Sunday 30 May 2021

Rules Lawyers: A force for Good?

The Rules Lawyer is a species of tabletop gamer that can quickly ruin a Wargaming or Roleplaying session. They seem to know the rules better than everyone else and have no inhibitions about using that for their own advantage. They know every loophole and misprint in the rules, especially if it's to their advantage. Most annoyingly they often conveniently forget any rules that don't support their game. So can this anti-social behaviour be channelled for the good of the group? Are rules lawyers actually a good thing when managed properly?

I hope you found that video interesting and it has given you some food for thought. 


  1. Interesting post, Lee. I enjoyed your different classifications of Rules’ Lawyer. Of course, we all have our own, individual thoughts on the term and its role. Do you consider yourself a Rules’ Lawyer?

  2. Think it is all about achieving a happy medium with like minded people. Rules lawyering at its extreme can be annoying but players not actually reading the rules and expecting to play a game smoothly is equally frustrating. Of course some sets particularly those aimed at competition style games/players are more likely to ‘attract’ such rules lawyers compared to less structured sets. My mate and I would in our small group to be the ones who actually read rule sets and then are left try to teach it to rest of group, so I guess we might veer towards lawyer aspect a tad by default :-)

  3. It has to do with a different view on the nature of the game. If you see a wargame as something that's foremost a competitive game, rules are important, and hence, there will be a strong focus on the rules. OTOH, when you see the game as an exploration of military history or a developing story of a battle, the rules become less important, and are merely guidelines to drive the experience.

    The sweet spot is somewhere in between, but will vary according to the DNA and established traditions of a gaming group. But problems do arise when you find yourself in a game with people you've never gamed before. Then suddenly your baseline assumptions might be challenged, in one direction or the other.

    1. This is a good point, Phil, and one I have experienced in remote play during the pandemic.


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