Home Forums General Game Design Consistent and/or Intuitive modifiers – How important? Reply To: Consistent and/or Intuitive modifiers – How important?


Intuitive rules and their organization can target the universally ‘intuitive’ but there are long-standing game conventions that can be in no way ‘intuitive’ in the normal sense of the word.  Both certainly apply.  I can remember ‘average dice’ looking strange and not ‘user-friendly’ when I first encountered them.  Obviously, a D6 is far more ‘intuitive’ in this game-convention sense.

The general intuitive issues are  things like the positive modifiers being higher on the list than negatives as well as those negatives representing bad things, positive modifiers good things.  In that sense, while it is very important to have consistency and clarity, having a roll of ‘1’ represent penalties is more intuitive than rolling a ‘6’.

Game charts can be a real annoyance when they ignore simple ‘intuitive’ conventions such as people naturally reading from left to right and top to bottom.   More than once I’ve had to deal with game charts that have the first charts used in a turn at the bottom of the page and things like combat, the ending phase at the top of the page.  Creating a whole can of Alphabet soup out of the various activities. It isn’t the Friendly Small Arms Fire Phase, it is the FSAMP.   Get a few of those in the rules and the whole thing becomes opaque.

I think that only now are miniature designers actually starting [and I mean starting] to use diagrams, pictures and simple flow charts effectively.  Pictures can be worth a thousand rules.

Of course, doing something ‘new’ creates a real need to use every trick you can to make it easy for the player to get into the rules.  The use of several kinds of dice instead of modifiers is a good example.  Neat concept, but ‘intuitively’, both general and conventional, I have seen some rules make–or rather let–their use be anything but intuitive…a real pain in the patoot.

A number of the ‘intuitive’ issues with the written rules, charts, and organization needs to be addressed in playtesting. Regardless of how good a designer is,  like any writer, designers have a real skewed or unique view of the entire process… too close to it, to pick up all the stumbling blocks or tweaks that would smooth out a player’s understanding.


  • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by McLaddie.
  • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by McLaddie.