Wednesday, August 14, 2019

On the classifications of games

How should games be classified is a common question. What is an OSR game? Is 5e medium or heavy crunch?

This was being discussed in the OSR Discord today, and thankfully (with a bit of help from a previous Noisms post, I was able to quickly provide a most definitive answer. Let us not speak of it again ;)

(a) Games that belong to the Emperor (games that are or have been played by royalty/other monarchs.
(b) embalmed games (games no longer under publication
(c) Games that need training (such as chess or Pathfinder)
(d) Games with balls (includes marbles, basketball)
(e) Hockey (includes games played in or on water)
(f) fabulous games (the current edition of D&D)
(g) stray games (systems that are published as free PDFs)
(h) Games that are included in this classification
(i) Games that tremble as if they are mad (games that make the players angry, like monopoly)
(j) innumerable ones (dice bucket games, card games)
(k) those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush (games with too small a font)
(l) others
(m) those that have just broken a flower vase (most children's games)
(n) those that look like flies from a long way off (kites, darts)

(o) Dwarf Fortress (and perhaps Rimworld)


  1. Checks out. That about covers it.

  2. It's funny, you do see a few differences, like who uses the One-Page Dungeon format vs the trifold, who uses DriveThru vs Itch.IO, who makes hand-folded zines vs print-on-demand vs offset printing.

    Those don't really fully match up to differences within the field though. You can't look at the production values and know exactly what kind of game it is (although you might be able to make a decent guess).

    1. Well the goal was to be humorous, but I didn't know about Itch.IO so... there are so many games out there, so many sub-groups, cultures, styles, communities... no one can know them all. So j :P