Exploring 15 Board Game Categories: A Beginner’s Guide

April 26, 2024
Exploring 15 Board Game Categories: A Beginner’s Guide - Gaming Library
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If you think of a board game, you might picture a classic board with pieces scattered around. However, board games can do so much more, with different board game types and genres to suit different preferences and play styles. While many board games fall under a specific category, they can often overlap with other types.  For example, Aeon’s End is considered a deck-builder board game, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a deduction game, and Gloomhaven is a campaign game. However, all three games can also be considered as cooperative games. 

The more games you explore, the better you’ll understand the different types available and which ones you enjoy most. Here’s a list of board game types to get you started on expanding your board game knowledge and experience. Happy board game hunting!

15 Different Board Game Genres to Explore

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Area Control

In area control board games, the fun kicks off with a strategic tug-of-war over territory. Imagine a board mapped out into various regions, where your mission is to outmaneuver your rivals by cleverly deploying your pieces. Whether it’s by outnumbering them or outclassing them in strength, the goal is to dominate the map. These games are for those who enjoy a bit of strategic conquest wrapped up in their game night!




In this board game category, each game is part of a continuing story. Your actions in one session trickle through to the next, shaping a connected adventure where your characters level up and the challenges intensify. Progress is key in campaign games, and they’re ideal for those who enjoy seeing their strategies and stories unfold over time. Gather your friends, set the stage, and let your decisions craft your epic tale!




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Cooperative board games are all about teamwork and strategy where players join forces to achieve a common goal. Instead of competing against each other, everyone works together to conquer the game’s challenges. Whether you’re defusing bombs, building cities, or saving the world from pandemics, you’ll either celebrate victory or face defeat as a team.

Because different board game types fall under this category, cooperative games are the perfect way to make every game night a collaborative adventure!



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Deck-building games start you off with a basic set of cards that you enhance over time by adding more powerful cards and removing weaker ones. Each play challenges you to fine-tune your strategy and adapt to new dynamics, making it a match for those who love to see their tactics evolve and build their way to victory.




Deduction board games invite you to put on your detective hat and sharpen those sleuthing skills. You’ll sift through clues and piece together information to solve mysteries or uncover hidden agendas. From cracking cold cases in detective games to unmasking culprits in murder mysteries, each session is a brain-teasing adventure. This board game category is for anyone eager to challenge their reasoning skills and enjoy a bit of problem-solving.



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Drafting board games revolve around strategic selection and clever hand-offs. You might start with a set of cards or dice, pick one that fits your strategy, and then pass the rest to your neighbor. Whether choosing from a common pool or a circulating hand of options, this style of game challenges you to think ahead and adapt. It’s a thrilling board game genre for players who relish strategy mixed with the element of surprise, making every game night unpredictably fun!




Dungeon-crawler board games throw you into exciting escapades as you navigate through eerie dungeons or other thrilling settings. As players, you step into the shoes of adventurers exploring detailed maps, facing off against hidden dangers, and collecting loot—all while battling powerful bosses. Each game is a journey of exploration with numerous challenges to conquer along the way.

Ideal for those who love combining strategy with rich, unfolding narratives, this type of board game promises epic nights filled with adventure and suspense.



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Engine Building

Engine-builder board games involve skillfully creating a system that turns your initial resources into much more. You start small and gradually build a powerhouse that churns out resources and, ultimately, victory points. This genre is ideal for those who enjoy deep strategy and watching their careful planning yield increasingly powerful outcomes.




In the legacy board game type, your choices matter because they alter the game permanently! This could mean placing stickers on the board, modifying rules, or even tearing up cards. Each session builds on the last, evolving the game and making your journey unique.



Limited Communication Games

This board game category brings a unique twist to your game night. In these games, the fun lies in figuring out the best ways to convey crucial information without saying much at all. For instance, you might need to deduce your teammates’ cards based on subtle hints, sparking loads of guesswork and laughter. It’s a fantastic pick for those who enjoy puzzles and prefer a game that tests their interpretive skills and creativity under quirky restrictions.



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Set Collection Games

Set collection board games are all about gathering and matching. In these engaging games, your goal is to smartly collect groups of similar cards or items to form sets. The magic happens as you mix and match your way to success, strategizing which sets to chase after next. It’s a great board game category for those who enjoy patterns and puzzles, adding a layer of strategic depth to game night.



Social Deduction

Social deduction board games dive into the thrills of deception and strategic intrigue. Each player is assigned a secret role, navigating a game of bluffing and deduction to achieve hidden objectives. You might be trying to expose a secret adversary or keep your own disguise intact.

Packed with suspense, this board game genre is fantastic for anyone who loves to unravel mysteries and test their persuasion skills. Ready to test your detective instincts and outsmart your friends at your next game night?



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Board games that fall under the storytelling category immerse players in dynamic stories where each decision can alter the narrative. You might follow a storybook that directs the action, with your choices influencing how the story unfolds. Whether crafting intriguing plots or deciding the fate of characters, storytelling games are ideal for those who enjoy diving deep into imaginative scenarios and controlling the storyline. Shape your own adventure and see where your decisions take you!



Word Games

Word games are the playground for lovers of letters and linguistics. In this board game type, players engage in activities like spelling words, unscrambling letters, defining terms, or finding connections between different words. The thrill lies in twisting your brain to come up with the best word combinations or deciphering the puzzle laid out by others. Perfect for those who revel in wordplay, these games challenge your vocabulary and quick thinking.




Worker placement games turn you into a strategic mastermind, tasking you with deploying a limited number of characters, often depicted as workers, across various action spots on the board. Each spot offers unique actions that advance your position in the game. This board game genre leads to a playful battle of wits as players fight for the most advantageous positions to outmaneuver their opponents.



Explore More Board Game Genres With Gaming Library

From fast-paced card games to deep strategy experiences, there’s a genre for every player’s taste. As you become more familiar with the classics, consider branching out to discover other styles that could capture your interest and enhance your game nights.

Whether you’re strategizing, story-telling, or solving puzzles, there’s always something new to discover. Ready to broaden your horizons? Start exploring other board game genres today with Gaming Library!

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