Majority of board games, both classic and contemporary, can be categorized as either luck-based or strategy-based. Most children games such as Candyland and Sorry! rely the flow of the game out of luck as there is no strategy involved that will determine the winner. Players of chess and the likes, on the other hand, have to rely on strategy and carefully planned moves in order to win.
Meanwhile, many games involve a combination of strategy and luck. In these types of games, a player may have a few bad rolls of dice but ultimately, his or her decisions or strategies throughout the game will seal his fate.
Aside from luck and strategy, on some games, diplomacy can become a big factor. It is most commonly used to beat a much stronger player or players by teaming up with others. Diplomacy is very effective on games such as Risk, Settlers of Catan and the fittingly named game Diplomacy.
In recent years, board games are categories more formally into different categories. Here are some of the most common:
Race Games — are basically games wherein two or more players will race against each other to the end of the board. The classic game of Chutes and Ladders is a good example. While Chutes and Ladders and other race games involve a game of chance, others such as Arimaa are purely strategic. Crosses and Circles games (Ludo and Parcheesi), although they do not involve game pieces, are also included in this category.
Word Games — are both educational and entertaining. These games involve swiftness of thought, language skill including spelling, comprehension, and well-developed vocabulary. Word games, like scrabble, involve luck as letters are picked randomly to form words.
There are 4 subcategories of word games:
- Paper and Pencil games/puzzles – Crossword Puzzle, Word Search and Hangman
- Linguistic recreations – Word Golf, Kangaroo Words and Anagram
- Structured games – Fictionary, Categories and Charades
- Letter Arrangement games – Scrabble, Upwords, Ghost and Boggle
Roll-and-Move games — are played by rolling a die or dice to determine how many spaces the piece or pieces of the players are moved. Obviously, it is a game of chance but many roll-and-move games are also strategic. Monopoly, Game of the Goose, Easy Money, Mall Madness and Cluedo are some of the games that fall under this category.
Trivia games — play on a series of general knowledge questions in which the player must answer correctly in order to move his or her piece around the board. The most popular trivia game is the Trivial Pursuit created Scott by Abbott and Chris Haney. Other games of the same genre are Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Wheel of Fortune.
Abstract Strategy games — can either be a board game or a card game. It involves no chance and is played by two or more players. Classic games such as chess, checkers, mancala, go and irensei are included in this category. In a strict sense, an abstract strategy game is that which has no hidden information and cannot have random elements. However, since categorizing each game is very subjective, Octiles, Sequence, Backgammon, Can’t Stop and Mentalis fall under the category despite having a buffling element or a luck.
Board Wargames — can be simple games (commonly known as beer-and-pretzel games) or involve a high level of realism, often a simulation of history.