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Game Rules Writing

I’ve finally figured out a general concept for a tabletop Smash game. However, I’ve realized that I have no idea how to write rules in a way that’s easy to follow. Is there a particular formula for doing that? Any help is appreciated.


Well, the bad news is “probably not” since the world of published games is full of examples of bad manuals. The good news is that means whatever you put together is probably going to be better than some existing games!

My approach would be to just iterate a bunch. Write your first draft, share it will people, see how well they understand it (by what questions they ask, or if they’re playing a game with you, what they get wrong), write a second draft, etc.

If there’s a similar game that you know about, look at the way they organized the manual and think about what you found useful, or what was unclear.


That makes sense. Battlecon has incredibly complicated rules, but the rulebook actually did a really good job explaining them. So that’s one place to start. I imagine there’s a way to derive an outline from the rulebooks to at least develop a general structure