The Deck of Fun

Over the years I've found several different ways people attempt to map, categorize, and present the amorphous possibility space of play, fun, and games. I reference them constantly, always with a grain of salt, as a sort of mantra for considering playstyles that are not my own. Doubtless the taxonomies I've discovered are a small subset of those that exist (if you find more, please share), and doubtless each is a small lens of truth on a much bigger picture. Some of them are decades old, some of them are brand new. Some cover fun, some games, some childhood play. They are useful in so far as any tool is useful, limitations and all. Last year, for my aforementioned IxD course, I wanted to put all of these taxonomies into one place to make reference that much faster. The Deck of Fun was born.

What's Inside?

The deck has 64 cards each with a unique front and back:
  • 1 title card
  • 7 color-coded overview cards (one per section)
  • 56 cards that each show a unique type of fun, play, or game

Who's Featured?

  • Richard Bartle: MUD Player Types
  • Stuart Brown: Types of Developmental Play, Player Personalities
    • Both of these can be found in his book Play
  • Roger Caillois: 4 Types of Games
  • CI Company: Types of Fun
    • One of the more curious entries, a consulting firm's research results, covered here
  • Nicole Lazzaro: 4 Keys to Fun
  • Mark Leblanc: 8 Kinds of Fun
    • Based on his work here, with a semantic edit from Extra Credits

How Do I Get It?

While I'd feel terrible asking for money to print something that is just a collection of others' work, I am happy to make the PDF available to all. The PDF is 100% vector, so can be blown up to any size.


If you are going to print your own, I recommend using the "print 9 copies per page" option, as this reduces the cards to the size of playing cards. They also all have a unique back and front, so make sure you print doublesided.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Jenny Slife for beautifying the deck and giving me an amazing graphical template and to Hanna Brady for helping catch tons of pesky mistakes. Please feel free to send in edits and suggestions.