The small modern lexicon of board games

Board games have never been so popular.

The small modern lexicon of board games

Board games have never been so popular. This umpteenth confinement is the perfect opportunity to start trying out contemporary games. However, with the modernization of board games came a whole new glossary: ​​meeple, deck, draft, etc. Hard to find your way around? L'Internaute has selected and deciphered the essentials of the genre for you.

The French board game market is one of the largest in Europe. Since 2015, the craze has continued to grow, driven by game bars and television series like The Big Bang Theory. With the closures imposed during the confinements, one would have thought that the fervor was in danger of drying up. On the contrary, the market has experienced incredible and continuous expansion for the past year. For Gautier Althaus, head of public relations and game buyers at Philibert - a specialized online store -, "The categories of games that sold the most during the confinements on our site, just like in click

Generic terms:

Meeple: This is the word for "expert players" which represents little fellows. The form is very precise and codified. Very often made of wood, this little guy is the avatar of the player.

Board: Support on which we will place pawns, tiles and other objects contained in the game box.

Cards: Element which carries its own keys of understanding, and which can contain its own rules.

Combo, Combination: Effects that trigger on successive conditions. For example playing two cards together.

Pawns: Also called "token", this word designates all the elements that we will find in a game box, then place and move on the board.

Tile: Piece of cardboard, thick, which can be placed according to the game. The board can sometimes be made up of tiles. Some tiles may have specific rules, in which case these are written on them.

Action: The number of possible actions is often limited per game turn. The player must choose which action to take, eg move, roll a dice, draw or play a card, etc.

Turn: The word turn can refer to all possible actions for a player. We then speak of a "player turn", or the set of actions of all players, we then speak of a "game turn".

Replayability: The ability to replay without getting bored from one game to another. This is in a sense the "profitability" of the game.

The main types of games:

Yann Merlin, animation manager at publisher Iello, explains the most popular types of games today.

Co-op: Abbreviation for cooperation. Refers to games where players play and win or lose together. It is the opposite of competitive. Reference: Andor, published by Iello.

Duel: A game that pits one player against another player. Paragon of the genre: 7 wonders, published by Repos Production.

Campaign: Draws its origins from the role-playing game. Its use is quite recent in the board game. A campaign consists of the narrative accompaniment of the game which allows it to evolve over the games (and to improve its replayability). Very rich in the genre: Gloomhaven, from the publisher Cephalofair Games, with more than 90 campaigns.

Bluff: Takes its name from the notion of remaining as neutral as possible in order to surprise your opponents. Bluff games can use any mechanics, from poker to dice games. Terribly addictive: Skull, published by Space Cowboys.

Auction: Action of betting or bidding on the part of the players to recover, simultaneously or in turn, one or more elements. Reference: Perudo, published by Asmodée.

Solo: Any game that can be played alone. For example, puzzles are very popular single-player games.

Card Games:

Thomas Bidaux - founder of ICO Partner, a communication agency specializing in the entertainment field, which manages, among other things, the Magic l'assembly and Dungeons and Dragon licenses for the American Hasbro - lent itself to the game of definitions.

TCG: Trading Card Game.

Deck: Deck of cards belonging to a player, who will draw from it.

Draw pile: Pile of cards, face down. It can be common for all players or specific for each player. The action of drawing a card is to take the top card and add it to your hand.

Hand: Set of cards that a player has and which are known only to him. Very often limited to a maximum number. Its content is secret.

Place a card: Action to earn points during or at the end of the game. It is for the player to place cards in different places in an optimal way and according to others.

Play a card: Action of using a card. Some games require certain conditions to be met in order to play certain cards (example of mana points in Magic). If this action takes place outside of a player's turn, it is called an interrupt.

Discard: Action of getting rid of an object from your hand. This is usually a card, but also tokens or other game elements.

Graveyard: Name that defines the discard pile of cards in many games. In some cases, the cemetery can be made accessible.

Effect: Ability associated with a card, depending on the universe and the game. It is possible that the same card has several effects or that it unlocks one from another card, this is called a "combo".

Engage: When a card or an object has a limited use per game turn, it is engaged to say that it is used. In the case of a card, it is rotated 90° to indicate its engaged state.

Turn: Generally the most difficult element to define in the rules of the game. Two notions must be differentiated: the turn of a player and the turn of a table (once each player has been able to complete his turn). In general, a player's turn is when he can perform his main actions (draw, roll a dice, play a card).

Mulligan: Second chance on the first draw. Often includes with a consideration, such as changing his hand with one less card for example in Magic. Word inherited from golf.

Shuffle: Common action at the start of the game to shuffle the game. It may also happen that you have to shuffle your game following an effect.

Target: Choice of a target offered by certain card effects. It can be a card from the opponent, in his hand or in play, from the player himself, or even from his graveyard.

Deck building: Game where you build your deck little by little. All players start with the same cards. Their successive actions will allow them to acquire others, sometimes to get rid of them. One chooses from a set of cards which ones one wishes to use next thanks to a set of rules and limitations specific to each game. For a regular player, there are many strategies on how to build and optimize his deck, for example in The Valley of Merchants, where the goal is to become the best merchant by creating the best market stall. Or Saint Seiya, the deck building game from the flagship Japanese animation license.

Draft: Action of passing cards between players: in turn, each selects a card from those they keep to enrich their deck, before passing the remaining cards to a neighbor, and so on until that all cards have been chosen. Magnum Opus from Bragelonne Editions is a very popular and complex drafting game. Draftosaurus from Ankama editions is a very accessible drafting game that will appeal to the youngest thanks to its universe of dinosaurs.

Role-playing games:

Role-playing (JdR) is a hobby that offers players the opportunity to interpret fictional characters in situations imagined and told by a narrator. It is an interactive improvisation game, which mixes descriptions and interpretations. Different rules make it possible to arbitrate, resolve or supervise the conduct of actions undertaken by the players. Sébastien Moricard, founder of the Elder-Craft studio, specializing in narrative games and interactive literature, gives his definitions:

LARP: Short for "Larp" is a form of role-playing game in which players embody and physically perform the actions of their characters. Participants are then invited to dress up, and the game takes place in sets (indoors or outdoors), increasing the feeling of immersion.

Campaign: A set of interconnected scenarios forming a continuous story and experienced by the PCs (see below).

Critical: Very good or very bad score resulting from a die roll. We often talk about critical success, or critical failure.

d6: Six-sided die, corresponding to the die usually used in board games. There are also four-sided, eight-sided, ten-sided, twelve-sided and twenty-sided dice called d4, d8, d10, d12 and d20 respectively.

d100: Dice type primarily used to emulate percentage. To do this, the player rolls two ten-sided dice, one representing the tens and the other the units. A score of 6 on the tens die and 1 on the units die reads 61. 00 reads 100.

GM: Abbreviation for "gamemaster". Referee and director, he reacts to requests from players to move the story forward.

PC: Abbreviation for "player character". Together, the PCs interact with the game master, playing their character and trying to progress through the story.

NPC: Short for "non-player character". NPCs are usually played by the gamemaster, acting and reacting with characters.

Character sheet: Descriptive sheet of the incarnated character, including both his physical characteristics and his mentality. These cards are used in all games where players embody a character who will move on a board. As a general rule, this is represented by a pawn or a meeple.

Game screen: Device in the form of a screen allowing the GM to hide his notes and his dice rolls in order to guarantee surprise when resolving actions.

Characteristics: Natural potential of the character allowing to measure one of its characteristics thanks to a value.

Skills: Knowledge and know-how specific to the character and their life course. Skills are very often attached to characteristics. For example, the practice of gymnastics is a skill that relates to agility, the latter being a characteristic.

Health Points: A character's level of health at a given moment in the game. During perilous situations presenting risks, or during combat, a character can suffer injuries. His number of life points then drops by as many points as indicated by the game. When a character has no more life points, he dies... (Editor's note: basically this comes from a bad translation of the 'hit point' which means rather "stamina point", in which case the character loses consciousness rather than dies when it drops to zero).

Test: Possibility offered when a character is faced with a situation whose outcome is uncertain: the GM can offer the player to carry out a characteristic or skill test depending on the case. The result of this makes it possible to establish the success or failure of the action, as well as its possible repercussions on the story.

Initiative: Determines the order in which the protagonists will act during a fight.

Dice games:

Dice crafting: Possibility of modifying the faces of a dice during a game according to constraints specific to the game. Quite close to deck-building. Essential of the genre: Dice Forge, published by Libellud.