Recently I flagged this question which I thought to be a quite obvious game recommendation question, based on the following:

  1. It asks "Are there any games where" a particular criterion is true.
  2. It has accrued nine answers, four of which are, in essence, "Here's an example and why it fits."

It's surprising to me that no one in the comments of the question had even brought up the issue yet.

It is my understanding that game recommendation questions are off-topic, as described in Why are game recommendation questions off-topic? and Should we ban game recommendation questions?

However, the flag was declined. Was I in error?

  • You should note that only 3 people commented on that question since it was edited to have the [recommendations] tag; one of them was the person who asked the question, and one was you.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 22:25

3 Answers 3


I didn't decline this flag, but I would have if I'd seen it. Although it's not worded well, I don't think this is really a question about listing instances. It's about whether an entire class of board games is feasible. Would a game where some people neither win nor lose be interesting, or fulfilling to play? What would be positive properties of such a game? Indeed, the accepted answer approaches the question in this spirit.

I would 1) encourage the author to reword the question to avoid answerers providing individual examples as existence proofs, and 2) vote to close if the OP didn't respond positively to my comment. I don't see this as a question that needs crushing with a mod hammer - I think the community can iterate here to the right solution without us.

  • I should note that since I wrote this, I had a discussion with the OP in the comments, and it seems his view is not quite what I had guessed here. I've asked him to comment further in this question. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 19:32

The question isn't asking for a list of games, it's asking if a type of game exists at all. An answer could exist that is clear, concrete, and well-defined.

Does the category exist?

Here are some similar questions, asking if a category exists at all. I think these are not asking for lists:

A single piece of evidence that the category exists would be sufficient to answer the question; showing that the category doesn't exist would do likewise. Once answered in such a way, additional proofs would provide no benefit.

And that's what Stack Exchange is really about -- getting a single, clear response that decisively answers the question.

List everything in the category.

These, however, are similar, but are just asking for lists:

  • Who has been to the top of Mt. Everest?
  • What biographies were written of Churchill while he was alive?
  • What numbers are prime?
  • Which board games were invented before 1900?

A single piece of evidence wouldn't fully answer these questions. In fact, a complete answer would have to enumerate all members of the category. Each answer that adds another member to the list would only be a small piece of the true answer to the question.

And that's what Stack Exchange isn't about -- gradually piecing together a complete response through reading many, many answers to a question.

What I think we should decide.

I suggest we refine the concept of "recommendation questions". Questions that can be fully answered by mentioning a single game should be on topic.

Consider that we already accept questions like:

  • What's that game where you throw colored sticks on the table?

This is very similar to asking:

  • Is there a category of games where you throw colored sticks on the table?

In that vein, I suggest we allow questions under the same rules we should use for questions.

  1. The attribute of the thing being sought must be clearly described. We wouldn't want game-identification questions like "What's that one with the cards or something?", just like we wouldn't want category-existence questions like "Are there any games with cards or something?".
  2. A good category-existence/game-identification question delineates a small set. If someone asks for help identifying a game that they played in 1990 that used dice and cards and a board, the description is clear, but it describes too large a set. Likewise, if someone asks if games ever use dice, it's such a common feature that it's a poor category-existence question. Asking if there were any Navajo-language games published in 1990 is a much smaller set.
  3. Most importantly, the correct answer only needs to mention a single game. A good game-identification question is fully answerable with a single game -- the one they're looking for. A good category-existence question is fully answerable with a single game -- a member of that category. A poor question (of either of these types) couldn't be answered without a list.
  • The fact that you only need one example doesn't prevent people from answering with a lot more. I still think it's a fine question though, but it might be much better if you focused on what you're actually trying to learn. You're designing a game, it sounds like, but you removed the game-design tag. And I'm assuming you want to learn from other examples, so it could be reasonable to ask about things besides just existence, the things you actually want to know.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 3:33
  • @Jefromi, someone else removed the game-design tag, I put it back. The main thing I was hoping to learn was whether such a concept was already in use or not.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 3:35
  • Regarding people answering with superfluous examples -- how are those any different from low-quality answers to any other question?
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 3:36
  • They wouldn't be low-quality, they'd be more answers that are just as valid as the original. We don't have a policy where only one person gets to answer. Sure, we frown on total duplicate answers, but we don't stop people from trying to provide new explanations or justifications for the same overall answer. You can't turn a "big list" question into a "one correct answer" question just by declaring that the first answer is the correct answer. (Your question's is probably still fine since it's probably not a big list, not because there's only one answer.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 3:47
  • But of course, you can see from the existing answers that more than one answer was posted and the ones beyond the first are not low quality. So your first two points are good (the second is basically "don't ask things that are too broad"), but the third isn't what "saves" this sort of question.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 4:12

It looks like an obvious game recommendations question to me.

Let's ignore the tag for a moment, since I'm the one who retagged it (I left an explanation in the edit description that you can go read if you want). Instead, let's look at the content.

  • The question describes two categories of games.
  • The question asks if there are any games belonging to a third category.

Let me reiterate that second bullet point. The question literally says..

Are there any games where [...]

If this isn't a game recommendations question, I don't know what is.

It's not a bad question. It has cool diagrams and stuff. The author communicated clearly. The only thing wrong with it is that game recommendations happen to be off topic here. That warrants closure, at least until this community changes their policy on game recommendation questions.

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