Technical Writing

I’m what you might call a “systems guy.” I’ve always been interested in how things work, and I’m pretty good at explaining them to other people.

I “get” how systems work. Ecosystems, tractor engines, board games, whatever…the chains of cause and effect that make things happen are endlessly fascinating to me; this enthusiasm has been a major factor in my success as a technical writer.

But, effective technical writing demands more than just enthusiasm and understanding. It requires precision, clarity, and rigorous attention to detail. A technical writer must look at the material with an analytical eye, to identify and fix loopholes, edge-cases, and “what ifs.”

That’s exactly what I do, and it’s why publishers around the world trust me with their documents. In fact, my completed work is often used by translators as their source document, allowing my clients to sell their products on the global market.

Board Games

I worked on all of these games (and many others not pictured).

Much of my technical writing has been done within the competitive, multibillion-dollar hobby board-game industry. Today’s games are complicated and highly technical in nature, with multiple interconnected, interdependent systems and rulebooks full of specialized language – if even a single rule is “off,” the game won’t work.

In an industry with low margins and fierce competition, publishers need to do everything possible to capture consumer interest. In the highly connected gaming community, word-of-mouth travels fast; while novel themes and cool artwork can help sales, a game’s rules are critical in determining whether it succeeds or fails. After all, what good is a game if unclear rules make it unplayable?

My ability to analyze rules systems and simplify their language has earned praise from publishers and consumers alike, and my clients’ confidence in my work has allowed me to support everything from small, private projects to multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaigns. In addition to writing and editing rulebooks, my work in the industry has also included:

For specifics on my board game credits, please visit this page.

Featured Credits

I worked on Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 and Glorantha: The Gods War, both by Petersen Games. While I am credited as these games’ editor, my responsibilities somewhat exceeded that title.

Cthulhu Wars is Petersen Games’ flagship product. As the editor of the Onslaught 3 edition, I ensured that a new, 230-page rulebook and ~150 pages of collateral were correct and met the standards of previous editions. I reconciled errata and new procedures with existing text, repaired errors, and rewrote packaging copy for multiple SKUs.

On the technical side of the job, I had to learn the details of more than 40 different products and their interactions with each other. On its own, the main game is already fairly complicated; each add-on item raises that complexity and increases the chance that something will break. I was responsible for making the game “bulletproof” – that is to say, unambiguous and unbreakable in any combination, a task that required considerable creativity.

My creativity extended to editing and rewriting several of the designer’s fiction pieces. As the subject matter expert, I worked closely with the art director on the rulebook’s graphic design design. I advised on layout and art placement across multiple redesigns, and it was with my approval that more than a thousand discrete elements were authorized to go to print.

Glorantha: The Gods War is a game of epic scale, with a unique setting. As the first edition’s editor, I was responsible for reviewing more than 120 pages of rules and another 50 pages of collateral materials. While Glorantha presented several unique challenges, it also gave me an opportunity to take editorial ownership of the project.

I standardized the game’s extensive set of keywords and developed style guides to ensure consistency throughout all materials. I managed several junior team members, coordinating their input to rewrite and restructure the rules to provide an accessible, user-friendly experience. As the resident subject matter expert, I resolved technical questions and advised artists on graphics and design.

My technical skills were put to the test in learning never-before-seen game systems and translating them into clear, unambiguous language. Beyond the rules, this included FAQs, cards, and a wide variety of other components. As with Cthulhu Wars, I ensured that every bit of text was “bulletproof.”

I was given final editorial approval on all printed materials. Frequent design changes required constant vigilance, as each change had the potential to cause a cascade of new problems. I am proud to say that despite these challenges, the final result was a flawlessly gorgeous luxury product.