about it
- Understand all the details involved in rules writing
- Benefit from actual examples
- Think about all the non-rules items you might include with the rules
- How and why rules are tested
- Knowledge of tabletop or video games
- It's better if you've already tried to write game rules that other people have read. But there will be opportunities to practice.
If you're doing it right, one of the hardest parts of game design is writing clear rules. If you mess it up, your game will be a dud, no matter how good the actual game is - because it won't be played correctly. How to write rules varies with your audience - of course. Polish the rules as you playtest.
If you're designing a video game for other people to produce (program, art, sound, etc.) then you have to write very clear game design documents if you want things to work as you envision.
This course is primarily about writing formal rules for games, usually tabletop games, but writing a game design document requires similar skills, as it must explicitly describe every possible interaction between player(s) and machine.
A other great course from Dr. Lewis Pulsipher. This is an one of a kind course on Udemy (the internet) about how to write rules for tabletop (board) games. All the do's and don'ts are discussed and more. From this course you will get some great tips if your planning to make a tabletop game your self. Highly recommend to watch. The teacher talks very clear and is easy to follow.
Recommendation (from email to me):
"Last year I entered one of my games in the international Hippodice boardgame competition in Germany. Unfortunately I didn't make it to the final but did make it through to the first 33 (out 150) which meant it was playtested.
They were so good as to give me some test results feedback a few months later. One of the most positive points was with regard to the rules!
So I just wanted to thank you because by following your rules course, I picked up many things which improved the rulebook before I sent it off. Now I just need to use their feedback to improve the game some more - its overall score was good just not good enough for the final!"
Who this course is for:
- Tabletop game designers (and wannabes)
- Video game designers who use game design documents
Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of approaching a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." Britannia was also one of the 100 games highlighted in the book "Hobby Games: the 100 Best". He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.
His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" (McFarland) focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. He also contributed to the books "Tabletop: Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best." His game design blog has been active since 2004, and he is a contributor and "expert blogger" on Gamasutra, the #1 site for professional video game developers.
His latest published game is the 2021 reissue of Britannia along with a new game, "Duel Britannia" for two players. His Viking adventure game "Sea Kings" was published by Worthington in August 2015, along with Hastings 1066 and Stalingrad Besieged (2021) by the same publisher.
The video game "Lew Pulsipher's Doomstar" on Steam in September 2016.
Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines, and publisher of various game fanzines. In 2013 he was an Industry Insider Guest of Honor at GenCon.
Game design blog and teach game design blogs are on blogspot
YouTube channel "Game Design"
former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.
former publisher, Supernova, Blood and Iron, Sweep of History, etc.
"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." --Mark Twain