Good morning class, welcome to Tabletop Gaming 1003. The "1" designates that you do not know anything about the subject and the "3" designates how many hours of credit this class is worth. For the life of me, I never knew what the middle numbers were used for other than complicating my life when trying to make sure I had the easy teacher.
How about we start today with understanding what tabletop gaming really is. It is not Scrabble, Checkers or Tic-Tac-Toe. It might be Monopoly, Sorry or Apples-to-Apples, but let's be honest, that crap is for strict Christian family night at home or the church picnic. Family's who's kids are one high school graduation away from being shown what the real world is (note: there is a time and place for everything and it's called college, if you didn't do stupid shit in college, you missed out). Now quick, you can jump over to Wikipedia and read some douche bag's idea of what constitutes tabletop gaming...OR...we can toss your ass into the fire and see if it burns.
Tabletop gaming comes in five basic styles: Strategy, Chance, Miniature, Card and Role-Playing.
Strategy (sometimes called European) is based on planning your moves, anticipating what your opponent(s) will do and reacting to minor changes in the gaming environment. Lords of Waterdeep and Carcassonne are decent representations of this style.
Chance (also called American) is based on random events that can radically change the game, game environment or game progression with a roll of the die or a pull of the card. Cosmic Encounter is dice-less, but is so random that the game can turn on one card being pulled from the deck, while SmallWorld may or may not require dice depending on your decisions.
Miniature games require boards, miniature pieces and often lots of money to invest in the pieces and time to invest in their customizations. Warhammer (and its 40K version) and Leviathans represent miniature gaming very well.
Card games generally involve either pre-building a deck before the game starts - Magic: The Gathering or as the game progresses - Ascension.
Finally, we get to Role-Playing games for the tabletop. Traditionally, this has meant Dungeons and Dragons or any of its numerous derivatives. However, Wizards of the Coast got the idea a few years ago to introduce a true board game version and they did it quite well with Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon and Legend of Drizzt. However, others are there as well, Game of Thrones or Descent fill in quite nicely.
So, now you have some idea of the plethora of games and game types available out there. In the next installment, we look into some of the digitized versions of these games.