Rule Cards

Cards that provide instruction to players (usually in text).

Board games

This type of prop is a classic design solution most commonly known as Monopoly's Community Chest or Chance cards. Pick a card, read it, do what is says. This has unquestionable advantages, especially flexibility. In text you can put everything both as for rules and as for world-building/story. You can get very detailed about your instruction, so it's easy to provide the intended level of balance.

On the other hand, as this mechanic can be included in rules of any game what-so-ever, it doesn't reinforce any title's identity, and is rather boring for experienced players. Another disadvantage is a considerable downtime from the encounter with a wall of text. Pick a card, read it, do what it says… stop, give the card to others to read, discuss the wording… ;)

Existing decks

In music games, rule cards are easy to encounter, and more generally for makers of 'art in form of a game' putting all the rules in the form of a deck is a go-to method as a gaming community is not a targeted audience.

Stay in Character - a game from the library that uses a deck of instructions for use in the context of the game (for 30 or 60 seconds)

Tonic - these cards are also directed to a single player, although many possible ways of usage are encouraged

Oblique Strategies - Brian Eno's more general constraints for overcoming creative blocks, possible to use in group activities too.

Universal deck

32 cards attached to this page are supposed to be suitable for different ensembles in the context of free (and not so free anymore) improvisation. There should be no conflicting rules so you should be able to pick randomly a few of them and still follow all.

musicgames_rule_cards_deck.pdf

As with everything in this wiki it supposed to be build upon and might be further developed collectively. Consider playing with constraints yourself and if you find a nice universal rule, please post it in the comments. A quasi-game that lets all the players add rule one by one might help you come up with new rules. You can then use cards as a backup for people who don't have an idea (let them choose one of three random cards).

Other props:

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