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There is a big difference between a set of laws or rules that functions as a blacklist vs. one that functions as a whitelist.

In a blacklist system, there are rules that tell you what you cannot do, but anything outside of those laws is permitted (i.e., the Air Bud scenario). In a whitelist system, there are rules that tell you what you can do, and anything outside of those rules is forbidden.

In spite of what Air Bud might have taught us, most sports and games are actually whitelist systems. There may not be a specific rule against having a golden retriever on the team, or against stripping naked in the middle of play, or against poking your opponents in the eye, but you'd still incur penalties, if not forfeit the game entirely, if you tried any of those things in football, or basketball, or chess, or the Kentucky Derby.

Conversely, most roleplaying games (and, thankfully, the legal systems of most countries), function as blacklist systems: anything not expressly denied is permitted. Arguably, I'd say that's the primary difference (from the citizen's perspective) between a permissive Utopian society and a despotic Dystopian society - not the number of restrictions or the quality of life, but the assumption of default guilt or innocence.


(Sunday morning, INT: EB and JH's apartment)

EB: Well, look, let's say you make an alternate version of Snakes and Ladders that has two paths - one that's a hundred squares long, and one that's sixty squares long. Is it minmaxing if I always choose the sixty square path? If I actually wanted to win the game, I couldn't not take the sixty square path!
JH: A roleplaying game isn't a board game. You don't necessarily want to "win".
EB: Granted, but you can't go into it not trying to win! I get that the joy is in the journey or whatever, but in order to journey, you still have to legitimately try to get to your destination, and if I see a shortcut, I'm taking it!
JH: You know, a brick wall may return all of my serves, but that doesn't make it a good tennis player. And if I hit a tennis ball over the net in your direction, it's not because I'm trying to get the ball to stay on that side of the court - it's because I want to play with you.
EB: Well, if you want to play tennis with me, maybe you should include a rule that says I'm not allowed to use brick walls!
JH: I'm reasonably certain that actually is a rule...