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Dec 4, 2022

3 Free Fonts That Can Help You Condense Your Game Rules

The Game Crafter ( ) recently announced a new game design contest: design a game that fits on a single, poker-sized card (including its rules). That's 2.5" x 3.5" (two sides) to fit an entire game AND rules.

To help squeak rules into a tiny footprint, here are a few fonts to help you "hack" this small space and fit more. Of course, you should start with writing rules that are succinct in the first place. Use contractions, use active verbs, use numerals... But that's another blog post...

Here are 3 fonts that can help you scrunch your rules down into a smaller space:

1. Circled Font - for numbering steps

This font is handy for numbering steps (➊-➒) or using letters to identify items in a diagram (🅐-🅩) and also has a great placeholder symbol for money (just type a "$" to make a coin-like icon), or for a random element/token (just type a "?"). I personally use these a lot in prototyping, since inserting clipart into a word processor usually creates a lot of headaches and spacing issues. Using "Circled" is a great way to get icons in-line with your text. You can download it here:

Sidenote: If you're looking for an option that doesn't involve installing a new font, sometimes you can copy-and-paste UNICODE symbols into your document, or use these ALT codes:

  • For a decent cardicon, try ALT + 178 ( ▓ ), or ALT + 219 ( █ )

  • For a circle token, try ALT + 9 (○)

  • and for a square icon, try ALT + 254 (■)

2. Atkinson Hyperlegible - for readability at a small scale

Of course, one way to condense your rules is to literally make them smaller. Use a smaller font size! But of course, this can create readability issues. Atkinson Hyperlegible is a font that was specifically developed to be readable by those with visual impairments. Common problems like confusing a capital "i" (I) with a lowercase l (l) are solved with this font. It's not a narrow font (these can also help scrunch your rules down), but it is very legible at a scale where many other fonts are not. Download it here:

3. Arrow Fonts

It's often handy to have arrows for rulebook diagram. You can use ALT codes (for instance, ALT + 24 = ↑, ALT + 25 = ↓, ALT + 26 = → and ALT + 27 = ←) but if you want something more graphically interesting, you can search for free fonts with arrows in them. Here are a couple examples, that have a comic-type feel:

Lots of arrows:

Arrows, circles, and more:

...But first, start with great rules!

Of course, it doesn't matter how small your rules are if they aren't crystal clear in the first place. Here's a helpful article about rulebook writing, and what should be included in your rules. (If you need help writing or editing your rules, check out our services.)

Emily at Small Furry Games you know we're lunching a Kickstarter campaign this week? You can check it out here: