It’s Not Just Checkers!

Tabletop gaming is a broad term that refers to playing games on a surface or table. It involves using game pieces and/or accessories, such as dice, tape measures, battle markers, game boards, miniatures, cards and more. Some games are group-oriented, many are geared for 2 players, and some you can play by yourself.

Types of Games

At The Ogre’s Den, we focus on three types of tabletop gaming: Miniatures and Miniature Wargaming, Role-playing Games (RPGs), and Board Games. Learn more about them below, then come in and play a few games!

Miniatures & Miniature Wargaming

A miniatures game is usually composed of a 3-dimensional battleground that typically follows an established setting or story. These games are strategy-focused, where you must employ your warring skills and tactics.

What you need:
  • Miniatures — An “army” of minis (ex. Bolt Action, Warhammer 40k) to represent the side or faction you’re playing, or a combination of miniatures (ex. X-Wing Miniatures) that meets the designated miniature points value
  • Cards and dice — Sometimes they come with the game and help determine yours and your enemy’s fates during battle
  • Tape measure — It’s necessary for wargaming because it measures how far you can move and whether an army is “in range” of an attack
  • Some tactical skills — All battle requires it, even in tabletop gaming!

When you purchase a minis game, some miniatures may require assembly and/or paint (which is the hobby side of tabletop gaming).

How to play:

While you can play on any flat surface, using 3D terrain or game mats adds realism. The surface area you need to play may vary, depending on the game and type of battle.

You build your army based on the number of points or parameters set for the game. You must be strategic when you choose the figures (or the ability cards) you want to have in play. It helps to know, if possible, who your opponent is and what armies he or she is playing.

Your dice rolls (and sometimes the corresponding ability cards) determine your movement and actions, as well as the types of damage you deal or take.

One game can last from less than an hour to a couple hours, if the battle is complex.

Examples of miniature games:

Bolt Action, Konflikt ’47, Warlords of Erehwon, Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, A Song of Ice and Fire, Star Wars X-Wing, Wings of Glory

Role-playing Games (RPGs)

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are based within different worlds or settings. In an RPG, you must use your imagination, creativity, and elements of story-telling as you take on the role of your character and embark on quests, missions, and adventures with your group.

What you need:
  • Game dice — A standard set of 7 polyhedrals, or there are also RPG-specific dice that are used for certain RPGs only, such as ex. Star Wars — Edge of the Empire
  • Player’s Handbook — Contains info for character creation, an explanation of character abilities, rules and game mechanics
  • Character Sheet — A pre-made one from your Dungeon/Game Master (DM or GM), or start with a blank one and create your own (using your Player’s Handbook!)
  • Notebook or binder and pen — Take notes of details that manifest during game sessions and keep track of stats on your character sheet
  • A miniature figure of your character — Optional, yet fun to use on maps that your DM/GM provides to show your location and/or battles
  • Imagination — Let your imagination loose with creativity and improv, and allow your character (and yourself) to have some adventuring fun!

How to play:

Your DM/GM is your main storyteller and “narrator”, who sets the main story and its many scenarios. He or she provides structure and guides your adventure by way of background characters (non-player characters, or NPCs) and setting challenges (time to fight a monster!).

As player characters, you and your fellow adventurers follow the story as it is presented by your DM/GM. You use your character’s abilities (based on your character sheet), and “play” your character according to his or her personality, demeanor, and traits. In essence, you pretend to be someone else while playing a game, and you use your imagination and creativity to weave your way through the campaign.

RPGs can run like a TV show, where a single campaign can last a few hours, or numerous sessions (weeks or even months), depending on the adventure. The longer the campaign, the more your character evolves as you gain experience points and level up!

Examples of role-playing games:

Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Starfinder, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Call of Cthulhu

Board Games

Board games range from fairly simple to moderately complex, and they run a wide gamut of genres and play styles. Some include an actual board, and others include only a specialty deck of cards and/or dice.

What you need:
  • Basic version of the game — This is the bare minimum for a board game, with the option to later include add-ons and expansions
  • Technology — Some games, such as Mansions of Madness, use iPads and smartphones to help facilitate gameplay
  • Humor and sportsmanship — Tabletop gaming is meant to be fun, so don’t let tempers or patience get out of hand!

How to play:

There is no general rule for how to play a board game, since each one is vastly different. Set-up can take literally a few minutes to 20 minutes, especially when there are multiple card decks, currency, tokens, markers, and other game pieces involved.

The number of players may affect what pieces you use for gameplay. Some games require a minimum of 3 players. You can also play a game by yourself (again, Mansions of Madness is an example).

Each player takes his or her turn until the game objective is met. There may be one winner in a competitive game, or if it’s a cooperative game, the entire group survives or meets a specific goal.

Examples of board games:

Mansions of Madness, Zombicide, Star Wars Destiny, Firefly

Give Tabletop Gaming a Try

Everyone starts somewhere! But if you’re not sure how to start, or even which game to try, we can help you decide. Come by and let us know what your interests are. We’ll help you start your tabletop gaming journey.

When you feel comfortable, Open Gaming is a great option to help you learn while playing casual, weekly or monthly games with players of all skill levels. Check our gaming calendar for all of our current activities.