A forum to discuss Open Gaming - which are free games that are released with a Creative Commons licenses. Post up any Open games you find or find out more about the licenses from our resident Open Gaming expert Sanglorian from FOSsil Bank Wiki.
I know there are still no images, but I was going for a minimalist design. Is there anything I missed or could still be done better? Is the text clear and understandable? Do the rules make sense, from an academic point of view? Could you see yourself playing this game? Again, I look forward to your feedback.
Even from the first few pages, this is head and shoulders above the first attempt. However, there are still a number of format issues that wouldn't pass if professional technical writing.
Justified text is generally frowned upon - eyes prefer patterns over boxes and the odd letter spacing in words doesn't help reading.
The Bullet points are unnecessary, and clutter the page.
Section headings should be a bit bigger, or a different font. The samples in the suggestions section are good, but should also be a different font to stand out a bit more.
Use normal indentation and paragraph format rather than this all indent style. As is, there is a bit too much widowed white space.
Section breaks are your friends!
Improperly breaking up the document seems to be the biggest problem at the moment. Try to avoid having only one or two paragraphs from the beginning or end of a section on a page. To begin, concepts and materials should be separate columns on page two, with Creation beginning on the next page. If placing part on its own page ends up with a bit too much blank area - you can add a few paragraph example or an image to fill it. Line breaks after paragraphs will probably fill some of this as well.
Why I'm typing, I make good use of the styles box (F-12 on OpenOffice, right hand side of home bar in MS-Office 2010) to quickly set what paragraphs should look like. Usually, this includes at least 0.5 spacing after paragraphs and a 0.3 indent on the first line automatically. This feature also lets you quickly highlight paragraphs and switch them, or even alter the formatting of every paragraph at once.
I would probably keep two column format throughout the document, rather than switching between that and full page. Or, for another alternative, try a 1/3-2/3 layout (Take a look at my games "Gangland" and "Of G-Men and Supermen" for some samples)
A lot of the game is just a series of statements, but it would probably flow better if you wrote in complete paragraphs.
Overall the game is clear, and eminently playable. Its just not that interesting to read at the moment.
Games of imagination are never truly done. Yet tomorrow we shall start another one.
I did take a lot of your (Chainsaw Aardvark) suggestions, but in the end, I still kept the short-statement bullet points. In my experience, a great deal of clarity is lost when you try to pull them into paragraphs and misinterpretations can occur based on the extra paragraph verbiage. That - and bullet points just look better to me.
That isn't to say I didn't try - I did go through your suggestions and physically tried them out, saw how they looked, and agreed with most...
Just quickly on bullet points (haven't read it yet - still judging) - roleplaying games are used in two ways: they are read through and they are reference. As long as you have a tight structure of headings, sub-headings, a contents and an index then you shouldn't need to use bullet points to allow quick access to information. A tightly worded paragraph helps the reader be sucked into game (like they would a novel) without losing any clarity. Try to maintain the flow for the person reading cover-to-cover without waffling to lose the person trying to use as reference.
Please note, I've not read Synergy yet - I'm giving this advice off the back of having seen this a couple of times before.
There was one thing I didn't like (from reading it, so take this with a grain of salt since it isn't an actual play report). Since you can't be sure who is going to lead off as GM everyone has to have something prepared before game night.
This is perhaps something that could be easily resolved with an In A Wicked Age style oracle. Something like, look at the cards that everyone played to determine who leads off as GM, and they have these significances, so riff off of that.
Although I suppose you'd have to have an oracle for each setting or genre.
I liked the whole rest of the game so much that I've been thinking this could be the base to finally use my hanafuda cards in a RPG. Like I could rank the cards by month and point value, and they could be used just the same way you use normal playing cards in Synergy. Maybe I could make a hanafuda-In A Wicked Age-style oracle, and even suggest using Chinese style dice (the dice that have pips but the 1 and 4 are colored red because of some Chinese dice game that was probably really popular at one point but I don't know it). Maybe offer some Rakugo-style guidelines so different GMs could portray the same NPCs in a manner that the other players would still immediately recognize the NPC. Something like, "The boss of the Kyoto shinsengumi always has his jacket falling off his right shoulder and his hat on backwards." In this way I could have a nicely stylized Samurai Champloo RPG that I could try to get people to play.