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Rules Rule

Yesterday I wrote the rules for an upcoming game from Mattel. By that, I mean that the game was already developed and tested. They just wanted someone to sit down and write up the rules in a polished, publishable format.

It’s been a long time since I worked on a rules set for a game with which I had little else to do. My first paid gig in the adventure gaming industry was writing the rules for Myth Fortunes, the board game from Mayfair Games that was based on Robert Lynn Asprin’s Myth Adventures series of funny fantasy books. Like the original novels, it featured artwork from the pen of Phil Foglio. Will Niebling and John Danovich created the game, but they knew that neither of them could write, so they convinced Mayfair to hire me to write the rules. And so my career in the adventure gaming industry began.

Working on this new game was fun too. Writing rules for a game you didn’t design is a form of technical writing. It’s like solving a puzzle, which is: Describe how to play this game in the briefest and clearest possible terms. It engages both sides of the brain, which is what I love about game design in general.

And, no, I can’t tell you anything else about the game, at least until it’s closer to being released.

Comments 6

  1. Heck, I’m more surprised that there was a boardgame for the Myth books. I loved those, and have read all but the most recent one. Gotta check that out. I imagine that the baordgame is far from being available easily any longer.

  2. Heck, I’m more surprised that there was a boardgame for the Myth books. I loved those, and have read all but the most recent one. Gotta check that out. I imagine that the baordgame is far from being available easily any longer.

  3. Yeah, the game came out back in 1988 or so, and I believe it’s out of print. I couldn’t find it on Mayfair’s site with a quick glance. If you do find it, look around for any errata as well. After I finished with it, the in-house developers at Mayfair fiddled with the rules. Their “fixes” made it theoretically possible for a first-turn win.

  4. Post
    Author

    Yeah, the game came out back in 1988 or so, and I believe it’s out of print. I couldn’t find it on Mayfair’s site with a quick glance. If you do find it, look around for any errata as well. After I finished with it, the in-house developers at Mayfair fiddled with the rules. Their “fixes” made it theoretically possible for a first-turn win.

  5. The technical writing/game design link has helped shape my professional life: my interest in games and frustration with poorly written and indexed rulebooks got me interested in technical writing as a career, and my experience and contacts as a technical writer got me my first job as a game designer.

  6. The technical writing/game design link has helped shape my professional life: my interest in games and frustration with poorly written and indexed rulebooks got me interested in technical writing as a career, and my experience and contacts as a technical writer got me my first job as a game designer.

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