Game Rule Editing

Six weeks ago I rambled on about the value of an editor for books and games and wanted to share my first editor experience for game rules.

I have a wonderful editor who I know through my day job creating eLearning. She’s been editing the ChuChu Chicken & Pedro the Goat kid’s books since the beginning of the year and it made sense to call upon her for game rules, even though that’s very different from kid’s books. In her work at my day job, she edits software training material; step-wise procedures are something she’s comfortable with.

After several rounds of wordsmithing with family, friends, and my local game design meetup group, I was feeling good on the instructions for Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens. The instructions have to fit on the fronts and backs of 3 mini poker cards, so space is at a premium.

mini-cards-300-dpiI emailed the Word files to the editor and a photo of the each game setup. Being able to understand how to play without my explanation and without the actual games is something that instructions should be able to do.

A few days later, she returned her edits.

The results are clearer instructions, more concise text through better phrasing and word use, and a better “flow”. The cost for this was about $20 (her hourly rate is $35). $10 per game seems like a bargain to me and I feel more confident about players understanding the rules of play.

Game rules shouldn’t get in the way of playing and should form an initial positive impression of a game.

If you don’t have an editor (and why would you?), give a shout out on Twitter or to a LinkedIn game design group. There are many good editors online and it’s worth the trouble to find one. If that seems daunting, and it can be, The Game Crafter also has an excellent instruction service called Sanity Tests.

Play well! =)