#RPGaDay2020: Day 28 — Close


We are close to the end now, no? Three more prompts after today. Where has the time gone? It seems the door is about to close on another RPGaDay Celebration. Let’s make the most of it.

You’ve got to just love the English language. When you saw today’s prompt — close — how did you read it? /klōs/ or /klōz/? Bloody homographs. You know, words like lead, bat, wound, bear, wind… It’s a wonder we can communicate at all.

When writing an RPG, communication is paramount. The creator’s job is to communicate the rules in a concise and precise manner. One has to find a rhythm to it, a language that is consistent throughout.

That said, and believe me when I say I have played a lot of games, save for some very basic board games, all games have issues when it come to the rules. Some are worse than others.

Let’s take Modiphius’ 2d20 System. It’s really a marvelous set of mechanics, that when played seems very intuitive and engaging. However, the rulebooks themselves are as clear as mud. It is only when playing the game that the words make any sense.

That is a failure to communicate.

Now, let’s compare that to Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition ruleset. The basics are easy to understand and teach to people who have never played the game before. Great communication. Things break down a bit once you get into more complex spells and such, but the core is sound.

Communication is good.

So, when you’re creating your game, remember to communicate in the simplest terms to your audience. English can be tricky enough. Complexities of language will make or break you.

You might have the right mechanics, but to close the deal you have to get up close and personal with the players.

Choose your words carefully.

—Bob Freeman
Bordermen Games

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