So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Gaming Glossary

Below you will find common gaming terms defined.  I will build it as I go, so feel free to contact me if there is something I miss or you need defined.  Note these are my definitions, and often there is debate amongst gamers about various definitions.

Action Points - In Action Point games, each player is alloted a certain amount of points per round. These points can be spent on available actions, until the player does not have enough remaining to "purchase" any more actions. (Quoted from BoardGameGeek.)

Abstract Strategy -   Often referred to just as "abstract", these games typically have straightforward rules which lead to very thoughtful games.  They tend to have perfect information, little or no luck, and little or no theme.  Classic examples include Chess, Checkers, Go and Othello.  More modern examples would include the Gipf series and Hive.

American Style Game - A game which is typical of those designed in America prior to the mid-1990's.  Generally, these games involve direct confrontation and player elimination to determine the winner.  Risk and Monopoly are examples.

Area Control / Area Influence   The Area Control mechanic typically awards control of an area to the player that has the majority of units or influence in that area. As such, it can be viewed as a sub-category of Auction/Bidding in that players can up their "bids" for specific areas through the placement of units or meeples. (BoardGameGeek definition)

Closed (or Hidden) Information - Information each player holds to themselves.  Using Monopoly as an example, deeds set out neatly would be open information; money all stacked together would be closed information.  Even if all money and deeds are shown openly, it is not a perfect information game (see below), since die rolls add a random element.

Cooperative  Game - A game in which the players are playing against the mechanisms of the game.  In other words, the players play as a team with a common objective, winning and losing together. 

European Style Game - A game style that originated with the German custom of family gaming.  The style is typified by scoring during the play of the game (in-game scoring) followed by additional scoring at the very end of the game (end-game scoring).  Scoring this way keeps everyone in the game, with the potential to win, until the very end.  Often, there is less direct confrontation in the game.  Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride are examples.  Also known as a German Style game or more simply a Euro.

Filler (Game) - A lighter game that plays in a short amount of time, (under 30 minutes or less) which can be used to fill time before everyone arrives at a game session, time between longer games, or to close out an gaming session.

Meeple -Very similar to player pawns, a meeple (pl. meeples) is a small wooden figurine which represents the players' pieces.  Legend has it the name meeple originated from the game Carcassonne, and was a shortening of the term "my people".  See the review for China for a good look at two types of meeples.

Modular Board - A modular board is made up of smaller pieces that are arranged differently each play, in effect producing a different game board each time.

Open Information - Information which is available for all players to see.  Using Monopoly as an example, deeds set out neatly would be open information; money all stacked together would be closed information.  Even if all money and deeds are shown openly, it is not a perfect information game, since die rolls add a random element.

Perfect Information - Perfect Information games are those with all relevant information shown.  Chess is a perfect information game; each player knows all the pieces and positions in play.  On the other hand, Poker, and card games in general, have hidden information, and are therefore not perfect information games.

Print-'n'-Play -  A game that is web-published.  Obtaining a copy is just a matter of printing out the rules and components.  (Warning: Some assembly may be required.  Maybe more than it's worth.)

Tableau -  The area on the game table where a player's items go.  In Monopoly, this would be where a player places his or her money and properties.

Theme - One of the most hotly debated terms in gaming, theme pertains to how well the game evokes the feeling of "being there".  It tends to be a somewhat subjective term.  If Monopoly makes you feel like a real estate mogul, it is a thematic game for you.  If Risk makes you feel like you are conquering the world, it is thematic.  If chess makes you feel like a medieval warlord, however, you need to find more excitement in your life.

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