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    Welcome to the Game Secretary.Com tutorial. In ten minutes or so you should be well on your way to effectively utilizing Game Secretary.Com.

Step 1. Navigation:
    Each page has three panes. The top pane contains the Game Secretary.Com logo as well as a Log Out link. When you are done using Game Secretary.Com click "Log Out" to disconnect from the site.


    The second pane is on the left. This contains the actual page navigation. Every website consists of multiple "pages". These pages display different content. You use the navigation to move throw these pages. Think of it as a book, where you look at the table of contents and then flip to the page you want to read.

    Put your mouse over Home and a second level of navigation drops down, put your mouse over Game Generator and a third level drops down. You can tell which buttons will drop down by whether they have a black arrow next to them or not. When you reach a level that has no black arrows, thats the farthest down you can go. To move between pages just click on whichever page you want to go to. For example, if you want to go to the Rate Games page you would put your more over the "Home" button which would caused a second panel of buttons to drop down which would include the "Game Generator" button as you see above. Place your mouse over "Game Generator" and a third panel of buttons will drop down which includes "Rate Games." Click on the text "Rate Games" and you will be taken to the "Rate Games" page.
    The final pane is the main pane. This is the pane where the real meat happens. This is the pane which is going to change depending on which page you are on. It is in this pane that you will be able to view, rate, generate, and add games. It is this panel that you are reading from right now as you read this tutorial.

Step 2. Browsing Games.
    The Game Generator includes a large library of games you can use. They are divided into ten different categories - Active Inside, Semi-Active Inside, Inactive Inside, Chair Games, Active Outside, Semi-Active Outside, Inactive Outside, Water Games, Messy Games, and Tricks. You can browse through this humongous library of games from the "Home" page.

    The main panel of the "Home" page should look something like the image above. The panel of items which states the categories of the games we just listed lets you filter the games by type. So, if I am playing games in a house I might want to select only to view "Inactive Inside" whereas if I was playing games outside I might want to select "Water Games", "Active Outside", "Semi-Active Outside", "Inactive Outside." When I click on the box to the left of each type of game I tell the Game Generator to show me only those types of games. If I uncheck all the boxes then I will see all the games currently in the database.
  Right below the filter panel we just talked about is the main viewing panel. This contains summary information about each game.

    The underlined Select text is clickable and will take you to a detailed view of the game which explains how to play the game, who wrote the game, and more. The second pane, which in our example is "Spoon Pictures" is the title of the game. The third panel tells us the ID number of the game. You won't really need this. Its just a unique number that is assigned to each game. The fourth panel sometimes contains a number and sometimes just a dash. This depends on whether you have rated the game or not. If you haven't rated the game, it will be a dash. If you have rated the game, it will be whatever popularity you gave the game (we'll explain how to rate games later). This way you can remember weeks later how your group liked the game last time you played it. The fifth panel contains information on the overall popularity of the game. That means it is an average of every user on GameSecretary.Com's rating of the game. This way you know how much other people liked the game. If you find a game rated '10' you know that your group will probably like it too, but if you find one rated '1' you might want to avoid it. This helps you to know how good a game is without ever having played it. The sixth panel tells you when you last used the game. This is helpful so you don't play the same game over and over again. The final column tells you what type of game this is.
    At the bottom of this panel are numbers, beginning at 1 and continuing on up. Sometimes they will end and there will just be two little dots (..). The numbers indicate pages. Instead of putting all the games on one page, they are spread out across multiple pages. Just click a number at the bottom to move to a different page. If there are the two .., this means that there are even more results than there are numbers. Click the ..'s to see even more pages of games.

Step 3. Viewing the Details.
    The next step is to view the details of a game you want to play. Click the "Select" link next to whichever game you want to see the details of. The page that appears should look something like this:

    Most of the information here is the same as the information you saw on the page we were just on, but a few things have changed. There is now a Description field which describes the game and how to play it. There is a Dangers field which describes various problems the game can have (e.g. it is likely to cause physical injuries). There is a Variants field which explains different minor ways you can change the game around (e.g. Tag with only one hand instead of two). The Source indicates where this game came from. Many games don't have a source as they have just been passed down over time.
    There are three buttons under the game's information. The first one is "Use Game." Click this button if you want to use the game with your group. The Game Generator will record the date and keep it for you so you know in the future when you last played the game. The second button is "Print". This generates a nice plain page that works well on printers. That way you can print out the game so you can remember the rules. Finally there is a "Go Back" button. If you decide you don't want to Use or Print this Game click this to go back to the previous page.

Step 4. Configuring the Generator.
    Perhaps you are already excited about the possibilities of the Game Generator - I hope so. But to be honest, everything I have just described is minor compared to the next several steps. The Game Generator was meant to do so much more than just show you a library of games. Click on Home, then Game Generator, then Configuration to see what I mean.

    Here is where you enter how many of each type of game you play on a regular basis. So, let's say you meet once a week and play three games a night. You usually play two active inside and one chair game. You would set all the values to 0 except for active inside and chair game which you would set to 2 and 1 respectively. If you wanted, just to give yourself a few more options, you could set them a little higher, and maybe through in a Messy Game and a Semi-Active Inside. When you are done click Submit. This configuration page tells the Game Generator how many and what type of games to generate for you. You don't have to come in here and set these settings again unless you decide you want different types and/or numbers of games.

Step 5: Using the Generator.
    Now lets move on to the fruit of your labors. Select the "Generate Games" page.

    This page consists of a mathematical formula that determines what the best games for your group are. At first it is only marginally smart, but with your feedback it should grow into a lean, mean, accurate machine. It takes your requests as you configured them above and spits out that number of games, but it gives them to you based on your own rating, everyone else's rating, and the date you last played the game. That way the games that are most popular with your group or other people's groups, the games that you haven't played recently, and the kind of games you want are the ones you get.
    Other than the fact that it generates games specifically tailored for your group, it operates almost exactly the same as the Main Page. You click Select to see the details page and from there you can print, use, or not use the games.

Step 6: Refining the Generator.
    There are really two steps you can take to refine the Generator. The first is to rate the games after your group plays them on a scale of 1-10. These ratings are then used to determine which games should be included in your future game generator selections and which should be excluded. The second is to add your own games. The Game Generator has a large database of games, but it can always use additional great games. The more great games that are in the database, the more variety of great games can be generated.
    Let's look at the Rate Games page first.

    Each time you decide to use a game it is added to this page. In order to rate the game you click the select button of the game you want to rate, then select a score from 1-10 from the drop-down box at the bottom of the screen. 1 is "this game is horrific" and 10 is "this game is amazing." Once you've selected a score click "Submit Rating" and your vote on the game will be added to the database.
  Now let's look at the Add Games page:

    Here you can add your own games. Begin by entering a name for the game. This can be long or short, but doesn't need to be description. Secondly, describe a popularity rating for the game. How much has your group enjoyed this game? Thirdly, enter an understandable description of the game. Aim for brevity as well as depth. We want to know how to play the game but don't want to have to read a volume of Shakespeare to understand it. Next write about any potential dangers of the game (e.g. people sometimes fall in this game). After that comes Variants. These are descriptions of minor differences that can be made in the game in order to shake it up. Don't forget to attribute a source if there is one. If you made it up - great, let us know. If someone else wrote about it in a book, please let us know. And please, don't copy games from books. Games are generally considered public domain, but the content of the book is not. This means that you can describe the game in your own words and we should be safe, but you can't just copy how someone else described the game.
Here is a U.S. Copyright Office page on game copyrights that might be informative if you have any doubts. Finally, you need to select the type of game it is. As a rule of thumb, Active Inside should be used when the game is able to be played either indoors or outdoors and Active Outside should be reserved for games which can only be played outdoors. Also, an Active Game is one in which individuals are nearly constantly moving, while a Semi-Active is one in which there is a bit more thinking but still a lot of activity. Inactive games are the kind you wouldn't mind people playing at your house. Click the Submit button and the game will be added to the database.