Look up game in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Ludwig Wittgenstein Ludwig Wittgenstein was probably the first academic philosopher to address the definition of the word game.
In his Philosophical Investigations ,  Wittgenstein argued that the elements of games, such as play , rules, and competition , all fail to adequately define what games are. From this, Wittgenstein concluded that people apply the term game to a range of disparate human activities that bear to one another only what one might call family resemblances. As the following game definitions show, this conclusion was not a final one and today many philosophers, like Thomas Hurka , think that Wittgenstein was wrong and that Bernard Suits ' definition is a good answer to the problem.
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 game element if the player makes up rules, and b The Sims and SimCity are toys, not games.
If it has goals, a plaything is a challenge. If a challenge has no "active agent against whom you compete", it is a puzzle ; if there is one, it is a conflict. Crawford admits that this is a subjective test.
Video games with noticeably algorithmic artificial intelligence can be played as puzzles; 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 game. Crawford's definition may thus be rendered as[ original research? Other definitions "A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. Abt  "At its most elementary level then we can define 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.
Maroney  "to play a game is to engage in activity directed toward bringing about a specific state of affairs, using only means permitted by specific rules, where the means permitted by the rules are more limited in scope than they would be in the absence of the rules, and where the sole reason for accepting such limitation is to make possible such activity. Major key elements identified in this context are tools and rules that define the overall context of game.
Tools A selection of pieces from different games. Chess pawns, marbles , Monopoly tokens, dominoes , Monopoly hotels, jacks and checkers pieces. Games are often classified by the components required to play them e. In places where the use of leather is well-established, the ball has been a popular game piece throughout recorded history, resulting in a worldwide popularity of ball games such as rugby , basketball , soccer 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 games such as chess may be traced primarily through the development and evolution of its game pieces. Many 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 use any obvious tool; rather, their interactivity is defined by the environment. Games with the same or similar rules may have different gameplay if the environment is altered. For example, hide-and-seek in a school building differs from the same game in a park ; an auto race can be radically different depending on the track or street course, even with the same cars.
Rules Whereas 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" 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 game.
There are exceptions to this in that some games deliberately involve the changing of their own rules, but even then there are often immutable meta -rules. Rules generally determine the time-keeping system , 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 game as in Monopoly , or some relationship of one's game tokens to those of one's opponent as in chess's checkmate.
Skill, strategy, and chance A 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 games of physical skill, such as wrestling , tug of war , hopscotch , target shooting , and stake , and 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 games blackjack , Mahjong , roulette , etc. However, most 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 games combine all three; most trick-taking games involve mental skill, strategy, and an element of chance, as do many strategic board games such as Risk , Settlers of Catan , and Carcassonne.
Single-player games Most games require multiple players. However, single-player games are unique in respect to the type of challenges a player faces. Unlike a game with multiple players competing with or against each other to reach the game's goal, a one-player 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 game due to the lack of any formidable opposition.
Many games described as "single-player" may be termed actually puzzles or recreations. A multiplayer game is a game of several players,  who may be independent opponents or teams. Games with many independent players are difficult to analyze formally using game theory as the players may form and switch coalitions.
Game theory Main article: Game theory John Nash proved that games with several players have a stable solution provided that coalitions between players are disallowed.
Nash won the Nobel prize for economics for this important result which extended von Neumann's theory of zero-sum games. Nash's stable solution is known as the Nash equilibrium. While these have had some partial success in the fields of economics, politics and conflict , no good general theory has yet been developed.
The entanglement of players's choices can have the effect of a contract by preventing players from profiting from what is known as betrayal. Sport Soccer 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 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[ citation needed ] the balls and strikes of baseball as a clear example of social construction , the operation of rules on the game's tools. While the strike zone target is governed by the rules of the 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 game. Lawn games Lawn games are outdoor games that can be played on a lawn ; an area of mowed grass or alternately, on graded soil generally smaller than a sports field pitch.
Variations of many games that are traditionally played on a sports field are marketed as "lawn games" for home use in a front or back yard. Common lawn games include horseshoes , sholf , croquet , bocce , lawn bowls , and stake. Tabletop games Main article: Tabletop game A tabletop game is a game where the elements of play are confined to a small area and require little physical exertion, usually simply placing, picking up and moving game pieces.
Most of these games are played at a table around which the players are seated and on which the game's elements are located. However, many games falling into this category, particularly party games , are more free-form in their play and can involve physical activity such as mime. Still, these games do not require a large area in which to play them, large amounts of strength or stamina, or specialized equipment other than what comes in a box.
Dexterity and coordination games This class of games includes any game in which the skill element involved relates to manual dexterity or hand-eye coordination, but excludes the class of video 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 game is played.
The advent of home video 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 game rooms.
These 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 games are popular as drinking games. In addition, dedicated drinking games such as quarters and beer pong also involve physical coordination and are popular for similar reasons.
Board games Main article: Board game Parcheesi is an American adaptation of a board game originating in India. Board 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 or cards. Most games that simulate war are board games though a large number of video games have been created to simulate strategic combat , and the board may be a map on which the players' tokens move. Virtually all board 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 games, most sports and most video games. Some games, such as chess and Go , are entirely deterministic, relying only on the strategy element for their interest. Such 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 game such as a card draw or die roll.
Children's games, on the other hand, tend to be very luck-based, with 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 games since there are no decisions to make which affect the outcome. Most other board games combine strategy and luck factors; the game of backgammon requires players to decide the best strategic move based on the roll of two dice.
Trivia games have a great deal of randomness based on the questions a person gets. German-style board games are notable for often having rather less of a luck factor than many board games.
Board game groups include race games , roll-and-move games, abstract strategy games , word games , and wargames , as well as trivia and other elements.