Games without rules.

I’ve been having deep discussions again.
A lot of people, it seems, romanticize the idea of not having rules (libertarians). I used to think so too, till I got old and had one of my many epiphanies.
What I had really wanted was less rules, but just until somebody bigger came along and took my ball.

I thought this was going to be about Calvinball.

Or Mornington Crescent. Or maybe Fizzbin.
Or 1000 Blank White Cards.

It was, but I had a “senior moment” right after typing the title, so I just winged it.

It was, but I had a “senior moment” right after typing the title, so I just winged it.

Is there an echo in here?

My son and I play Nookball. It’s played in a living room and it is basically volley ball using an old Beanie Baby and no net. Those are about the only rules. Everything else we make up as it goes along, usually to the rulemaker’s advantage.

There was, but I had a “senior moment” right after typing the title, so I just winged it.

Damn. So where did that echo go?

Games without rules is like peanut butter without jelly. Or a dvd without a player.

Ok, I admit it, I got nuthin’.

I hired a duck. We all know what that means.

I once played an actual game without rules…at the start., at least.
Everyone starts the game with a predefinite amount of randomly colored tokens. Each token is worth 1 point, initially. Each player is also given a hand of N cards, each with a rule written on it. Things like “all players take one token from their left neighbour” or “until this law is repealed, red tokens are worth two points”, or even silly stuff like “from then on, all votes must be done with the left hand or you must throw a token back into the pot”. On each player’s turn, he would propose a law from his/her hand, to be voted on secretly by all participants, until the “End game” law is drawn and the game immediately ends.

Amazingly fun game, esp. played with lots of people. Now if I could only remember its name… HA ! Found it, thanks Google : Animocrazy | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

As you were.

Maybe I should say that I meant “game” as a metaphor for “life”. A couple of the ppl I was discussing this with are libertarians. We wern’t exactly talking politics, more like rules (laws).

Calvinball needs to be an Olympic sport, that’d be worth watching…

That, or Brokkian-Ultra-Cricket

I’m all in favor of rules, as long as I’m in favor of them.

Honestly, we need rules, maybe even laws. Not because we are naturally mindless wild creatures that would run around murdering and pillaging without them, but because they make interaction much easier.

Okay, that’ll work.
Like I said, a metaphor.

mangeorge: Have you heard of The Question Game?

Does someone else want to explain the rules of The Question Game?

There’s also The Game.

I just lost.

Games without rules…

Hell, I thought you were talking about me and my fiancee.

Apparently, I just lost. I didn’t even know I was playing.

I have a favorite game without rules. Or, rather, game with one rule. It’s called murderball. Seriously. It’s played in shallow water, usually waist-high to chest-high, and it’s helpful if there’s a soft, sandy surface under the water. There are two teams and a ball, and the object is to keep the other team from getting the ball. This is accomplished, usually, by passing the ball to ones teammates, and incapacitating other players with various tackles, holds, etc. If the other team has the ball, you can (and are encouraged to) wrestle it out that player’s possession. The one rule is: thou shalt not do anything that seriously hurts anyone. It’s a really fun game. There is no score, and anyone who has fun wins.

I’m a professional game designer, and I’m in the process of writing a book about game design that addresses just this point.

Johan Huizinga, the dutch cultural historian, defined play like this:

I’ve boiled his definition down to something a little pithier:

"Play is free movement within a system of constraints."

Too much freedom is confusing. Too little freedom is boring. Play only exists when a balance is struck. All play begins with the construction of a rule set, and ends when the rules expire.

It doesn’t even need to be a metaphor. Play emerges spontaneously in day-to-day life when the conditions are right, even in serious circumstances like politics and war.