The Board Gamer’s Glossary

The world of board gaming comes with its own crazy lingo. The terminology can be confusing to newcomers and veterans alike—if not entirely ambiguous at times. This will serve as a living, breathing glossary where I will attempt to define board game related lingo and buzzwords.

This living glossary is a collaboration between Paul Shapiro and BoredGameTable. We will continue to add definitions.

There are currently 34 Board Game Terms in this directory
18xx
[Game Style]
18xx games is a genre of complex board games concerning 19th century railroad companies (18xx usually represent a year) involving route building, and stock buying/selling and market manipulation. The goal of the games is to earn as much money as possible, despite railroad companies having their own, separate wealth. Most 18xx game are either based on 1830 or 1846. In terms of rules, 18xx games are often distinguished by either being full or partial capitalization.
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

4X
[Game Style]

4X is a genre of strategy-based video and bored games in which players control an empire and "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate".

The term was coined by Alan Emrich in his September 1993 preview of Master of Orion for Computer Gaming World.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Abstract Game
[Game Style] Abstract games are strategy games that are usually without theme. Classic examples of abstract games include Chess, Backgammon, and Go. Modern examples include games like Santorini and Azul.
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Alpha Gamer(s)
[Game Term]

It is where one player tends to take the lead and may boss others around, telling them how to play.

This has been a common complaint in regards to coopperative games in general.

It is sometimes referred to as "quarterbacking".

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Ameritrash
[Game Style]

Board games closely associated with the development styles of the United States. In general, this means games that emphasize a highly developed theme, player-to-player conflict, often causing player elimination, and usually feature a moderate to high level of luck. Components often, but not always include miniatures rather than meeple/markers.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Analysis Paralysis
[Game Term]

A term used to describe a moment when over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation can cause a player to become "paralyzed", meaning that no action is taken.

When this occurs, fellow gamers' downtime is greatly increased to an undesirable level. This is sometimes abbreviated as AP.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Appetizer Game(s)
See "Filler Game(s)".
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

BGG
BGG is shorthand for BoardGameGeek. See "BoardGameGeek".
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Bits
[Game Term]

The assorted components used to play a game. Most of the time this term is applied to game components of higher quality.

Note that the singular, bit, is almost never used in a gaming sense.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

BoardGameGeek
[Game Website]

BoardGameGeek is a very prominent board game website that acts as both a community forum and board game database.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Brain Burner(s)
[Game Term]

A term to describe a game which requires deep, analytical thinking with complex decision trees. The decision are difficult and thus said to "burn your brain".

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

CDG Games (Card-Driven Games)
CDGs or Card-Driven Games refers specifically to a genre of wargames in which actions are taken by playing cards. Many of the cards you may play in a CDG represent historical events, permitting critical parts of history to unfold in a non-linear fashion and according to player decisions. Twilight Struggle and many games produce by GMT Games are examples of Card-Driven Wargames.
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Component(s)
[Game Term]

Components make up the materials of the game, excluding the box. For instance, this may include pieces such as game boards, cards, dice, cubes, disks, and meeple.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Cult of the New
[Game Phrase]

A term used to denote the tendency of certain hobby board gamers that fixate on new and/or unreleased games.

These gamers will tend to ignore classic and slightly older games in favor of these newer games, leaving the older ones unplayed.

The term is often used in a derogatory manner.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

D6-D20
[Game Term] This refers to various types of dice used in a game. "D" is a reference to a single die. The number after the "D" is a reference to the number of sides that the die has. For instance, a D6 is your standard 6-sided die. Sometimes, a number will precede the "D". This is a reference to a quantity of dice. For example, if you must roll 2D6 in a game, then you are rolling two 6-sided dice.
Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Dexterity Game(s)
[Game Style]

A game where the major skill needed is a physical action, such as flicking (Crokinole), balance (Topple), or deft manipulation (Jenga).

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Dice Drafting
[Game Mechanic]

A game mechanic where players acquire dice by selecting them from a common visible pool.

This mechanism is similar to card drafting, except that the dice pool is usually reset each round.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Dungeon Crawl(s)
[Game Style]

A type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthe environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find.

Some bored games such as Gloomhaven and Descent have adopted the theme.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable/Paul Shapiro

Eurogame(s)
[Game Style]

A style of strategy card and board games that are generally characterized by minimal luck, a lack of player elimination, and indirect conflict.

Eurogames are given their name, having originated in Germany before spreading to the rest of Europe and the world. They are stylistically and mechanically different than tradition American board games.

Eurogame designers are often regarded with prestige and as a result, their name is given prominence on the board game’s box. Although eurogames have distinct themes, they usually serve the purpose of making the rules easier to grasp and recall.

Eurogames are sometimes alternatively refereed to as "Designer Board Games" or "German-Style Board Games".

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Filler Game(s)
[Game Term]

A game with very simple rules and an extremely short playing-time. This type of game is frequently used between heavier games.

"Filler" games are sometime also referred to as "appetizer" games, as a longer board game session will often begin with such a game, before the main course.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable/Paul Shapiro

FLGS
[Game Term]

An acronym for "Friendly Local Game Shop/Store".

This represents a "brick and mortar" game store as opposed to an on-line establishment, and normally will also exclude large stores like Target and Wal-Mart.

The term "Friendly" is included to denote a distinguishing feature. FLGS are known to provide extra assistance, customer service, and often offer board game demos and/or libraries.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable/Paul Shapiro

Game Master(s)
[Game Term]

The moderator. A person who facilitates a game or tournament teaching new players and being the reference point for rules.

GMs are most common in co-operative games and role playing games where players work together against the GM or a GM created scenario.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Get it to the Table
[Game Phrase]

A phrase that board gamers will in reference to having the opportunity to play a game from their collection.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Legacy Game
[Game Style]

A game that gets permanentely altered after playing it to reflect a campaign.

New content may be kept in the box to be used after certain conditions. Old content may get destroyed.

Existing components, such as a game board or rulebook may get altered with stickers, a pen or by other means.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Living Card Game (LCG)
Living Card Game is a branded term coined by Fantasy Flight Games. The model differs from Collectible Card Games (CCGs) in that the games are frequently expanded upon with new card content, but with each release containing known content and cards that extend and enhance gameplay. Examples include Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Game of Thrones: The Card Game, etc.
Submitted by: Karla and Paul Shapiro

Meeple
[Game Term]

A term that described anthropomorphic playing pieces in games, originally usued to descibe those used in Carcassonne.

It is now more broadly used to refer to nearly and pawn or figure in a game.

The term "meeple" is derived from "My people" or "Miniature people".

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

OFLGS
[Game Term]

An acronym for "Online Friendly Local Game Shop/Store".

OFLGs are online board game stores. Much like the brick-and-mortar FLGS, they are typically small, independently businesses. Although they are primarily eCommerce businesses, it is not uncommon for an OFLGS to have brick-and-mortar counterpart. Some examples of OFLGS include CoolStuffInc, Miniature Market, and Game Nerdz.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Orthogonal
[Game Term]

A geometry term that is often used to describe a how pieces move in a board game. Esentially orthogonal movement, excludes diagonal movement, and permits a piece to move either vertically or horizontally. It is often used in the context of grid movement.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Party Game(s)
[Game Style]

A game that is designed for large groups of people and emphasized social interaction, creativity, and/or volubility.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Press Your Luck
[Game Mechanic]

Playera can repeatedly choose to perform a random even on their turn, temporarily collect points each time, but usually receiving nothing on the turn if an unfavorable event happens.

They must voluntarily end their turn to permanently keep the points.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Roll / Spin and Move
[Game Mechanic]

Games where players roll dice or spin spinners and move playing pieces in accordance with the number.

This term is often used derogatorily to imply that there is no thought involved.

Roll and move games like Backgammon, however, contain tactical elements.

Submitted by: BoredGameTable

Shelf of Shame
[Game Term]

A term used to reference a collection of games that someone has amassed but hasn't yet had the opportunity to play. They are often placed on the same shelving unit.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Solo Game(s)
[Game Term]

Short for "Solitaire" Game. A solo game is a game or variant of a game that is intended to be played by oneself without other players.

Solo gameplay may take several forms with different objectives. For instance, it is very common to try and beat the score of an AI player or bot, sometimes referred to as an Automa. Another variant that is very common is where the solo player attempted to beat his or her own previous high score.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro

Victory Point(s)
[Game Term]

A term used to denote a collection of scoring units that are obtained and accumulated throughout a board game session by taking various actions. Victory points are typically added up at the end of the game and the player with the greatest quantity is declared the winner.

Although, victory points may be thought of as type of resource in some games, there is usually some distinction made between them and other resources due to their greater end game value.

Victory Points are sometimes referred to in their shorthand, VPs.

Submitted by: Paul Shapiro


Submit a Board Game Term

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close