What is Tabletop?

What is TableTop Gaming?


Munchkin at Amelia Con

Remember playing board games like Sorry!, Life, and Clue?  Or how about card games like Bridge, Rummy, and Poker?  These are all considered TableTop games!  Even the oldest tabletop game in the world, Chess, is still widely popular and a common past time among families and friends.

Generally speaking, a TableTop game is defined as any game with cards, dice, tiles, or boards that are usually played on a table or other flat surface.  Like games of sport, TableTop games have tournaments and can be very competitive.

Gameplay varies from game to game, but most tabletop games require players to take turns making their moves and require strategy. Some games, like Zombie Dice (more on that later), require nothing but luck. Most games will have a clear winner or a team of winners.

What makes TableTop games so interesting is the human element: the ability to scheme, plot, strategize, collaborate with other players, and manipulate each other in order to win. A few games such as Forbidden Island, require players to work together, in earnest, to complete objectives and win as a team. Others encourage players to work with each other, but only for so long. Eventually, someone will start pulling ahead in points or objectives and this can always lead to interesting counter coalitions and strategies to prevent the person in the lead from winning so easily.

Some games like Zombie Dice are quick, lasting as little as 10 – 15 minutes. Other games, like Warhammer or Twilight Imperium can take hours to days to complete cooperative campaigns and large scale wars. Dungeons & Dragons games can last years, comprised of various campaigns (quests) and objectives. There’s a huge world of TableTop games on the market and tons of new ones being introduced yearly. It’s all about what type of game you’d prefer, how much time you want to commit, and what’s fun and interesting to you.

Common: Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, Candy Land, RiskUncommon: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Axis & Allies, Shoji

  • Counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or “board”, according to a set of rules;
  • Strategy, chance, or a mixture of the two can determine the style of gameplay and outcome.
  • Goal Oriented: earn points, collect sets, and/or obtain a winning position;
  • Role Playing Games (RPG’s) such as Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder fall under this category. Because of their distinct play style, these games are in their own subgenre, RPG’s.

Play at Amelia Con: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Shoji, Chess, Checkers, Dungeons & Dragons (with your group)

Common: Bridge, Poker, Old Maid, Uno, Cards Against HumanityUncommon: Munchkin, Magic The Gathering, Once Upon a Time, Unspeakable Words

  • Playing cards are the primary device for gameplay.
  • Cards can be the traditional Ace – King set or a custom set for that particular game.
  • Rules determine the play order and method for winning.
  • Collectible Card Games (CCG’s) and Trading Card Games (TCG’s) also fall under this category, but have since been given their own subgenre due to their immense popularity. Such games include Pokemon, YugiOh, and Magic The Gathering.

Play at Amelia Con: Magic The Gathering, Once Upon a Time, Munchkin

Common: Yahtzee, Backgammon, CrapsUncommon: Zombie Dice, Dungeon Attack, Cthulhu Dice

  • One or more dice is the sole or central component, usually as a random device.
  • Dice games are primarily games of chance or luck and may require minimal strategy.
  • Some of these games can be finished in under 15 minutes, depending on the luck of the roles.
  • While many games use dice to move pieces around the board (like Monopoly), these games are still considered “board games” because it is the board that determines the outcome, not the dice.

Play at Amelia Con: Dungeon Attack, Zombie Dice

Common:Uncommon: Warhammer

  • Less commonly found in big box stores;
  • Emersion into the atmosphere and world of the game.
  • Players purchase miniatures which serve as pieces for the game. The miniatures are hand painted according to their player’s color scheme (often determined by alliance or faction) and then placed on a large, usually hand crafted miniature world spanning multiple large tables.
  • Environments are crafted to-scale and great attention is paid to topography, lore, strategy, and role play both during and before the game.
  • Players take great pride in the armies they create to face other player’s armies and the genre has, therefore, become as much about the art and craft of creating the world and pieces as it is about the gameplay itself.
  • Most of these games are war strategy games, like Risk but on a much larger and more intricately designed scale.
  • Small pieces are usually moved in large groups or units, allowing players and teams to flank each other and mimic real war strategies.

Amelia Con welcomes Miniature Wargames groups. Please complete the form found here to reserve a table. Limited space and times are available. Depending on popularity, we may increase our accommodations for 2015. If you are interested in participating, please complete the form, even if you think we are out of space. This will help us determine our course for next year. Thank you.

Common: Mahjong, Anagrams, Dominos, ScrabbleUncommon: Alhambra, Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Tsuro

  • Uses tiles as one of the fundamental elements of play;
  • Many board games will use tiles, shuffled and placed according to rules to create the board. This allows for many possibilities for the board’s layout or allowing changes in the board’s geometry, thus directly impacting gameplay and strategy.
  • Other games rely on tile placement or removal.

Play at Amelia Con: Settlers of Catan, Tsuro, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Forbidden Island

Common: Dungeons & DragonsUncommon: Pathfinder

  • Players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting.
  • Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development.
  • Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
  • Games like Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder rely on the players to know and understand their characters, classes, races, and environment either by studying manuals or by interacting in the fictional setting with other players and non-playable characters controlled by the Game Master, or GM.
  • These games rely on players’ imagination, strategy, and willingness to both go-with-the-flow and challenge their environment as well as a knowledgable GM to keep the game interesting and the players committed to the current objectives.
  • Like wargames, players spend time creating their characters, assigning stats, and creating their character’s motivations and background. Gameplay relies on pencil and paper, a board to help visualize the ficitional setting, pieces that the players and GM move around the board, and dice.

Play At Amelia Con: If you are interested in reserving a table for your D&D, Pathfinder, or other RPG group, please complete the form found here. We will do our best to accommodate your request, but table space and times are limited. We are using these forms to gauge interest for our 2015 convention. If you are interested in participating, please complete the form even if you think we are out of space. This will help us know how much space to book for next year. Thank you!

If you have a group and want to play a specific game, please complete the form here. Limited times and space is available. We will use these forms to gauge feedback for our next convention. Please complete the form even if you think we might be out of space.

If you are new to the TableTop world, don’t have a group, etc. Don’t fear!

At Amelia Con, we provide “Free To Play” tables. Like a restaurant, just stop by the TableTop room on Friday – Sunday, grab a menu of games to help you choose a game, pick your game from the shelf, and sit down at a table with some friends or some other interested players. We’ll have anywhere from 2 – 6 tables available for the Free To Play area throughout the weekend.

We’re also proudly sponsored by Steve Jackson Games, Attack Dice, and Z-Man Games. These industry representatives will be demoing some of their popular and new titles on Friday at the Days Inn and Saturday in the Exhibit Hall. Munchkin will be demoed by Steve Jackson Games on Friday night to prepare attendees for the Saturday Munchkin Tournament!

Winners of all Tabletop Tournaments will receive 2 passes to Amelia Con 2015 and other awesome swag from our sponsors!