6 votes

What are the genres in tabletop games?

And some notable examples too if possible.

4 comments

  1. [3]
    vili
    Link
    You can categorise board games in a number of ways. At the online bible of the hobby, Board Game Geek, they do it in three primary ways: types, categories and mechanics. The first is a general...

    You can categorise board games in a number of ways. At the online bible of the hobby, Board Game Geek, they do it in three primary ways: types, categories and mechanics. The first is a general division that largely communicates intended audience, the second is more thematically based, while the last one concerns game design. If you click an entity in any of these lists, and then sort the games to list them by rank, you effectively end up with a list of top recommendations by the community.

    There are of course also other ways to categorise games, and Board Game Geek certainly isn't the final truth on anything. It also doesn't list all types of tabletop games, with role playing games notably missing (or, rather, in their separate domain at RPG Geek).

    I feel that to answer your question in more detail we would probably need to know why you are asking this question.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      mundane_and_naive
      Link Parent
      I was just curious is all, since my gaming experience is mostly with video games and occasional card games with friends when we go on a trip or something. So I wanted to have a bit more general...

      why you are asking this question.

      I was just curious is all, since my gaming experience is mostly with video games and occasional card games with friends when we go on a trip or something. So I wanted to have a bit more general understanding of tabletop games as a whole and maybe explore a few.

      4 votes
      1. vili
        Link Parent
        Whatever you are interested in thematically or in terms of mechanics, these days you are almost certainly able to find a board game that fits the bill. But if you are totally new to tabletop...

        Whatever you are interested in thematically or in terms of mechanics, these days you are almost certainly able to find a board game that fits the bill. But if you are totally new to tabletop games, there is a very rough binary division that is useful to be aware of, namely that of "Eurogames" (sometimes called "German style") and "Amerigames" (or "American style", "Ameritrash").

        Eurogames tend to be more streamlined with abstracted mechanisms, and feature less direct interaction between players, particularly of confrontational nature. Eurogames in general also tend to stay away from luck based mechanisms, although luck is not necessarily completely absent. Eurogames are also typically shorter, with playing times usually within the 30-90 minute mark. All in all, eurogames are more family and beginner friendly and aim for pleasant social interaction. Canonical eurogame examples would be titles like Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Puerto Rico and Carcassonne. A lot of eurogames deal with resource management.

        The American style design, meanwhile, is often built around the specific aim of generating conflict between players (or, in some designs, between the players and the board). They also tend to be more fiddly games, with more components, less elegant rules, a level of luck, and longer playing times. However, with that complexity also comes a deeper thematic exploration of the subjects that they cover, and while with eurogames themes may often seem like an afterthought that has been glued on top of a highly perfected game mechanic, with Amerigames the theme is the king and game mechanics are usually derived from, and sometimes secondary to, the theme. A lot of ameritrash is strategy games, historical simulations and story driven game experiences. Canonical American style modern games include titles like Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, Twilight Imperium and A World at War.

        While the names of these two categories tell you something about their history and where the general design principles originated, these days you get amerigames made in Europe and eurogames that are made in the US, and not all games are easily placed in just one of these categories. The two also influence each other, with amerigames in particular taking a lot of interesting game mechanics from the shorter eurogames and incorporating them within their larger designs.

        During the past two decades, roughly since the publication of Settlers of Catan (a eurogame) in 1995, board games have explored and invented a huge range of new game mechanics and ideas, and I would say that we are currently living something like the golden age of board gaming.

        8 votes
  2. papasquat
    Link
    A few of the other responses assume you are talking about board games specifically, but the category of tabletop games is actually broader than that. From what I know, as an avid tabletop gamer,...

    A few of the other responses assume you are talking about board games specifically, but the category of tabletop games is actually broader than that.

    From what I know, as an avid tabletop gamer, the big subdivisions are as follows:

    Board games - These have been covered, and include games like settlers of catan, monopoly, battleship, etc. They are self contained games that adhere to an individual set of rules, and typically contain things like dice, boards, tokens, etc

    RPGs - These are more free form games built around creating a shared story, are typically cooperative rather than competitive, and the rules are contained in purpose built rule books that you buy. The games can be supplemented by external tools like maps, dice, character sheets, minatures, etc. Examples would be Dungeons and Dragons, Shadowrun, and Vampire: The Masquerade

    Wargames - Invented by the Prussians in the 19th century for training officers in combat, these are focused on simulating a battle with a moderate to high degree level of accuracy. Typically played on a large table with terrain simulating a battlefield, the games are played with minatures, distances are measured with tape measures at a set scale to a real battlefield, and some sort of conflict resolution mechanic is included (Dice are common). Examples would be Warhammer, Star Wars: Xwing, or Bolt Action.

    Collectable Card Games - These are focused on building powerful decks of cards to try to beat your opponent. Usually purchased in sets or in booster packs, they've been extremely popular since the early 90s. Examples: Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh.

    Abstract Strategy Games - These sometimes fall into the board game group, but they're a bit different of a beast. Most classical games fall into this category, in that they don't have a specific theme, their mechanics are simple but have complex interactions, and they have a long history of analysis tied to them. Examples are Chess, Go, and Mancala.

    Within each of these there are subgenres, and you can go deeper and deeper with the groupings if you want, but those are the high level divisions as far as tabletop goes.

    5 votes