Creating LARP Rules Pt 6

Revision Tricks

When revising your rulebook, it’s important to give yourself adequate time between revisions so you have fresh eyes. Most revisions will do with around 2 weeks break between them but your last revision should be around 8 weeks as you’ll need to a decent gap so you can better notice any issues.

So what are some revision tricks?

  • Read it out loud. You’ll be surprised at the overly long sentences and clunky paragraph structure you can identify by reading it out loud.
  • Read it out loud to someone else. If you feel tempted to explain more through asides, perhaps you’re not getting enough detail in your document. Conversely if you have the urge to summarise, maybe it’s a bit long-winded.
  • Read each sentence backwards … one word at a time. This is the best way to pick up on spelling errors because it forces you to look at the word rather than the sentence.
  • Print it out. Changing the setting of how you read the rules from onscreen to on paper will help you notice a surprising amount of problems. This can also be amazingly helpful when considering layout issues.

Always remember to label your different revisions so you always know which one is the most up-to-date.

Accepting Feedback

The key to accepting feedback well is to consider all feedback a gift, embrace the idea of continuous improvement and try to divorce your ego from the work. Your rule book isn’t a reflection of you as a person. If there are issues found, than those are issues can be fixed between drafts. When you first write your rule book, expect it to evolve as people read it and give you feedback. Give folks mechanisms for providing that feedback and explicitly encourage people to do so. If folks don’t feel you want feedback, they won’t generally provide it. Since it can be helpful to get rule book design feedback even from people who aren’t playing the game, it can be helpful to state that you’re happy for feedback from anyone.

The key to accepting feedback well is to consider all feedback a gift, embrace the idea of continuous improvement and try to divorce your ego from the work. Your rule book isn’t a reflection of you as a person. If there are issues found, than those are issues can be fixed between drafts.

Sometimes that feedback might not match your genre or the person giving it may not be your target audience. Write it down anyway as you might find it’s still relevant to your work even if the solution isn’t one the other person thought of. It may also be that the player is the target audience but their feedback is more of a personal preference matter. Still write it down. You might agree once you’ve thought it over or you might have several other players make the same suggestion.

While written feedback is best as you can turn to it when you’re ready, you’ll often get verbal feedback instead. Make sure to thank them and write it down and put it out of your mind until the following day. Make sure to jot down any positive feedback, too.

While you should never outright argue with someone who is offering you feedback, if you have a simple counter you can give it. Just do it in a diplomatic way that encourages further feedback. This is someone who has taken an interest in your work and wants to help it look its best.

As an example:

Feedback Provider: “I really think this would look better justified.”

Recipient: “Yeah, that would be a cool aesthetic. The trouble is it makes it a lot harder to read if you’re dyslexic.”

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