I'm involved in a private conversation with someone who is consulting with me about their game-in-design. (Perhaps they will jump in here, if they wish to discuss it openly! But I'll leave that to them.)
I said something along these lines:
If you want to receive good feedback or critique on a draft of a game, it would be very helpful to be as clear as possible not only about the rules themselves, but also on their purpose (what you hope they will accomplish) and their best use.
Ideally, the reader knows what you're going for, what a rule is intended to accomplish, and how to leverage that in play.
(The process is also very important, but is more often covered in such texts.)
For example, I might say in a playtest document that "players must write down three goals for their character. Each time they achieve one, they receive one Experience Token."
Ideally, the reader should be able to understand things like these:
* What's the purpose of the Experience tokens? How do they feed back into play?
* What form is best used to write these "goals"?
* What are good or interesting goals to write? What are bad or useless ones? What distinguishes the former from the latter?
* What is the process or conversation of writing goals like? Do we have input into others' goals, should they occasionally conflict, should they address common themes? What do we need to talk about in order to make this happen?
1. As a reader of game drafts, designs, house rules, and playtest documents, how important are these considerations to you (in terms of understanding and being able to critique the text)?
2. How do you communicate this information to the reader? (Space and time are limited, especially in an early draft, after all.) What techniques and/or formats are helpful, in your experience?