“Games are the most elevated form of investigation.”

-Albert Einstein

Not sure what a type of game is like? Well, take a look!

Analog Games

Analog games refer to any kind of game that does not primarily rely upon an electronic device for play. This includes all tabletop games, improv games, field games, and everything in between. Most people are familiar with board games and card games, which are the most common analog games in play today. Though sports are technically analog games, they aren’t usually a part of the conversation about analog games vs. digital games.

Games to Gather supports many kinds of analog play events.

Story Games

A story game is any game that produces a narrative that is satisfying to all players as a product of play. You play a story game by saying things about what’s happening in the narrative and consulting the game rules to guide and shape that narrative. A story game might use any number of techniques in order to tell a story, including (but not limited to) narrating, making choices, rolling dice or drawing cards, roleplaying, and listening to the other players. A story game prioritizes the end result – a captivating narrative – and asks that all players collaborate in order to achieve that goal.

Roleplaying Games

A roleplaying game is a kind of story game that primarily employs the technique of roleplaying in order to create a story. Traditionally, roleplaying games are focused more on the means of play rather than on the end result of creating a story.

Freeform Games

Freeform games loosely-defined form of semi-live play. Freeform games are similar to live action roleplay (LARP) in some ways, but follow a more focused perspective, rely upon improvisation, and have few but very focused game mechanics. Other kinds of games – Nordic and parlor LARPs, jeepform, and American freeform – are all considered to be examples of freeform games. Freeform games are generally more expressive than other kinds of games due to their vivid play style and focused design approach.

Board and Card Games

By far the most common analog games are board and card games. These kinds of games have become standard household items, and include tabletop games that make use of various game pieces and clear end-game conditions, but usually do not have a narrative component. Though board and card games are welcome for discussion and playtesting at our game design events, Games to Gather does not focus on offering events for playing these games because there are already so many board and card game events throughout the Portland area every night of the week. We encourage people seeking board and card games to support those communities instead.

Digital Games

We use the term digital games to refer to any game that primarily relies upon electronic devices for play. Digital games are very familiar to us – we know them as video games and computer games. Many times when a person refers to “gaming” they are talking about digital gaming.

Hybrid Games

Of course, there are many games that blend elements from multiple kinds of games, digital or analog. These guidelines are not meant to be rigid, it’s really more of a best-fit kind of deal.

Why Indie?

You may have noticed that Games to Gather focuses on independently published games. There are two major reasons for this.

First of all, commercial gaming has an enormous platform and a multibillion dollar industry behind it. It doesn’t need us – it’s already thriving. The indie gaming industry does need us, otherwise it’s prone to be overlooked entirely.

But more importantly, the dialog of indie games differs from that of commercial games. Due to the economic pressures of a mass market, commercial gaming publishers are pressured to appeal to the widest possible audience. This means that the commercial publishing model is more likely to conform to established cultural trends – it’s often said that experimental games are risky and aren’t profitable.

Indie publishing is not bound by those same pressures. It is not risky for an indie publisher to create an experimental game. This means that indie games are more likely to be able to speak against established cultural trends in favor of greater awareness and more diverse experiences. The indie publishing model is also more empowering to creators than the commercial model because there is more room for “unusual” and personal works. Not to mention that the game designers within our community are all independent!

Games to Gather’s mission statement boils down to “positive action through play,” and it is very clear that the best way of doing that is by pursuing the potential of the indie publishing model and supporting the independent publishing community.

Play Tools

We observe a few important tools that help everybody participant equally. Follow the links below for more information on specific play tools.