Board Game Rulebooks

A good rulebook means gamers of all stripes can learn to play your game. A great rulebook means they'll enjoy the journey.

I provide one-stop writingediting, and layout services for tabletop game rulebooks. My blended background in writing, layout production, and game design gives me the skills to map out how a rulebook will look and feel from start to finish. 

I have a fully integrated process that makes use of visual elements like diagrams, examples, sidebars, and highlighted keywords. I think about how the organization of the rulebook as a whole and the layout of each page can make rules clearconsistent, and compelling

The rules just made so much more sense after Jeff edited them. Jeff has a way of finding the most concise phrase, while still capturing every angle of each rule. Highly recommend.

Jay Cormier, Game Designer (Mind MGMT, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Junk Art)

Recent Work

Jeff did a fantastic job making each page of our EPIC 360-page scenario guide look great. Can't wait to work with him again!

Chris Batarlis, Everything Epic

My Services

I offer the following services, either as a package or individually:

  • Rulebook Editing: Working with the designer to revise your Rulebook, improving clarity, organization, and writing style
  • Rulebook Layout: Professional print layout using Adobe InDesign and Illustrator
  • Example Design: Creating visual examples and diagrams to help readers see how your game actually works
  • Component Editing: Revising text on cards and player aids for clarity, succinctness, and alignment with Rulebook
  • Player Aids: Designing and writing visual aids to help players learn and remember key information
  • Game Development: Playtesting and suggesting changes to your rules to improve playability

Jeff paid attention to every detail – terminology, layout, and visual aids. When he was done, the Dracula’s Feast rulebook was everything I could want it to be!

Peter Hayward, Jellybean Games

My Process

Typically, I will begin with a wireframe mockup of the rulebook in InDesign. Here I apply any large-scale changes to the structure of your rules, which may mean reorganizing sections, moving rules around, or merging together rules and sections to eliminate redundancy.

After this is completed, I do a sentence-by-sentence edit for grammar and language. I highlight any key game terms, add callout boxes and marginalia to emphasize definitions and often overlooked rules, and work with the game designer to ensure any ambiguities are resolved. I also convert all rules to active instructional language ("On your turn, do X") rather than passive descriptive ("On their turn, a player does X"). This helps readers learn and remember rules faster.

Once I am thoroughly familiar with the rules, I determine where detailed examples and diagrams are necessary, and create these using existing game assets. Typically, I design a visual components list and a full 2-page setup diagram with numbered labels corresponding to each step of the setup instructions. This will also be where I add any important reference info to the back page.

Lastly, I apply visual polish, working with your graphic designer to make the visual style of the rulebook match that of the game and its components.

    Need a Rulebook?

    As a full-time freelance editor, I have flexible availability and can work around your production schedule. I work remotely from Toronto, but you can catch me at most major board gaming conventions across the US.

    I charge a flat hourly rate for all rulebook work, with the understanding that more involved work will require more hours to complete. I can provide estimates based on the complexity of your game and the completeness of your ruleset.

    To request an estimate for your project, view layout samples, or just say hi, use the contact form below or reach out to me on Facebook.