Make Sure You’re Caught Up on the Board Game Lingo

Old-fashioned board versions and internet-based Las Vegas-style gaming have taken the world by storm yet again. Now that the COVID pandemic has forced millions into at-home quarantine, many are learning about some of the classics that have been around for decades and Google is taking note. According to a recent study by Betway, it’s the classics like Monopoly and Scrabble that are taking the search engines by storm. No matter if you’re new to finally turning off Netflix and putting your device down, looking for a ‘new’ hobby, or if you are among the millions of teens, young adults, middle-aged, and old folks who enjoy the fun, risk, excitement, social interaction, and educational aspect of board games, here’s a list of the key lingo you’ll need to talk the talk.

These are some of the board games that have seen increased success during the lockdown according to the Insider.


This is a term borrowed from the psychology field. It refers to someone who is a very dominant player, bordering on becoming a board bully. It can be difficult to co-exist with an alpha, as they tend to tell everyone what to do, suggest strategies for other contestants, warn teammates about dangers of particular moves, etc. The larger the group, the greater the likelihood that you’ll encounter this kind of opponent. Consider addressing up front by respectfully confronting, which can usually cool off an alpha pretty quickly.


These newer kinds of games pit all the human players against an AI program to see who can be the first to achieve a designated goal, like building a bridge, solving a riddle, or even slot machine play during online casino gaming. Often, it’s still standard board game play but in a machine vs. human format.


A type of game like chess in which players rely on their minds alone. Abstracts are the opposite of dex games, so they tend to be attractive to adults and anyone who enjoys deep thinking as a part of the contest. See the next term, “AP,” which is a big pitfall of dex contests.

Analysis Paralysis

If you’ve ever faced a mental block while hunting for a word in Scrabble, you know what AP is. The letters stand for analysis paralysis, and can afflict just about any kind of gamer. Usually, one of your opponents will try to spur you on by saying something like ‘we need to finish up by morning.’ Take those sarcastic comments as friendly reminders that you have slowed things down by falling into a state of mental paralysis.


Dex contests are those in which your manual dexterity is a core part of success. Kids love these games because adults don’t have an automatically built-in advantage. The majority of dex contests involve building a tower out of cards or blocks. The fun comes in watching someone make a mistake and cause their tower to tumble into a pile of pieces. In the past few years, branded dex products have been gaining in popularity, perhaps in response to all the brainy, trivia-type choices that require nothing but sheer mental prowess.