# Where does the term “Elfgames” come from and what specifically did it refer to?

"Elfgames" seems to be occasionally used to refer to fantasy RPGs that are perceived as generic or escapist.

Where does the term come from and what was it originally used for?

• Could you include a quote, example of use or something? Just curious - I have never heard the term used myself. – kviiri Jun 9 '16 at 10:03
• Not really. I've always only seen it mentioned in passing in a way that seems to assume that everyone knows what it means. I think it's used with the implication of a game being simplistic and trivial, but I'm not even sure that this is actually intended. – Yora Jun 9 '16 at 11:17
• Twitter has one guy using #elfgames in an RPG context. Can't determine the meaning from that though :) – MrLemon Jun 9 '16 at 11:25
• Do you want its origin and original use, or do you want its actual current use? I'll note that "it refers to generic escapist fantasy RPGs" is only a half-complete summary of its meaning. The actual current usage makes me suspect finding an accurate origin is relatively unlikely. – doppelgreener Jun 9 '16 at 13:30
• Yes, some context or examples would help. My own reaction to the question is that I thought it was a meme fairly concentrated in one (albeit large) RPG discussion forum; some examples would give potential answerers something concrete from your impressions to work with, not just their own. – SevenSidedDie Jun 9 '16 at 15:18

What it's used for is easy. It's a tongue in cheek description of fantasy tabletop RPGs (mostly D&D) intended to say "We're just adults having fun - none of us should be taking this too seriously".

Google found me it being used in 2011 but nothing in 2010 which feels about right - and it seems to have spread from and around the Something Awful RPG forums (which are a lot nicer than the rest of the site). From there it mostly spread to RPG.net. Five years ago the Pathfinder/4e edition wars were still blazing and people needed to remind each other not to take it seriously.

Edit: for some links most of the SomethingAwful stuff is now archived alas - here's a rare example from the Paizo boards (from someone who at least was a regular at SomethingAwful). To get at it you need access to their archives or to find goldmined threads like this one from 2012. Here's a thread from RPG.net from 2013 discussing how it's used.

• Some references would make this an excellent answer... – Sardathrion Jul 12 '16 at 13:45
• Links to some of those discussions on the forums you cite? – KorvinStarmast Jul 12 '16 at 14:26
• A few links added. There isn't much from 2011 thanks to the paywall. – Francis Jul 12 '16 at 23:54
• You can do it the old-fashioned way and provide a brief quote containing the evidence along with a citation that declares the source and date. Also, when editing your posts, keep in mind that “edit markers” are unnecessary noise because we have an edit history feature — strive to make your post always its “best”, final-so-far version (for example, by putting the citation beside the statement it is supporting). See Don't signal your edits in text for a full description and reasoning for this approach. Cheers! – SevenSidedDie Jul 13 '16 at 2:43