Criticizing Caillois: Examining How Players Perceive Rules in Play and Games.


  • Leland Masek


Rules, Playfulness, Caillois


Roger Caillois famously argued that games should be analyzed based upon how limited they are by rules on a continuum from Paidia to Ludus. Several other scholars have since viewed rules and rule-boundedness as key to understanding both games and play. No previous work has sufficiently addressed whether this continuum is representative of how player's experience rules in games and play. By examining 429 academic works that analyze playfulness, and an interview data set of 125 playful experiences for how rules, limitations, and boundaries are discussed, this work expands upon the framework of Caillois and adds two new categories that typify player-rule interactions. Līlā is a player creating and changing rules as an act of play, and Muhō is a player violating rules as an act of play. Introducing these new categories adds critical nuance for future discussions on the relationship of rules, games, and play.





@Conference{digra1915, title ="Criticizing Caillois: Examining How Players Perceive Rules in Play and Games.", year = "2023", author = "Masek, Leland", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}