There are a few questions on this site that mention “West Marches”, but they all seem to assume that a reader already knows exactly what a “West Marches” game is. Some questions link to multiple blog posts, some questions link to a different site and some just mention the original blog post, even if there are multiple blog posts about the topic.
These differences leaves me wondering what the definition of a “West Marches game” is.
Is there a precise list of things that make a campaign a “West Marches” campaign? Is it the list at the beginning of the original blog post “Grand Experiments: West Marches”* or are there additional things that a gamer would typically associate with “West Marches”? Does “West Marches” simply mean “example of a sandbox game where people can do what they want instead of following an adventure book”? Is it about the setting of “going west until the border of society is reached and players have to fight their way through the unexplored wilderness”? Is it a combination of these things or is there more to the term?
All of my questions boil down to: What defines a “West Marches” campaign?