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Tabletop game

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Chess and its relatives have been popular for centuries

Tabletop games or tabletops are games that are normally played on a table or other flat surface, such as board games, card games, dice games, miniature wargames, or tile-based games.[1][2]

Classification according to equipment used[edit]

Tabletop games can be classified according to the general form, or equipment utilized:[3]

Game category Game examples
Board games Adventure board games, adventure gamebooks, backgammon, chess, German-style board games, go, reversi, Mancala, Shogi, Gomoku, Four-in-a-row (or Yonmoku), Tic-tac-toe (or Sanmoku, Three-in-a-row)
Card games solitaire, collectible card games, hanafuda, tarot card games, poker
Dexterity games Jenga, Crokinole, Klask, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Loopin' Louie, Terror in Meeple City, Don't Break the Ice, Crossbows and Catapults, Knucklebones, PitchCar
Dice games bunco, craps, poker dice, sic bo, yahtzee
Paper and pencil games Battleship, Connect 5, dots and boxes, hangman, sprouts, sudoku
Tabletop role-playing games Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Strategy games wargames, government simulation games, miniatures games
Tile-based games 15 puzzle, anagrams, dominoes, mahjong, mahjong solitaire
Tabletop sports See article.

Games like chess and draughts are examples of games belonging to the board game category. Other games, however, use various attributes and cannot be classified unambiguously (e.g. Monopoly and many modern eurogames utilize a board as well as dice and cards).

For several of these categories there are sub-categories and even sub-sub-categories or genres. For instance, German-style board games, board wargames, and roll-and-move games are all types of board games that differ markedly in style and general interest.

Tabletop game components[edit]

The various specialized parts, pieces, and tools used for playing tabletop games may include:

A refereed game could also include various aids to play, including scenario packs and computer game aids. Role-playing games can include campaign settings and various supplementary manuals and notes.

Classification according to elements of chance[edit]

As an alternative to classifying games by equipment, they can also be classified according to the elements of chance involved. In game theory, two fundamentally different elements of chance can play a role:

  • Chance due to outcome uncertainty, e.g. due to dice rolls or due to unknown cards being dealt during the game. Games in which outcome uncertainty plays a role are referred to as stochastic games as opposed to deterministic games.
  • Chance due to state uncertainty, e.g. due to the opponent's position or cards not being visible, or due to the simultaneous move character of the game. Games in which state uncertainty plays a role are referred to as partial or imperfect information games as opposed to full or perfect information games.

Examples of the chance classification for some well-known tabletop games are given in the table below.

Full/perfect information Partial/imperfect information


List of organizations that sponsor events featuring tabletop games:

Numerous independent, local groups run by gamers exist to play tabletop games. Additionally, many colleges have student run organizations pertaining solely to table top gaming. The Collegiate Association of Table Top Gamers is one such organization that has a few chapters at different schools.

Digital tabletop games[edit]

Digital tabletops games are digital variations of tabletop games, which include straight reproductions of existing physical tabletop games, video games that use tabletop game principles as part of their gameplay mechanics, and tabletop simulators that provide a virtual tabletop for conducting tabletop games online.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Collegiate Association of Table Top Gamers". Archived from the original on 2 August 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  2. ^ "TGN FAQ". Tabletop Gaming News. 10 May 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  3. ^ "What is Tabletop?". Amelia Con. Archived from the original on 27 June 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Card Crafting System".