There are some pastimes (such as Candyland or War) that are commonly referred to by the general public as games, but actually aren't, as they have no decisions to make.

Are questions around such topics welcome on our site, since they technically aren't games any more than staring at my wall is?


I think as a community, we have already accepted as on topic. We already have two questions about it. Having meaningful decisions isn't one of the criteria that we decided was important for being on-topic, so you are free to ask questions about Candyland, War, Chutes and Ladders, etc. The help page notes the following criteria for being on-topic:

  1. Be playable on or around a table
  2. Have objective rules of play and win conditions
  3. Offer dynamic challenges, either through other players, randomization, or both
  4. Be playable by hand, by human players implementing all of the rules
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    Wouldn't such 'games' violate the third criterion and therefore be off-topic? If there is no decision to be made, there is no challenge. – corsiKa Oct 10 '13 at 4:06
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    @corsiKa, it depends upon how you define "challenge" too. (contest/competition). There is randomization and other players, and it certainly is a contest/competition to see who wins. – user1873 Oct 10 '13 at 4:19
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    Good answer. One thing to add is that I don't see a reason for us to go against the common definition of a board game. The guidelines written above were meant to help define the "edges". If you were to ask random people on the street if Candy Land was a board game, would anyone say no? – Pat Ludwig Oct 10 '13 at 16:11

I think this is a good discussion to have. In the original discussion where we set our site boundaries, Brian Campbell's excellent post explicitly argued in favour of games based on luck or randomisation:

For the first category, I think that solitaire games are on topic, while puzzles (such as Sudoku or crosswords) are off topic. But how to distinguish solitaire games from puzzles? I believe the criterion would be that solitaire games essentially produce an endless or large variety of different puzzles through randomization (most solitaire card games involve just shuffling a deck of cards, solitaire or coop games might involve rolling dice or other forms of randomization), while puzzles are static and new puzzles in a particular category (such as Sudoku or crosswords) must be created by another person or computer. I would, however, say that questions about puzzles that are specifically related to a board or card game, and commonly used in training for playing board and card games, would be OK; for instance, "I'm working on this chess problem, and the book lists this solution, but I just can't figure out why this other line of play doesn't work."

My opinion is that games which are completely luck-based are fine to ask about. Although strategy and tactics are non-existent, there are still reasonable questions about rules, probabilities, differences between editions, history, terminology, etc.

By their nature, questions on these games will tend to be rarer, but that's fine too.

At some level the off-topic dividing line is arbitrary. All games fall somewhere on the continuum between pure skill and pure luck. If pure luck games are excluded, what about games that are almost entirely luck? In other words, there is no a priori reason to ban these questions; explicitly denying one end of the spectrum is unnecessary.

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