Recently, I posted some snaps on twitter of my bullet journal containing notes for Zweihander and during a podcast interview those notes were brought up in relation to game prep.
For my day job, I write instructions and spend a lot of time breaking down very complex concepts into directions a consumer can easily act upon.
If you've read my article series about character sheet design, you know I love, love, LOVE doing this and it completely affects how I approach learning ttrpgs and teaching how to play them.
When I sit down to digest a new game, I typically ask the following questions:
1. What is this game about?
2. What are the character playbooks about?
3. What should be the players' focus?
4. What can the characters do/stats?
5. What dice will be used?
6. What does success and failure look like/mean?
7. What are the main mechanics we'll be encountering/what's important to the game?
Not every game will be asked the same line of questions or in the same order but that list is generally what I'm after when I go to play or run a game.
Then because I'm incredibly extra, I tend to make a quick guide for a game. Usually just for me, but when I used to run a bunch of one shots, I would share it with new players.
Now this is something I did extra for people and I don't think it should never be expected of a GM to start providing learning materials for their players.
But I enjoyed doing it and if you're interested in what one of mine looks like, here's the Monsterhearts 2 Quick Guide I constructed to help new players understand what the game is all about.
I took artwork from the pdf and a lot of Avery Alder's rules text and rearranged it to fit my line of questions. This was only ever used for my one shot players. I love this game and it's one of my absolute favorites to run. Please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.
Monsterhearts 2 Quick Guide