So, you know the whole "If humans play Dungeons and Dragons, what would dragons play?" joke. You probably also know that I made a question about it.

Would the "Rule Lawyers" pen-and-paper game be feasible?

I knew that making it on-topic would be extremely difficult, so I decided to narrow it down into the question of whether as static version of the US law could be compartmentalized into small-enough fragments that they could be used as material for the game's rulebooks.

Basically, you'd need different expansions (plus the core rules) to play different cases and the question was if those expansions would be safe for non-attorney consumption.

I'm not sure if this could be made on-topic, can you help by, pointing out why it is exactly off-topic?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What's unclear about the explanations for closing left in the comments? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 19:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd say that it's not really a worldbuilding question. It's a game making one - figuring the mechanics and rules and such. The answer you got points out that such games are already out, so it's not even much of a theoretical. It seems like a question much better asked on Role-playing Games or Board & Card Games and perhaps rephrased as looking for existing games and mechanics that will facilitate a law game. The scope might need to be narrowed down a bit (I'm not very well versed in the topicality of those stacks) but to me it belongs on either of those. Or maybe even both (tailored to fit each). $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 12:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From a fellow verbose fella to another: removing all the fluff from the question makes it easier for people to navigate it and decide whether it is on topic or not. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


I can't think of a way to make it directly on topic

The issue is that you're asking if laws can be turned into a game. Reversing the formulation formula, you're asking a question on how can you make a game using complex laws as one (or more) of its defining pillars. Packed back inside a simple core, it's about how to make a game.

Given this core, I don't think you will find a way out of this without provoking much debates. You will have to either diverge from the original topic or engage a lawsuit against this thought itself :(.

In my opinion, it seems that the existence of this(these?) law game(s) is already well-defined in your universe, so you should not bother on it too much. Indeed, most if not all things can be converted into a game variant, even though I don't agree with Elemtilas that laws can be considered as a game themselves (but that's a long topic and I'm tired! Yawn...). Peck, people made games about the most gruesome stories -civils during wars, mass genocide...- , and OBJECTION! There are even videogames where you play as a lawyers or judges!

As long as there are interesting concepts and strong yet carefully oiled mechanics, you should have no problem giving to the characters living in your world a strong incentive to play them. But like I said, making out a nicey and dicey (wait, not dicey!) game design is... Well, a question about game design, not worldbuilding.

Indirectly, you should focus on the impact of such game on your world

If you want to know more about the plausibility of such concept as a worldbuilding question, focus it on the relation with the world the game has. I guess it wouldn't be an insignificant part of your world since you ask the question and a related meta-question. For instance...

  • Who will play this kind of game, in a world where laws have lost any sense? Aristocracy and a few connaisseurs? May peasants or traders be able to learn and play it?
  • How can people play with foreigners holding their own rulebook containing other laws?
  • How would the game spread out around the world (if you're living in a medieval fantasy world, making paper for all the rules could be difficult?)
  • Would it be worth having this game, knowing that the evil Shadow -who is foreshadowing the demise of the human race by exhausting the economy through bureaucracy- would try to make people waste time on it?

Know that to get a glimpse of an answerable question, you should have at least an high-concept or find games that are closely related to what you would go for. Indeed, you can make Law a quick and fun card game that last 5 to 10 minutes after the booze and before the diner. Or... A full set of pen and paper game as you thought, involving many hours of debating about intellectual and even philosophical concepts, such as "is a golem/robot/animal a person?" (cross out the thematic world you're not making).

To pack things up, in my opinion, only with changes to the question's thematic you can be on-topic for worldbuilding. But in the end, you're the judge, jury and executionner of your own thoughts!


I'm not exactly sure what is off topic either!

I will say that not only cán US law (or any nation's legal system) be gamified, but the law is in fact already a game. The rules that govern it, the costumes, the setting it happens in -- all of these things demonstrate its essential, gamelike nature.

Check out Huizenga's Homo Ludens.

As for the question at hand:

Happily, I think much of the work has already been done for you! We already have the Core Rule Book, which would include the (US & State/Commwealth) Constitutions and the Rules particular to the actual Game itself and probably essentials like Blacks Law Dictionary.

The Player Handbook would include not only the Code of whatever state the DM has chosen to play in for this particular game, but also the rules governing specific situations (arbitration settings, courtroom protocols, etc).

Lastly the Expansion Packs already exist in works such as B., B., G. & H.'s Fundamentals of Property Law or E., K., W., B., C. & E.'s Family Law: Cases, Text, Problems or W. & F.'s Code of Canon Law Annotated.

For the question of gamifying, since it's (generally longaeval) Dragons and Gryphons, there's really no reason to reduce the material as they'd have plenty of time to learn. But if you still want reduction in amount of material, then there's no reason that the game publishers couldn't create editions that consist solely of digests or summations and statements.

As for the closure rationale & what you can do about it:

There's not really much you can do about it. You just have to wait and see if enough folks decide to reopen.

I think the question is straight up worldbuilding. It's no different than gamifying the activity we call War (also see Homo Ludens) and calling it RISK or even CHESS.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand : What proves that it is related to worldbuilding and not game design? Your main answer is about how law can be gamified. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 18:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Tortliena -- I would imagine that would fall under the cultural context of gaming within Dragon society. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Commented Jan 11, 2021 at 22:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .