"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?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you include a quote, example of use or something? Just curious - I have never heard the term used myself. \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Jun 9, 2016 at 10:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yora
    Jun 9, 2016 at 11:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Twitter has one guy using #elfgames in an RPG context. Can't determine the meaning from that though :) \$\endgroup\$
    – MrLemon
    Jun 9, 2016 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2016 at 13:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2016 at 15:18

1 Answer 1


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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Some references would make this an excellent answer... \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2016 at 13:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ Links to some of those discussions on the forums you cite? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 12, 2016 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ A few links added. There isn't much from 2011 thanks to the paywall. \$\endgroup\$
    – Francis
    Jul 12, 2016 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ 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! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2016 at 2:43

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