Board Game – the rules

The unsung hero of any good board game are The Rules.  They will get you started.  They are there to settle disputes.  You’ve got to have a clear set of Rules.

What should your rules include?

  • what’s the object of the game?  how do you win?
  • how to layout or setup the board like in Mouse Trap or Life or Stratego.  Show them a diagram.
  • number of players (2-4?)
  • age range
  • appropriate language to age range, audience
  • how long a game MIGHT take?
  • what comes in the box: how many pieces, cards, etc.
  • what do you do with each piece?  What’s it for?  This is a good place for images of each piece for clarity.
  • who goes first?  youngest?  the red piece? dice roll?
  • write from general to specific.  Give a general overview of the game then move to specific situations.
  • what do you do if you run out of cards/money?  Shuffle, flip them over.
  • can other players keep playing even after someone wins?
  • keeping score?
  • use pictures to explain.  If it’s hard to explain in words then use a photo.
  • any modifications (speed version, simple version, solo version)
  • how do you settle disputes or a tie?


Play the game through and take notes.  Then flesh these notes out in simple text.  Then play the game with the text notes and consider where you need more detail or images to explain.