Point # 6: Writing the ‘Rules of the Game’

It is one thing to know how to play a game, but it is quite another thing to tell someone how to play it.  It is not that easy.  Now try telling someone how to play a game you have never played before.  That is even more difficult.

Regardless if you have or haven’t played before, it is advisable to get a Rules book for the game you want to write about.  It will help you include everything you need to write about the game.  The explanations will be quite thorough with correct terms which will be helpful to you as a writer when trying to explain the game to a novice.

In addition to explaining how the game is played, there are certain necessary aspects that should be included when writing about how to play a game.

Players

Not only should you write how many players are required in the game, but also the different names.  For example if you write on how to play chess, don’t just give the number of chessmen.  It will be helpful to the novice chess player if you describe their different names and shapes and their significance.  Or if you are writing about a team sport, make sure to include the different positions the team players hold.  Make sure to include enough detail about various players, their positions and roles.

Equipment

What equipment is needed to play the game?  What is the suggested equipment as opposed to the required equipment?  For example, to play American football it might not be necessary to wear all the padding that professionals wear, although it will certainly protect your body from injury in an aggressive tackle.  But what is more important is the football, goal posts and a properly marked out playing field.

Penalties

What are the possible penalties and how are they determined?  These are questions that should be answered in your article.  If you don’t now, look it up on a reputable site that gives you the rules to the game.

Aims of the Game

What is the purpose of the game?  This should be well detailed.

Scoring

How is the scoring done?  How are points scored?  What are the scores called – goals, home runs, points, etc.?

Terms

Do not assume that the reader understands the terms used in the game.  You should explain your terms to help the reader understand.

In Conclusion

To write an article about a game that you are not familiar with requires a lot of research.  Do not use only one source.  As stated above, find a Rules Book for the game. Is there one available online?  By reading several sources you will get a lot of knowledge for your article.  Also watch some online videos – they can be very helpful.  By using different sources, you will be able to determine what is reliable and what is not.  Not everything you read on the Internet is correct, therefore a search of several good articles and books will help you write a well documented “how to” process.  Make sure you know your game sufficiently to write about it.

As a writer you do not want to ever give misinformation to your readers.  You don’t want to be the cause of their ignorance.  It would be better if you don’t write at all.  You want readers to keep coming back for more and that is only attainable if you write correct information and write it well.  I cannot stress to you the importance of researching the game properly.  Use the Internet, your local library, magazines, newspapers and old and new books that could help you in your search for sufficient correct information.  With your researched information, write using your own words.

You may wonder why I am so emphatic about proper research.  Some of the “how to” articles on games are just bad.  There is no other way to describe them.  For instance in an article on baseball the writer neglected to mention a very important detail on how to put a runner out on first base.  If that detail is not followed, the runner is “safe” not “out” as the writer stated.  It is these essential small details that matter.

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