Friday, 20 July 2007

concise reference sheets

I have a habit of making rule summaries for games. These summaries or reference sheets are useful for teaching a game, and for capturing important information that can be referred to easily, e.g. how many cards or how much money each player should have at the start of the game. When creating a concise reference sheet, my objective is to filter and fit all the key rules into half an A4 size piece of paper, i.e. in Microsoft Powerpoint, just half a slide. I am successful in most cases. There are some exceptions for some of the more complex games, like Die Macher, Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage, Rommel in the Desert (none of which I have played yet), but I still manage to fit everything into one piece of paper.

Of course I am not able to list all the rules, especially for games that have many exceptions. But the basic structure of the game will be clear. Winning conditions will be clear. To use these reference sheets, one will need to have read the full rules, and preferbly to have played the game before.

My habit of doing these summaries started when I was in Taiwan. Michelle and I visited the boardgame cafe Witch House 女巫店 very often. They have many games, so I'd research the game rules beforehand, and I'd make these rules summaries (hand written notes), so that when we got there, we could help ourselves to the games. We didn't need the staff to teach us to play. Anyway I think most staff do not know how to play. Only Yoyo and Yu-Ching are game players, I think.

So, one of the reasons of doing these summaries is that I hope to play these games (that I do not own but am interested to try) some day. There are some games that I have done summaries for but still have not yet played, e.g. Around the World in 80 days, Niagara. There are boardgame cafes in KL, but now that we have two young children, it is not so easy to be able to spend a whole weekend afternoon at a boardgame cafe.

The latest "published" version of my concise reference sheets, v3.0, has been uploaded to the Traumfabrik (Hollywood Blockbuster) game page at Boardgamegeek.

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