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I would like to know if there exists a game that does not use luck or skill in any of it's game mechanics, such as rolling dice.

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    If it doesn't use luck, and it doesn't use skill, I question whether it could even be called a "game" at all at that point.
    – goldPseudo
    Sep 18, 2016 at 18:30
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    What is the motivation for this question?
    – Dave
    Sep 18, 2016 at 19:16
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    I am only aware of a few such games. One player deals out cards the other pretends to look at them, throws any at random to the table, and then declares "I win". You had out some more cards so he can declare "I win" again. Obviously this is more entertaining with a small child. Two player spin the bottle works too... but then you might end up with a small child. Finally pay to win games could count but these are usually mobile games, not board games.
    – kaine
    Sep 20, 2016 at 16:46
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    @kaine yeah, if it lands on you, you're unlucky. It might land on you every time! I would say a game of flip the coin, "Heads I win, tails you lose" would work here as well. Sep 20, 2016 at 18:56
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    The Game. You just lost it. Sep 21, 2016 at 15:29

1 Answer 1

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How do you figure out who wins if there's no randomness (no luck) and no player decisions that can affect the game (no skill)?

If there's no skill, then that means players can't make meaningful decisions, i.e. ones where a better decision increases chances of winning. If there's no luck, they can't make meaningless ones either, like picking heads or tails on a coin flip.

That leaves games where the winner is pre-determined. For example, in Candyland, shuffling the cards determines the entire game. But then there's still luck, it's just that the entire game is one big coin flip.

So unless you believe in some concept of "fate", so that you can base the winner on who was "fated" to win, and declare that to not actually be luck, there can't be such a game. The player with the alphabetically first name wins? Use the players' names as seeds for a (deterministic) pseudo-random number generator, and use that to shuffle the deck in Candyland? Those still sound like luck to me; even though there's no luck in the actual "playing" of the game, one player was lucky enough to have been given the name that caused them to win.

Bottom line, anything where someone wins, there has to be a way they were determined to be the winner, and the common notions of "luck" and "skill" are such that one or both will always be involved.

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  • Example: player who's name comes first in alphabetical order wins. No luck, no skill, still someone wins.
    – Deo
    Sep 19, 2016 at 8:01
  • @Deo I addressed that. It's not luck within the game, but it's still luck who wins.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 19, 2016 at 14:19
  • It depends on how you define luck, but I see your point.
    – Deo
    Sep 19, 2016 at 16:12
  • @Deo Yeah, I think most people if they really thought about it would think of it as luck. If you got a job because your name came first and you got interviewed first, that's luck, right? It's like flipping a coin before the game starts, except it's a very complicated coin and it was flipped years ago.
    – Cascabel
    Sep 19, 2016 at 16:14
  • It can also be referenced as "fate", though trying to define and distinquish these two goes way beyond scope of this question.
    – Deo
    Sep 19, 2016 at 16:32

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