I'm working on rulebooks right now. I have one going for Tiger Leader, and another for Modern Land Battles. They take lots of time and effort, as any technical manual ranging from 16 to 48 pages would. It's like writing a little book. Only the characters MUST teach the reader something specific, and if I screw it up, the players get grumpy. So, no pressure.
Happily, Warfighter has been shipped out, to individuals and game store distributors. We are getting player comments and feedback every day. I love that. Reading them stresses me out, but when a particularly good one comes along, we all cheer.
I get lots of "Wonderful rulebook, I completely understand the game." comments. Yeah! I also get a few "The rulebook is not good" comments. Less fun.
In the middle, though, are the comments about the rulebook layout, or order of information being difficult to understand. I take that very seriously. I am always looking for the perfect balance of when to introduce something and how to explain it. I look at any rulebook I can get my hands on, to see how other companies do it.
There are a few techniques to choose from…
1) Introduce and explain all the components, then teach the rules of the game that will be using those components.
Pro: Readers have seen all the components and generally know what they do, before they have to use them.
Con: It takes so long to learn all the parts, the game feels heavy and boring.
2) Chronological. Introduce components while teaching the rules. The reader only needs to learn about a component connected to "this rule, right now."
Pro: Learning "As Needed". You don't have to hold on to knowledge, waiting for an explanation later.
Con: Not being able to see the Big Picture until you have finished reading the whole rulebook.
3) Start with the rules, with the component descriptions in the back of the rulebook.
Pro: It gets the game started quickly, and anything you need to know about, you - the reader - can look up in the back.
Con: The reader gets a feeling of being lost, while needing to reference the back, over and over.
Do you - the reader of this Blog, the reader of these rulebooks - have a preference? I'm always interested in comments and feedback.
Thank you for all of your help in posting reviews and spreading the word about Warfighter! We really appreciate it, and all of this community involvement is amazing. If you have an "AAR" (After Action Report), a review, or a game play write up, be sure to post it on your preferred website, and let us know. We'll include it in the next blog.
All the support you've shown on Facebook, CSW, and BGG have really inspired us. We are putting together plans to create a DVG Demo Leader program. The basic idea is to match up people who like our games with their local game stores. We'll provide demo copies of games and some kind of reward system to show our appreciation for your efforts.
Thank you again. Without your enthusiasm, none of this would be possible!