Writing rules for games is easy. Writing rules explanations is hard.
I’m at that stage with my game where I’m writing out the bits that flesh out the mechanics. They are the bits that most gamers have long since internalised, and probably haven’t said out loud in ages. Like, what do you get to do in your turn? And what constitutes a turn anyway? Two things are pulling at my method here. One, I’m always looking to be as concise as possible, and that sometimes means saying nothing. Two, I want to explain what I expect from the game, which means more words more often than not.
Take initiative. It’s been in almost every game I’ve ever read. I’m now at the stage where I’m wondering how much will actually be lost if I simply didn’t include rules for it at all. And don’t forget, my game is WW2 so it’s going to have plenty of combat!
You see, outside of combat, no one needs, or misses, initiative. Ever. When combat starts, I guess the point of it is to parcel out the spotlight, and to make things seem fairer somehow. Well, how about just let the group dynamic take care of all that? It works fine outside combat as I say.
But with the writing bit, would I need to justify the absence of initiative like I’ve just done here? Or would its omission completely confuse the reader? I intend to discuss spotlight time and how to include people in a way that they feel comfortable with. Right now I’m thinking make all stuff combat agnostic.
What would you prefer?