Rules, We don’t need no stinking rules!

Game Rules Lil Cthulhu De-Evolution Studios

As you know, for our submission for PAX South we had created a how to play video.  The video gave a brief description of the game and the rules on how to play.  For our game play test night this past weekend I played it for everyone thinking they would just get the rules.  Kinda really wrong there! Was it the alcohol or the quality of the video or just my irritating voice? No idea but it was clear it was time to write the official rules for the game and get them out of my head. So I started today, and let me tell you.…this is hard!

I started with a search online on how to write rules. There were a few good resources but none that were exactly what I was looking for.  So I cracked open a few games around the house and looked them over for inspiration.

After reviewing 12 different games and their rules I found that the easiest to understand games all wrote their rules in close to the same format:

  • Story / Theme of the Game – Game makers use this to get you into the mood of the game so you understand the thinking behind the rules of the game
  • Contents of the Box – What’s inside so you know you have everything to start the game
  • Setup – How you set the game up to prepare to play the game
  • How to Win – What are the scenarios that win the game.  Make this simple and straight forward
  • Vocabulary – OK its not a real vocabulary lesson but here they discuss types of Cards, Parts, Dice etc. They go into detail of all of the verbiage that will be used so that you are somewhat familiar.
  • Starting the Game – Straight forward, how does the game start? How many cards dealt? Where on the board people start? Get everyone ready to start their turns.
  • Taking a turn – This is where all the prep work before pays off.  You start discussing the actual turn of a game.  You can use the Contents, Setup and Vocab that you have previously discussed to discribe how you play your turn
  • Example play – Here you will run through a few turns and show players how the game would flow.  This gives players an idea of how they will play and understand the nuances.
  • Alternate ways to play – If you have other ways to play your game you would do it here.  The players hopefully understand the basics of the game and you can now throw curve-balls at them!

So with this in hand I will putting together the official rules for Lil’ Cthulhu in the next few days. OK I think I will need a drink for this!

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