The BGG categories are a means with which to group games based on like subjects or similar characteristics. You can browse an alphabetical list of categories or use the hierarchical list below. Categories are defined by the user at the time of game submission, and thereafter can be changed through Corrections which must be cleared by Geek Administrators.
A number of categories are associated with the general activity players will be participating in during the game. These activities lie somewhere between "skills" and "themes." A "Racing" game, for example, can be either [i]about[/i] a race or actually [i]be[/i] a race between two players.
City Building games compel players to construct and manage a city in a way that is more efficient, powerful, and/or lucrative than their opponent's cities.
Civilization games often have players developing and managing a society of people. The aim of each player is usually to employ citizens in ways that are beneficial to society, and have them progress throughout the game so that their civilization gains superiority over others. Civilization games may have each player build their society independently, or through warfare and diplomacy, each player may find themselves benefiting or suffering from the actions of others.
Educational games engage players in a process of learning about a subject other than playing the game itself and might even lack winning conditions, instead emphasizing how learning can be fun. In general, these games are designed for younger audiences.
Some question whether puzzles are actually games, but certainly some games require players to solve a puzzle.
Racing games are of two sorts. The kind we're concerned with here is the kind in which players actively race toward a specific goal. So far, this has been strictly interpreted to include only those games in which an emulation of a physical race is occurring, i.e., not including "race to get most points" or "race to beat my opponents in a gunfight" games.
Territory Building games have the players amass control over a specific area, frequently of their own design. It could be viewed as a subcategory of the Area Control/Influence mechanic, in which the areas are not necessarily delineated at the beginning of the game but are instead created as the game progresses.
Transportation games are difficult to pin down, as they by definition should include all games using the Route/Network-Building mechanic but can also be associated only with Train games and variations thereof (automobiles, ships), making it more of a thematic category.
Nearly all games have components. These categories group games by specific types of components. In theory, we could also have categories for "Boards," "Meeples," "Wooden Cubes," and so on, but the ones below are the only ones that currently exist on BGG.
Card Games often use cards as its sole or central component. There are stand-alone card games, in which all the cards necessary for gameplay are purchased at once. There are also Collectible Card Games (CCGs), where players purchase starter and "booster" packs in an effort to compile a more and more powerful deck of cards to compete with.
Games in the Collectible Components category have components which are sold separately. Not all components are required to play the game, but by having a greater variety of components, a player has more options for how to play. See Collectible Cards Games
Dice games often use dice as its sole or principal component. Dice games traditionally focus almost exclusively on dice rolling as a mechanic (e.g., Yahtzee, Liar's Dice, Can't Stop).
Generally, Dice game also refer to a number of Wargames that frequently use a large number of dice to decide a majority of game outcomes and variables. Usually, dice will account for the "luck" or "random chance" factor often needed in military simulations. These types of Wargames are colloquially known as "dice-fests."
Electronic games often have an electronic apparatus as the central component of the game. They differ from electrified games (e.g., Operation) as Electronic game components will contain circuitry, and sometimes a simple computer.
Some "games" are not games at all, but we have categories for them nonetheless.
Book games are not games 'per se', but rather a collection of game designs and rules that can be played using common gaming equipment (checkered board, paper and pencil, cards, dominoes, dice, etc.). Another type of Book games are those like Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series that uses storytelling, dice rolling, and a "multiple-choice paragraph system" as mechanics.
Expansion for Base-game
This is not a stand-alone game, but instead an expansion for another game. Generally not playable on their own, expansions add new pieces, new rules, and/or new mechanisms to base-games for different playability.
A Game System game is any one whose main components have historically been used for a multitude of other stand-alone games.
Some categories are so expansive that they've become their own sub-domain here on BGG.
Children's games are designed for those between the ages of 0 and 12 and now have their own sub-domain on BGG.
All games in which war and conflict is the subject. Wargames now have their own subdomain on BGG. The subcategories within the Wargame category tend to include only wargames, but it is possible for a game to be about the Vietnam War, for example, without being a wargame. Similarly, it is possible for a game to be about any war and still not be considered a wargame by some or all of the gaming community. Here on BGG, the category itself tends to have a fairly liberal interpretation.
American Civil War
The American Civil War category concerns the period of sectional conflict fought between the federal government of the United States of America (the “Union”) and 11 Southern slave states that declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America, from 1861 until 1865.
American Indian Wars
American Indian Wars games generally have themes concerning the battles and wars between the indigenous peoples of North America and the colonizing European powers during the 17th and 18th centuries or the United States government during the 18th and 19th centuries. The majority of American Indian Wars games are also categorized as Wargames.
American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War games have storylines set during the American War of Independence, 1775-1783. The most popular American Revolutionary War games are also categorized as Wargames.
Civil War games generally have storylines concerning a violent battle for government control between two more groups from the same country. The majority of Civil War games are also categorized as Wargames.
Korean War games have storylines set during the military conflict between the countries of North and South Korea (and their respective allies) during 1950-1953. The most popular Korean War games are also categorized as Wargames.
Modern Warfare games are often those that are thematically set in armed conflicts occurring after World War II (1945 - present). The most popular Modern Warfare games are also categorized as Wargames.
Napoleonic games have storylines set during the Napoleonic Wars of 1803-1815. The most popular Napoleonic games are also categorized as Wargames.
Vietnam War games concern the period of conflict fought in Vietnam and south-central Asia from 1959 until 1973.
World War I
World War I games concern the period of global military conflict that took place mostly in Europe from 1914 until 1918.
World War II
World War II games concern the period of worldwide conflict fought between the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers, from 1939 until 1945.
Most games tap a specific set of skills or require players to perform particular activities, such as memorizing cards, performing math, or negotiating with other players.
Bluffing games encourage players to use deception to achieve their aims. All Bluffing games have an element of hidden information in them.
Deduction games require the use of logic and observation to determine hidden information.
Economic games encourage players to develop and manage a system of production, distribution, trade, and/or consumption of goods. The games usually simulate a market in some way. The term is often used interchangably with resource management games.
Math & Number
Math games explicitly require players to use mathematical knowledge and concepts to achieve game objectives. Number games also require math skills.
Memory games involve remembering information that was once revealed but is now hidden. This category is not applied to all games that reveal and then hide information (such as the amount of money a player has earned over the course of the game, or the number of hidden victory points a player has received) bur this is rather applied to games where remembering or recalling the information is a part of the game-play.
Real-time games demand tight time management skills from players, as the game unfolds in real time. Players cannot take their time during a turn, as events continue to occur in the game.
Most, but not all, Abstract Strategy games require spatial analysis, as do most games in the Maze category.
Trivia games call upon players' ability to remember facts and details. Many such games are also Party Games.
Word games involve the formation of, recognition of, or relationship between words.
Most categories encapsulate what a game is "about" or address the theme of the game, however "tacked on" it might be. Themes might include the historical time period represented in the game or a particular genre of movies that the game addresses. Depending upon how tied the theme is to the mechanics, it may or may not have any bearing on actual game play. Some of these genres are common to other media, such as Horror or Mafia, but a couple are peculiar to board games, like the ubiquitous Train game.
Entertainment Media Categories
Some games are inspired by or related to a particular book, TV series, graphic novel, or other form of entertainment media.
games involve characters, places, or situations first introduced in comic books or comic strips.
Games with a movies/TV/radio theme
concern characters, places, or situations first introduced in movies, on television, or on radio.
games are thematically linked to music, bands and/or the music industry. While many of the popular Music games test players knowledge on music (e.g., Cranium Pop 5, Encore), a number of these games are only linked to music as a theme in the game environment (e.g., Schrille Stille, Battle of the Bands).
Novel-based games concern characters, places, or situations first introduced in books.
Video Game Theme
Games with a video game theme
involve characters, places, and situations which were first introduced through video games systems.