Only previous reference is in an answer to What kind of questions can I ask here?, which is 5 years old. We've seen much water pass under the bridge since then.

Question inspired by: Choose Your Own Adventure Books/Games: Are there any Two-Player variants?

Let us take a hypothetical:

Someone asks about character optimisation for a Lone Wolf game they're playing (perhaps with friends kibitzing). On/off topic. Why, why not?

What other edge cases can we use to define the scope here?

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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused by the hypothetical. How do you optimise a Choose Your Own Adventure character? I think I'm missing something. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Feb 21, 2015 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ An additional issue with the inspiring question is that they are looking for a rec, but seem OK with a range of possible answers that only partly overlaps with RPGs. Presumably good answers here will be RPG-related solutions, but it has already attracted one well-meaning off-topic answer. I really don't know what to make of that question. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2015 at 6:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Having written that, I realised that leaving them a comment that they will only get RPG-based answers here is a solid step in grappling with that question's strange straddling of our on-/off-topic line.) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2015 at 6:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Here's a more recent and on-point reference: Are the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and contents on- or off-topic? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2015 at 6:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW In Lone Wolf, there's mechanical character creation that does have an impact on "play." Skills and equipment, mainly. Mind you, the consequences are basically predetermined, but it's there. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2015 at 8:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Questions about the plot and writing are very firmly on-topic on Scifi+Fantasy:SE if you'd like to migrate those over. \$\endgroup\$
    – Valorum
    May 23, 2017 at 8:17

3 Answers 3


CYOA books are at least nearly on topic, as solo RPGs are barely on-topic (example of solo RPG stuff I think we would want to be on-topic). Embarrassingly, Lone Wolf Game Books are explicitly on topic as solo RPGs, according to that tag, despite this meta seeming to imply otherwise, that the apparent contradiction has existed for the last several years.

I think that CYOA games have always been kind of a gray area on account of they don't usually identify as RPGs but sometimes they do, and we aren't really very sure at all what an RPG even is.

CYOA books, however, as well as solitaire play and everything else relevant to this gray area, seem to be quite unpopular; we don't really get any questions on them or anyone arguing that they should be on topic, just because it seems like no one coming here is much interested in them. The fact that the meta sat for several years without ever really coming up helps to show the degree of non-interest our extended community has in such questions.

If we ever had a community subset demonstrate active interest in these questions being on topic, I think it would be appropriate to review the subject.


CYOA books, a.k.a. gamebooks, are not RPGs and are off topic.

RPGs based on a gamebook line (e.g., Advanced Fighting Fantasy) are on topic, since they're RPGs. Questions about using gamebooks in some way for an RPG are also on topic.

Basically, if it's just about gamebooks, we're not the relevant experts. If it's about using gamebooks in an RPG context then we can help, just as we can help with other things (like music or computer hardware) being used in an RPG context.

  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Basically, if it's just about gamebooks, we're not the relevant experts. " If not us, who? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 13, 2017 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan There's a fundamental premise of the SE network that just because a question exists, doesn't mean there's a home in the network for it. (Yet.) As a corollary then, “if not us, who?” is answered by “still not us, not our problem”. Simply, we're not the CYOA experts; there are other sites on the vast internet that exist, besides us; we're not going to try to serve a topic badly simply because the topic exists and is adjacent to our topic. The mandate of SE is to serve a topic well by being choosy about the questions we accept. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 13, 2017 at 20:42

Computer RPGs are already definitively off-topic. Choose Your Own Adventure books strike me as being CRPGs with a printed book and a lookup table in place of the electronic computer.

That being the case it would never even occur to me that CYOAs would be anything but off-topic.


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