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This is the main Board Game Geek (BGG) Glossary (aka Glossary) which defines terms used with the BGG website's software and BGG's.

For other definitions see also:

Table of Contents



adj. Generally means simplified instead of detailed. In the context of games, it is an overloaded term which usually means "without theme or story" or "not highly detailed; simple, elegant rules without lots of chrome" but "abstract" also sometimes used to mean "pure strategy (no randomness)" Often used as opposite of thematic. See the term abstract strategy game and article Abstract Strategy.

abstract strategy game

1) A game generally limited to two players and perfect information (i.e. no randomness) often with incidental or irrelevant theme. (Chess does have a theme, but it can be ignored. A bishop is just the name of a piece that moves diagonally.)
2) A game with no theme.


(BGG usage) Accessories are items that are used in games, but do not add rules or change game play. For example, a collection of upgraded components is an accessory. An accessory must be specific to a game to receive an entry. Accessories not specific to a game can be found in Miscellaneous Game Accessory, Miscellaneous Card Game Accessory, and Miscellaneous Miniatures Game Accessory.

acting game

n. A game where players must represent another/perform theatrically.

action point allowance system

Players get a certain number of action points each turn to spend on executing actions of their choosing, where actions have varying action point costs.

action selection

A game mechanic where a player selects an action to perform from a menu (possibly changing) of possible choices.

alpha player

Also called, "Quarterbacking" and "leader effect." In a derogatory sense, 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 to Cooperative games in general. In a positive sense, it can also refer to a true leader who would listen to the group and guide them to consensus, share insights, teach others to see the angles and develop a team mentality.


n. A catchphrase for "American style boardgames". In general, this means games that emphasize a highly developed theme, player to player conflict, and usually feature a moderate to high level of luck. Examples of classic Ameritrash games include Axis & Allies, Dune, Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, and Twilight Imperium. See the Ameritrash page for more information.

analysis paralysis (AP)

n. When overanalysis and mini/maxing increase the downtime in a game beyond a desirable level. Sometimes abbreviated as ap in the forums. (See also overanalyze)

area control game

n. A type of game where players score for having the most pieces in particular areas of the board. Examples: El Grande, San Marco, Louis XIV. See majority control game.

area enclosure

This term refers to the mechanism that has a player attempting to surround or fence off an area - usually in order to control it, cause it to score, or eliminate it from play.


Area-impulse is a game mechanism. Each impulse, players activate map areas and move units in those areas to accomplish movement and combat. Used in Avalon Hill titles such as Storm over Arnhem, Thunder at Cassino, Turning Point: Stalingrad and Breakout: Normandy.

area movement

A mechanism used chiefly for war games, movement traverses irregular areas rather than a grid.


n. Acronym for alternate reality game. A definition of an ARG may be found in Wikipedia here:

auction game

n. A game that features players bidding on resources as the main mechanism. Also called a bidding game. Examples: Modern Art, Ra



n. A common error made when referring to this website BoardGameGeek - should be BGG.


1. n. The way in which elements of a game are equalized relative to each player. Often balance is established by giving all players similar starting positions and maintained by using mechanisms to hurt the apparent leader or help the likely loser.
2. n. The state of a game where equally skilled players have a roughly equal chance of winning the game regardless of starting position, turn order, etc. Does not imply equality between the sides--a game like Ogre, where one side has a single huge tank vs. a side with many small ones can be considered balanced if both sides have an equal chance of winning.
3. v. To modify the opening setup of a game in order to create a more equal starting position. Bidding for sides and the pie rule are common ways of balancing a game.

beer & pretzels game

n. A game so random that long-term strategies are nearly impossible, and with such a goofy theme that it is played as a humorous diversion rather than a real competition. Frequently these games feature several mechanisms that can interact with each other in surprising ways. Wiz-War is an example of a beer & pretzels game. (See also light)


Risking valuables (usually currency) in the hopes of winning more, based on the terms of the bet. This game mechanism generally increases the air of tension in a game, and is often employed for precisely that reason.


n. A short form used when referring to this website BoardGameGeek. The short URL for BoardGameGeek is

BGG Patron

n. See patron.

bidding game

n. See auction game.


n. The assorted components used to play a game. Most of time this term is applied to game components of higher quality. Note that the singular, bit, is almost never used in a gaming sense.

blind bid

n. A type of bid that could be used in an auction game such that players bid simultaneously and secretly in an auction, then reveal their bids: highest bid wins (or sometimes, players choose in order of bids, highest to lowest).

block wargame

n. a style of wargame where the units are wooden blocks with their identities shown on one side of the block and only visible to their owner. This promotes "fog of war" as the identities/strength of each unit in concealed. Typically, blocks are also rotated to show their current strength on the top edge allowing an elegant method of "step losses". Columbia Games publishes most of their wargames as block games--though other companies are starting produce them. Well-known block wargames are Napoleon, Hammer of the Scots, East Front (and expansions).


v. To give a false impression of the value of hidden items in one's possession (such as cards) or one's intentions. This can either be explicitly by direct statement or implicitly through actions in the game. Poker is the best known bluffing game.


n. Abbreviation for Boardgame Players Association (see


adj. (usually applied to a game) Having problems that result in a disappointing play experience. A game might be considered broken if even poor play can lead to a victory, if it frequently ends in a stalemate, or if one strategy invariably wins. (See also solvable)


Abbreviation for Brettspielwelt, a popular German website that offers real time play of many German-style games. See


card drafting

n. a game mechanic where the primary way players acquire cards is by selecting them from a face up display. Designer Alan R. Moon has designed many games using this mechanic. Examples: Union Pacific, Freight Train, Ticket to Ride, Alhambra, Thurn and Taxis

n. a game mechanism where players select cards from a subset of the available cards to form a deck or hand or to select the next card to play. Examples: Fairy Tale, 7 Wonders, and Agricola (variant), where a hand of cards is passed around and players select individual cards before passing the cards remaining in the hand. Magic: The Gathering (multiple variants) and Race for the Galaxy (variant) where players draft cards to form decks that they then use to play the game.


n. Abbreviation for Collectible Card Game. This type of game uses a basic rule structure and a large assortment of cards which each have characteristics that contradict or supplement the basic rules. Each player selects a number of cards that they own to create a deck which they use in the game. This allows players to predetermine their strategies. The game rules define how many cards must be used and how many copies of each single card are allowed. Cards are sold in "booster packs". Packs contain a fixed number of cards and usually include one "rare" card, some "uncommon" cards, and the bulk of the pack contains "common" cards. Rare cards are generally more powerful or efficient than uncommons or commons, which can lead to the problem that the person who has spent the most money on cards wins. The original collectible card game was Magic: The Gathering. Its incredible success spawned dozens of copycat games. Some were good; many were awful. Other examples are Middle-earth, Pokemon and Netrunner


1. n. Abbreviation for Card Driven Game, typically in reference to wargames that use cards to drive the action.
2: n. Many wargamers restrict the use of the term to games that in the family of games that specifically, the cards are for one of following:
- Operation Points for generic actions like activating units for movement/combat, adding reinforcement units or exerting political control of a region, etc.
- Event (usually represent a specific historic event).
Examples: We the People, Hannibal, Paths of Glory, and Twilight Struggle.
3. n. Abbreviation for Collectible Dice Game. For examples, see Geeklist - Collectible Dice Games. See also, Collectible Card Game.

chit / counter

n. Small, usually square piece of cardboard that represents a unit or a game element. Commonly found in wargames. The terms chit and counter are often used interchangably.


n. A superfluous mechanism or components added to a game to add a feeling of theme. Like the chrome on a car--chrome really isn't necessary, but it may make the game more fun. Example: In WW2 infantry game, adding rules to cover the exceptional heroics of Audie Murphy.


n. A game with very simple rules and strategies that does not require deep thought and can be used at the end of a gaming session, when everyone’s brain is worn out. (See also light)


n. Refers to the Series: COIN (GMT).

collectible game

n. a game where the pieces (usually cards or miniatures) are sold in randomly sorted packages. The purchaser usually does not know which cards/miniatures they are buying. Since each player will usually have a different selection of cards/miniatures, in theory, the players should face interesting strategic challenges and find it interesting to trade with other players. In practice, the game takes over often the player with the most toys wins.


adj. Overtly using mathematics to determine victory conditions. (See also dry)

cooperative games

Games where all players work together on the same team, trying to beat the built-in artificial intelligence of the game system. Examples include, Pandemic and Castle Panic.


n. Abbreviation of convention.

core group

n. (or 'core game group') The people or person that you most commonly play games with in person. (One may have several gaming groups, but most gamers have only one 'core group'.)

crayon rail system

Crayon Rail System is a game mechanism. Players draw (usually railroad) tracks between cities.

crib sheet

A crib sheet, or reference card, is a concise set of notes used for quick reference.(Wikipedia, 2008) It provides the player with short information on key elements of the game; the succession and availability of actions in the turn sequence; conversion-charts; rules; explanation of symbols and/or commands.

Example of crib sheet from Power Grid.


n. Abbreviation for Combat Result Table. Common wargame term. A table that summarizes various possible results of a combat taking into account attack strength (often as a ratio of attack value/defense value) in a each column of the table and the possible values of a di(c)e roll in each row of the table.



n. Common abbreviation for 'six-sided die'. Similarly D8 refers to 'eight-sided die'. d10, d12, and d20 are also common terms. A pair of six-sided dice is sometimes called 2D6. These abbreviations are most common in RPGs and wargames.

deck building game

n. a game featuring a mechanism where players each play from their own deck of cards but, through the course of the game, additional cards are selected for inclusion in the players' decks which will be drawn and used in future reshuffles of the deck. Often these games require players to discard their hand each turn forcing a high rate of card turnover. The founding father of this genre is Dominion with many examples following including Puzzle Strike, Nightfall, A Few Acres of Snow, and Thunderstone.

designer game

n. synonym for German game This term emphasizes the credit usually given to designers of such games, unlike mass-market games which usually credit only the publisher.

dexterity game

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

die / dice

A die is ONE regular solid, most often a cube, marked with pips or numbers that is cast to generate a random result. Dice is the plural form. Example: One die is used in Ludo, while two dice are used in Parcheesi.


n. 1. A game that uses a whole bunch of dice to determine game outcomes. 2. A game that has a very random nature because of die results.

dice drafting

n. A game mechanism 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. Examples include Troyes, La Granja, and Castle Dice. Dice drafting is distinct from dice bag building games in which players buy dice to build a personal dice pool.

dice game

A dice game is a game where rolling dice is a primary feature. Examples of dice games include Can't Stop, Excape, and Sharp Shooters. Merely because a game has dice does not make it a dice game, the game must have its primary focus on rolling the dice for game-play.

dice rolling

Dice rolling is a mechanism for a wide variety of games. In games that feature dice rolling, one to many dice are rolled and used in a variety of ways, including determining movement, determining results from a combat table, or for compared against other die rolls as combat strength. Merely because a game has die rolling does not make it a dice game.


n. The time that a player spends doing nothing while waiting for other players to complete their turns. (See also player interaction)

dungeon crawl

A type of scenario in fantasy role-playing games in which heroes navigate a labyrinthine environment, battling various monsters, and looting any treasure they may find. Examples include, Mice and Mystics, Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) and Claustrophobia.


n. Acronym for Dungeon Master


n. Abbreviation for Di(c)e Roll Modifier. Often used in wargames with a CRT, a number added or sutracted from the value of a di(c)e roll to modify its possible results.


adj. Overly mechanical or lacking in thematic elements.

dudes on a map

Phrase used to describe a type of game in which players place pieces representing units on a map. The phrase was coined by Ken B. Sometime abbreviated "DOAM".


economic game

n. A game that models a micro-economic (i.e. business or industry) or macro-economic (i.e. nation or colony) system. Typically, players will have to invest in various factors of production: capital improvements (like power plants, RR track, settlements & cities), raw materials/resources (fuel, wheat/sheep/wood/brick/rock) & labor, in order to gain income, which is then re-invested into more factors of production to produce more income, etc. Money is NOT always present in an economic game, but it often is. Likewise the presence of money may not neccessarily indicate an economic game. Examples: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons, Monopoly, Puerto Rico and CATAN


n. The final time period in a game, which will usually determine the victor. Strategies during this period often vary slightly from strategies used during the earlier portion of the game.

euro / eurogame

n. synonym for German game This term emphasizes the more frequent publication of German-style games in other countries in Europe.


n. Humorous term to describe some of the pictures of people on eurogame box covers (see Caylus cover).


1. n. A derogatory catchphrase for "European style boardgames"
2. n. A boardgame designed/published in Europe that seems to emulate Ameritrash games in style and mechanics.


n. additional equipment for a game, usually sold separately. Expansions can be used to add a variant or add additional scenario, to add more players for the game, add new maps or tracks for a game, etc. Some game companies have distributed small expansions for free at conventions or on the internet.

experience game

n. A game that emphasizes "the experience of playing" over acheiving victory. Role Playing Games (RPG's), party games, open ended games are sometimes called experience games.



adj. Abbreviation of face to face. Where a game is played opposite a real person, rather than online or via mail. (akin to IRL)

family game

n. A game that typically has simple rules, a short playing time, relatively high levels of abstraction and player interaction, and requires three or more players. A large percentage of these games originate in Germany. (See also German game)


n. This refers to the apparent ‘fart’ sound when a game box is closed. This usually occurs with games that have a significant number of components.


1) adj. Requiring frequent & excessive mental manipulations to play a game, which tends to detract from strategic/tactical planning and to bog down the ebb and flow of the game. Examples: Multiple modifiers for each dice roll (+2 for leader rating, -1 for brush terrain, +1 for ambush....), cumbersome arithmetic (I am selling 3 items at $377 each...), special chrome rules (Patton gets +2 combat DRM vs. Rommel "I read your book!"), etc.
2) adj: Physically fiddly (the normal definition): having multiple pieces that have to be manipulated excessively in order to play the game, like stacking multiple counters in a small hex in a wargame, requiring multiple denominations of paper money, etc.


n. A game with very simple rules and an extremely short playing-time. This type of game is frequently used between heavier games. (See also light)


n. 1. Abbreviation for "Friendly Local Game Store". This represents a "brick and mortar" game store as opposed to an on-line establishment, and normally will also exclude large (and hence less friendly) stores like Target and Wal-Mart.
n. 2. Abbreviation for "Full Line Game Store". Older term used by stores and distributors to describe stores that carry full product "lines" and not partial selections of a game manufacturers catalog.

Friendly Tie

n. A scoring feature when a game awards the full VP bonus to all players who are tied.


game abbreviations

Click on the link for a list of frequently used Game Abbreviations.

game system

n. A set of components and/or rules that are intended to be used to create games. Game systems are listed under Games by equipment.


n. The number used on BoardGameGeek to represent a game. This number is constant and is used when creating Geeklists and in Forums to link back to the games. The GameId can be found at the upper right part of each Game entry.


n. A person that likes to spend most of his or her free time playing games.

gamers' game

n. The phrase "gamers' game" refers to games which are heavier, more mathematical, or otherwise less accessible (longer, more fiddly, more rules) than standard games. This designation has gained use with the rise of Euro Games as a way to differentiate heavier, longer titles from the normally family friendly, lighter games of that school. While the qualifications for this designation are contentious, a few relatively safe examples are: Die Macher, Roads & Boats, 1830: Railways & Robber Barons, The Republic of Rome and Dune.

n. ‘gamer’s game’ is any game that demonstrates an elongated learning and experience curve, requiring multiple plays for the acquisition of strategic and/or tactical efficiency.


adj. In wargames, a mechanism or rule that seems contrived and/or encourages ahistorical or unrealistic tactics or strategies. Good example are:
  • "factor counting" where an attacking player will move his units to avoid wasting attack points on unfavorable attacks (Moving a stronger unit in to get a 15:5 (or 3:1 ratio) rather than 14:5 (which rounds down to 2:1)
  • "soaking off losses" where a defender, if he can choose which units will take losses/be eliminated, will pair off a strong unit with weak ones, so the weak ones will "take the hit" so the strong unit can survive and remain at full strength.

gateway game

n. A game with simple rules that are easy to teach non-gamers in order to attract new players into boardgaming as a hobby.


n. A common error made when referring to this website by those thinking it is Game Board Geek - should be BGG for BoardGameGeek.


n. A person that tends to have keen interest in certain pursuits (typically computers, science fiction, fantasy, etc.), almost to the point of distraction. Some may lack certain social graces because of an inability or unwillingness to separate fantasy from reality. Nowadays, to style one's self a geek is a mark of pride. (See also nerd)


n. area on Graphical User Representation just above avatar. Costs 50gg.
All about GeekBadges


GeekBuddies are a mechanism provided by BGG to help people keep track of other users for various reasons.
See All about a GeekBuddy


GeekCoins are small, metal coins, each with its own tracking number, that are passed between Geeks around the world.
See All about GeekCoins



n. Funny money used on BGG.
All about GeekGold....


n. List of games created by Geek Users assocaited with some named theme.
All about Geeklists...


n. Site function whereby moderators approve various submissions.
All about GeekMod...

Geek of the Week

n. A reward for valuable BGG members. Details see Geek_of_the_Week

german game

n. A game from Germany. Such games typically have relatively simple rules, short playing times, fairly high levels of abstraction and player interaction, and attractive physical components. Games not from Germany that otherwise meet the criteria are occasionally included in this group, but are more frequently described as ‘German-like’ (See also family game)

Get it to the table

(slang) Phrase describing wanting to play a particular game ('I just got a new version of Monopoly. I can't wait to get it to the table!')


n. Abbreviation of GeekGold.


n. Abbreviation for Game Master or Game Moderator or Game Manager--a person who facilitates a game or tournament. GMs are most common in co-operative games and role playing games where players work together against the GM or a GM created scenario. GM's are also common at conventions where they may teach new players a game or run a tournament.

n. or v. Abbreviation for Geek Mail, as in "if interested, please send me a GM."

going nuclear

v. Deciding to disregard one’s personal standing in the game and simply destroy or harm other players’ chances of winning. Generally, this is done in response to another player’s actions. (See also metagame)

golden thumb

n. A reward granted to a contributor to BGG based on the total number of recommendations that their contributions have garnered (100 thumbs-up=1 golden thumb). Golden Thumbs are shown in the "Contributions By xxx" section of each user's "My Geek" page. More information on thumbs.


n. Acronym of Geek_of_the_Week.

graphical user representation

n. the set of icons used by the Geek to represent a user. All about the Graphical User Representation


n. Wargamer, or one who plays wargames.

group think

n. The general approach adopted by most of the players in a game, which to some degree determines how other players will need to play in order to succeed.



adj. Having very complex rules and/or complex strategies that require deep thought, careful planning, and long playing times.

heft factor

n. The physical weight of the game, used to describe the quality of the components. A game with a well-made board and lots of cool wooden bits will have a high heft factor.


n. Short for hexagon. Hexes are a regular six-sided shape that can entirely be used to cover a flat plane without leaving gaps or having adjacent shapes meet only at a point. Thus they are commonly used in game boards (especially for wargames).



adj. Abbreviation of In real life. Where a game is played opposite a real person, rather than online or via mail. (akin to F2F)



adj. Acronym of Just Another Soulless Eurogame. Highly subjective derogatory description applied to euro-style games judged to be unoriginal or mediocre.



n. A player, himself in a losing position, that has the power to decide who will win a given game.



n. Acronym for Live Action Role-Playing, a form of Role-Playing Game in which players are encouraged to physically act exactly how they think their character would behave with other characters and the surroundings. (See also RPG)

leeching or leaching

v. The act of benefitting from or using someone else's information or effort while usually not providing any in return. Leeching is often done with the implication or effect of exhausting the other's resources. Synonyms: mooching or piggybacking.

legacy game

n. A legacy game is a game that gets permanently altered after playing it. This 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.

Living Card Game (LCG)

n. A Fantasy Flight Games trademark for Collectible Card Games (CCGs) sold in non-random booster packs.


adj. Having very simple rules and strategies that do not require deep thought. Also can be used to describe a game with an extremely short playing time. (See also filler, opener, closer, and beer & pretzels game)

logged plays

BGG permits you to track how many times you play games, and on which dates. If you log your plays you can get various reports about your gaming history.


n. A result of randomness giving one or more players an advantage within a game. (See also random)


majority control game

n. A type of game where players score for having the most items of a particular type (such as stock in various companies). (North Americans might consider this a misnomer due to their distinction of plurality/majority where other countries might use majority/absolute majority.) Examples: Union Pacific, Acquire, Freight Train. See area control game.

mass market game

n. A game often sold by mass market retailers, like WalMart, Toys 'R' Us or Target. Hasbro (Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley) and Mattel are large manufacturers of mass market games. Examples: Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, Uno, etc. (Note: Most BGGers have played mass market games, often in childhood, but generally prefer more complicated, strategic or elegant games from smaller publishers or from Europe.)


adj. Requiring a lot of thinking, tense, with little or no downtime. A meaty game does not have to have complex mechanics or rules (see heavy).


n, -ic. Part of a game’s rule system that covers one general or specific aspect of the game. For more information, see mechanism.


n. "Meeples" is a term that describes anthropomorphic playing pieces (image) in games, originally used to describe those used in Carcassonne. It is now more broadly used to refer to nearly any pawn or figure in a game. It is believed that the term was first used by Alison Hansel as an ad-hoc abbreviation for "my people", as noted in this 2001 session report and described in detail in this history. See the Intelligence Report for a detailed description of this species. See Poll: What exactly is a meeple? for more details of community consensus on what a meeple is.


v. To use reasons not strictly related to the game at hand to change one’s playing style and attitude towards other players. Choosing to attack player A instead of player B simply because player A owes you money is an extreme example of metagaming.

metalist or meta-list

n. A list of other lists. Typically a Geeklist of other Geeklists. Metalist is sometimes mistakenly used to mean 'megalist' (mega = large).


n. Small icons in user look. All about Microbadges...


v. The process of analyzing a particular turn with an emphasis on getting the best ratio of personal resources expended to realized gains.

miniatures game

n. A type of wargame that uses small three-dimensional lead or plastic figurines to represent military units to represent tactical-level conflict. Often these games have a high level of simulation or re-creation. Often such a game is not played on a board with marked off with spaces, but directly on the table or on model terrain and the determination of distances to be moved or fired is done by using a measuring tape or stick. (Wings of War (even without physical miniatures) is a good example--the maneuver cards are used to measure the movement of each plane.

multiplayer game

n. A game with 3 or more players. Used in this sense mainly because there are fundamental differences between 2 player games and games that use 3 or more (diplomatic elements, choosing whom to attack or interfere with, kingmaking, ganging up on the leader, etc.) and is less cumbersome than "3 or more player games"


negotiation game

n. A game in which players make deals and trade resources or favors as the main mechanism. Diplomacy is perhaps the best example of this type of game. Negotiation is one of the game categories used at


n. A person that tends to be immersed in cerebral interests, sometimes at the expense of social functionality. (See also geek)


New, in shrink(wrap). IE: never opened.


n. Someone who’s new to gaming.


n. Abbreviation for "Non-gaming friend".


1. n. A person that does not spend every waking moment thinking, talking, playing, and breathing games, a.k.a. a normal person.

2. n. A person that is a neophyte to the world of tabletop gaming. Sometimes this person will develop over time into a more of a gamer, but sometimes they will only play games when asked or coerced. ('I would consider your grandmother a non-gamer. She would rather do a word search than play Dominion with us.')



n. Abbreviation for "On-Line Game Store".


adj. Acronym of out of print.


adj. Wargame term. Abbreviation for 'Out of Supply'. The state of a unit that cannot track supply to a friendly supply source and thus will run out of fuel, ammo and food.


n. Abbreviation for "Original Post", i.e. the first post of a thread.

adj. Short for 'Overpowered'. Used to describe a unit, faction, class, spell, ability or anything else in a game that has power significantly in excess of the cost/downside of using it.


n. A game with very simple rules and strategies that does not require deep thought and that can be used at the beginning of a gaming session to get people warmed up for heavier games or can be used while waiting for more players to arrive for the game that is the main attraction. (See also light)


adj. In a wargaming sense, a medium scale game in which units represent mid-size military formations (platoons & companies up to brigades, or so) over a moderate area (like a city or an area containing several cities). Typically these games represent a middle ground between strategic and tactical games and sometimes use mechanics common in both scales. Such a game usually depicts a single battle or small campaign.


v. To use an exorbitant amount of time to find an optimal move, especially when the resulting move is virtually equal to all other choices. (See also downtime)


n. A short text message that appears whenever a user hovers their mouse over an avatar or badge (there is separate text for each). Overtext costs 100 GeekGold per type (avatar or badge), and you can change your OverText at any time.



n. An affliction suffered primarily by Spielfreaks, it causes the gamer to be enthralled by gorgeous components. Sufferers can often be heard to softly murmur, "nice bits" while examining a game and can be easily distracted by the sight of shiny objects.

parasitic conflict

n. A type of indirect conflict in which at least one player (the parasite) tries to gain a benefit from the actions of another player (the pioneer) who in turn tries to select actions in such a way so as to minimize the benefits that others might gain.

party game

n. A game that is designed for large groups of people and emphasizes social interaction, creativity, and/or volubility. Examples: Taboo, Charades

pasted on (theme)

adj. A term given to a game by people who think that the links between the game's theme and mechanism is weak. Or in other words, the designer created the game's mechanism first and abstractly, applied the theme afterwards.

paste up

Graphic design; a layout of an image to be printed. (The Free Dictionary, 2008) In relation to language-dependent board games, the term refers to pasting a localized translation of game components' text onto the game components, so that players who don't understand the game's original printed language can still play the game easily.


n. Support who has donated at least $15 to the Geek. All about BGG Patrons

patron's badge

n. Special icon in User's Graphical Representation which signifies that the Geek user is a patron. All about BGG Patrons


adj. Abbreviation for Play by E-Mail, which is a descriptor of a game system that allows the players to play against one another through e-mail. Often these games have graphical user interfaces, and just use e-mail as the communications for their turn-based play. Examples: Cyberboard, Aide de Camp, VASL, VASSAL.

perfect information game

n. A class of game in which players move alternately and each player is completely informed of previous moves, which implies there is no hidden information within the game. This class of game is frequently restricted to having no random elements during play - such as the roll of dice - but random elements are allowed during game setup. Examples: Chess, Through the Desert

petty diplomacy

n. a number of metagaming issues that arise in multiplayer (i.e. 3 or more player) games. These include kingmaking, bashing the leader, turtling, revenge, etc. Petty diplomacy problems can lead to accusations of excessive whining among the players. ("I am not the leader. He is!")

pie rule

n. a method of balancing a two player game where one player makes the first move in a game and his opponent has the option of either:
- becoming first player using the proposed move as his first move. The original first player now is second and may make any move of his choice.OR
- allowing the first player to keep the move and making any move of his choice as the second player.

The first player must make a reasonably fair first move--If it is too good, the opponent will switch sides and take the advantage. If it is too poor, and the first player will be at a disadvantage. Called the "pie rule" because it is analogous to "You cut, I choose" method of splitting a pie between siblings.

player interaction

n. The degree and frequency with which players can affect each other during a game. High player interaction can reduce a game’s downtime. Games with little or no direct player interaction are sometimes referred as Multiplayer Solitaires.


v. To examine the rules of and play a prototype game in order to find possible improvements and determine its viability.


v. To hide another user's posts on BoardGameGeek. It is a zero-tolerance rules violation to talk about whom you have plonked.


n. or v. Private message, as in, "if interested please PM me" or "Please send me a PM". In BGG it is used to refer to Geekmail--send a private message through geekmail.


n. Print & Play. Print & Play games or expansions are files that contain artwork (boards/cards/etc.) and rules that are made available on the Internet. Anyone who wishes to may download them, print them out and play them.

point to point movement

n. Locations on the board are connected by lines which the pieces will move along. In wargames, point to point movement will emphasize movement along road networks.

point salad game

n. A game in which there are such a wide variety of ways to get VP so that game lacks strategic and/or tactical focus. Describing a game as point salad is usually derogatory as it derives from "word salad"--an incoherent, unfocused piece of writing. For examples, see: Point-salad games

power creep

The gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content.

press your luck game

n. A game where players can repeatedly choose to perform a random event on their turn. They 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. Examples: Can't Stop, Diamant/Incan Gold, Pass the Pigs.


adj. Describes a game that tends to be very cyclical and/or monotonous. A processional game will often have little player interaction and high downtime.

publisher abbreviations

Click for a list of commonly used Publisher Abbreviations.


v. The act of preparing a game for play by removing the manufacturing-process materials that are still attached to the game bits. Generally, games which have been removed from the shrinkwrap are still very "new" or "like new" if they are unpunched. While many geeks enjoy punching a game as soon as they receive it, un-punched status can be important for some wargames as the myriad of chits can be hard to track once they have been punched.


Player versus Player.



See "Alpha player"


n. a function that provides set of 100 customizable web links for registered Geek Users.
All about the QuickBar...


n. one of the 100 customizable web links for registered Geek Users. There are 10 QuickLinks on a QuickPage.
All about the QuickBar...


n. one of the 10 pages in the QuickBar. There are 10 QuickPages on the QuickBar.

All about the QuickBar...


race game

n. A game that features players vying to be the first to complete a given course of travel as the main mechanism. Examples: Formula Dé, Candy Land


n. –ness adj. When events or players’ actions in a game are very unpredictable. Often players will have little, if any, control over the elements that control their performance in the game. (See also luck)


Rules As Written. Usually more of an RPG related term, but has also been adopted as a general abbreviation in the bgg forums.


n. A game that takes simulation to a new level by trying to duplicate original historical conditions in detail.

reference card

See crib sheet.

replay value

n. A game’s capacity to remain entertaining after several playings.


n. Abbreviation for Rec.Games.Board, a Usenet newsgroup which has discussions about all types of board gaming. It can be very useful for researching information about games and for getting answers to rules questions.


Rock-Paper-Scissors is a game mechanism. Based on the simple children's game of the same name, players attempt to out wit opponents by correctly guessing and countering others' moves. Also, Rock-Paper-Scissors requires that some moves are 'better' than others.


Roll-and-move is a term used to indicate a gameplay mechanism that drives the game by having the player roll a die, then mandatorily move according to the results of the die. Often the term roll-and-move is used in a defamatory or condescending tone, implying that a randomizer replaces tactical movement, and that the game involves relatively mindless play.


n. Abbreviation for Role-Playing Game, in which a gamemaster creates a progressive storyline and other players control the characters within the story. Example: Dungeons & Dragons See also LARP.


Religion, Sex, Politics. On BGG, typically refers to a thread, topic or response that has more to do with religion, sex or politics, than it does with board games, or the BGG forum dedicated to such discussions.

rules lawyer

n. A gamer who interprets rules in an overly literal sense or in such a way to significantly reduce the thematic or logical aspects of a game. (Note this term can be used in both a positive sense (A rules lawyer who takes great care in determining every nuance of a game's rules) or a negative sense (a rules lawyer who interprests rules in a manner to help him win the game or fails to correct an opponent's error unless it helps him win.))



n. Abbreviation of Spiel By Web, a website to play games by email with a graphical interface. (


n. A set of rules for the set up of a game specifying starting position of units, victory conditions, map boards to be used, special rules, etc. Some games, especially wargames, have many different scenarios, which can enhance replay value.

secret unit deployment

Secret unit deployment is a game mechanism. Player's on-board resources are not implicitly known by all players, all the time.


n. The first time period in a game, during which players ready all the components that will be needed for playing.


n. A game that puts major emphasis on accurately depicting historical reality. (See also wargame and re-creation)

sleeve casualty

n. When a card becomes marked or unusable due to wear or cheapness of the card sleeve.


adj. (applied to a game) Where one player can always inevitably win or force a draw when a particular strategy is employed, regardless of any strategies used by the other player(s). Tic-Tac-Toe, Nim and Connect Four are examples of a solved games. (See also broken)


n. A gamer that is totally captivated by German games. From the German word for game, Spiel (German nouns being always written with a capital letter).


n. The manufacturing material that is still attached to game bits when they are taken from the packaging for the first time. Usually refers to injection-molded plastic, but sometimes is used to refer to the excess cardboard from which game materials must be punched.

step losses

n. In wargames, units that can be gradually weakened before they are destroyed are said to suffer "step losses". This can be accomplished by flipping over or replacing counters, rotating a block that represents a unit, on a tally sheet, etc.


n. 1. The plan that a player uses in a game. adj –ic. 2. Requiring gaming decisions based on long-range goals. 3. Strategic: In a wargaming sense, a large scale game in which units represent large military formations (brigades & larger) over a wide ranging area (like a nation or continent). Typically these games have a high level of abstraction and a low level of detail to depict conflict. Such a game depicts an entire war or a major campaign.



n. An arrangement of items, normally cards, which a player has before them, visible to all. The relative positions of the items in the tableau may be prescribed or significant. The size or dimensions of the tableau may be restricted in some way. Items may have effects that are triggered when they are added or removed from the tableau, or at certain stages of a player's turn. Items in a tableau often have effects that combine with one another to form more powerful effects.

tableau builder

n. A mechanism that entails the construction of a tableau during the course of a game.


n. 1. Decisions that are based primarily on current situations and short-term goals. adj –ical. 2. Tactical: In a wargaming sense, a small scale game in which units represent small military formations (platoon, squad or down to a single soldier/ship/tank/aircraft) over a limited area (such as a city or even a few blocks). Typically these games have a low level of abstraction and a high level of detail to simulate conflict. Such a game depicts a battle (or part of one) or a skirmish.


n. a Geek User entered word which has been attached to a game. Tags are used since you can sort and select games using tags. See Tags.


n. Trading Card Game: See CCG.


n. Abbreviation for Terrain Effect Chart. Featured in most wargames. A chart showing the various terrain features of a wargame map and their effect on unit movement, combat, etc.

territory building

adj. A game that involves adding regions (e.g., Risk).


adj. Having a large number of variables for consideration and an essentially mechanical, slightly abstract, often repetitive structure [this is an almost direct quote from Sumo issue 8]. This quality is often found in German games.

Thematic Game

These are games that emphasize a highly developed theme, player to player conflict, and usually feature a moderate to high level of luck. Examples of classic Thematic Games include Axis & Allies, Dune, Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, and Twilight Imperium. See the Thematic Games page for more information. Gamer jargon often refers to these games as "Ameritrash".


n. 1. The topic or subject matter of a game. adj –atic. 2. Having rules and mechanics based on assumptions regarding the subject matter of the game. Often considered the opposite of abstract.

tile-laying game

n. A game that features the placement of components onto a playing surface (rather than moving components along the playing surface) as the main mechanism. Examples: Carcassonne, Samurai

train game

n. A game that features route-building and/or picking up and delivery of commodities along particular routes as the main mechanisms. The crayon rail games, like Empire Builder and Eurorails, are good examples of train games.

trick-taking game

n. A card game that features players each sequentially placing a card down to make a trick, which is then awarded to one of the players. Bridge, Spades, or Hearts are examples of this type of card game. For more information, see Trick taking


n. A person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community.


v. to play a very defensive strategy (i.e. hide in your shell) in a multiplayer wargame, with the hopes that other players will attack each other thus weakening themselves. Generally seen as boring by players. Multiplayer wargames that avoid turtling usually do so by giving incentives to attack in the form of VP's, additional units/resources, stronger units, etc.



n. area on Graphical User Representation just above avatar. Upgrade from GeekBadge for 50gg.
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adj. Having one or more mechanisms that are either too similar or insufficiently inter-connected, leaving a game that feels like the design was not completed.


n. Abbreviation of Ultimate Trades.



n. An alternate form of a game that may involve new or modified rules or pieces. Often played to add a change of pace to a game that has gotten stale. See expansion.

victory conditions

n. Mostly used in a wargaming sense, as the situation that must be attained for a side to achieve victory. This can involve destroying a specified number of enemy units, occupying or controlling specific locations, capturing or destroying a specific enemy unit (like a king or leader), holding out for a specified number of turns, etc. VP's can be used to allow several different victory conditions to be in the same game.


n. Victory Points. Sometimes pronounced either "Veeps" or "Vee Pees". Plural can be spelled VP's, VPs or just VP. Points accumulated for completing various actions which count towards victory. Some games use the term "points" to refer to other factors--movement points, action points, etc.



See betting.


n. A game in which players put military units or military-type units in direct or indirect conflict with each other. The goal of these games is typically annihilation of opponents and/or the attainment of certain strategic conditions. These types of games will often have high thematic content and a varying degree of abstraction. (See also miniatures game). Wargames are subdivided into three general scales: Strategic, Operational and Tactical. (See also simulation)

waro / weuro

n. A wargame/eurogame hybrid. Usually, a light wargame that uses mechanics similar to eurogames--however, there are no distinct characteristics (such as cardplay, specialized dice, miniatures, etc.) that clearly define a waro or weuro from other wargames. Currently controversial. (See also wargame)


n. Abbreviation of World Boardgaming Championships (sponsored by BPA)


n. A wiki is a type of website that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove and otherwise edit and change some available content. For more information about the BoardGameGeek wiki go to About the BoardGameGeek Wiki.


n. Abbreviation of Work In Progress


n. A wantlist is the list of games which you have checked as Want in Trade or Want to buy in the Item section of the User Information for a particular game. To find items on your Wantlist which are being sold on the Marketplace in the Bazaar see: yadayada


n. A wishlist is the list of games which you have checked Wishlish and selected on the five options in the associated dropdown in the Item section of the User Information for a particular game. To find items on your Wishlist which are being traded on the Trades page in the Bazaar see: yadayada

worker placement

n. A term used to describe the game mechanic which involves a "token-based, turn-limited, locking action selection menu." Players, in turn order, place tokens (aka workers) to select various actions presented on a board, cards, tiles, etc. Once an action is selected, it usually cannot be selected again on that round. Often players may think of this as a supervisor deploying workers on various jobs. A very popular game mechanic used in many recent games such as: Agricola, Caylus, Stone Age, Pillars of the Earth, etc.





adj. A property in games where all wins by one or more players are matched by losses of the other players. The wins and losses will always add up to zero. Poker is a good example, all money won by the players was lost by other players at the table. Most two player games are trivially zero-sum in that for one player to win, the other must lose.


n. Wargame term. Abbreviation for 'Zone of Control'. The area surrounding a unit (usually each adjacent hex) in which they have the ability to disrupt an enemy unit's ability to move, retreat or stay in supply. Sometimes the term EZoC is used, meaning Enemy Zone of Control.

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