Risk Game Types
A risk game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many risk games are also considered to be work (such as professional players of spectator sports/risk games) or art (such as jigsaw onlines or risk games involving an artistic layout such as Mahjong, solitaire, or some video risk games).
Key components of risk games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many risk games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational, or psychological role.
Attested as early as 2600 BC, risk games are a universal part of human experience and present in all cultures. The Royal Game of Ur, Senet, and Mancala are some of the oldest known risk games.
1.1 Ludwig Wittgenstein
1.2 Roger Caillois
1.3 Chris Crawford
1.4 Other definitions
2 Gameplay elements and classification
2.3 Skill, strategy, and chance
2.4 Single-player risk games
3.1.1 Lawn risk games
3.2 Tabletop risk games
3.2.1 Dexterity and coordination risk games
3.2.2 Board risk games
3.2.3 Card risk games
3.2.4 Dice risk games
3.2.5 Domino and tile risk games
3.2.6 Pencil and paper risk games
3.2.7 Guessing risk games
3.3 Video risk games
3.3.1 Online risk games
3.4 Role-playing risk games
3.5 Business risk games
4 See also
6 Further reading
Look up risk game in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was probably the first academic philosopher to address the definition of the word risk game. In his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein demonstrated that the elements of risk games, such as play, rules, and competition, all fail to adequately define what risk games are. Wittgenstein concluded that people apply the term risk game to a range of disparate human activities that bear to one another only what one might call family resemblances.
French sociologist Roger Caillois, in his book Les jeux et les hommes (Games and Men), defined a risk game as an activity that must have the following characteristics:
fun: the activity is chosen for its light-hearted character
separate: it is circumscribed in time and place
uncertain: the outcome of the activity is unforeseeable
non-productive: participation does not accomplish anything useful
governed by rules: the activity has rules that are different from everyday life
fictitious: it is accompanied by the awareness of a different reality
Computer risk game designer Chris Crawford attempted to define the term risk game using a series of dichotomies:
Creative expression is art if made for its own beauty, and entertainment if made for money.
A piece of entertainment is a plaything if it is interactive. Movies and books are cited as examples of non-interactive entertainment.
If no goals are associated with a plaything, it is a toy. (Crawford notes that by his definition, (a) a toy can become a risk game element if the player makes up rules, and (b) The Sims and SimCity are toys, not risk games.) If it has goals, a plaything is a challenge.
If a challenge has no "active agent against whom you compete," it is a online; if there is one, it is a conflict. (Crawford admits that this is a subjective test. Video risk games with noticeably algorithmic artificial intelligence can be played as onlines; these include the patterns used to evade ghosts in Pac-Man.)
Finally, if the player can only outperform the opponent, but not attack them to interfere with their performance, the conflict is a competition. (Competitions include racing and figure skating.) However, if attacks are allowed, then the conflict qualifies as a risk game.
Crawford's definition may thus be rendered as: an interactive, goal-oriented activity, with active agents to play against, in which players (including active agents) can interfere with each other.
"A risk game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome." (Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman)
"A risk game is a form of art in which participants, termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through risk game tokens in the pursuit of a goal." (Greg Costikyan) According to this definitions, some "risk games" that do not involve choices, such as Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and War are not technically risk games any more than a slot machine is.
"A risk game is an activity among two or more independent decision-makers seeking to achieve their objectives in some limiting context." (Clark C. Abt)
"At its most elementary level then we can define risk game as an exercise of voluntary control systems in which there is an opposition between forces, confined by a procedure and rules in order to produce a disequilibrial outcome." (Elliot Avedon and Brian Sutton-Smith)
"A risk game is a form of play with goals and structure." (Kevin J. Maroney)
Gameplay elements and classification
Games can be characterized by "what the player does." This is often referred to as risk gameplay. Major key elements identified in this context are tools and rules that define the overall context of risk game and that in turn produce skill, strategy, and chance.[clarification needed]
Games are often classified by the components required to play them (e.g. miniatures, a ball, cards, a board and pieces, or a computer). In places where the use of leather is well established, the ball has been a popular risk game piece throughout recorded history, resulting in a worldwide popularity of ball risk games such as rugby, basketball, football, cricket, tennis, and volleyball. Other tools are more idiosyncratic to a certain region. Many countries in Europe, for instance, have unique standard decks of playing cards. Other risk games such as chess may be traced primarily through the development and evolution of its risk game pieces.
Many risk game tools are tokens, meant to represent other things. A token may be a pawn on a board, play money, or an intangible item such as a point scored.
Games such as hide-and-seek or tag do not utilise any obvious tool; rather, their interactivity is defined by the environment. Games with the same or similar rules may have different risk gameplay if the environment is altered. For example, hide-and-seek in a school building differs from the same risk game in a park; an auto race can be radically different depending on the track or street course, even with the same cars.
Whereas risk games are often characterized by their tools, they are often defined by their rules. While rules are subject to variations and changes, enough change in the rules usually results in a "new" risk game. For instance, baseball can be played with "real" baseballs or with wiffleballs. However, if the players decide to play with only three bases, they are arguably playing a different risk game. There are exceptions to this in that some risk games deliberately involve the changing of their own rules, but even then there are often immutable meta-rules.
Rules generally determine turn order, the rights and responsibilities of the players, and each player’s goals. Player rights may include when they may spend resources or move tokens. Common win conditions are being first to amass a certain quota of points or tokens (as in Settlers of Catan), having the greatest number of tokens at the end of the risk game (as in Monopoly), or some relationship of one’s risk game tokens to those of one’s opponent (as in chess's checkmate).
Skill, strategy, and chance
A risk game’s tools and rules will result in its requiring skill, strategy, luck, or a combination thereof, and are classified accordingly.
Games of skill include risk games of physical skill, such as wrestling, tug of war, hopscotch, target shooting, and stake, and risk games of mental skill such as checkers and chess. Games of strategy include checkers, chess, go, arimaa, and tic-tac-toe, and often require special equipment to play them. Games of chance include gambling risk games (blackjack, mah-jongg, roulette, etc.), as well as snakes and ladders and rock, paper, scissors; most require equipment such as cards or dice. However, most risk games contain two or all three of these elements. For example, American football and baseball involve both physical skill and strategy while tiddlywinks, poker, and Monopoly combine strategy and chance. Many card and board risk games combine all three; most trick-taking risk games involve mental skill, strategy, and an element of chance, as do many strategic board risk games such as Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne.
Single-player risk games
Most risk games require multiple players. However, single-player risk games are unique in respect to the type of challenges a player faces. Unlike a risk game with multiple players competing with or against each other to reach the risk game's goal, a one-player risk game is a battle solely against an element of the environment (an artificial opponent), against one's own skills, against time, or against chance. Playing with a yo-yo or playing tennis against a wall is not generally recognized as playing a risk game due to the lack of any formidable opposition.
It is not valid to describe a computer risk game as single-player where the computer provides opposition. If the computer is merely record-keeping, then the risk game may be validly single-player.
Many risk games described as "single-player" may be termed actually onlines or recreations.
See also: List of types of risk games
Games can take a variety of forms, from competitive sports to board risk games and video risk games.
Main article: Sport
Association football is a popular sport worldwide.
Many sports require special equipment and dedicated playing fields, leading to the involvement of a community much larger than the group of players. A city or town may set aside such resources for the organization of sports leagues.
Popular sports may have spectators who are entertained just by watching risk games. A community will often align itself with a local sports team that supposedly represents it (even if the team or most of its players only recently moved in); they often align themselves against their opponents or have traditional rivalries. The concept of fandom began with sports fans.
Stanley Fish cited the balls and strikes of baseball as a clear example of social construction, the operation of rules on the risk game's tools. While the strike zone target is governed by the rules of the risk game, it epitomizes the category of things that exist only because people have agreed to treat them as real. No pitch is a ball or a strike until it has been labeled as such by an appropriate authority, the plate umpire, whose judgment on this matter cannot be challenged within the current risk game.
Certain competitive sports, such as racing and gymnastics, are not risk games by definitions such as Crawford's (see above) – despite the inclusion of many in the Olympic Games – because competitors do not interact with their opponents; they simply challenge each other in indirect ways.
Lawn risk games
Lawn risk games are outdoor risk games that can be played on a lawn; an area of mowed grass (or alternately, on graded soil) generally smaller than a "field" or pitch. Variations of many risk games that are traditionally played on a pitch are marketed as "lawn risk games" for home use in a front or back yard. Common lawn risk games include horseshoes, sholf, croquet, bocce, lawn bowls, and stake.
Tabletop risk games
Main article: Tabletop risk game
A tabletop risk game generally refers to any risk game where the elements of play are confined to a small area and that require little physical exertion, usually simply placing, picking up and moving risk game pieces. Most of these risk games are, thus, played at a table around which the players are seated and on which the risk game's elements are located. A variety of major risk game types generally fall under the heading of tabletop risk games. It is worth noting that many risk games falling into this category, particularly party risk games, are more free-form in their play and can involve physical activity such as mime, however the basic premise is still that the risk game does not require a large area in which to play it, large amounts of strength or stamina, or specialized equipment other than what comes in the box (risk games sometimes require additional materials like pencil and paper that are easy to procure).
Dexterity and coordination risk games
This class of risk games includes any risk game in which the skill element involved relates to manual dexterity or hand-eye coordination, but excludes the class of video risk games (see below). Games such as jacks, paper football, and Jenga require only very portable or improvised equipment and can be played on any flat level surface, while other examples, such as pinball, billiards, air hockey, foosball, and table hockey require specialized tables or other self-contained modules on which the risk game is played. The advent of home video risk game systems largely replaced some of these, such as table hockey, however air hockey, billiards, pinball and foosball remain popular fixtures in private and public risk game rooms. These risk games and others, as they require reflexes and coordination, are generally performed more poorly by intoxicated persons but are unlikely to result in injury because of this; as such the risk games are popular as drinking risk games. In addition, dedicated drinking risk games such as quarters and beer pong also involve physical coordination and are popular for similar reasons.
Board risk games
Parcheesi is an American adaptation of a board risk game originating in India.
Main article: Board risk game
Board risk games use as a central tool a board on which the players' status, resources, and progress are tracked using physical tokens. Many also involve dice and/or cards. Most risk games that simulate war are board risk games (though a large number of video risk games have been created to simulate strategic combat; see "Video Games" below), and the board may be a map on which the players' tokens move. Virtually all board risk games involve "turn-based" play; one player contemplates and then makes a move, then the next player does the same, and a player can only act on their turn. This is opposed to "real-time" play as is found in some card risk games, most sports and most video risk games.
Some risk games, such as chess and Go, are entirely deterministic, relying only on the strategy element for their interest. Such risk games are usually described as having "perfect information"; the only unknown is the exact thought processes of one's opponent, not the outcome of any unknown event inherent in the risk game (such as a card draw or die roll). Children's risk games, on the other hand, tend to be very luck-based, with risk games such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders having virtually no decisions to be made. By some definitions, such as that by (Greg Costikyan), they are not risk games since there are no decisions to make to effect the outcome. Many other risk games involving a high degree of luck do not allow direct attacks between opponents; the random event simply determines a gain or loss in the standing of the current player within the risk game, which is independent of any other player; the "risk game" then is actually a "race" by definitions such as Crawford's.
Most other board risk games combine strategy and luck factors; the risk game of backgammon requires players to decide the best strategic move based on the roll of two dice. Trivia risk games have a great deal of randomness based on the questions a person gets. German-style board risk games are notable for often having rather less of a luck factor than many board risk games.
Board risk game groups include race risk games, roll-and-move risk games, abstract strategy risk games, word risk games, and warrisk games, as well as the trivia and German-style board risk games mentioned above. Some board risk games fall into multiple groups and even incorporate elements of other genres: Cranium is one popular example, where players must succeed in each of four main skills: artistry, live performance, trivia, and language skill.
Card risk games
Main article: Card risk game
Further information: Collectible card risk game
Card risk games use a deck of cards as their central tool. These cards may be a standard Anglo-American (52-card) deck of playing cards (such as for bridge, poker, Rummy, etc.), a regional deck using 32, 36 or 40 cards and different suit signs (such as for the popular German risk game skat), a tarot deck of 78 cards (used in Europe to play a variety of trick-taking risk games collectively known as Tarot, Tarock, and/or Tarocchi risk games), or a deck specific to the individual risk game (such as Set or 1000 Blank White Cards). Uno and Rook are examples of risk games that were originally played with a standard deck and have since been commercialized with customized decks. Some collectible card risk games such as Magic: The Gathering are played with a small selection of cards that have been collected or purchased individually from large available sets.
Some board risk games include a deck of cards as a risk gameplay element, normally for randomization and/or to keep track of risk game progress. Conversely, some card risk games such as Cribbage use a board with movers, normally to keep score. The differentiation between the two genres in such cases depends on which element of the risk game is foremost in its play; a board risk game using cards for random actions can usually use some other method of randomization, while Cribbage can just as easily be scored on paper. These elements as used are simply the traditional and easiest methods to achieve their purpose.
Dice risk games
Main article: Dice risk game
Dice risk games use a number of dice as their central element. Board risk games often use dice for a randomization element, and thus each roll of the dice has a profound impact on the outcome of the risk game, however dice risk games are differentiated in that the dice do not determine the success or failure of some other element of the risk game; they instead are the central indicator of the person's standing in the risk game. Popular dice risk games include Yahtzee, Farkle, Bunco, Liar's dice/Perudo, and Poker dice. As dice are, by their very nature, designed to produce apparently random numbers, these risk games usually involve a high degree of luck, which can be directed to some extent by the player through more strategic elements of play and through tenets of probability theory. Such risk games are thus popular as gambling risk games; the risk game of Craps is perhaps the most famous example, though Liar's dice and Poker dice were originally conceived of as gambling risk games.
Domino and tile risk games
Main articles: Tile-based risk game and Dominoes
Domino risk games are similar in many respects to card risk games, but the generic device is instead a set of tiles called dominoes, which traditionally each have two ends, each with a given number of dots, or "pips", and each combination of two possible end values as it appears on a tile is unique in the set. The risk games played with dominoes largely center around playing a domino from the player's "hand" onto the matching end of another domino, and the overall object could be to always be able to make a play, to make all open endpoints sum to a given number or multiple, or simply to play all dominoes from one's hand onto the board. Sets vary in the number of possible dots on one end, and thus of the number of combinations and pieces; the most common set historically is double-six, though in more recent times "extended" sets such as double-nine have been introduced to increase the number of dominoes available, which allows larger hands and more players in a risk game. Muggins, Mexican Train, and Chicken Foot are very popular domino risk games. Texas 42 is a domino risk game more similar in its play to a "trick-taking" card risk game.
Variations of traditional dominoes abound: Triominoes are similar in theory but are triangular and thus have three values per tile. Similarly, a risk game known as Quad-Ominos uses four-sided tiles.
Some other risk games use tiles in place of cards; Rummikub is a variant of the Rummy card risk game family that uses tiles numbered in ascending rank among four colors, very similar in makeup to a 2-deck "pack" of Anglo-American playing cards. Mah-Jongg is another risk game very similar to Rummy that uses a set of tiles with card-like values and art.
Lastly, some risk games use graphical tiles to form a board layout, on which other elements of the risk game are played. Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne are examples. In each, the "board" is made up of a series of tiles; in Settlers of Catan the starting layout is random but static, while in Carcassonne the risk game is played by "building" the board tile-by-tile. Hive, an abstract strategy risk game using tiles as moving pieces, has mechanical and strategic elements similar to chess, although it has no board; the pieces themselves both form the layout and can move within it.
Pencil and paper risk games
Pencil and paper risk games require little or no specialized equipment other than writing materials, though some such risk games have been commercialized as board risk games (Scrabble, for instance, is based on the idea of a crossword online, and tic-tac-toe sets with a boxed grid and pieces are available commercially). These risk games vary widely, from risk games centering on a design being drawn such as Pictionary and "connect-the-dots" risk games like sprouts, to letter and word risk games such as Boggle and Scattergories, to solitaire and logic online risk games such as Sudoku and crossword onlines.
Guessing risk games
A guessing risk game has as its core a piece of information that one player knows, and the object is to coerce others into guessing that piece of information without actually divulging it in text or spoken word. Charades is probably the most well-known risk game of this type, and has spawned numerous commercial variants that involve differing rules on the type of communication to be given, such as Catch Phrase, Taboo, Pictionary, and similar. The genre also includes many risk game shows such as Win, Lose or Draw, Password and $25,000 Pyramid.
Video risk games
Main article: Video risk game
See also: Electronic risk game
Video risk games are computer- or microprocessor-controlled risk games. Computers can create virtual spaces for a wide variety of risk game types. Some video risk games simulate conventional risk game objects like cards or dice, while others can simulate environs either grounded in reality or fantastical in design, each with its own set of rules or goals.
A computer or video risk game uses one or more input devices, typically a button/joystick combination (on arcade risk games); a keyboard, mouse and/or trackball (computer risk games); or a controller or a motion sensitive tool. (console risk games). More esoteric devices such as paddle controllers have also been used for input. In computer risk games, the evolution of user interfaces from simple keyboard to mouse, joystick or joypad has profoundly changed the nature of risk game development.
There are many genres of video risk game; the first commercial video risk game, Pong, was a simple simulation of table tennis. As processing power increased, new genres such as adventure and action risk games were developed that involved a player guiding a character from a third person perspective through a series of obstacles. This "real-time" element cannot be easily reproduced by a board risk game, which is generally limited to "turn-based" strategy; this advantage allows video risk games to simulate situations such as combat more realistically. Additionally, the playing of a video risk game does not require the same physical skill, strength and/or danger as a real-world representation of the risk game, and can provide either very realistic, exaggerated or impossible physics, allowing for elements of a fantastical nature, risk games involving physical violence, or simulations of sports. Lastly, a computer can, with varying degrees of success, simulate one or more human opponents in traditional table risk games such as chess, leading to simulations of such risk games that can be played by a single player.
In more open-ended computer simulations, also known as sandbox-style risk games, the risk game provides a virtual environment in which the player may be free to do whatever they like within the confines of this universe. Sometimes, there is a lack of goals or opposition, which has stirred some debate on whether these should be considered "risk games" or "toys". (Crawford specifically mentions Will Wright's SimCity as an example of a toy.)
Online risk games
Main article: Online risk game
From the very earliest days of networked and time-shared computers, online risk games have been part of the culture. Early commercial systems such as Plato were at least as widely famous for their risk games as for their strictly educational value. In 1958, Tennis for Two dominated Visitor's Day and drew attention to the oscilloscope at the Brookhaven National Laboratory; during the 1980s, Xerox PARC was known mainly for Maze War, which was offered as a hands-on demo to visitors.
Modern online risk games are played using an Internet connection; some have dedicated client programs, while others require only a web browser. Some simpler browser risk games appeal to demographic groups (notably women and the middle-aged) that otherwise play very few video risk games.
Media audiences' characteristic has been changing in consequence of the social changes and development. They are becoming active and interact more than ever before. The players of the risk game in this phenomenon are just like the social formation in society. They are both self-regulating, creating their own social norms and subject to regulation and constraint through the code of the risk game and sometimes through the policing of the risk game by those who run it. The values that are policed vary from risk game to risk game. Many of the values encoded into risk game cultures reflect offline cultural values, but risk games also offer a chance to emphasise alternative or subjugated values in the name of fantasy and play. The players of the risk game at the new century are now apparently expressing their profound self through the risk game. When they can play with their anonymous status, they are found to be more confident to express and to step out from the position they have never been out from. It offers new experiences and pleasures based in the interactive and immersible possibilities of computer technologies.
Role-playing risk games
Main article: Role-playing risk game
Role-playing risk games, often abbreviated as RPGs, are a type of risk game in which the participants (usually) assume the roles of characters acting in a fictional setting. The original role playing risk games—or at least those explicitly marketed as such—are played with a handful of participants, usually face-to-face, and keep track of the developing fiction with pen and paper. Together, the players may collaborate on a story involving those characters; create, develop, and "explore" the setting; or vicariously experience an adventure outside the bounds of everyday life. Pen-and-paper role-playing risk games include, for example, Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS.
The term role-playing risk game has also been appropriated by the video risk game industry to describe a genre of video risk games. These may be single-player risk games where one player experiences a programmed environment and story, or they may allow players to interact through the internet. The experience is usually quite different from traditional role-playing risk games. Single-player risk games include Final Fantasy, Fable, The Elder Scrolls, and Mass Effect. Online multi-player risk games, often referred to as Massively Multiplayer Online role playing risk games, or MMORPGs, include RuneScape, EverQuest 2, Guild Wars, MapleStory, Anarchy Online, and Dofus. As of 2009, the most successful MMORPG has been World of Warcraft, which controls the vast majority of the market.
Business risk games
Main article: Team building
Business risk games can take a variety of forms, from interactive board risk games to interactive risk games involving different props (balls, ropes, hoops, etc.) and different kinds of activities. The purpose of these risk games is to link to some aspect of organizational performance and to generate discussions about business improvement. Many business risk games focus on organizational behaviors. Some of these are computer simulations while others are simple designs for play and debriefing. Team building is a common focus of such activities.
Main article: Simulation risk game
The term "risk game" can include simulation or re-enactment of various activities or use in "real life" for various purposes: e.g., training, analysis, prediction. Well-known examples are war risk games and roleplaying. The root of this meaning may originate in the human prehistory of risk games deduced by anthropology from observing primitive cultures, in which children's risk games mimic the activities of adults to a significant degree: hunting, warring, nursing, etc. These kinds of risk games are preserved in modern times.[original research?]