Writing Rules for Idiots

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

First off, I’m an idiot so please don’t be offended by my calling you an idiot.  Of course, that is an argumentum ad hominem. You should feel free to be insulted regardless of whether I call myself one.

That tortured opening bit is an example of how and why communication needs streamlining.  I’ve got a card for Battlestations Second Edition Plot Twist Deck that reads  like this:

Radiation Leak

When any Engine is pumped for power

Everyone in any Engine module suffers one die of damage.

Okay, so this could be interpreted as the enemies on the enemy ship all pump their own engines and somehow the heroes in their own ship all get cooked.  I could clear this up by having it read instead:

Radiation Leak

When any Engine is pumped for power

Everyone in any Engine module on that ship suffers one die of damage.

I only added the three words, “on that ship” but it there were only 18 words to begin with and anybody who intentionally misinterprets the card shouldn’t be gaming anyway.

So, do you have to write “idiot-proof” rules? No. In the first place you can’t. People will always find something to make a mistake on and in the second place, trying to do so makes your rules more dense.  Leave out the extraneous stuff.  Give enough information so that reasonable people will have no trouble correctly interpreting them and snarky jerks will have loopholes to point out before consensus common sense shuts them down.

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