Connecting Worlds. Fantasy Role-Playing Games, Ritual Acts and the Magic Circle


From a cultural history and game theoretical perspective my work focuses on the relationship between the fantasy subculture, fantasy role-playing games and the daily life of their participants in the Netherlands. Main research themes are the construction of game/play space and identities. Within this context I elaborate in this paper on the usefulness of the term magic circle (Johan Huizinga). I will argue why in game research the current use of the term magic circle is problematic. We can understand the term differently when returning to the context in which Huizinga introduced the magic circle as ritual play-ground. According to him ritual is play and play is ritual. Referring back to his work Homo Ludens (1938) I will discuss the various relationships between role-play and ritual performance. I will argue that fantasy role-playing consists of collections of performances or ritual acts, in which players construct the game/play space, identities and meaning.