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Matrix Games Wiki: What is a Matrix Game?

Matrix Games live in the space between boardgames and roleplaying games. They are neither fish nor fowl, but man, do they taste good!

Matrix Games are a simple kind of game engine that enables you to play through scenarios not easily simulated by other games. The power and flexibility of Matrix Games come from how turns are resolved. Rather than try to make up rules for every instance, players make arguments for what they want to happen next in the game. Another player sets a "to happen" threshold for each argument, and a die roll later, you know which actions became facts in the game world and which didn’t happen at all. It might sound too simple (or too complicated) to work, but it does. Matrix Games are a low-tech way to game events that make supercomputers twitch.

What can you game with them? What about

Of course there are wargames and political campaigns too. There are even serious games for education, psychotherapy, and planning. They are especially good for solo games. Whenever situations are fluid and up in the air, Matrix Games are there.

Chris Engle with Ron Hale-Evans


Traditional RPG rules support physical confrontation among individuals. The argument mechanism of Matrix Games applies whether the conflict is physical, social, or intellectual. More interestingly, it is also applies regardless of the scale... You might resolve a boxing match using the same mechanism as an intercontinental war.

Neal Durando in The Matrix Games Handbook

Sample Matrix Game rules

Other Matrix Games Wiki pages

Engle Matrix Games License

Engle Matrix Games are copyright Chris Engle and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. If you create derivative works, please include the sentence, "Matrix Games were invented by Chris Engle."

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