Understanding Common Board Game Terminologies

Understanding Common Board Game Terminologies

Being able to understand the board game terminology is really not the most complex thing in the world but it is required when you are playing board games and for those of you who would consider yourselves to be a beginner it may not be as remedial as you may first think. These aren’t terms which you will need to commit to memory and once you’ve come across them once or twice you will have no problem remembering them.

The rest of this article will provide you with the most commonly encountered board game terms, there are of course terms which are very specific to certain games but we have tried to generalise those terms to give you a better and more holistic overview.

The Game-Board Or “Board”

The game-board which is also often referred to as the “board” is the shaped surface upon which the game is played out. Usually this board will be rectangular in shape but not always, games such as the Trouble board game are excluded from this rule. The board will usually be the area where any game playing cards and counters are placed during the game, it will also often be decorated in artwork to match the theme of the game.

The Game-Environment

The environment is the area upon which the game is played, this terms is often used interchangeably with the term “board” and the one used will depend upon which game is actually being played. The environment could also be something like a score sheet, tabletop or similar. The environment can also have different sub-sections/terms, you can have randomised environments (such as that in the Settlers of Catan board game), evolving environments, abstract environments and representative environments.

The Game Tokens, Pegs, Pieces, Counters Or Characters

The game tokens, which can also be known as pieces, counters, characters or counters, will represent a player on the game board and will be moved by the player according to the rules of the game. The most common way in which these tokens move will be through die counting, the Monopoly board game is a classic example of this in which the die are rolled and the token moved the number of spaces indicated on the die. The designation, capabilities and number of tokens will vary widely depending on which board game you are playing. For example the Monopoly game has 1 token per player where the Chess board game has 16 tokens per player, each with it’s own capability.

The “Jump” Move

The term jump refers to the movement of ones’ token on a part of the board. Usually this term will refer to one token bypassing that of another player by “jumping” over it. Depending on the game, this will usually lead to the opposing players token being captured and removed (as in some parts of Chess) or simply being “overtaken”.

The Space

A space is a position on the games’ board in which a token will be placed during game play. In the majority of games spaces will be laid out in a grid like pattern, but as always this will depend on the board game you’re playing.

The Randomizers

The term randomizer refers to an object or element which exists outside of the games’ environment or board, the most common type of randomizer you will find in any board game will be the dice. Other types of randomizer include spinners, cards and poppers.

The Markers

Markers, just like randomizers, are elements of the game which eixst outside of the game environment or board. The most common type of marker is something like the score sheet used in the Scrabble board game, usually a marker will be used to keep a track of score or position in the game.

No Player Elimination

The term no player elimination basically means what it says, when this is implemented in the game the aim is for all players to stay in the game until the end. The end of the game will see scores totalled together and winners announced.

The Hex

The term hex is usually used to identify the area of a board game where the board takes on a hexagonal format, this format is most commonly seen in strategy board games or ward games, Settlers of Catan is a prime example of this.