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Timeline Tree of Tabletop Role-Playing Games, celebrating more than 40 years game design innovations
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.zenodo.json Add files via upload Oct 16, 2019 Update Oct 23, 2019


Timeline Tree of Tabletop Role-Playing Games, celebrating more than 40 years of game design innovations


Over 1000 ttrpg and 800 game designs, webbed through 1500 links. From 1974 to 2019.

TTTTRPG snapshot

Long term goal

This timeline is a part of the « On the Shoulders of Dwarves » (en français) set of projects. I would kike to work on the taxonomy of relations between cultural published games and this project is a first draft and essay. My ambition is to design a whole phylomemetic system to track evolution of ideas. I will use the TTRPG published products as subject because it is offering a clear, defined and accessible set of items.

How to...

... Do it myself

  • Download the latest source code. It should be easy to understand, but you can read more explanations of the structure of the source code.
  • Download the zip package of icon pictures. Unpack the pictures in a folder C:/gv/ on your computer.
  • Install and set up Graphviz and Textpad++.
  • Compile the code. The details are in the header of the source code ("Parameters"). It will produce a ps file.
  • With Adobe Distiller, turn the ps file into a PDF file. If you successfully used a free and open-source software to do that job, please let me know.

... Contribute

  • Send me corrections or suggestions at pascal.umontreal [at]

    • It can take time before I answer you.
    • If you don't want to be cited as contributor, add "no citation" in your email.
  • Help me to compile the dot source code graph to produce a more dense graph.

  • Improve Wikidata items related to tabletop RPG.

    • I documented some guidelines here (contact me at Pmartinolli if you need help). I already made 7000 edits on TTRPGs so I have a little understanding of what is what there.
    • Why Wikidata ? I try to mirror as much of the informations as I can on Wikidata to benefit from the database tools and from the community of contributors. Click here to produce a graph of the citation practices in TTRPG.
  • Export the data into GEPHY. Why ? 1) I want to try it ; 2) I think the database structure of GEPHY can help managing all the informations ; 3) It's open source.

... Start my own project

  • Have a look on this simple template of the graph, and on the rendering.
  • Gather your friends (or your students) and decide some teamwork methods. Each of you create an account on GitHub.
  • Deposit your files on GitHub.
  • Go!
  • Don't forget to be a gentleman/gentlelady of the open access : cite me and Todd Lehman.

... Thank me

  • Tweet it @pascaliensis.
  • Comment it on your social media.
  • Cite me it your academic work :

Martinolli, Pascal. 2019. « TTTTRPG: Timeline Tree of Tabletop Role-Playing Games, celebrating more than 40 years of game design innovations. » Zenodo. Dataset and dot language code.

  • Print it and display it in your school, library, exhibition, etc.
  • Send me an email : pascal.umontreal [at]

Short term improvements

  • Produce a more dense graph.
  • Insert a key legend to explicit the colors and links displayed.
  • Draw different kind of lines for better understanding of links.
  • Use sans-serif font for better readability.
  • Change the font/color/background of the name of items with a cover picture for better readability.


The source code is an adaptation of the code created by Todd Lehman for his “TeX Family Tree”.

The data sources of this work are numerous. You can have a look of the references used to select, check and analyze the TTRPGs.

This content is CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0

Informations in the source code are pure facts, therefore they cannot be copyrighted. The curation of these informations, the links between them and the structure of their display are a work of edition. For this reason, I will be glad you aknowledge my name if you want to reuse them.

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