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Subject: Why Is It Important To DIstinguish Between Games and Activities? rss

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Carl Frodge
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Personally, I don't think it is, but I want to hear your reasons why you think it is.
 
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agentkuo wrote:
Personally, I don't think it is, but I want to hear your reasons why you think it is.


But, I don't think it is important.

I think it is all perspective and desire to classify.
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Ken Lewis
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I agree with the above poster.

Its not important, but it is helpful to apply a label to things so that people know more about what they are getting into.

Its one of the reasons we have so many labels for the various games we all play.
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K S
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I agree with the above two posters.

There may be some abstract, academic point in defining the conceptual boundaries of "games" which may be interesting to game theorists and designers.

But on the practical level for players, if you've gotten down to the level of asking "Is this technically a game?" then whatever you're doing is clearly gamelike enough to be called a "game".
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Callan Finn
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I agree with the above three posters.

Regardless of playing an activity or a game, I think it's important to remember that Australians have the sexiest accents, and that caramel is simply the best flavour.
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clublock wrote:
I agree with the above three posters.

Regardless of playing an activity or a game, I think it's important to remember that Australians have the sexiest accents, and that caramel is simply the best flavour.


I have to politely disagree with the above poster. Chocolate and Salmon, and even Chocolate covered Salmon, is simply the best flavour (respect extended to spelling).

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Russ Williams
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agentkuo wrote:
Personally, I don't think it is, but I want to hear your reasons why you think it is.

Whether it's "important" to you personally I cannot say, but certainly many people are interested in the distinction, just as e.g. one person might not care about the difference between skiing and snowboarding, while another perceives significant important differences.

Surely the reasons are obvious: e.g. being able to talk about the subject without unnecessary confusing ambiguity, being able to seek out products and experiences which are of personal interest, a general desire to be able to easily concisely talk about qualitatitvely different types of things, etc.

In the specific case of games vs activities: games (in the usual BGG sense) have a concrete goal and well-defined rules. "When playing a game, the goal is to win" and all that. Activities are very different: very open-ended and murkily defined in general. Arguably playing a game is always a type of activity, but clearly most activities are not games.

Not distinguishing between games and activities would, for me, be rather strange and frequently inconvenient, because "games" in particular are of special interest and importance to me. Not distinguishing between games and activities would be like not distinguishing between "books" and "visible objects", or between "keyboards" and "computer equipment", or between "bananas" and "plants".
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Greg
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Because they are different things. I understand the desire to push back against over-categorizing things, as BGG tends to do this. However, sometimes using categories to highlight differences is useful. Whether they are important to you or not is a different subject.

To me, it would be similar to say, "Why is it important to distinguish between Mandarin and Cantonese? They both sound the same to me and use the same characters." For you, it might not be important. Chinese is Chinese. For others (those who speak Chinese), it might be very important. But, whatever value you put on the distinction doesn't change the fact that it exists.

For me, I do want to know whether it is a game or an activity as I prefer games. Having categories to succinctly define the difference is useful to me.
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Callan Finn
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darthhugo wrote:
clublock wrote:
I agree with the above three posters.

Regardless of playing an activity or a game, I think it's important to remember that Australians have the sexiest accents, and that caramel is simply the best flavour.


I have to politely disagree with the above poster. Chocolate and Salmon, and even Chocolate covered Salmon, is simply the best flavour (respect extended to spelling).



Aww... my combo
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It is not important.
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agentkuo wrote:
Personally, I don't think it is, but I want to hear your reasons why you think it is.

Personally I find all games to be a subgroup of activities (i.e. activities with a structure - rules).

Personally I also observe that those who push for distinction between games and activities understand games in a narrower frame then I do - they understand games to be narrowly tied to idea of winning/competition. (I don't. As I see it some games are all about producing a winner, but other games have other priorities).

* Probably the drive for this distinction is also fueled by desire to separate serious/hobby games from socializing/party games.
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What else would we do with the internet if not debate personal preferences
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Adam Taylor
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Because ActivitiesGeek is basically just the internet.
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Giant_Monster wrote:
Its not important, but it is helpful to apply a label to things so that people know more about what they are getting into.

And what are they getting into?
What do these labels mean to you?

wamsp wrote:
But on the practical level for players, if you've gotten down to the level of asking "Is this technically a game?" then whatever you're doing is clearly gamelike enough to be called a "game".

Where would you locate this threshold?

russ wrote:
In the specific case of games vs activities: games (in the usual BGG sense) have a concrete goal and well-defined rules. "When playing a game, the goal is to win" and all that. Activities are very different: very open-ended and murkily defined in general. Arguably playing a game is always a type of activity, but clearly most activities are not games.


Playing to win or playing to play?

I don't play any game in order to win, so this distinction is more something I notice other people may find useful.

I personally find it discriminatory. There's a group of activities which are completely unrelated to games and yeah, we call them activities (talking, partying). But what bgg-ers call "(not a game, but) an activity" or "they forgot to add a game into the game boy" are games which aren't win oriented, but have all other aspects of a game (an activity with rules which isn't a sport and is played on a table). I'd consider it polite and fair to find some other terminology for the distinction between win oriented games and those games which aren't (or mostly aren't) about winning. There's a word for win oriented games - "orthogames". Calling these games this way would also accept there are other types of games. (Of course any other word that acknowledges non win oriented games as games is fine by me, orthogames isn't exactly a sexy term).
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Ken Lewis
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sgosaric wrote:
Giant_Monster wrote:
Its not important, but it is helpful to apply a label to things so that people know more about what they are getting into.

And what are they getting into?
What do these labels mean to you?


For me personally, in a lot of cases, they remove ambiguity.

If someone asked me, "Hey, do you want to come over and do an activity?" I'd have to ask "What activity?" since "activity" encompasses a wide variety of possible things that could be done.

If someone were to ask "Hey, do you want to come over and play a game?"

With that information, I could at that point make a more informed decision based on if I am in the mood to play a game or not.

Sure, I could possibly need/want more information about the game being played, but the point is that with more direct information I can ask more direct questions and possibly make a decision sooner.

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Greg
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sgosaric wrote:
I personally find it discriminatory. There's a group of activities which are completely unrelated to games and yeah, we call them activities (talking, partying). But what bgg-ers call "(not a game, but) an activity" or "they forgot to add a game into the game boy" are games which aren't win oriented, but have all other aspects of a game (an activity with rules which isn't a sport and is played on a table). I'd consider it polite and fair to find some other terminology for the distinction between win oriented games and those games which aren't (or mostly aren't) about winning. There's a word for win oriented games - "orthogames". Calling these games this way would also accept there are other types of games. (Of course any other word that acknowledges non win oriented games as games is fine by me, orthogames isn't exactly a sexy term).


I would be on board with the term "orthogames" catching on. However, this seems to be to be akin to the whole debate about the "Ameritrash" term. Despite personal preferences, certain words have certain meanings within certain groups. In the context of BGG, if a reviewer says, "this is more of an activity than a game," I immediately understand that to mean there either is no win condition or that the win condition is easily ignored.

I've never took that to be discriminatory though. Is calling something an "activity" bad? I enjoy Telestrations. I don't have an issue with someone calling it an activity, because I think it is.
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s3kt0r wrote:
I would be on board with the term "orthogames" catching on. However, this seems to be to be akin to the whole debate about the "Ameritrash" term.

I don't see these two cases to be related. Ameritrash is a term invented by people who like these games. Calling some games "activities" is firstly done by people who don't like these games. And secondary it discriminates as it's like like saying modern art or contemporary art isn't art (it's just a different type of art). Or saying Asian style pasta isn't a proper style pasta, because only Italian pasta is true pasta. And so on. I don't mind there being distinction between these types of games and other types of games, but games which bggers call activites are still games, distinguishable from activities which aren't games. We could also call a certain group of people certain historical discriminatory names and this would all be fine supposedly as we all know what we're talking about, amirite?
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Ken Lewis
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I think I may have misunderstood the point of the question being posed.

Is the point of this thread to find out why some people call games "activities" instead of games?

As far as I am concerned, a game is a type of activity and I would never label a game as an "activity" to signify it was less of a game than the other games I played.
 
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Harv Veerman
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agentkuo wrote:
Why Is It Important To DIstinguish Between Games and Activities?


FTFTY

And no, it isn't.
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Isn't gaming an activity?
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Greg
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sgosaric wrote:
s3kt0r wrote:
I would be on board with the term "orthogames" catching on. However, this seems to be to be akin to the whole debate about the "Ameritrash" term.

I don't see these two cases to be related. Ameritrash is a term invented by people who like these games. Calling some games "activities" is firstly done by people who don't like these games. And secondary it discriminates as it's like like saying modern art or contemporary art isn't art (it's just a different type of art). Or saying Asian style pasta isn't a proper style pasta, because only Italian pasta is true pasta. And so on. I don't mind there being distinction between these types of games and other types of games, but games which bggers call activites are still games, distinguishable from activities which aren't games. We could also call a certain group of people certain historical discriminatory names and this would all be fine supposedly as we all know what we're talking about, amirite?


OK well, I don't know that I would compare calling a game an activity to calling a group of people "certain historical discriminatory names."

Does this really bother people that much? To jump onto your analogy about Asian pasta, here is a similar example I run into. I am married to a Japanese person and most of my friends are from Japan. They take their rice pretty seriously. It has to be the short grained Japanese rice and it has to be cooked a certain way. Now, I also really like jasmine rice. My Japanese friends are fond to tell me that it's not really rice though. They basically see it as a pasta. It's just so long grained.

You know, I could debate them all day about that, but it's only in fun. I just don't understand how someone could feel discriminated against about such trivial things. It just seems like an extreme reaction. I usually just tell them, "Well, then it's very good pasta."

I like what I like. I don't care what you call it.
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sgosaric wrote:
s3kt0r wrote:
I would be on board with the term "orthogames" catching on. However, this seems to be to be akin to the whole debate about the "Ameritrash" term.

I don't see these two cases to be related. Ameritrash is a term invented by people who like these games. Calling some games "activities" is firstly done by people who don't like these games.


Hmm... You left out the later part of s3kt0r's comment where he said:

s3kt0r wrote:
I've never took that to be discriminatory though. Is calling something an "activity" bad? I enjoy Telestrations. I don't have an issue with someone calling it an activity, because I think it is.


I'll give a sort of related and similar example: the perennial debates about "abstract games" and "wargames". Both of those have specific meanings by their respective subcultures/communities. People not into those genres will say "But Poker doesn't have a theme, so it's an abstract game too, just like Go and Chess!" or "But Nuclear War is a game about war, so it's a wargame too, just like Squad Leader and World in Flames!" If I disagree with them, it's demonstrably not because I dislike games which are not "abstract games" (respectively "wargames"), because in fact I DO like many games which are neither abstract games nor wargames.
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russ wrote:
People not into those genres will say "But Poker doesn't have a theme, so it's an abstract game too, just like Go and Chess!"


Wait, chess isn't a wargame?!?surprise
 
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Wittgenstein (no, I haven't read him either) used game as an example of something you can't define, any attempted definition includes some not-games or excludes some games. Or both.

And a book a have read (sorry, details not to hand) used a hierarchy in which games were a subcategory of pastimes. I forget which category he would have put e.g. Pandemic in. He definitely put snakes and ladders in not games. Because his rigid definition put it there.

It's not hard to come up with several examples that cause problems, including:

Snakes and ladders
Pandemic
Shadows Over Camelot, especially when you don't know if there is a traitor or not
Jenga
Football
Fishing, for example not in a competition but with the possibility of setting a record
Watching a TV quiz show and attempting to beat the televised participants
A never-ending Dungeons and Dragons campaign
Betting on the horses
Bridge, or any other partnership game (oops, used that word)

That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure someone can come up with better. I like the third one if anyone said no to the second.
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Dearlove wrote:
Wittgenstein (no, I haven't read him either) used game as an example of something you can't define, any attempted definition includes some not-games or excludes some games. Or both.

And a book a have read (sorry, details not to hand) used a hierarchy in which games were a subcategory of pastimes. I forget which category he would have put e.g. Pandemic in. He definitely put snakes and ladders in not games. Because his rigid definition put it there.

It's not hard to come up with several examples that cause problems, including:

Snakes and ladders
Pandemic
Shadows Over Camelot, especially when you don't know if there is a traitor or not
Jenga
Football
Fishing, for example not in a competition but with the possibility of setting a record
Watching a TV quiz show and attempting to beat the televised participants
A never-ending Dungeons and Dragons campaign
Betting on the horses
Bridge, or any other partnership game (oops, used that word)

That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure someone can come up with better. I like the third one if anyone said no to the second.


Why would any of those cause problems? They all have
a) a closed ruleset
b) a success state and a fail state (where success might simply mean "not failing" in the case of neverending DnD)
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