- Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
- Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying "Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!
- And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
- Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
- Be more or less specific.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
- Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies endlessly over and over again.
- No sentence fragments.
- Contractions aren't always necessary and shouldn't be used to excess so don't.
- Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.
- Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous and can be excessive.
- All generalizations are bad.
- Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
- Don't use no double negatives.
- Avoid excessive use of ampersands & abbrevs., etc.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake (Unless they are as good as gold).
- The passive voice is to be ignored.
- Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words, however, should be enclosed in commas.
- Never use a big word when substituting a diminutive one would suffice.
- Don't overuse exclamation points!!!
- Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
- Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
- Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed and use it correctly with words' that show possession.
- Don't use too many quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations.. Tell me what you know."
- If you've heard it once, you've heard it a billion times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly. Besides, hyperbole is always overdone, anyway.
- Puns are for children, not groan readers.
- Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
- Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
- Who needs rhetorical questions? However, what if there were no rhetorical questions?
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
- Avoid "buzz-words"; such integrated transitional scenarios complicate simplistic matters.
- People don't spell "a lot" correctly alot of the time.
- Each person should use their possessive pronouns correctly.
- All grammar and spelling rules have exceptions (with a few exceptions)....Morgan's Law.
- Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
- The dash - a sometimes useful punctuation mark - can often be overused - even though it's a helpful tool some of the time.
- Proofread carefully to make sure you don't repeat repeat any words.
- In writing, it's important to remember that dangling sentences.
Due to a last minute drain repair for a bathtub Capps and Susan have been rendered helpless as to write a proper article today! So they thought they would share some humorous grammar rules courtesy of Creative Teaching Site. Unless a plumbing apocalypse hits we promise to have a more informative article next time! Until then, enjoy a good laugh and remember: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Did you get a good laugh? As a rulebook fan and a mustache who studies grammar this video was rather hilarious!
I know that the video has been out for a while, but after seeing it I realized it would be a good way to bring us into how to actually use semicolons. Now I should mention that if you can in rulebooks these are best avoided purely because they make sentences look more complicated. It may sound silly but look at a very old rulebook for a game and you will see semicolons cluttering up pages. Fortunately we've evolved our rulebook writing since then but just in case you need to use a semicolon here's a quick reminder from an excellent website called grammarbook.
So until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Hello everyone! Susan here with something very interesting that might help you write a better rulebook. Capps was helping to edit a rulebook when he cam across this curious sentence:
"If a player's Speed is 4 (or more) less than the previous player's Speed they do not arrive at the next spot"
Now, that sentence does say what it means to but it looks rather confusing doesn't it? In case it really tripped you up, it meant that is they were 5, 6, 7, or whatever number past 4 slower then the previous player they did not arrive at the next spot.
This made me want to mention some mathematics, but not the kind where you solve problems, the verbal kind. Sometimes rulebooks can be severely improved just by using different words to help.
Here's some basic examples:
Addition: sum, plus, together, added to, total of, combined, both
Subtraction: difference, minus, take away, fewer than, less than, decreased by, are not, change
Multiplication: product of, multiplied by, times, of, double, triple
Division: quotient of, divided by, per, into, out of, ratio of, unit price, cut up, separated, share equally, split, half, parts
So using these examples, we could make an easier to understand version of the sentence above:
"If a player has a speed difference of four or more then the Speed of the fastest player in front of them they do not arrive at the next spot."
So remember that if your game has some mathematics in it, there are many ways to say addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division than those basic forms. Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Organization and Layout: Everything is in a very basic two column layout which works just fine. Everything is in a good order to quickly and easily learn.
Clarity: Everything is clear and concise which makes reading and checking the rules that much easier!
Graphics: There is not a picture in sight. While this isn't too big of an issue as there are good text examples it would have been nice to see something to break up the text and to help with memory retention of the rules.
Depth: The mini FAQ section covers the special cases of the game quite well. We didn't run into a problem finding something not explained in the rules.
Writing: Everything was really spot on! We didn't notice any typos or grammar errors of any kind and everything had a good professionally written feel
Other: What? Other? Yes a new little category for things that just feel a little strange in the other categories. From everything you read above you are probably thinking that this is a pretty good rulebook. We did catch a few things though that we wanted to mention.
The first is that there are no credits! Yes there is a mention to Hogger Logger LLC but it never mentions who the game designer is, who did the artwork, if there were playtesters, or list any other credits relevant to the game. This is a major oversight as people who do the work on a game should get credit for that work!
Second we noticed on the Kickstarter campaign that they had a How To Play video. Why was there no mention of it in the rulebook? Susan has talked about how important it is to include these in your rulebooks before and seeing as how they have a video it's silly to not mention it!
Third: The mascot Pork Chopper is pretty cool. Not as big as the other two points, but worth mentioning nonetheless.
So after all of that what is Susan's take on the rulebook? On the Susan Rating Scale this rulebook gets:
Susan's Explanation: I gave this one an average rating as it's nothing more then average. While they missed a big opportunity to include the How To Play video and made a huge mistake in not including proper credits the rulebook is still able to be used to properly play the game and does its job well for that purpose. This is the only reason why it doesn't rate lower despite the mistakes and it being rather lack luster. Let's hope this one gets a little more shine before the game's final print!
Well that's today's Rulebook Review! I hope you enjoyed the new format! Don't forget to let us know what you thought about it and our review in the comments! Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Hey everyone, Susan the Mustache! I'm willing to bet most of you recognize this iconic image made famous by Star Wars. Today I'm going to use Star Wars to help you write a better rulebook.
Yes I'm serious! Now that picture and the famous scrolling explanation at the beginning of the movie really can teach you about writing a good rulebook!
There was a game I wrote about quite a while back called Beneficiary. I had helped the creator make the rulebook better while it was entered in a game design contest on BoardGameGeek. His very first draft of the rulebook was missing something quite vital: the introduction.
Now, the introduction might not look vital to a rulebook at first glance. The rulebook still had all of the rules necessary to play the game so you might wonder why missing the introduction is such a big deal, it just explains the theme right?
WRONG! The introduction to a game does more then give us the theme, it gives us a frame in which to put the mechanics of a game so we can better understand them.
Take a look at Star Wars as a perfect example. Let's compare how this would work side by side.
Okay, maybe I exaggerated a tiny bit, but look at the beginning of that movie with no context and try to imagine it from the point of view of someone who has never seen a single Star Wars film. It would be really weird to be thrown in that way!
It's the same for your board game. If you know the context for what you are about to do the mechanics and rules of a game can make MUCH more sense and be a lot easier to learn because of this.
Now there are things to look out for as well with this. Let's use the game Uno as an example. The game isn't exactly overflowing with theme. Adding some sort of story to Uno (like saying it was an ancient game played by a mysterious tribe) wouldn't add anything to the game at all. It might even make it weirder to learn for people as they try to associate the theme with the mechanics. For Uno something as simple as explaining the win condition works best.
So remember when you sit down to work on your rulebook that a strong introduction, even if it is just how to win, is important. Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Organization and Layout: The very first thing I see right on top after the name of the game is "Learn to play in 3 minutes at: www.packogame.com/gem". It starts with red text even to draw your eyes to it making sure that you know there is a super fast way to learn the game!
The organization is perfect from there as well, everything in in a perfect order for learning and playing the game and it's easy to find what you are looking for if you need a quick rules reference. Even though the game is compact the rules don't look compressed and squished thanks to the excellent layout. This rulebook uses its limited space perfectly!
Clarity: Everything here is clear and concise, I didn't find myself confused by the rules at all while reading and playing
Graphics: This is a fantastic example of a rulebook doing amazing work with their graphics! They color code the light blue text in the rulebook to let you know there will be a graphic explanation of the subject soon which is fantastic.
If that wasn't enough the graphics themselves are all incredibly informative and are all used to explain things better shown visually then through text and helps cover the more complex parts of the game wonderfully.
Depth: While the game wasn't terribly complex in any way, we still couldn't find any situations that weren't covered by the rulebook while playing which was great to see.
Writing: Not a typo or grammar error in sight and the rulebook had a good professional feel as well! They used various colors of the font as well as underlines, italics, bold, and capitalization to great effect to make their rules even better to read. This was a seriously phenomenal job in the writing department!
But now me must call in general rulebook expert and fine jewel collector Susan the Mustache to give us his final say on the rulebook! On the Susan Rating Scale this rulebook gets:
Susan's Explanation: This is definitely one of the best rulebooks I have ever seen! Even with limited space to work with this rulebook is absolutely phenominal in every aspect. This rulebook is so fantastic, I decided it had to be...
Well that ends today's rulebook review! Did we miss anything in our review? Let us know in the comments! Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Organization and Layout: The rulebook uses very basic explanations before transitioning to more in depth explanations which is really nice in allowing rulebook readers of all levels to go at their own pace. The layout is really basic and instead of feeling organized feels blah for some reason. It could use just a little bit of spice!
Clarity: Nothing was really confusing in any way, everything felt clear and concise.
Graphics: There were some opportunities missed in the graphics department that could have brought this rulebook to another level. These are little things like mentioning spell cards have their cost in the upper right corner, and mentioning where to check for magic numbers could have been accompanied by a small picture showing them on a card. There are lots of spots similar to this throughout the rulebook that could have been made better with examples. It doesn't kill the rulebook, but it is sad to not see it at full potential.
However the graphics that are currently in the rulebook are very helpful and well made. They helped ease me into the learning the game, but that's part of why I wanted more of them!
One tiny thing that is bothering me is the main names for each section in a colored rectangle are slightly off in formatting and it is just noticeable enough to bug me. Again nothing rulebook killing, but it could be better.
Depth: There was a great gameplay example near the end of the rulebook that was really helpful and covered how a lot of things work in a practical way. I didn't find anything I needed that the rulebook couldn't answer which is always nice to see!
Writing: "the attack ines"? I found a typo! Poor Susan, typos make mustaches very sad... Still other then that I didn't catch any other issues with the writing.
Let me pass the ball to Susan! On the Susan Rating Scale this one gets:
Susan's Explanation: The rulebook itself works very well for teaching the game there is no doubt, but it really needs some additions to truly shine and be the best it could really be.
Well that's all for today's Rulebook Review! Agree or disagree with the review, let us know about it in the comments! Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Hey everyone! Susan here with a very strange example of something in a rulebook I had never seen before from a game so old, forgotten, and strange most people wouldn't remember it.
Bureaucracy, published in 1981 by Avalon Hill is a bit hard to describe. How about we quote the back of the box?
"Bureaucracy is a somewhat less complicated version of The Great Chain of Being, a medieval, theological, parlor game, first uncovered in a small church in Urbino during the renovation of an ancient, holy, but clearly inadequate, sewage system. Both the Church and the monastic Parkover Brothels deny the authenticity of the game. As one official noted, "that's a crock".
Bureaucracy is designed to simulate the bureaucratic behavior which constitutes so much of what we call government. It is convoluted, Byzantine, and entertaining. It is also cost effective, feasible, and administratively impossible. In its early stages, Bureaucracy required a fifteen story parlor, a six acre gameboard, 200,000 pieces, and a 15,000 page rulebook. Of course, this prototype was unwieldy. Consequently, we were forced to simplify the game. The present version is good for two to eight players.
Can you see why this one may have been swept under the rug? Well despite the odd theme and even weirder advertisement, this rulebook had something unique we wanted to talk about. Well it's actually TWO rulebooks.
Why would a game normally need two rulebooks? Perhaps they have them for a starter game and advanced game. Maybe they do something similar to Killer Bunnies where one book has the basics and the other has the more complex parts. Oh no, not Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has two rulebooks for a very curious reason.
The first rulebook is written purely in civil service type jargon, mostly for humor. The other is the regular rulebook.
It really caught my eye that it had a rulebook strictly provided to cause laughs. The game COULD be played with the rulebook as well, but it was written in such a manner to make it incredibly difficult on purpose. Yes, a rulebook written badly ON PURPOSE.
I've tried to wade through both rulebooks to learn this complicated game, and have even found that oddly enough the rules actually differ slightly in each rulebook as well leaving me baffled as to which rules I should use.
We almost wrote a Rulebook Review for this one but thought that it probably wouldn't be relevant for such an obscure game. But i just had to share that we found a rulebook written badly on purpose that actually fit the game. Can you think of any other examples of a reason to write a rulebook badly on purpose? Let us know in the comments!
Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good (Or Bad On Purpose If It Fits) Rulebook.
Organization and Layout: The rulebook starts with an extremely simplified version of the rules and follows it with a detailed explanation. This is nice so that if you easily can pick up rules you can hop right into the game but if you are new to the game or not as strong learning the rules it gives you a very basic skeleton in which to put into the more complex parts of the rules.
Everything is in an easy to find order and the layout is simple but attractive. A phenomenal job on this part.
Clarity: Everything was well written, I never found myself stumbling over the rules or trying to understand something too complex. These rules are very accessible because of it which is awesome to see.
Graphics: The whole look of the rulebook makes you think you opened a manila folder with notes for a strategic military offense like something out of an old movie which really gets you into the theme of the game.
But other then how cool it looks the graphics are very helpful to learn the game as well and are especially important in this rulebook. I felt like I could learn a lot about the game from ONLY the pictures which is a great sign.
Depth: The rulebook seemed to cover every edge case we ran into while playing the print and play version of the game. It was nice to not have to be forced to attempt an interpretation of certain rules and to just be able to play the game.
Writing: Everything had a great professional flavor, the kind you want to see in a good rulebook. I couldn't find any tyops or grammar errors, but I did find a few good puns! We'll let those go though as they really do add to the flavor of the game in a great way.
Attention! Sargent Susan the Mustache reporting for duty! The preceding rulebook shall receive a rank on the Susan Rating Scale of:
Susan's Explanation: This a great example of a well put together rulebook. It's well organized, presents all of the information you need well, and even the graphics draw you into the game making you want to play. What more can you ask of a good rulebook? The only reason I wait to make this Susan Approved is that it specifically mentioned it was a prototype and I want to be sure everything is added in and strong before giving out my highest honor.
At ease soldiers! That's it for today's Rulebook Review! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments! Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.
Organization and Layout: The layout feels kind of cramped on some of the pages, like too much is trying to be pushed into a small space. The organization isn't bad, but it should be done a bit better. Some things repeat being mentioned at the beginning and the end which aren't needed, and would be better if put up front in a better written form. You can find what you are looking for, but it takes a while to find it since it seems buried.
Clarity: It's fuzzy at times just because there is too much text to wade through and things aren't short and concise.
Graphics: These were probably the best part of the whole rulebook. They were very informative and really added a lot to the explanations, without them the rulebook definitely would have been too much to dig through.
Plus they really are perfect for showing how cool the unique monster building in the game really is and it makes you excited to play the game.
Depth: The rulebook looks like it covers everything but getting to it can be kind of a pain as mentioned before.
Writing: While it had that professional feel and I didn't notice any typos, it definitely could have been better. Mostly, a lot of the things in the rulebook should have been slimmed down, the overview feels too long, the setup section could have been explained MUCH better with just a proper picture instead of such a huge chunk of text, and in general the entire rulebook feels like it has way more text then it needs. It makes reading tedious and makes searching for things a bit more annoying.
We promise Susan isn't a mutated monster, just a friendly rulebook loving mustache! But what did Susan think of the rulebook? On the Susan Rating Scale this game gets:
Susan's Explanation: You can definitely play the game with the rulebook which is why I didn't give it Two Curls Down, but this rulebook just feels crowded and is tedious to read through. Things really need to be shortened up to be quick, clear, and concise you can can get to the fun of the game faster instead of wading through the rulebook.
Well that's it for today's rulebook review! If you have any thoughts on the rulebook be sure to leave us a comment! Until next time: Every Game Deserves A Good Rulebook.