It's come up once or twice that some people aren't familiar with the phrase belonging outside belonging, so I thought I would take the opportunity to give a brief rundown.
In the back of Dream Askew/Dream Apart, Avery Alder describes the belonging outside belonging framework as being the line that connects Dream Askew and Dream Apart, the common threads that bind them together. These threads are:
- They are about marginalized groups establishing an independent community, just outside the boundaries of a dominant culture.
- Those communities have a hopeful, precarious, vulnerable quality to them.
- Both are for 3-6 players, each of whom has a unique character role.
- They divide their settings into distinct elements which are shared around the table.
- They employ a community worksheet.
Any game adhering to one or more of these design choices has the potential to be a belonging outside belonging game. Which leads us to...
But can I use the label?
Much like Powered by the Apocalypse, the phrase belonging outside belonging has a certain context in which the label is appropriate. In Avery's words:
It’s up to you to decide whether to use the label to describe your own work, but there are a few guidelines to consider. Most importantly, a game of belonging outside belonging is about a marginalized community attempting to live just outside the boundaries of a dominant culture. Beyond that, ask yourself: does this new game fit the established line? Did this chapter serve as a key reference in design? Does it feel right to adopt the label? Use it if it feels right.