Tabletop games is the name given to activities that are played on a table or any flat surface. This includes board, card, dice, miniatures, and tile games.
There are two ways to classify tabletop games. One is through the items used and the other is by the elements of chance.
Types of Items Used
1. Adventure games require the players to take on the role of the story’s protagonist to explore and solve puzzles. The most popular adventure board game is Dungeons & Dragons. The player begins by creating a character with its own characteristics and abilities.
2. Board games are played on a marked piece called a board with pieces that players can move around. The most popular board game is chess in which the objective is to checkmate the other player’s king.
3. Card games use playing cards. There are different types of cards including the standard 52-card deck used for poker and solitaire. Collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering which use elements in adventure and role-playing are also classified under card games.
4. Dice games utilize the dice, the oldest form of tabletop game in the world. Dice games rely on luck and randomness. Sometimes the dice is used together with some card and board games. The most popular dice game is backgammon, also classified as a board game.
5. Paper and Pencil games, as the name suggests utilize paper and pen to compete in a strategy game. The most popular example is the tic-tac-toe where players take turns writing on a grid with the goal of placing a row of similar marks.
6. Role-Playing games have a set of rules that players have to follow in order to succeed. In tabletop form, the players discuss their character’s actions and decisions. The characters they create are detailed and have a history, background and ability stats. Examples are Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer and Call of Cthulhu.
7. Strategy games require the player to out-think the opponent through decisions and the ability to anticipate outcomes. Board wargames like Tactics are fictional or real military operations simulated on a board.
8. Tile-Based games use tiles as either playing pieces to beat an opponent or as components to complete an outcome. The most popular tile-based games are dominoes, mahjong and Scrabble. The sliding puzzles called 15- and 8 -puzzle is also a form of tile-based game.
Elements of Chance
Some games require the player to guess what the opponent has in his/her hands. Sometimes the outcome of the game is determined by the roll of the dice or the types of cards dealt. There are games however where there are no hidden information. All the pieces are there in front of the participants.
1. Deterministic Games do not have any hidden or random information. Examples are chess, go, mancala, and nine men’s morris.
2. Stochastic Games often involve players guessing the other opponent’s pieces or cards. Examples of this are backgammon, Monopoly, poker, Scrabble and gin rummy.