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I'm talking about games that could be euphemistically classified as "children's games."

This is a reference to this question, which appeared on the site, and which I helped to close.

Russian Roulette Alternative?

Technically, it can be played with cards or dice. But it was about how to simulate the "randomness" of Russian roulette, and how to produce a "bad outcome." As such, it doesn't seem very challenging or interesting to most members of the site.

Another example would be tic-tac-toe. It "could" be a board game, but there are only nine possible moves between two players, and (with best play) it trivially results in a draw.

There's no reason we should allow questions about such "games" on the site, is there? And, to clarify the point, I'm NOT talking about Candyland or other genuinely challenging games (that an adult might enjoy playing) even if they were meant primarily for children.

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  • I was worried this was about Candy Land. Glad you're not so bitter... – Shog9 Aug 22 '11 at 22:40
  • @shog9: This was an example of the community working with a mod to close a question. Something like three community members, and a mod for the "fourth and fifth" vote. – Tom Au Aug 22 '11 at 22:44
  • I've won many games of tic-tac-toe, I'm not sure it's the best example of a trivial game. Snakes and ladders on the other hand is definitely a board game, but the outcome is just as random as russian roulette (assuming randomized starting players). – tttppp Aug 25 '11 at 17:25
  • It was partly bad wording on my part. Today, I would word the question as something like, "are there "elementary" games that are unlikely to generate good site questions?" That would leave open the possibility of a game variant, or a brilliant observation. – Tom Au Aug 25 '11 at 19:55
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Children's games are fine.

We have questions on and as well as some tags that may cover similar games like and .

As long as the game meets the criteria set forth in our FAQ, they are fine.

  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

Of course the question must also be a valid question for this site.

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  • I didn't mean TRUE "children's games," which may be genuinely challenging. I was using a euphemism for games I considered overly simple like tic-tac-toe or "Russian roulette." I thought long and hard about voting to close, but decided that the roulette game (and similar constructs) was too trivial for the site. You (and others) agreed. – Tom Au Aug 22 '11 at 22:56
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    I think Poker is a silly and trivial game, I'd much rather be talking about things like Caylus, but I'm not judgmental! Games are games, they come in all different levels of complexity, let's allow people to enjoy what they enjoy. – thesunneversets Aug 23 '11 at 10:45
  • @the - I confess I'm not sure whether you are agreeing with me or not after reading your comment. – Pat Ludwig Aug 23 '11 at 12:54
  • @Pat: Sorry - I should have made it clear that that was a response to Tom's comment, I was definitely agreeing with you! Just because one person deems game A "interesting" and game B "overly simple" - what difference does that make? If people enjoy, and have valid questions, about game B, I'm all for them using the site. – thesunneversets Aug 23 '11 at 13:07
  • @the thanks for clarifying! – Pat Ludwig Aug 23 '11 at 13:23
  • @thesunneversets If poker were so trivial, I'd be a millionaire. – ghoppe Aug 24 '11 at 0:56
  • @ghoppe I know, I know, it's a good game and very hard to master! My somewhat hazy point was that, just because a game's mechanics don't inspire or interest me very much personally, it doesn't mean that I should campaign to keep them off the site. Perhaps a more appropriate example would have been the current crop of Candyland questions... – thesunneversets Aug 24 '11 at 8:21
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I think non-lethal Russian roulette is like the chain-letter question about "travel Scrabble": there isn't really a "win" condition. It seems to be more of an activity than a game. (There is, I suppose, also an argument that the name of the activity could be considered offensive to some people.)

Standard tic-tac-toe is simple enough that it's difficult to picture a question of any depth about it (there has been some discussion about whether trivial questions are acceptable) ... but there are variants of tic-tac-toe that are not so simple. If someone asks a question about tic-tac-toe on a 4x4 board, we can always go back to the FAQ and determine whether or not it's a valid question. We don't necessarily have to decide in advance.

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  • You seem to understand why I raised the question. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 14:21
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    Sure there's a win-condition. The last player to roll a 6 on the die being passed around wins. Yes, it's the simplest game imaginable but we're talking about games for children here. It's no worse than Snakes & Ladders. You could even argue that recent award-winning games like Dixit have simpler (core) mechanics. I agree that there are very few interesting questions that can be asked about Russian Roulette, but not that we should forbid those questions, should they arise. – thesunneversets Aug 23 '11 at 14:37
  • @thesun, I'm not sure there are questions about Snakes and Ladders that would be valuable here either. I'm not saying I'd vote to close every question about either game, but I'd have to see an example of a good question about one before I'd believe it existed. Some games are simple enough that it's going to be very difficult to ask a meaningful question about one. – Dave DuPlantis Aug 23 '11 at 14:49
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    @Dave: I just think we can afford to close questions because they're not meaningful when they're asked; as opposed to making rules saying "all questions on simple games must be automatically closed, because they aren't meaningful". – thesunneversets Aug 23 '11 at 14:53
  • @tom I'd say a few questions like this can be tolerated so long as they are on topic; if the site is overrun with them, then that would be a different matter. – Jeff Atwood Aug 25 '11 at 2:30
  • @Dave There's plenty of potentially good questions about Snakes and Ladders - the wikipedia page is crammed with interesting facts that I didn't know before: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakes_and_Ladders – tttppp Aug 26 '11 at 7:56
  • @tttppp, I don't know that there are "plenty" of them: a question about the origin would allow someone to post a link and summary of that Wikipedia content, but there aren't going to be many questions about game play/rules, and none at all about strategy. We might get another Markov-chain question, which would be fun, but that's about it. Again, we don't have to decide in advance. If someone posts a good question, great, but it'll be less likely with that game as a topic than it would be for some other game. – Dave DuPlantis Aug 26 '11 at 11:11
  • @Dave Ok - I may have exaggerated there! I was just surprised how much I didn't know about such a simple game :-) – tttppp Aug 26 '11 at 11:22
  • @tttppp, I agree about the interesting information ... that's part of the challenge with a site like this. There's obviously a ton of stuff out there, we just have to make sure it fits the SE model well. (Maybe if we can eventually get the site to go live, Things You Didn't Know About Games could be a topic for some blog posts.) – Dave DuPlantis Aug 26 '11 at 12:53

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