Magic circle

The Magic Circle is a metaphor for thinking about the time/space in which a game is played.

  • The magic circle has boundaries of space and time. A soccer pitch is a different place before vs during the game.
  • When players enter the magic circle, the game mediates their interactions.
  • Inside the magic circle, specialized meanings are given to objects and actions.
  • The magic circle is a temporary world-within-the-world.
  • Entering the magic circle requires suspending disbelief.


  • How can I mark boundaries?
  • How can I arrange objects/people/space to facilitate play?
  • How can I mark special meanings and events?
  • How can I create a temporary world, separate from ordinary reality? How should I set the scene?
  • How can I embrace inefficiency and suspend disbelief?

See book Rules of Play for more on this topic.