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We can define the game as a physical or mental leisure activity, subject to conventional rules, to which engages for entertainment, get pleasure and fun.

Cooperation and competition

Whether in the form of two symmetrical teams or in a relationship of every man for himself, most games based on direct competition.

There are also, mainly in traditional games, other mechanisms. For example, players can switch teams during the game, it is the case of convergent games like ball hunter where players will gradually move from a situation one against all to all against one.

The principle of the paradoxical games is even more rich in interactions: There are games where the opponent is also a potential partner. The simplest situation is paradoxical when three teams are triangular relationship: The players of Team A can eliminate players from Team B, Team B those players of Team C and those of the C team players of team A. This provision implies that if Team A removes too many members of team B, no one can protect the team C. This principle is used for example by the game hen fox snake or by Atreus, a board game created in 1994 by Gauthier Fourcade. But there are games like the seated ball causing much more complex paradoxical situations.

The relational structure of the games can be an ideological issue. For example, in the book Cooperative games to build peace (1988), Mildred Masheder offers fun activities that can be carried out by solidarity and cooperation among all players. These educational games trying to marginalize the competition, saying it is a source of violence.

RPGs are games of cooperation by excellence, players are asked to help each other to achieve common goals.


To play together, first you need a minimum agreement on the part of the game: the rules. The rules of the game was originally a universal value: fair play. Without rules, a number of public would not play. To institute it is putting a frame; put a frame is to associate different wills. Especially since we know we can order anyone to play!


A game fulfills its purpose (of pleasure or drive to a mental or physical activity) to the extent that it contains sufficient unpredictability to the player hand. To ensure this unpredictability, chance is an important component of many games. It was then an accepted component (dice, oval ball that may bounce unpredictably, …).

Meanwhile, a too much chance prevents recognition of the technical merits of the players. The chance will be fought by very strict and deterministic rules, as in chess, checkers, orfootball, or neutralized by an increase in parts or strokes before designating the winner, as in tennis, 421, poker, this being able to cause aberrant behaviors such as pathological gambling.

The random component is particularly important in gambling, which have an indisputable criterion to determine the best (that is, the one who wins the most), and can therefore afford a larger share of randomness.

Sports and games

The distinction between sports and games is an issue that is not subject to a general agreement.

Sports are more natural and real, the games are rather mentally and symbolic (virtual). But this distinction does not seem fundamentally enough,. Games like chess, Scrabble or even some video games have acquired a real sporting dimension, with training, tournaments, champions, entertainment, money, physical fatigue, etc. While at the same reverse a sport like running may only be practiced only as a game without competitive spirit.

Another item to mention is the element of chance: Sports, unpredictability is provided by the number of players and the extent of their abilities (which characterizes their mastery of the game). They are usually less random. But this element does not seem discriminatory.

It seems that instead look towards the motivation of the player: when acting for his own pleasure in the action or to practice, we rather talk about the game while it is in a match, his pleasure in terms of results, it is a sport. If the distinction is at this level, it becomes difficult to be sure of the fact that we are in a playful or sporting, but also because the sport is fun, while the player is a part of his pleasure in the result.

An item can still be added, whether or not collective sport, the sport remains elitist. It favors some and excludes others, beginners who do not have strong physical abilities find their place either on the ground or in the locker room, while the game takes into account each player: It promotes integration, highlighting issues such as sacrifice, taking risk for another, protection … that have real positive impact on the dynamics of a group.

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