Game recommendation questions are sadly NOT on topic here on RPG.SE.

This means the following kinds of questions are off topic:

  • I want to play (details) kind of game/story. What game should I use to do that?
  • Which game does (thing) the best?
  • Are there any games that let me do (thing) / have this specific mechanic?
  • Does a game meeting this criteria exist? (see Can we ask about the existence of a game?)

This list is not exhaustive. If your question will boil down to “here are some criteria” and answers will boil down to “here is a game / some games”, then it is a game recommendation and off topic.


In 2011 we embarked upon a brave experiment. "Shopping," or recommendation, questions are generally banned on all SEs given specific meta.SE guidance on the topic in Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping.

RPG recommendations are both popular and also do not have some of the more temporary attributes that make those kinds of shopping questions bad - people still play RPGs from 1974 so they don't really become out of date, and have attributes only discoverable in use as opposed to just reducing to "spec sheets." Therefore in Are game recommendation questions on topic? we experimented with making such questions on topic, as long as they were well defined and both questioners and answerers hewed strongly to the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective principles that SE uses to govern questions with subjective components. The most important part of this was the Back It Up! principle.

Back It Up! means that your answers must be based on either:

  • Something that happened to you personally

  • Something you can back up with a reference

With the theory that would prevent people from the usual issue with game-recs, which is everyone answering a) their favorite game because they're sure you could use it for that even though they never have but it's so great it could clearly handle that, or b) some game they vaguely heard of/just Googled for, both of which are crap answers.

Unfortunately now in 2015 the community was not able to maintain those standards over time. Game-recs have became contentious, 25% of them get closed anyway, and therefore our grand experiment has come to an end - see Community self-evaluation: How are we doing with game recommendations? for more details on how that decision was arrived at. Therefore game-recs are now off topic on RPG.SE.

What This Means/Does Not Mean

Old game-recs will be historical locked as they pop back up to the front page organically (we see no value in doing a proactive locking, that'll just flood the front page with them).

New game-recs, we'll get a custom close reason added for.

The game-rec post notice and FAQ will be modified to match this new policy.

This means all "shopping" questions are off topic. In many cases, however, instead of asking a shopping question (which game system/online tabletop/psionic subsystem/etc "is best"), you can ask a more focused question like "Does Roll20 do X, Y, and Z" or "How does the Dreamscarred Press Psionics Unleashed system work out balance-wise in play?"

This does NOT mean that Good Subjective, Bad Subjective is not the guiding principle on this SE for questions with subjective components. With game-recs we were deliberately curating them hard and deleting answers not meeting GS/BS. But in other questions, everyone on this Stack should be answering from experience, not speculation. Answers that show "you've done that" or have a reference will be upvoted and answers that are you just coming up with untested ideas on how you'd do that will be downvoted, and in extreme cases deleted. If you're not clear why, go read all of Good Subjective, Bad Subjective over and over until you achieve enlightenment.

Return to FAQ Index

  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ Game-recs have became contentious, 25% of them get closed anyway, and therefore ... 75% didn't get closed. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 15:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast 75% didn't stay closed forever - from memory about 40% have been closed at some point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Aug 24, 2015 at 15:16
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman OK, I haven't seen it evolve over time. It appears that the difficulty is in the GS/BS being adhered to, so "this is why we can't have nice things" is now recorded for posterity. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 15:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How many of the closed questions are questions that didn't adhere to GS,BS which the user never came back to edit? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Aug 24, 2015 at 18:29
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The previous, linked question is for the "what do we do" debate including data - this is simply us posting the agreed upon new policy. The short answer, though, is I don't know, feel free and construct some Data Explorer queries if you think it'll be helpful to know for some reason. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 24, 2015 at 18:41
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ Recommend Putting some sort of "No, they are not" in the Title. Bottom Line Up Front \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2015 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not how we do any other on-topic question on meta, so I think first line of the answer is sufficient. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 26, 2015 at 14:48
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ OK. It's all about communicating. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2015 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would suggesting ways to meet gamers be considered part of this? Like rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1232/… as this has helped me in the past \$\endgroup\$
    – Flotolk
    Sep 14, 2015 at 15:06
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I got my question closed because it was offtopic (purchase recommendation). Fortunately, somebody answered me in a comment before it was closed. I was adviced to use some forum instead. Well, let me tell you something: forums suck, a lot. And this webpage is awesome, I got a good answer in minutes... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 2, 2016 at 12:33
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ We know. But we keep this site awesome by having high standards for content and behavior, and unfortunately game-recs fell on the other side of that line way to much and we had to disallow them in whole as a result. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 2, 2016 at 13:20
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I had my question closed as off-topic (shopping) and after several edits and a long comment discussion on meta question to find out why, I found out that (at least according to some of the mods) any question in the form "Is there an X that is Y?" is considered a shopping question because it shares some of the difficulties regarding likely answers etc. Is this topic the right place to add this information so that future askers can find outbefore asking and taking rep hits etc? Should I form a new meta question to discuss whether this formula should be considered a shopping question? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 30, 2018 at 4:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ask a new question. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jul 30, 2018 at 12:29


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