Wizards of the Coast, the same company that publishes DnD, has created a board game called Castle Ravenloft. It uses rules that are derived partially from DnD 4.0. In the future, they also plan to come out with another board game using the same system.

On the one hand, the rules are derived from the DnD 4.0 system, and questions on that topic are clearly allowable. On the other hand, the particular rules are a streamlined set with noticeable differences, and there are many rules created just for the purposes of the game itself--which is a board game.

Would questions about this game be on-topic, or off-topic? Best to get the discussion out there before we start seeing the questions.


5 Answers 5


No. I would say that board games are off-limits. They are a different "kind" of game; there is no in-game character immersion, even if the basic style is the same. Computer RPG's would also be off-limits for the same reason.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Agreed - brand tie-ins don't make it on topic here. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 28, 2010 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ -1 because I disagree with this answer. I'll post my own and weigh in... \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Oct 13, 2010 at 2:27

If it calls itself a board game, as it seems Castle Ravenloft will, then it's not a roleplaying game.

However, I think there's room for beneficent doubt when a board game, war game, or what-have-you is used in conjunction with a roleplaying game. In that case, it would be a matter of whether the question is about using such a game within the context of a roleplaying game.

If yes, then I'd say it's an appropriate question, just as if someone was asking a about how to use, say, the board game Outdoor Survival to manage wilderness exploration for an ongoing roleplaying campaign.

If no, then I'd say it's not an appropriate question here, such as if someone was asking about an esoteric detail of how Chainmail works for their historical wargaming club's next meeting, with no roleplaying game involved.


I don't think we want to be in the business of deciding what is and isn't a roleplaying game. Can we discuss semi-larp tabletop games like Montsegur 1244 here? What about experimental stuff like Sweet Agatha? We're already discussing solo games for 1 player, which seems like an edge case. Surely discussing Castle Ravenloft is more appropriate here than it would be on a board games forum, where they don't have as much experience with WOTC products or D&D.

In general, I would encourage us to default to helping people out by directing them to helpful resources, even if those resources are somewhere else, rather than rejecting questions submitted by sincere, interested parties.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I was thinking about the rather elegant solution: "if it calls itself a roleplaying game, it's in the club." \$\endgroup\$
    – Bryant
    Aug 28, 2010 at 22:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, I'm curious what you mean by "semi-larp". Is there something about Montsegur 1244 that I missed reading it, or is this just an unusual way of saying "freeform scenes"? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 29, 2010 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Seven, it's more that I was thinking of Montsegur as an example of increasing number of freeform or semi-larp games, like A Penny for My Thoughts, A Flower for Mara, and the like. In some of these games, you act out scenes, while in others you sit around the table and describe them, and some are agnostic about how you perform them. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Walton
    Aug 29, 2010 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, ok. It never occurred to me to play a freeform scene game as a larp, so I wouldn't consider a story game to be not a roleplaying game. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30, 2010 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Completely disagree with the first statement. We need to definitely decide what is and is not an RPG. That defines the scope of this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat Ludwig
    Oct 6, 2010 at 6:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree we have to decide what an RPG is and what's in scope. Having said that, I don't see any reason that Montsegur or Sweet Agatha stuff isn't on topic here. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 13, 2010 at 13:37

I'll say what I just said in the game table chat...

I don't have a problem with wargame questions posted here, personally, I think they belong in the same crowd, and the same ballpark, as RPGs. Wargames and RPGs share a common ancestry in game-mechanics and playerbase. Both are a leap of sophistication above board games. Tabletop gaming isn't a big enough industry that we can afford to be too fragmented or too picky. =)

(In fact, maybe we could broaden the site to Tabletop Gaming to widen our audience slightly? Just an idle thought.)


How would you differentate wargaming from board gaming? RPG from wargaming?

Under most circumstances, I don't ;) There are board games and wargames with RPG elements, and vice versa... the line is exceptionally blurry, which I guess was my point. As a rule of thumb, I would say that any game which clearly doesn't have a roleplaying (acting in-character) element, and doesn't have a complicated enough rules system to warrant needing an online community to ask rules questions about it, probably doesn't belong.

For example, chess clearly doesn't belong. It's a game with a lot of deep strategy worth discussing, but the rules are really simple and well-known.

Jovian Chronicles is a game that looks and plays like a board game, but has distinct characters and an RPG theme/element. You are more likely to find answers about it on this site than on a board game enthusiast site, so I think it's reasonable to ask questions about it.

If you are creating your own dungeons for HeroQuest, while that may not be "true" RPG material, I think this site would also be a great resource, and I wouldn't really say it's off-topic.


The bar for what gets considered a role playing game should be deliberately very low. Consider the 'tabletop strategy game' that got this conversation going in the chatroom: Battletech.

Battletech has a role playing game associated with it, but the primary game engine was intended to just be a miniatures war game. The role playing game is designed with the war game in mind, however.

If we force all pure Battletech (as opposed to purely Battletech RPG) questions to another site, someone like me who enjoys playing Battletech RPG with the full war game integrated into it is forced to use two different sites to talk about the same game.

This results in a serious drop off in utility in rpg.stackexchange for those individuals and they are likely to (I would) stop using the site since it's such a hassle.

Games in this limbo that I'm aware of: Heavy Gear, Battletech, Jovian Chronicles, Gearkrieg, Chain Mail, and I'm sure there are others.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And what about the Battletech computer games? There's a bunch of them. Isn't it mean to make someone go to another SE to talk about those? How about the anime? You see the result of this line of thinking. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Oct 13, 2010 at 13:38

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