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Subject: Examples of Games With No Winner or Loser? rss

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Carl Frodge
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Can y'all give me some examples of games that do not have a winner or loser?
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Winning or losing is the thing that distinguishes games from activities. Many party games are fun and can be played without tracking who's winning, but they cease to really be games at that point.
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Michael Debije
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Role-playing games.

Chess draws. Many other games also have ties.
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Carl Frodge
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Thunkd wrote:
Winning or losing is the thing that distinguishes games from activities. Many party games are fun and can be played without tracking who's winning, but they cease to really be games at that point.

I disagree, hence making this thread.

mi_de wrote:
Role-playing games.

Chess draws. Many other games also have ties.

Not looking for games that normally have winners and losers, but sometimes don't. I'm looking for games that have no winner or loser.
 
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Andy
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Like a co-op game such as Pandemic? Everyone is a winner or a loser but there are never both in a game.
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Steve B
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"A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome." - Rules of Play by Salen and Zimmerman (https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Play-Design-Fundamentals-Press/...)

As such, there are no board games with no winner or loser (of course many games have ties/draws but still the possibility of winning or losing). The closest you will get will be a game that just has winners or just has losers (the many coop examples where you play against the game)
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Quote:
What is a Game?

In the abstract, a game is something where a single person or a group competes or cooperates toward a goal whereby one or more players win or one or more players lose.

What is not a Game?

Activities -- Activities are events that have structured actions that participants take within the scope of the activity, but have no competition or cooperation toward a particular goal of win/loss.


BGG Guide to Game Submissions

In BGG terms, games have a winner/loser.
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Florian Woo
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This seems to be a topic which is also highly language-dependent.

The closest German definition of the kind of games we talk about here is "Gesellschaftsspiel" means a game which you play for the main reason of being together and having fun. This definition would e.g. exclude solo-games.

My personal opinion would also agree that a game does not necessarily need competition and/or a winner.

Are there examples of board games without a winner? I remember that the HABA children's games have some "freestyle play" rules. E.g. Animal Upon Animal.
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Yaron Davidson
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mi_de wrote:
Role-playing games.

These role-playing games would generally fall in the same category as Co-Op games. There may not be an individual winning players (there are on some role playing games but I think it's rare), but the players either win or lose together. Unless the GM sets things up so that the players would always win and can't screw things up no matter how much they try, but that's not really an intentional wanted aspects for most role playing games/players (though the ease of winning would usually be set far far higher than co-op boardgames of course, you usually don't want your group to all die horribly in most game sessions).

mi_de wrote:
Chess draws. Many other games also have ties.

I think the question was on general lack of winning/losing conditions, not on the *additional* possibility of ending a game (that does have clear winning/losing conditions) in a draw/tie.


On the general level I'd agree with Thunkd, lack of winning/losing conditions, or lack of any players to achieve the winning conditions, would categorize the activity out of the "game" sub-category of activities.

(related to OP's other thread: Games are a type of activity, as is reading books, or working out, or fine dining, but not all activities are games. Specifically if you don't have a clear win/lose goal in the activity then it's not a game. The distinction can be a bit blurry, of course, see all the "gamification" things popping up, of ways to attach goals/achievements/VPs to real actions in order to make them more game-like attempting to get people to adhere/participate more. And of course win/lose can be relative, so for example a solo game where you just go for score and can't "lose" can still be a game because the score give you implicit win/lose conditions of doing better than your previous runs as a "win")
 
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Carl Frodge
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What about games that don't have an end? I'm remembering games like Heads Up 7Up and Duck-Duck Goose. Which, technically have elements of winning and losing, but these elements of winning and losing don't determine or have anything to do with the end game. Would you classify a game with winning and losing elements to be a game?

What about activities with a winner or loser? Are those games? For instance, "Never have I ever" seems more like an activity to me, than a game, but there can technically be a winner and loser(s).

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John
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Many climbing games have a winner & loser each round but there is no sensible way of deciding an overall winner as whoever won the previous game is at an advantage in the next game.

The Ungame? I've never played it.

Rory's Story Cubes? I think there may be rules for winning but I can't see why you'd bother.

agentkuo wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Winning or losing is the thing that distinguishes games from activities. Many party games are fun and can be played without tracking who's winning, but they cease to really be games at that point.

I disagree, hence making this thread.


I don't know - a game with no winner or loser is clearly different to a game where there is a winner (and arguable an activity rather than a game) but there are things that are more game or less game like. I'd argue the difference between co-op game and a competitive game is similar to the difference between a game where people care about who wins and a game where people don't.

What if you play a party game and don't keep score? Is that a game or an activity? What if I play Carcassonne with my wife and we both play our best but don't keep score? What if someone else is spectating and keeps score? Does it make any difference if they tell us who won? What if I play best of 9 Connect Four whilst drinking, at the end we are certain we played 9 games and we knew who won each game at the time but we can't remember how many games we won each. Was that a game?
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Larry L
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"Examples of activities that are exactly like games, so much so that most people on bgg would still call them games, except that there are no winners or losers?" is too long a title for a thread anyway.



Hanabi doesn't declare the players winners or losers, but instead rates them based off of score.

People often ignore scores in party games (mentioned above). I'm confident I've seen that as "official" variants (as in mentioned in the rule books,) but I'm not 100% sure about that.
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yarondav wrote:
mi_de wrote:
Role-playing games.

These role-playing games would generally fall in the same category as Co-Op games. There may not be an individual winning players (there are on some role playing games but I think it's rare), but the players either win or lose together. Unless the GM sets things up so that the players would always win and can't screw things up no matter how much they try, but that's not really an intentional wanted aspects for most role playing games/players (though the ease of winning would usually be set far far higher than co-op boardgames of course, you usually don't want your group to all die horribly in most game sessions).


I disagree. My Legend of the Five Rings games had very clear times of victory and times of defeat. But those don't equal wins or losses. The point of RPGs is, in essence, to enjoy the experience. A samurai may have lost honor or died a dishonorable death, but the story was still enjoyable. Plus, there are no clear definitions in a role-playing game as what is a loss or a win. (Go ahead and look through a rule book. I will bet that you will not find any other than, perhaps, to have fun.)

It doesn't matter the RPG. From D&D to Star Wars to Vampire, while there may be a plot and may be a goal to achieve, the only real point of the RPG is enjoyment of the experience.

(Note: Convention RPG sessions are a bit different by nature. Given a four-hour time slot, there is generally a very linear adventure in mind. There is usually a villain to defeat. That is the goal. However, just because the players meet that goal doesn't mean that they won the game. The GM never wins or loses. There is fun to be had in failure.)

(Other Note: Paranoia, as an RPG, breaks the mold. The players are adversaries to each other. The GM is an adversary to all the players. Thus there can be winners and losers. But still, enjoyment is the overall goal.)
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Yaron Davidson
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RingelTree wrote:
Hanabi doesn't declare the players winners or losers, but instead rates them based off of score.

Hanabi completely totally and absolutely allows the players to lose. The score is just to see how well you've done after winning.

RingelTree wrote:
People often ignore scores in party games (mentioned above). I'm confident I've seen that as "official" variants (as in mentioned in the rule books,) but I'm not 100% sure about that.

Sometimes. I'm not sure if "often" is correct. Though I guess it depends on the games (not often Warewolf, yes often Apples to Apples?), and for games where people don't keep score and don't try to win, then the players are using game pieces to do something that isn't quite playing a game (It doesn't matter if it's an "official" variant. If the rulebook for Wings of Glory included a variant where you just move the plane models around shouting "pew! pew! pew!" in the direction of other models, then it would be an official play activity but wouldn't be a game).
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agentkuo wrote:
Can y'all give me some examples of games that do not have a winner or loser?


Cards Against Humanity: Yes, you count black cards at the end. But really, everyone "loses" for playing this game. It is the experience that is the focus of the game.

One Thousand Black White Cards: You can define a winner or loser, but you could also just play for the sake of playing.

Any game that is played for the sake of playing it without defining a winner would qualify. I imagine those "games" are few and far between.

But, for the most part, games are defined by having an outcome impacted by its players. Wikipedia goes into some length about game definitions and such.
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MadcapCH wrote:
I disagree. My Legend of the Five Rings games had very clear times of victory and times of defeat. But those don't equal wins or losses. The point of RPGs is, in essence, to enjoy the experience.

Personally I'd say that the point of boardgames is, in essence, to enjoy the experience. There are people who would agree, and people who wouldn't. But the experience, which I try to enjoy, is following a ruleset to try and win.

RingelTree wrote:
A samurai may have lost honor or died a dishonorable death, but the story was still enjoyable.

Yes, and human civilization in Pandemic may have been destroyed by red plague, but the story was still enjoyable. This is different how?

RingelTree wrote:
Plus, there are no clear definitions in a role-playing game as what is a loss or a win. (Go ahead and look through a rule book. I will bet that you will not find any other than, perhaps, to have fun.)

In most role playing games if your characters died, and can't be resurrected, surely that can be seen as a loss?
And once the GM assigned the players a mission, or the players assigned one to themselves, then if it can be known whether they succeeded or failed in the mission, then it can be known whether the mission was a win or loss.

[Edit: Also regarding RPG rulebooks, the basic rules for playing the game may not include winning/losing, but for a lot of RPGs there are individual adventure/mission books/packs, and these absolutely do set specific goals, and it's possible to win or to lose. There's a separation of ruleset, and game setup using the ruleset. For cases where the GM makes the adventures, same thing, the GM would usually make missions with specific goals. If the players don't engage at all then the GM would create different missions with different goals]

RingelTree wrote:
It doesn't matter the RPG. From D&D to Star Wars to Vampire, while there may be a plot and may be a goal to achieve, the only real point of the RPG is enjoyment of the experience.

The real point of boardgames for many people is similarly the enjoyment of the experience. But the experience includes achieving a goal, and that goal is winning the game. If you go into a dungeon in D&D to get the Fabled Treasure of Whatever (TM), and the entire party is killed horribly by a white dragon, and everyone will need to make a new character for the next mission, then that wasn't exactly a win by any means, but can be very much seen as a loss.

RingelTree wrote:
(Note: Convention RPG sessions are a bit different by nature. Given a four-hour time slot, there is generally a very linear adventure in mind. There is usually a villain to defeat. That is the goal. However, just because the players meet that goal doesn't mean that they won the game. The GM never wins or loses. There is fun to be had in failure.)

The GM doesn't quite count in these cases anyway. There are boardgames with GMs (or other facilitators) as well, and they also don't win/lose, which doesn't mean that the game doesn't have winners or losers.

I'll grant you that some role playing groups may be content with just wandering around the countryside, perambulating at their leisure, and those probably don't have win/lose conditions. Probably also not quite "games". I'm pretty sure most groups do at least set themselves goals that they may, or may not, succeed in achieving. And many groups do allow the GM to kill them if they screw up too badly.

RingelTree wrote:
(Other Note: Paranoia, as an RPG, breaks the mold. The players are adversaries to each other. The GM is an adversary to all the players. Thus there can be winners and losers. But still, enjoyment is the overall goal.)

Paranoia was the example that came to mind when I noted that some role playing games do have individual winners. But it's rare and fairly unique.
Again, though, enjoyment as the overall goal isn't a factor in whether there is win/loss goals, because enjoyment can be the goal even for boardgames with very clear winners and losers.
 
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agentkuo wrote:
What about games that don't have an end? I'm remembering games like Heads Up 7Up and Duck-Duck Goose.

Yes, I think most people would describe Duck-Duck Goose as a game. Likewise geocaching. Even if they are not proper games then they are fairly close - they're different to reading a book (etc). We like to classify things but things aren't always neatly classified. I think it's fairly obvious what Carl means by a game for the purposes of this discussion and what BGG defines a game as which is good enough for me. I'm not sure which is closer to what I think is a good definition of a game but that's not really that relevant.
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zabdiel wrote:
agentkuo wrote:
What about games that don't have an end? I'm remembering games like Heads Up 7Up and Duck-Duck Goose.

Yes, I think most people would describe Duck-Duck Goose as a game. Likewise geocaching. Even if they are not proper games then they are fairly close - they're different to reading a book (etc). We like to classify things but things aren't always neatly classified. I think it's fairly obvious what Carl means by a game for the purposes of this discussion and what BGG defines a game as which is good enough for me. I'm not sure which is closer to what I think is a good definition of a game but that's not really that relevant.

Yeah, I just don't feel like a game needs a winner or loser, or even an end state to be considered a game. I think most people just hear this idea that a game has to have a winner or loser to be a game, and take it as fact, but don't consider that that might not (always) be true.
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Robert Lesco
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If I recall correctly, in the multi-player version of A Line in the Sand: The Battle of Iraq players draw for "objectives". It is entirely possible that no one will achieve their goals, and life is like that.

Men Against Fire from A Book of Sandhurst Wargames is similar.

To some, if it is done right, Diplomacy has no winner.
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Robert Lesco
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Quote:
What is a Game?

In BGG terms, games have a winner/loser.


BGG terms are mistaken. See above.
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John
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Dvorak is similar to 1000 Blank White Cards I think.

Bananagrams has a winner officially but I don't really care who wins and don't record it when logging plays (perhaps because it's almost never me!)

Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game has scoring and a winner but a reviewer suggested that it might be better off without it as trying to get points leads to less interesting story telling. I'd be inclined to agree (though it's not really my kind of game).

I think the vast majority of games do have a way of determining a winner as enough people care about that to make designers & publishers to include rules for scoring even in games where scoring isn't really the point.
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rlesco wrote:
Quote:
What is a Game?

In BGG terms, games have a winner/loser.


BGG terms are mistaken. See above.


It's what we use to determine whether something is a game, to go into the database. More details here:

Game Criteria

For an entry on BGG, a game must require components to play. So, things like Rock Paper Scissors or Duck Duck Goose would not be games, but games with Rock Paper Scissors elements (Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock Dice) would be.
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Robert Lesco
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indigopotter wrote:
rlesco wrote:
Quote:
What is a Game?

In BGG terms, games have a winner/loser.


BGG terms are mistaken. See above.


It's what we use to determine whether something is a game, to go into the database. More details here:

Game Criteria

For an entry on BGG, a game must require components to play. So, things like Rock Paper Scissors or Duck Duck Goose would not be games, but games with Rock Paper Scissors elements (Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock Dice) would be.


We have drifted a bit off topic. We agree on components but a number of games have been listed that do not guarantee a winner or loser. If BGG terms require a winner and loser a number of games are listed that do not meet these requirements.

I am going to enjoy the debate that ensues when the administrators try to remove Diplomacy from the database.
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John
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rlesco wrote:
Quote:
What is a Game?

In BGG terms, games have a winner/loser.


BGG terms are mistaken. See above.


Except BGG doesn't exclude all games that don't have a winner:

Quote:
Storytelling -- Collections of components that are used to merely tell a story are included in the database, even when they do not lead to a winner.


They need to have some criteria, whatever BGG set will differ from what many people think but that's unavoidable.
 
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For me Game=a set of rules that lead players to interesting decisions and personal goals besides the winning losing conditions.
Boardgame designers want there game to end in a specific time or moves that's why you need to have ending(winning/losing)conditions.
Examples of Games With No Winner or Loser
e.x 1)Minecraft story mode(ending) vs free mode(personal goals)NO ENDING.
2)4 player eurogame win the game (winning condition)
try not to be the last player(personal goals)
 
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