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I'm writing up the manual for a new game, and this one bit is giving me trouble. Here's what you do in this part:

  1. Shuffle the cards.
  2. As long there are enough cards left for each player to take one, each player takes one.
  3. Once there are fewer cards left than players, the remaining cards get set aside.

This seems like a very awkward way to describe this concept, yet it seems like a common concept to me. Is there a common way of describing this mechanic?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I feel that most board games favour clearer rulebooks over short sentences, so they'll often tell you the number to deal based on the number of players.

If you prefer a shorter sentence:

Shuffle and deal out all the cards evenly amongst the players. Set aside any leftover cards - all players should have the same amount.

If you wanted to go with something like bwarner's suggestion, but the other way around, then you can get a very unambiguous explanation. By removing the extra cards first, you don't have to pay attention while dealing the rest.

The good thing about doing it this way, is that even though it takes up a little more space in the rulebook and takes a little more time to read, setting up the game might be slightly quicker.

(I'm not sure if the set aside cards can be used later in the game, so I've given you options in italics and grey boxes)

Setup

1) Shuffle the cards.

2) Depending on the number of players, draw a number of cards face down and set them aside return them to the box. They will not be used in this game.

The number of cards to remove is as follows:

Players | 3 | 4 | 5 |
# cards | 2 | 0 | 0 |

3) Deal out all of the remaining cards evenly.

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+1 usually if best if you clarify the rules the most so non-english speakers can deal with it easily. –  gbianchi Mar 22 '13 at 18:00
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Replace 2 & 3 with:

"Deal out the entire deck, giving an equal number of cards to each player and setting aside any remaining cards"

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Or, depending on whether the number of cards can change and how much the number of players can vary, you might just want to make it explicit. "For 2 players, give each player 12 cards. For 3 players, give each player 8 cards." etc –  bwarner Mar 22 '13 at 13:28
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"Equal number". –  TimLymington Mar 23 '13 at 11:39
    
@Tim: Keep up the good work! I never really knew the difference, until your comment prompted me to look it up. –  The Chaz 2.0 Mar 23 '13 at 15:24
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