What is RNG? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

Ever had one of those moments where you thought you had your opponent trapped in what seemed to be a guaranteed win condition, but then suddenly the gods from above reward them with a near impossible comeback? Welcome my friends to the world of RNG, where anything can happen at any time, and at any place whether you like it or not. RNG stands for random number generator and is often used in various situations pertaining to card games, as well as games that also revolve around some sort of outcome. The reason for the implementation of RNG is to eliminate the option for players to cheat the system, allowing for more wins and racking up all of the rewards. RNG throws out a series of numbers into the air, and whatever it lands on that’s what is generated into the game and from there the party begins. It’s actually not a bad thing since it’s what adds the thrill to a lot of games out there, and creates a lot of interesting scenarios to laugh about (or get salty over). With this all being said, let’s take a closer look at what RNG means and provide some great examples to further emphasize the point.


One thing that makes gambling so addicting for those who find interest in it is that, every outcome is totally unpredictable and that very thrill is what keeps players coming back for more. A part of you wants to just give up and walk away but the other half feels compelled that at some point, the gods will serve you well and reap all of the rewards. When you do win sure it’s one remarkable thrill, but then when you lose it’s one spectacular low. That’s the world of card games since that’s what generates a very interesting atmosphere with a colorful array of players who are determined to win. If there’s truly one game out there at the moment that’s truly unforgiving in the RNG department yet still comes with a plethora of thrills in the end, is none other than Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone.


  • System/Platform: Windows, iOS, Android, Mac OS
  • Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Release Date: March 11, 2014

If there’s one game that’s totally unpredictable and at times truly irritating, it’s certainly Hearthstone. A very popular game in the eSports scene, Hearthstone started off as your simple trading card game that had plans to rival that of Magic the Gathering among many others. Now, Blizzard’s creation has amassed an enormous following and is played by millions worldwide. So what makes this traditional style of play so interesting to play? Well for one, the World of Warcraft lore is ubiquitous with many gamers worldwide whether you’ve played the series or not, so the brand itself speaks a lot more than anything. For those who have dabbled with WoW at some point in their lives, Hearthstone provides this charming atmosphere where you can play with all of your favorite heroes and villains from the franchise, pitting them against each other in card form. Coming up with your own deviceful deck is very absorbing as you could spend sometimes up to an hour or more just coming up with a deck that can take on the best, in an online ranking platform.

However while that rank or casual match in play mode may seem very peaceful at first, RNG will start to creep up on you and at times make the experience a little annoying. Be that as it may, it is a genuine card game and it should come as no surprise that there’s never a real guarantee as to whether you’ll win a lot. Even if you do happen to generate a lot of wins with your deck, there will be plenty of times where you’ll be scratching your head in bewilderment as your opponent somehow steals the win from you because one card changed the entire flow of the match. Some will truly hate that function while others may revel in its way of surprising you, and always encouraging you to come up with sophisticated ways to beat your opponent. With a new upcoming expansion slated to release next month known as Journey to Un’Goro, players will need to rethink their strategies once again to see who can take the number one legendary position this season.

Journey to Un’Goro Cinematic Trailer

A Thrill Seeking Adventure

To reiterate what we mentioned in the opening paragraph, RNG is quite simply a system which prevents players from tampering with the system, creating an unfair and often times frustrating environment for those on the opposing end. RNG adds in an element of thrill and excitement because you’re just never too sure where the tempo will go, whether it be in your favor or the opponents. That’s what makes RNG very interesting because while you may have all of the skills necessary to outwit your adversary on paper, RNG reminds you that skills aren’t everything and often times you just need to rely on the the random outcome to favor you majority of the time.

Yu Gi Oh! Trading Card Game

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Release Date: 1998

A lot of people, especially those of the anime community are very well acquainted with the celebrated Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and the sheer thrill it brought to our hearts when watching. So imagine taking all of that very same thrill from the anime, and transforming it into a competitive card game. You pretty much get a lot wild action on the table and plenty of thrills to go along with it. Yu-Gi-Oh! has somewhat waned in popularity in the west but that’s due to such an influx of other popular trading card games out on the market, but the series is still highly competitive in Japan. It’s become very popular among the youth, mostly those in their adolescence or early high school years, and they travel out to the game bars to partake in the excitement in competing.

This isn’t to say that Yu-Gi-Oh! isn’t respected in the west because it truly is, but every event you go to be it a game event like Tokyo Game Show or C3 Tokyo in Japan, Konami has set up a booth that’s strictly dedicated to it and many kids flock to that booth like crazy. While RNG doesn’t really create as much salt in person as it does online, there are still those thrilling moments when you’re hanging on by your coattails begging for RNG to favor you, and then boom that one defining moment arrives and the tides have turned dramatically. Seeing that in action is truly a spectacle because you along with the players feel the rush of the swinging pendulum that is RNG, and not knowing where it may swing is what pushes you beyond your limits to come out on top. RNG creates a pretty random yet fair environment, and while you could argue against it simply because it didn’t work in your favor, the truth is that we all can’t be winners and RNG reminds us very sharply. We recommend if you haven’t dived into Yu-Gi-Oh! now’s a good time since there are plenty of tournaments in North America for you to d-d-d-d-duel.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist Trailer

Never in Control

Never in control, that’s the concept behind RNG and what makes such a powerful weapon in the world of trading card games. While you might think you’ve the upper hand against your opponent, RNG puts you in check and reminds you that there’s so such thing as having the advantage. One minute the tables have dramatically turned in your favor then several seconds later, your opponent drops a deadly minion that now puts them in the lead and nothing can salvaged. All of that hard work that went into creating a devastating board has now been wiped totally clean by the aoe effect (known as Area of Effect in card terms), and now all that’s left in your hand is a measly 1 mana spell that couldn’t save even the bravest of souls. This tormenting process that RNG places upon players can be downright demoralizing because every turn was a withdrawal out of that mental bank balance, and then boom the stocks suddenly crash and all of your investments go down the trading card drain. Be that as it may, trading card games provide some of the best forms of building self control and one great card game to exemplify this is none other than Magic the Gathering.

Magic the Gathering: Magic Duels

  • System/Platform: Windows, iOs, Mac OS, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
  • Developer: Stainless Games
  • Release Date: July 29, 2015

Before there was Hearthstone, Yu-Gi-Oh or any other card game on the market today, there was the father of them all and that was Magic the Gathering. Many of the professional TCG players of today have all derived from MTG, and now showcase their prowess in the eSports arena. Magic the Gathering is truly a game of wits and long before computers allowed us to perform magic spells and drop 9 mana minions on the fly, much of that was all done in hand by the players at the table. Things are a lot more gripping when playing in person because now you have your opponent in front of you, and so making the correct reads are vital when in dire straights. However, just because you’re in person doesn’t mean RNG isn’t lurking somewhere in the vicinity, waiting for that time to strike and create a momentum shift. Yes players typically shuffle their cards and are aware of what could potentially be drawn, but the random factor is still there and it could really go either way.

One monster could be sitting on the board threatening your every move, and while your hand is stacked with a brick of cards you simply can’t find the answer to the problem. Sweat starts to drizzle down the side of your face in anxiety as the entire match hangs on this one card to be drawn, but it never seems to want to come out. Card after card you pray to the gods to somehow grant you their powers, but they sit there in silence and let the game play out to their hearts content. A constant reminder that you’ll never be in control of the flow and so you’ll need to rely on other ways to turn a problem into a quick solution with what you have in hand. Sometimes those cards that may seem unplayable at first may come in handy in the long term, so taking risks is also what RNG promotes at times because when your back is against the wall, everything counts. Magic the Gathering is still an incredibly popular franchise and is played by millions all across the world, so if you’re looking for a truly genuine TCG experience we highly recommend giving this classic game a shot.

Magic the Gathering - Aether Revolt Trailer

Final Thoughts

Many of you are probably thinking, hey where’s Pokemon?! That’s a very popular trading card game too, shame on you! Well yes, certainly Pokemon is incredibly popular and widely revered but it’s nice to shed some light on the other guys every now and then, because we all need some attention. Look on the bright side, we’ve given it an honorable mention and that should suffice. Perhaps in our next what is article we could dive a little deeper into what TCG is and perhaps then Pikachu and the others may get their spotlight again. Until then, we hope you enjoyed this breakdown of what RNG stands for and share the article with everyone on social media to keep the Honey’s community buzzing.

As always for all things sweet, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Hearthstone-game-500x313 What is RNG? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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