Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road

It’s time to write the rules of play and create the foundations of a great game!


Mechanics are the rules of play, and the actions your players can take through the game. Mechanics are a fundamental aspect of game design, which means they need to be thoroughly considered, balanced, and engaging for the player. If the rules and actions make no sense, or are out of balance, your game will be fundamentally flawed; which inevitably leads to a dissatisfied players, and a bad game experience. Even simple games with just a few basic rules and actions can lead to incredibly complex and nuanced gameplay, so don’t take it for granted that a simple game idea will take five minutes to map out.

“Core Mechanics represent the essential moment-to-moment activity of players. During a game, core mechanics create patterns of repeated behaviour, the experiential building blocks of play.“

Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman: Rules of Play

So, if you haven’t already guessed it, your task for this mission is to write your rulebook. Take some time to establish the various rules and actions that make up your game’s core mechanics. Do you best to break these rules in order to filter out any bugs and glitches in your game design, and adapt your rules accordingly. In mission three we’ll be testing our games more thoroughly so don’t worry, there will still be plenty of time to iron out any additional bugs that crop up as the game evolves.

Your rulebook can take any form you like. Whether in the form of a document, a series of pictures, a video, a sound file, it’s completely up to you. Check out our list of useful tools to help you on your way. Naturally, in keeping with our culture of openness, we ask that you make sure to include your game’s rules as part of your design blog, and share links to your rulebook with the GC community using the #GCmechanics hashtag.

Helpful hint: This is one of the more in-depth quests in the programme, so we recommend that you attend (or tune in to) our PlayGen Card Jam on Wednesday February 17th to help develop your RuleBook. All Game Changer talks will be available after the fact within the various mission sections, however, there will be practical sessions and group activities on the day that will only be available to those who attend in person, due to the impracticality of recording practical events.

Check out the resources below for detailed guides and explanations on game mechanics to help you develop the mechanics of your game idea. If you find any great resources that we’ve missed, be sure to share it with the community and we’ll add it to the list below.

Learning Resources

Wikipedia: Game Mechanics

The official Wikipedia resource providing a detailing definition of game mechanics.

A List of Game Mechanics and a Random Mechanic Mixer

If you need an idea for a game, try this random game mechanic generator

Three Hundred Mechanics

Documentation of three hundred different gameplay concepts. These ideas are free for anyone to use. Please visit the creator’s ‘About’ page for more information and contact details

“The Art of Game Design” book by Jess Schell

If you want to go much, much deeper into game design, then you can read Jess Schell full book on the art of game design for free here!

Extra Credits – Mechanics and Tone – How Does Gameplay Relate to Story?

Video detailing the importance of the relationship between game mechanics and the story/narrative of a game.

To play a game well, you need to know how it works! Game design thinking will help us to inject fun in problem solving. As part of the Game Changers community, we will go through the missions and quests towards understanding the secret to game design and the relevance in learning. And most of all, we will have fun and gain new skills in the process.

Game Design Thinking
Sylvester Arnab, GC Team

Say hello to the group and share your thoughts and what your skills are. You never know when you might want to trade knowledge and skills to make your games better! We believe in learning together and from each other, so jump in!

Kate Green, GC Team
The Game Changers programme is all about being open and sharing your ideas with the wider community, read our Open Guidelines for suggestions of great platforms you can use to share your work!
Open Platforms
Alex Masters, GC Team