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  • Board Game Dictionary: Volume 1

    Written by Sean J / Published February 5th, 2014 / 1 Comment

    Board Game Dictionary (or, Board Games 101) is a series of blog entries in which we define a few terms each week to help welcome new players to the world of board gaming.


    Worker Placement

    In a worker placement game you have a team to command to complete actions, acquire resources, and score points. They can be family members, soldiers, ships, agents, or any other number of different characters or objects. The point is that you send them out in the world to do your bidding, and these loyal servants are only too happy to comply. Makes you feel kinda powerful, doesn't it? When you put your worker out on an action spot you can either immediately, or down the road, claim that reward. Often taking an action space means that no one else can perform that same action in the same round. Both choosing what's best for you and considering how to block your opponents are important strategies to employ in a worker placement game.

    Some examples of GREAT worker placement games: Caylus, Lords of Waterdeep, Alien Frontiers, and Agricola.

    Push Your Luck

    A push your luck game engages a gambling element to it. You'll be faced with a decision to keep going for the chance of greater reward, or to stop, save your progress, and end your turn. Some games employ dice rolling or card drawing, forcing you to consider your chances against a predetermined set of odds. Others employ a bidding and bluffing technique that pits you against other players. These games can be torture! Victory can be within your reach, just to have it stolen away from you with an unlucky roll of the die (this happens to me quite often). That's what makes push your luck games fun - the chaotic unpredictability!

    Some examples of GREAT push your luck games: Can't Stop!, Skull, Fandooble, and The Three Little Pigs.

    Deck Building

    A deck building game is a new twist on an old idea. Create an engine with your deck that is more powerful than your opponent's. Deck builders are similar to living card games (LCGs) like Magic: The Gathering, but they tend to level the playing field. Everyone starts with the same cards and chooses from a set or rotating market of cards to strengthen their overall deck. As new cards are acquired, they go to the discard pile. When the entire deck is exhausted, the discard pile is shuffled and becomes the draw pile. In this way, new cards get added to your hand rotation. What cards you choose to buy and when they show up in your hand will determine your success.

    Some examples of GREAT deck building games: Dominion, Ascension, Lord of the Rings Deck Building Game, and Trains.