Controversy of the Day
I have this incomplete, imperfect and totally arguable internal definition when I identify a game as a “storygame,” and am using that term to meaningfully describe it more specifically than “roleplaying game.” I am not advocating for this for anyone else. There are many definitions like it but this one is mine.
For me, my internal definition comes down to the self-awareness the rules have about scenes. Does the game require non-facilitator players to set a scene? Storygame. Is the game structured around acts or stages? Storygame.
Also? I use it as a subset within the larger category of “roleplaying game” rather than as a separate thing. All storygames are RPGs, not all RPGs are storygames.
So if you ever see me use that term in the Indie Game Reading Club, I’m almost certainly keyed into that one very small aspect of the game.
There’s also some probably-confusing overlap with terms like “freeform,” almost all of which require player-created scenes (therefore making them storygames).
There’s probably a Venn chart in all this somewhere.