Board games are, as the name suggests, games that are played by moving pieces on a board. They exist for almost any subject you can think of and are for both children and adults. Most are designed as fun activities for the whole family, but there are age limits written on the packaging to give consumers an idea of the age level at which children will have the skill needed to play the game. Many board games, such as Chess, Monopoly, Checkers, Snakes and Ladders (also called Chutes and Ladders), Scrabble, Go, Xiangqi. Shogi and Oware are considered classics.
People have played board games for entertainment for centuries and even before recorded history began. There have been artefacts unearthed in archaeological digs that suggest they were played as far back as 3500 B.C. in ancient Egypt.
Some board games are based on luck, while others require strategy or knowledge in order to play them successfully. Chess, for example, is a game based solely on strategic moves. Most children’s games are based on luck. A few rolls of the dice will make or break a player and result in victory or loss. Some games involve players making deals with other players or engage in competition against one another. An example of a competitive game is Lord of the Rings.
The dice used in board games is generally six-sided. The number rolled can determine many facets of the game, such as how many moves a player can make and depending on the rules of the game, rolling two sixes can mean the player has an extra turn. Some games have other components, such as a deck of playing cards, play money, game cards with instructions or sets of questions the players must answer.
A board game can fall into one of several categories:
- Abstract strategy games. In these games the play is almost like a set of puzzles that each player poses for the other. There are no random elements or hidden information in this type of game and players have to use logic and a knowledge of the rules in order to win.
- German Style Board Games. These are also called Eurograms and have attractive boards, simple rules and are of modest length to play. They usually have a theme, such as building a medieval castle or a colony in the New World.
- Race Games. The object of the game is to be the first one to reach the finish line. Examples include Sorry and Chutes and Ladders.
- Roll and Move Games. In this type of game, the player moves a token around the board according to certain rules. There are numerous board games in this category, such as Candyland, Careers, and The Game of Life.
- Trivia Games. In these games the players move around the board based on giving the correct answers to questions. An example is Trivial Pursuit.
- Word Games. These are puzzles in which the players have to build or define words. Scrabble is the most well known example of this category.
- Wargames. This type of board game originated in Great Britain with miniature pieces moved over a board that resembles a battlefield or a map. Risk is one example of this game in which the board is a map of the world.