The last five or so weeks of toiling and planning culminated this week in our group presentation of the prototype pitch for Trivial Bullshit. My role in this twisted tale of lies and deception, was to write the rule book. The rules of any game are probably the most important element because without them, chaos prevails. In The Boardtastic Guide to Explaining Rules, Chris J Davis comments;
I have seen it happen too often that a gaming session has been spoiled by a botched rules explanation, with no one enjoying the game because they haven’t got the slightest idea what they are doing. This guide now exists to help reduce the number of those occurrences.
Good for you Chris! The difficulty of writing game rules lies in the fact that one is endeavouring to explain the often complex workings of a game to someone that may never have played it before. I found Davis’s nine step guide very helpful as he clearly laid out everything that needed to be included in a rule book and how it should be dealt with beginning with step 1 ‘the theme’ and concluding with step 9 ‘strategy’. I also referenced the Pixy Games UK Website How To Write A Board Games Rule Book. This site also references A Board Game Rulebook Template which was very helpful for the prototype process and one that I will use for developing my own game.
That brings me to the issue of my final project – the conceptualisation of my own board game. My experience with board games and gaming in general is very limited so at this stage it feels like a gargantuan task. However, I have learnt a great deal over the past weeks, and I would like to continue with the theme of time travel which I have dealt with previously in my Cybercultures subject last year. Robert Carroll who has compiled a Top 10 list of Time Travel games, states that these were chosen because they “meet all of the following criteria: (1) focuses on traveling through time; (2) addresses some aspect of time travel in a unique or interesting manner (e.g., paradoxes, altering the past, etc.); (3) compelling “theme” (not too abstract); and (4) fun to play”. Carroll ranks the game Khronos at number 2 as it “succeeds at introducing a novel way to simulate time travel effects”. This gives me a place to start exploring.
I also believe that researching the games on this list may well give me some much needed grist for the mill.