A Appendix

A.1 Game Design Definitions and Terminologies

A list of game design definitions and terminologies used in [Chapter 8][111], and in parts of this thesis, are presented here.

  • Mechanics or Mechanisms 90: Constructs of rules or methods used within gameplay to facilitate interaction; e.g. use of dice to move.

  • Element: Concepts used within the confines of the game world to express certain ideologies with intentions of engagement; e.g. incorporation of chance through the use of dice.

  • Piece: Tangible items used to facilitate mechanisms and elements within the game interface; e.g. dice.

  • Interaction: A means by which mechanisms may be engaged; e.g. capturing a piece on the game board, where capturing is a mechanism.

  • Objective/Goal: The aim of play, often a goal of sorts to differentiate between success and loss; e.g. collecting victory points, or capturing the King in Chess.

  • Deck Building: Mechanism where players collect cards from shared or independent decks to ‘build’ their own playable deck for the duration of play; an example of games that use this mechanic are Dominion and Star Realms.

  • Worker Placement: Mechanism where players assign a limited number of tokens to spaces on a game board to benefit from specific actions; an example of games that use this are Agricola and Stone Age.

  • Defector: A conscious abandonment of allegiances during play in effect allowing a player to become a ‘traitor’.

  • Eurogame: The term, as Costikyan (2018, 181) explains, takes its name from origins in Germany, Europe. Though many such board games do come from Europe, a game does not need to be developed there to be called a Eurogame. Rather, the name is given to a specific style of play that cherishes strategic excellence over theme. Often abstract depictions of the themes they present with a level of complexity unique to each executed through employing acute combinations of mechanisms. Examples of such games are Carcassone, Catan, or Istanbul.

  • Ameritrash: Described as a “backformation” of the term Eurogame, it has little to do with being ‘American’ (Costikyan 2018, 183). Unlike Eurogames, these rely on a “tight formation of theme and mechanic” (2018, 183), often allowing the mechanics to emerge from the thematic experience. Where Eurogame’s are often less visually appealing relying on strategy over presentation, Ameritrash games are designed to thematically stand out. Modern examples are games like Arkham Horror or Twilight Imperium.


Costikyan, Greg. 2018. “Boardgame Aesthetics.” In Tabletop: Analog Game Design, edited by Greg Costikyan and Drew Davidson, 179–84. Pittsburgh: ETC Press.

  1. An extensive list of game mechanics can be viewed here: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Game_mechanics.↩︎