Game Mechanics, Know your tabletop game

What Kind of Board Games Are There Blog Series

I am a casual tabletop gamer and I just realised I don’t have a clue on what kind of board games are there. This series of blog posts hopes to help change that.

Who knew that board games would become popular again? The digital age has changed the way we communicate, interact and entertain ourselves. It is no surprise that we are now seeking ways to bring back activities that encourage physical interaction. Playing board games is the perfect activity to interact with people, physical games pieces, think and make decisions.

What kind of board games are there

Confused by the different kinds of board games!

This growing interest has encouraged game design experts and hobbyists to develop new kinds of board games.  Have you walked into a shop or browsed on Amazon and find yourself overwhelmed by board games with different gameplay mechanics. Which game do you choose? How do you know if you will like it or get frustrated with the gameplay? You try reading the reviews but see terms like “Engine-building”, “Living Card Game” and”Tile-Placement” and start wondering,  “what do they mean?”

Some soul searching to better understand what games excite, delight and frustrate

I’ve decided to write these series blog posts to research and answer the following questions: What kind of board games are there? What kind of board games do I like? What kind of board games should I buy? Hopefully, these posts will help you discover what games are out there, what you like and what you don’t like.

Here are the various types of games that we will be exploring. Do note that these are not mutually exclusive. You will find that there are games that make use of a combination of mechanics for their gameplay. The list is also not exhaustive but for the time being, I will focus on the main types.

Auctioning / Bidding

As the title suggests, this involves players bidding for resources, rewards, etc. Games like Monopoly have this element in them.

Area Control

You compete with others for control over a particular area on the map or board. The more space you cover the better. The game, Risk, is an example.

Card Drafting

A set of cards are passed around and you pick the one that gives you the best advantage in the game. Sushi Go is a great example of such a game.

Card Drafting Game Mechanic
Card Drafting


Games that involve trading and making money or profit. Games like monopoly and Power Grid


Instead of competing, you work with your friends to meet the game’s objectives. If you don’t meet it, all of you lose. Popular examples are Pandemic, Magic Maze and Forbidden Island.

Deck Building

You create a deck of cards with different abilities and play it against others. This is a popular type of game. Think of Pokemon, Yugi-oh, Magic the Gathering.

Deck Building Game Mechanic
Deck Building


Winning such games is usually based on guessing the right outcome or person, using clues in the game. Think of Cluedo or The Resistance (a deduction game with player interaction)

Dice Rolling

You roll dice to determine outcomes in the game.


These games involve some physical activity and tests your ability to be quick and fast. An example is the soccer flicking game Subbuteo or Klask


Just one word to describe this. Pictionary!

Engine Building

Such games involve collecting cards, components and executing different objectives to upscale your capability in the game and help you win.

Hand Management

Involves managing your hand of cards. Such games usually involve strategising on when to use a card, keep or discard a card.


Legacy games have become popular. You have award winning games like Pandemic Legacy that have put such games in the spotlight. Legacy games evolve each time it is played. This involves unlocking new rules, characters or scenarios after each game.

Pattern Building

Build a pattern, earn points and win. Games like Azul fall in this category.


Games that occur simultaneously. No turns. Everyone moves at the same time. Magic Maze is such an example.

Role-Playing / Storytelling

Involves playing the role of a character and telling stories.

Take That

Games that strongly incentivise you to stop your opponent’s progress (for example, attacking, stealing etc)

Tile Placement

Placing tiles on a board or forming a pattern of tiles to earn points. Kingdomino is such a game.

Worker Placement

Games that involve you controlling a set of workers and assigning actions so that they help you gather resources, bonuses and rewards for the game.

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