Category Archives: How-to

How to Write a Board Game Manual

I was going to do a picture of all my manuals together until I realized how much work that would take.

Hi there! I’m Dan Thurot. I’m not a professional at writing board game rulebooks, but I’m here to tell you how to write board game rulebooks.

If you’re now thinking, Well why the hell should I listen to you?, here’s my response: Wow. That was kind of harsh. Maybe I’m just some dummy, but I’m a dummy who reads a freighter’s worth of board game manuals every year, and I’ve come to appreciate certain details that make them easier to read and much better at actually teaching me your game. What follows is a list of ten tips I’d appreciate you following the next time you’re seated at your computer trying to type out your new board game’s rules.

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Eight Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Summoner

Only to team up when they're assaulted by glare! PLOT TWIST!

Ret-Talus and his Fallen Kingdom square off against Krusk’s Sand Goblins.

A few handsome and/or beautiful people have asked me to write down some strategy tips for Summoner Wars from Plaid Hat Games. Being an obscure blogger, I’m pretty much jumping up and down at the opportunity to both write about my favorite board game and to fulfill requests, which makes me feel oh so professional.

I hope to eventually write about each of the game’s factions, but for now here’s a few basic clues that I like to give players just barely introduced to Summoner Wars. If you’ve played more than a handful of games, you might not find these steps particularly useful. Though maybe you will. Who knows? The only solution is to keep reading.

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The Incredible Exposition of Alan Wake, Ep 4

"Alan didn't like it," Alan narrates, "but Cardboard Cutout Alan was the most dynamic character in the whole novel." Alan glares at the cutout, and the cutout glares back. "But Alan," Alan says, "would have the last laugh."

A cardboard cutout of Alan Wake, gazing into your soul.

The last time I talked about Alan Wake, I mentioned a few of its more brilliant plot points from the first three episodes. Well, I’m still hooked, and I recently finished the game’s fourth episode. I must warn that there are spoilers to come, as episode 4 is entitled “The Truth,” and boy, what an apt name to call it by. So if you don’t mind this great game being spoiled, I’d like to talk about its gentle handling of exposition.

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The Incredible Plot of Alan Wake, Eps 1 through 3

He's also a pro at silhouette acting, but he does that under his pseudonym, Nigel Shadows. N Shadows, get it? Get it? Yep, he's a pro.

Alan Wake, ancient-curse-solver extraordinaire.

I just finished playing through the first three episodes of Alan Wake by Remedy Entertainment, and I must tell you, it is so good. So good that I want to talk about the things it does really well, and the ways that it deconstructs the horror genre. I hope all you devs out there are listening, because from now on Alan Wake will basically be the definitive how-to when it comes to making horror games.

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How to Pose as an Indie Reviewer

<Insert hilarious pun.>

Conquest of Elysium 3, a typical indie game. As in, not AAA.

It’s hard to jumpstart a career as a AAA reviewer these days. The market is competitive, and the whole reason you play eighteen hours of games a day means that “competitive” sounds about as appealing as licking a plantar wart.

Have no fear! By following these 20 easy steps, you too can soon be reviewing indie games with the best of them. As we go along, we’ll take a look at an actual review of an indie game as an example of how to pose as an indie reviewer (Conquest of Elysium 3 review, found here).

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