I was in the shower, and I revisited a topic I’ve been thinking about lately: what are the various different types of board game? Here are my ideas.
The objective is to be the first player to move a piece or pieces from the start point to the goal.
In a traditional race game the players move their pieces a number of squares dictated by a dice roll. The opponents’ pieces can be captured by landing on the square where they are resting. This group includes some of the oldest and most popular board games, such as senet and the twenty squares game; and is today represented by backgammon and Ludo.
Quoridor is also a race game, but with very different peculiarities: pieces can only move a single square at a time, and the players can obstruct one another by placing walls.
The objective is to be the first player to use their pieces to create a line of a certain length. The classic of the genre is gomoku / renju, which spawned various derivatives like Connect Four. The class also includes three-in-a-row / tic-tac-toe, one of the simplest of all games.
The objective is to enclose the most territory. The main game in this genre is of course Go.
The objective is to capture all of the opponent’s pieces. The best example of this class is draughts / checkers, and it also includes the Roman game ludus latrunculorum and the Japanese game hasami shogi.
This group also includes wargames such as Warhammer, which have much more complex rules and equipment. I hesitate to even include wargames as board games in the traditional sense.
The objective is to capture a “king” or “general” piece, or to checkmate him (ie. place him in unavoidable threat of capture.) International chess is the most famous regicide game, followed by variations such as shogi and xiangqi.
The objective is to get the most points by linking together words or numbers. Think Scrabble.
The objective is to get the most points by purchasing squares of the board and receiving points from opponents who land on that square, ie. Monopoly.
The objective is to occupy all territories on a map by successively conquering them from the opponents by winning military engagements determined by dice rolls and the number of troops present in the attacking and defending territories. This describes the game Risk.
The objective is to match together sets of tiles or cards by common numbers or signs, often in order to be the first to complete a winning hand; or just to score points. The games most committed to the set matching mechanic, though, are games without a board like rummy and mahjong.
What other types of board game are there, or more granularity of subclasses?