Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Video (screencast) FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) in the Rules? No!

This has been added to my extensive (and unique) "How to Write Clear Game Rules" course.  For more information see PulsipherGames.com

Below is the text of the slides.  There's more to the screencast than just this text, of course.

Short Answer: No
A series of questions and answers (which is what a FAQ is) makes sense for a diverse entity such as a website or company
It makes no sense for a rulebook
If these are important or even just relevant questions, they should be incorporated into the rules

I see people who expect a FAQ, but what they really seem to expect, and what I gladly supply, is to highlight rules often missed or misunderstood
But that’s not a FAQ, not even close

“Cheat Sheet”
I also customarily provide each player with a Player’s Aid (“Cheat sheet”) that describes the most important rules in one page
Often excerpted verbatim from the rules
Some players refer to these often
I’ve had playtest sessions where someone asked me a question, and I got it wrong, but someone looking at the cheatsheet corrected me
Or I couldn’t remember, and it was in the cheatsheet
Even I refer to it occasionally!
But the cheatsheet is not part of the rules, and is always overruled by the rules (usually I state this explicitly)

Do include “Rules often missed”.  Do provide a cheat sheet.  But don’t call it a FAQ, it’s not.

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