board game vs tabletop game

Board Game vs Tabletop Game – What’s The Difference?

Is it a tabletop or a board game?

If you are confused between these two terms then let me tell you this. You are not alone!

Oftentimes, you will find people calling tabletops a board game and vice versa. This can get confusing as they can seem completely identical. The two terms in question are often used interchangeably. In fact, board games are technically tabletop games!

In this article, we will learn about the differences between board game vs tabletop game. We’ll look at what defines these two. For better understanding, we will also add a few examples of board and tabletop games.

Let’s get started!

What is a Board Game?

What is a Board Game

Board games can be slightly different from tabletop games. Simply put, a board game has all the components in a single box. By this, we mean that the package itself will include the game board itself, along with other items such as pieces, dice, timers, and an instruction booklet.

Yes, it is true that they require a tabletop in order to play. In general, board games are a lot more focused in scope compared to their tabletop counterparts. Every component needs to be around the board as per the instructions mentioned in the booklet.

Gameplay in a Typical Board Game

In board games, players usually follow a set of rules until the game is completed. Players complete the game in a single session. Some games may take longer, but this will depend upon the type of game played or the number of players present in the game.

Board games require players to move pieces on the board. Oftentimes this will be a competition to get to the finish line first. Other times, you will find yourself going in loops until you achieve something. That will declare you the winner of the game.

What makes board games fun, is that it requires both luck and skill to play. It is common to come across players that have excellent skills, and those that have luck on their side.

One of the perfect examples of racing to the finish line is ‘Snakes and Ladders’. All the players start from a certain point. They each roll a dice and depending on what they rolled, move their pieces. The first player to reach the finish wins the game.

Popular Board Games

There are many types of board games. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones:

1. War-Based Board Games

War-based games are all about strategy. Players have to decide their actions and play smartly or else they may lose the game. The game involves players interacting with other players and fight each other to complete many objectives. Some of the best games in this category are Axis and Allies, Space Empires, and Battlelore.

2. Euro-Style Board Games

This is a type of board game that relies heavily on seamless game mechanics. They usually have a low emphasis on the theme. One of the main elements of the game is strategy. What makes this type unique is that there is almost no luck required here. These games are mostly resources based, where players earn victory points.

3. Mass-Market Games

As you can tell by the name, mass-market games are those that are sold to the general public, and not just to board or tabletop game fans. They can be found easily at retail stores. The best mass-market board games are Monopoly and Clue.

What is a Tabletop Game?

Tabletop games are simply games that are played on a raised, flat surface. This could be anything ranging from card games, board games, or any game that basically sits on top of a table. The confusion between a tabletop and board game arises because not all tabletop games consist of a board. Likewise, not all board games are played on a flat surface.

Types of Tabletop Games

There are multiple types of Tabletop games available for you to purchase. These are:

1. Role-Playing Games

In role-playing board games, players take the role of characters and set out for an amazing adventure. Depending on what game you’re playing, it can be simple or complex.

Players make use of papers, pencils, and dice to score and navigate through the game. The use of these items is the reason why such games are played on top of tables. One of the best role-playing games is Dungeons and Dragons.

Do you know how to play dungeons and dragons?

2. Board Games

There are some board games that fit the category of a tabletop game. They usually come in a large box and contain multiple components, with the board being the most important one. Players usually move their pieces around until one of them earns the most points or completes a certain objective.

Some of the best tabletop board games are Catan and Carcassonne.

Learning to play Settlers of Catan is scaring. Is it?

3. Card-Based Tabletop Games

These are very similar to board games. They come in small boxes and consist of a deck of cards. The game is played with cards. Players can draw, and manage what cards they want to play. This will earn the players their points. Popular examples of card-based tabletop games include Poker and Uno.

4. Dice games

This is another type of tabletop game. As you may guess, the main component of this category is dice. In this type of game, the player’s action is dependent on the role of their dice. To win these games, a player requires a considerable amount of luck.

There are many well-known dice games available in stores or online marketplace.  Dice games such as Yahtzee, Balut, and Bunco are incredibly popular among players who prefer this tabletop game type.

Differences Between a Board Game and a Tabletop Game

1. Components

One of the key differences of the modern tabletop game is that it doesn’t always contain the components that a board game has. For instance, tabletop games may usually not come with cards, figures, or other accessories. This is primarily because these components may simply be not required for the game.

2. Principle

Tabletop games work by propelling the imagination of the gamer. The popular tabletop games are role-playing games that typically rely on a game master, who is responsible for controlling the flow of the game and at the same time guides the players to their objectives.

You will often find tabletop games being called as RPG or role-playing games. It is also true that not all types of tabletop games fit this criterion. Modern tabletop games may appear different every time you play them. The game takes shape according to the choices of the players and the actions they take.

Final Words

Well, there you go. Now you know what are the differences between Tabletop game and Board Game.

As mentioned before, the two terms are often used interchangeably. But theoretically, there are some elements that make a difference between the two.

The thing that matters is both tabletop and board games are awesome to play and you should get one if you don’t have any!

Who doesn’t love being the smartest person in the room, right? We hope now you can easily identify between the two if you come across them. Have fun and take care!

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