This page is a collection of terms that relate to gaming that not everyone might be familiar with. They’re terms that you might come across in other sites or while listening to gamers speak.
I will also update this page as I use terms that I don’t think I’ve explained before or find new ones that I didn’t know.
Ameritrash usually refers to ‘American style’ board games with a heavy theme that carries through the game. These games often have more in depth rule sets than Eurogames and player vs play combat is fairly common. Ameritrash games often have a fair amount of dice rolling (luck/randomness). Eg, Twilight Imperium and RISK.
Analysis Paralysis happens when players take a long time trying to find the best possible actions to perform after taking into account every variable that they can. This often leads to increased downtime for other players.
Can I play this at a braai?:
This is one of my own 😉 It is a question which means can I use this game in a family/fun context. Something that is fun, easy to learn and quick to play. It must not take up too much space and be easy to pack away too. Something that can be played at an actual braai, or in a restaurant, once I even took a board game to the airport to entertain the kids during a long layover. I’ll answer this question, with an answer that suits my context in my reviews.
Collectable Card Game (CCG):
CCGs are card games in which players purchase cards before hand and use them to build their own personal deck of cards with which to play a game. Restrictions on deck building vary from game to game (eg number of cards in a deck). CCG’s often have new cards being released every few months. These cards are usually used to play in some formats of competitive play while the older cards are rotated out of some competitive formats. Cards are often sold in blind boosters of random cards. There is also, usually, a thriving 2nd hand market for cards for these games. These games can be very expensive to play competitively. Eg, Magic the Gathering.
Deck Building Game (DBG):
DBGs are card games in which players start with a deck of basic cards. Decks are either the same or have slight variance at the start of the game. The cards will allow players to perform actions and ‘buy’ or otherwise ‘gain’ newer more powerful cards, from a limited selection of cards, to add to their deck. As the game progresses the players deck will get more powerful enabling the players to achieve the victory conditions for the game. They are usually faster to learn and play than most table top games. Eg, Dominion and Ascension.
Dexterity games generally involve lost of physical interaction. They work well with large groups of people are often east to learn, setup, teach and play. Players physical skills are often as, if not more, important than mental ones.
Downtime refers to the time players spend waiting for other players to perform actions between their turns. It’s a time when players have no interaction with a game.
Games with drafting allow players to select resources from a pool of resources. Usually games of this type are card games, and it is referred to as card drafting. If the players pay attention then they can see what cards/resources the other players are selecting and adapt accordingly. Players draft cards/resources to form their own deck of cards and resources for use in the game.
Dungeon Crawlers refer to games where the players have a party of characters that need to traverse a map. Usually these games take place in dungeons of some kind and have obstacles and enemies for the players to fight. Often, along the way they will need to accomplish some kind of objective. Some of these games are fully cooperative with all of the players playing against the game but usually there is 1 player in control of all of the monsters/bad guys so they can end up an many vs 1 games.
Eurogame refers to games that follow an older style of ‘European board games’. Players don’t usually ‘die’ or face ‘elimination’. There is very little or no direct player vs player conflict, instead players compete for resources or victory points. Luck does not play as big a role in a Eurogame, there are elements of randomness but players can usually take action afterwards to mitigate it. Eg, Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan.
kingmaking usually happens when a player has reached a point in the game when they cannot win but their actions can help to determine who the winner will be. Sometimes they do not realise that they are deciding the winner and sometimes they know full well what they are doing. Some games have a catch up mechanic that will help to prevent this from happening.
Gateway games are considered to be easy to play games that are fun and a means of getting people who would not normally play a ‘heavier’ game interested in doing so.
Living Card Game (LCG):
Living Card games are card games sold with packs of cards that are not random like a Collectable Card Game. Living Card Games also have an evolving storyline based on how the different factions in the game universe perform, i.e. if their players play well then they will influence the storyline
Party games generally involve lots of social interaction. They work well with large groups of people are often east to learn, setup, teach and play.
Programmed Movement is when you plan the movement of your game piece in advance and don’t change it. Often by playing 1 or more cards face down. These cards could say ‘Move forward’ or ‘Turn left’. All players simultaneously reveal their decisions. Often this leads to players interrupting or impacting other players’ movement by moving in front of them or blocking or pushing them.
Quarterbacking / Alpha gamer:
Quarterbacking is a term that refers to a situation where 1 player dominates the game. Not in the sense of winning from the word go but telling other players what to do and bossing them around. This kills the fun for the other players. It usually occurs in co-operative games where players have to work together to achieve a common goal as a team. Not to be confused with players playing the politics of the game, which is encouraged in some games for players to make and break alliances or a player who is a true leader, listening to others and assisting them to make the best decision.
A wargame is type of game where players design armies consisting of military units and then pit them against each other on a table top field of battle. They are usually highly thematic and strategic games.
Worker placement means pretty much what it says. Each player will have meeples/pawns/tokens which represent “workers” these workers can be placed on space(s) on the board to perform a task like collecting food or money. Often there are not enough spaces for all of the players to use or there is high contention for certain spaces in a given scenario. Often these games will have a means of changing who the first player is.