About Me

I am Mattie Schraeder, a C# and PHP Developer in Jacksonville, IL. In high school I dabbled with C++ and TI-BASIC. I went to college at Lincoln Land Community College where I developed a Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 Character Sheet generator in Borland C++Bulider 5. I am also the creator of C# MARC Editor, a tool for editing bibliography records. As a career I’m currently working in manufacturing on internal websites and applications in PHP.

All opinions posted in this site are my own and in no way related to any employer past, present, or future.

Ever since I was little I’ve been into board games. Growing up my family’s New Years ritual was to spend all night playing games until the ball dropped. Unfortunately it was only too late that I found out that in Central IL, the ball drops an hour before the New Year. While in High School and college I got into Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. While I dabbled in quick filler games, such as Fluxx and Guillotine, or sometimes sat down to play a classic like Clue, Risk, Axies and Allies, it was a while before I got into designer games.

My first experience with designer board games was the first edition of Game of Thrones, by Fantasy Flight Games. Not long later I started playing the Starcraft board game with another group of friends, who then introduced me to Carcassonne. From there, we moved onto Settlers of Catan, and eventually into a huge pile of random designer games. Since then, I have amassed a collection of 100+ different board games (not including their expansions).

In the 3 years since I got heavily into designer board games, I have found two common issues with nearly all of them. The first is that rule books are almost universally terrible. The second is that teaching people to play a new board game is an often difficult task. If the learning process for a board game is too difficult, you’re going to lose players before the game can even begin.

I created The Rules Lawyer to help alleviate these two problems. Board gaming is a hobby that everyone should be able to enjoy, but in order to bring new people into the hobby you have to get past the monumental task of making sense of new games. Even the best game can be ruined by a bad rule book or a bad teacher, and keep a new player from ever giving it the fair shot it deserves. Especially today, in a world of Kickstarter and indie board games, the rule books for a game are more important than ever.

On this site you will generally find articles on one of three subjects:

  1. Reviews, critiques, and criticisms of board game rule books. I will attempt to both praise the good while making fun of the bad. I will do my best to give fair critiques, but let’s face it, making fun of things that are terrible is far more fun. The primary goal of this blog is to shame designers into spending more time on their rule books.
  2. Attempt to write simple and easy to follow instructions for teaching players how to play specific games. I won’t be writing “new” rule books, just describing what aspects of a game you should teach a new player, and in what order. I will provide tips on how to phrase complicated rules in ways that make sense to someone new.
  3. General thoughts or criticisms of the board game community as a whole. These will be usually categorized as “random bullshit” and will range from well thought out opinion pieces to angry rants.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me here:

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