Are gamebooks eligible for discussion in the board and card games topic?

They can be construed as a game but they clearly do not use a board or cards. Specifically, there was a style that fundamentally relied on a minimum of two players and the outcome depended on what the other player(s) did.

If this is still not valid, is there an alternative SE?

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    I don't really understand what you mean by gamebooks, can you provide any examples of one?
    – diego
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 16:48
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    The Fighting Fantasy Series would probably be the most popular from yesteryear, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. However, the book I'm referring to is more restrictive in that it was specifically a combat game but the interactions of both (or multiple) players affected what happens and which page to turn to. I.e. If someone charged, the other player had a number of moves they could perform. Depending on what they chose to do affected both themselves and the opponent. I'm trying to locate the name of these books, hence my original request.
    – Beerhunter
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 20:12
  • Going by Wikipedia's description of the books I agree with murgatroid, these are probably off-topic, I would suggest rpg.stackexchange.com since they sound more like single player RPGs
    – diego
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


As a general rule of thumb, if there is no existing variant of a game that involves a board or cards, then it is most likely off topic on the Board and Card Games Q&A site.

If I understand correctly, a gamebook is a Choose Your Own Adventure-style book where you turn to certain specified pages to make choices. In that case, I would say that it would not be on topic. The criteria for whether a game is on topic is defined by these criteria:

  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

These game books fail one key criteria: they do not offer dynamic challenges. Every outcome is defined by the structure of the book, and if you know enough about it, you can predict the outcome of every choice.

I also think that, even in the case where multiple players are making choices, it is questionable whether the game is "playable by hand, by human players implementing all of the rules". Since the outcome of the game depends on hidden choices made by the writer that are represented in the structure of the book, then arguably those choices are part of the rules of the game, and human players would be unable to play the game without the book.

  • Thank you for such a considered answer. I have augmented my post
    – Beerhunter
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 9:25
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    The OP's edited post describes a book that is on topic. I would revise this answer to "It depends. If a gamebook meets these criteria, then it is on topic. Otherwise, it is off topic." The important part of the answer (the on-topic criteria) remains the same. This allows you to defer judgement, which is appropriate given that the OP has not actually named a specific book. Otherwise, you risk the OP continually editing his post to create a more and more on-topic gamebook that may not even exist.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 13:49
  • I disagree. I tried to address OP's edit with my own edit. I don't think multiplayer variants of these "gamebooks" would be on topic either.
    – murgatroid99 Mod
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 15:13

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