Talk:List of games with concealed rules

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Cripple Mr Onion[edit]

I don't believe Cripple Mr. Onion belongs here, as the rules certainly exist in-universe. And were created for real as well. CitiCat 02:52, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


As another example, there was an episode of Scrubs where JD was told about an anti-game/concealed rule game, which was then casually mentioned by other hospital staff. His curiousity piqued, JD insisted that he be allowed to play a round, at which point it was revealed that the only rule of the game was that the other staff get to pelt JD with tennis balls. If anyone has a reference and can remember the title of the game (and other specifics), it would make a great addition to this article. (talk) 23:02, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Jiggly ball from episode My Jiggly Ball. At the end, Janitor stated the rules but then disclosed that there were no rules as the game didn't exist. Very interesting article by the way. WiiNie (talk) 05:52, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


Calvinball doesn't have "undisclosed" rules - as it says, the only rule is that the rules are never the same. Maybe there's an article on meta-games? It would fit better there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

For the onlookers, nomic is the term for games that are made up as they go. Its article has a link to Calvin and Hobbes#Calvinball. --Kizor 06:32, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


Have removed Nomic from the "See also" section, as it doesn't fit the "rules are intentionally concealed from new players" criteria of this article. So far as I can tell, User: mistakenly believes "games with concealed rules" to mean (in his words) "games which mess with the concept of rules". If I've misunderstood something, let me know. --McGeddon (talk) 12:54, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok I could be wrong here but it seems to me that "see also" sections should be about related topics, not just the same topic. If they were the same topic, they would be mentioned in the actual text. So unless I'm mistaken about wikipedia policy on see also sections, then my original point still stands. Games with concealed rules is a subset of a larger group of games which do weird things with rules, of which Nomic is obviously notable. Nomic is not a game with concealed rules (not at the start, anyway) but that's not the point, because we're talking about related topics, not things that are in the *same* topic. -- (talk) 22:59, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
If we had a list of games that do weird things with rules, then it would make sense for this subset to link to it as a "see also". I think it's a bit too oblique to say "this list belongs to that superset, and Nomic is also in that superset", though - most readers won't realise why it's been linked. It'd be like linking to blind man's buff because both it and this article share the superset of "games with concealed information". --McGeddon (talk) 11:58, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Many of the games on the present list are similar to Nomic in having changeable, rather than undisclosed or fake, rules. People above have correctly mentioned Calvinball and Cripple Mr. Onion; Dragon Poker also qualifies. The rules are complicated, and not disclosed to the reader, but they are represented as being fully defined, and players are at least in theory supposed to know them. Almost any fictional game whose rules aren't explained in the source would qualify for the "undisclosed rules" list and I'm not sure having such a list is valuable. I also question the inclusion of many games with hidden knowledge on the list of games with hidden rules, even when the hidden knowledge is in the form of a rule. If you're going to include Eleusis it's not clear why you shouldn't also include Old Maid. (talk) 04:05, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that the inclusion of nomics like Calvinball and Mornington Crescent strengthens the argument for linking to Nomic under "see also." (talk) 03:06, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
We have a see-also link to List of games with mutable rules, which includes Nomic and similar games. --McGeddon (talk) 12:16, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Tig Tag[edit]

I don't think this deserves mention on this article. It's a question of notability. The game is not widely known as a fictional game. After all, Wikipedia is not for something you make up one day. That game sounds like something they made up one day, just because FAMOUS people made it up shouldn't make it any more significant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


Zendo has an unlimited number of possible rules, contrary to an assertion made by one contributor:

07:20, 27 August 2008 Quuxplusone (Talk | contribs) (15,364 bytes) (→Discovery games: Fluxx has no hidden rules; Zendo has no more hidden rules than Mastermind or Ghost)

Mastermind is about deducing a specific linear pattern of pegs among a set of finite possibilities (nm : n colors, m positions). Ghost Game also has a set of finite possibilities. I agree that Fluxx has no hidden rules.

Zendo is about inducing a rule among infinite possibilities. See here for a list of examples:

Mornington Crescent[edit]

I've shifted MC to a new category 'games with undisclosed rules' - this more closely matches the content of the Wikipedia entry for Mornington Crescent - see the discussion page for that game for fuller information. Riversider2008 (talk) 16:17, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

To explain this more clearly, read the first para of the Wikipedia article on MC:
"Mornington Crescent appears to have first made its appearance as a game featured in the BBC Radio 4 comedy panel game I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. The game, whose rules are never explained, seems to satirize complicated strategy games, particularly the abstruse jargon involved in such games as contract bridge or chess."
In order to remain consistent with itself (and the sources it cites), Wikipedia would therefore more accurately categorise Mornington Crescent which it describes as a 'game whose rules are never explained' as 'a game with undisclosed rules' than as a 'hoax' game,. Riversider2008 (talk) 16:26, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Although "undisclosed rules" makes sense as a subcategory of fictional games (because there are many fictional games where the audience is never told the rules), I'm not sure that it's a useful subcategory for "actual games". If a game is played in the real world, then it's either a discovery game, or a hoax. I don't think we gain anything from moving Crescent into the grey area of "neither discovery nor hoax". --McGeddon (talk) 16:38, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
This is about internal consistency within wikipedia - 'a game whose rules are never explained' is virtually equivalent to 'a game with undisclosed rules', but means something quite different from a 'hoax game'. Riversider2008 (talk) 16:43, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I notice that since we started this discussion, the formulation in Mornington Crescent (game): 'a game whose rules are never explained' has been altered to 'a game whose rules are deliberately not explained'.
I'm not sure whether this alteration is justified by the cited material, but even with this shift of emphasis, a game whose rules are deliberately not explained still fits more comfortably into a category of 'games with undisclosed rules' than 'hoax games' Riversider2008 (talk) 16:58, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Humph's claim that the game was invented to vex the series producer ("Quick, let's invent a game with rules he'll never understand.") seems like a fairly clear hoax, to me. --McGeddon (talk) 17:29, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
A game with rules that are designed to be too complicated to be understood by a BBC producer is not neccessarily a hoax. There must be hundreds of games that fall into such a category - such as football, judging by the coverage. Riversider2008 (talk) 13:29, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Part of the “point” of “Mornington Crescent” is that “rules” are constantly disclosed, it’s the players’ strategy which is kept secret. Players have a known objective in reaching Mornington Crescent, but do so by selecting moves (the naming of stations or what have you) with a (seeming) method which the audience never is party to. Unless for comic effect within the conceit of the game, players are never said to be making moves up - the players always act as if the move falls inside some agreed set of possible plays, but test that move with the application of rules to see if it is legal or not. What the audience hears is the ensuing argument of how the moves are affected by rules consisting of modifications sometimes made by the chair at the start (in the manner of a poker dealer declaring a wild card, or some other variable), and a general and ever expanding pool of laws and by-laws for play, often with appeals made to a (fictional) rule booked called Mornington Crescent: Rules and Origins, by N.F. Stovold (the book often being addressed as simply “Stovold”, in the manner of “Hoyle” for cards). As others have said, the disclosure of rules does not mean that a listener can understand them, especially as rules may be contradictory, and arbitrary; but they certainly are disclosed to listeners, if not explained in a manner they can comprehend. Jock123 (talk) 12:44, 25 June 2015 (UTC)


Where might the card game Fluxx belong? Integral to its gameplay is the making of the current game's rules, which appear as one of four classes of cards. Would this count as "concealed"? — Nahum Reduta [talk|contribs] 09:12, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

If by "concealed" you mean "written on cards which are in players' hands, or which haven't been drawn yet", then this is no different to any other card game, so shouldn't be listed here. --McGeddon (talk) 11:03, 8 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm not sure if it has a name, but this was a popular game in the Seattle area around 1980. Someone would describe an imaginary triangle, naming 3 specific points. Those were often in the room or immediate area, but could be any distance away, including on another planet, as long as they could be described specifically. Then the group would have to determine "whose" triangle it was. New players would have to figure out the rules for whose triangle it was by guessing or by listening to others determine whose it was. If anyone can find a reference to this game (or one like it), please add it to the list. Kevinbsmith (talk) 13:18, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I found a few web references, so added it mysefl. Kevinbsmith (talk) 12:37, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Games with unwritten rules[edit]

There seems to be an entire category of games not yet covered; namely those games whose 'rules' are so simple that they are not written down, except perhaps as part of some academic study. Playing peek-a-boo with a baby, or tug-of-war with a dog do count as games, but what is acceptable and what is not is guided successfully by humans' social rules without needing anything more formal. The rules for 'tig', 'tag', 'it', or whatever it's called have been arrived at independently by children (and even animals) over and over, but local rules on, for example, an acceptable level of roughness, vary from group to group. (talk) 21:54, 19 July 2009 (UTC)


Would the video game Braid count as an example of concealed rules? The basic idea is learning how each of the time mechanics works as you play through. Kinda. Does it fit under Discovery Games, perhaps? MeTheGameMakingGuy (talk) 02:21, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Remove Bugs?[edit]

This game doesn't seem to have concealed rules. (talk) 00:45, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Young Ones[edit]

Hey, that Young Ones thing. Rick is playing Strip Poker, and they burn his clothes. It's the same as when they were playing monopoly and all the rules were changed to 'accomodate' rick. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

Poorly sourced[edit]

This article has had a refimprove tag for five years. It has been nominated for deletion twice, so I don't think there's much chance of getting the entire article deleted. But, to put it mildly, the content of this article is a mess and is overbloated with original research and unsourced information. Since the article has been tagged for so long, I plan to take a look at the article's history and begin removing unsourced items (that don't have a link to their own article) that have been in the article more than one year. If anyone objects to this proposal, please provide a detailed rationale as to why the policies of WP:V and WP:NOR should be so blatantly violated. Thanks. Cresix (talk) 15:52, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Cresix, I'm a total newb as an editor, but I'm a long time reader of Wikipedia and greatly enjoyed this list when I came across it. While I agree that most of the items on this list are in violation of WP:V and WP:NOR, the entries that were added earlier today for "Calvinball" and "Eschaton" contained what I believed to be complete citations. Is there any reason that I couldn't go through this page and clean it up, adding citations where available and deleting entries for which no citation can be found instead of deleting the entire page? Also, and I'm sorry if I'm pestering you, but since I'm pretty green here, could you please help me out and give me a run down of what was incorrect in the citations for "Calvinball" and "Eschaton"? Thanks very much. Sythint (talk) 15:52, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. Calvinball was sourced to another Wikipedia article. Wikipedia cannot source itself. See WP:CIRCULAR. And even the Wikipedia article used as a source did not mention the game. I didn't make the latest revert of Eschaton; I have no information about that source. Perhaps you should ask Wackywace (talk · contribs) who made the deletion. He/she may have a good reason. I have no problem with your adding citations, but please carefully read WP:RS, WP:V, and WP:NOR. If your sourcing is adequate, the items will remain. Otherwise they will be deleted. In the mean time, my plan is to systematically remove unsourced items, starting with the oldest ones. Thanks. Cresix (talk) 19:18, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the advice, I will get in touch with Wackywace, and thanks for referring me to WP:RS, which I hadn't seen yet. I can find original print (or television) sources for a number of these games, and I look forward to improving this page. -- All the best. Sythint (talk) 2:10, 10 June 2012 (MDT)

Player of Games[edit]

In "The Player Of Games", the rules are known by all of the players. They're not explained to the reader, but in-book they're not hidden. Certainly not concealed. They're just mostly not listed for the reader.

This article seems vaguely specified, or the examples in it are. People seem to be editing based on different understandings of what the subject means. I don't think Azad belongs in this article. (talk) 03:39, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Farnarkeling - John Clarke[edit]

New Zealand born comedian and satirist John Clarke has often provided spoof sports coverage of a game called Farnarkeling, the objective, rules and game-play of which is impossible to discern from his reports. Would this count towards this page? Info can be found John Clarke (satirist). Jock123 (talk) 12:50, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

John Clarke (satirist) article only describes it as a "fictional sport", not a game with concealed rules. Need much better sourcing. Thanks. Sundayclose (talk) 13:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)