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Miniature Wargaming Lingo

In our first gaming lingo blog, we covered several terms relating to different types of tabletop games. In this volume, we’re focusing on wargaming lingo.

Some games have their own vocabulary, and some words and terms are general to most miniature wargames. Let’s review some below so you can add them to your gaming lingo arsenal.

Turn-based

This describes the general type of game you’re playing. There are two types:

Dice-ordered: This is where all opponents’ dice are placed into one dice bag and one dice at a time is pulled to see who’s turn it is. Anyone can be designated to pull the dice. In this type of turn-based game, you might get more than one turn in a row. It depends on the pull of the dice! Bolt Action, Warlords of Erehwon, and others from Warlord Games are dice-ordered.

“You go, I go”: Okay, it’s not an “official” term, but it describes the turn-based style of games like Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar. Opponents alternate taking turns. One person does all his/her actions and movement first, then the other. In this style, going first or last all the time can either be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your army.

Command Points

The term, Command Points, is common wargaming lingo in Games Workshop games. They are points that allow you to enhance a unit or impair an opponent’s unit.

You can spend them to re-roll dice, or use them to automatically pass a morale check. In 40k, Command Points are mainly used on stratagems which provide buffs on your army.

Objective

An objective is the “thing” that your army is trying to reach or accomplish in the game or during the turn. There might be one, or a few.

Some examples in Warhammer 40k might be to destroy an enemy’s unit, capture specific objective markers, or advance all your units out of your deployment zone. In Bolt Action, objective examples are to hold a location (such as a bridge or building) or capture your opponent’s Command Post.

Objectives are typically visible on a board using some type of objective marker. This could be as simple as a token, a specific type of miniature, or terrain.

Bits

This term refers to those little extra pieces of a model, usually left on a sprue after you’ve finished assembling your minis. Bits are the alternative parts you can use to build a particular mini. They could be gender-oriented, or related to types of armor. They may even pertain to body part position variations.

Many wargamers — our own Den Master included — deem bits to be sacred. You should NEVER throw them away! They can often be used for other models or kit-bashing. Waste not, want not!

Line of Sight

The line of sight, or LOS, is wargaming lingo that refers to whether or not your army’s unit or units can see your opponent’s. In a miniature wargame, you may not attack an enemy if you can’t see them.

Line of sight can be obstructed by terrain, such as trees or buildings. It’s helpful to use a laser pointer on the board to make sure you’re clear. Otherwise, you may need to hold your attack until you can move your units to a more optimal position.

Skirmish

A skirmish-based game occurs on a much smaller scale. Battles are between units, not full armies. Skirmish games tend to play much quicker because the play area, or board, is smaller, plus there are less models to control. Good examples of skirmish games are Chain of Command, Kill Team, and Warcry.

Learn Your Wargaming Lingo!

While there are plenty of other specific terms, the above covers a few of the more common wargaming lingo. If you have an affinity for a particular miniature wargame, we suggest reading through the rule book and becoming familiar with all the specific terms. Then, go forth and use them confidently as you play!