If you can answer that question, you’re probably not, but if you can’t, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Most of us are familiar with common gaming terms, such as die/dice, deck of cards or bluffing, but there’ll be times when you might be stumped by unfamiliar jargon and run the risk of sticking out as a newbie amongst your gamer friends.
Newbie (or noob) is a term used to describe someone new to gaming. Beware. Lack of experience must be disguised at all costs. Unless you can blame jargon errors on too much beer or a medical condition, you’ll need to get up to speed on gaming lingo real quick.
Like newbie, some terms are general, but others can be extremely specific to particular games or types of games. Knowing a range of terminology will go a long way to improving your gaming cred.
Has someone put a hex on you?
Okay, so you’ve heard of a die, but have you heard of a hex, which is short for hexagon? These six-sided shapes are commonly used in war gaming, as are square chits or counters. And while we’re on the subject, a grognard describes a war games player.
Bits and meeples
The term bits refers to the various high quality components used in games. These bits are often pimped by hardcore players, who create their own unique versions. Meeples, short for my peoples, are anthropomorphic bits first used in the strategy game Carcassonne, but are now commonly used to describe pawns or figures in any game.
A game play mechanism, often called mechanic, refers to the underlying functional aspects of a game. Many games have multiple mechanisms. Examples are rock-paper-scissors, roll-and-play and point-to-point movement.
Explaining the game
Games can be described as dry – overly mechanical or lacking in imagination – or meaty – requiring deep thinking and engagement – or even as beer & pretzels – involving excessive randomness with a silly theme. Eurogame is a synonym for German style games, such as The Settlers of Catan and an expansion is a game add on that can extend the playability of a game.
Some common acronyms you’ll frequently hear are RPG – Role Playing Game, F2F – Face to Face, D6 – six sided die, CCG – collectible card game, CDG – card driven game and ARG – alternate reality game.
Talk like a pro
Don’t worry if some of these terms seem to pose more questions than answers. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll keep demystifying board game jargon for you, so you can better understand the nuts and bolts of gaming and talk the talk with the pros.