318 – Board Game Terms: Draft, Dexterity, Roll-and-Write

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Episode 318
Board Game Terms
Draft, Dexterity, Roll-and-Write

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about board game words and what they mean. Let’s do it again!

318 Facts: Most consecutive catches of a returning “paper aircraft”; Largest commercially available hot dog; and… there are an estimated 318 species of turtles! Who knew?

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What We’ve Been Playing

Codex Naturalis
Oh My Brain
Kabuto Sumo
Squire for Hire
Disney Mickey’s Christmas Carol

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Codex Naturalis

SNAP Review – Codex Naturalis

Collect pages full of illustrations of nature to make an illuminated manuscript. Is this game great for kids, or better for adults? Read the transcript or watch the video for Codex Naturalis.

What does that word mean?

Let’s define some popular board game terms. (Previously: Episode 64: 4X, Deck Builder, Press your Luck, Social Deduction and Episode 112: Take That, Area Control, Worker Placement, Resource Management)

Drafting from a hand of cards


Drafting is choosing cards or resources from a pool that other players will also choose from. There are two basic types of drafts: open and closed.

Most of the time when we say “drafting” we mean a closed draft, something like picking a card secretly and passing the rest face down to the next player so they can choose one. (examples: Sushi Go, Draftosaurus)

There’s also a Winston draft! This combines elements of both open and closed drafting. Multiple piles on the table, you look at a pile and decide whether or not to take it. If you don’t take it, another card is added. Well suited for 2-3 people. (examples: Studies in Sorcery, Canopy)

Open drafting is picking from a pool that everyone can see at the same time – and everyone can see what you pick! (examples: Azul, Century: Golem/Century: Spice Road, Bugs on Rugs)

More on drafting: Episode 252 Room to Grow

Dexterity games

fingers flicking the teal penguin

Dexterity describes a large family of games. What they all have in common is that they require manual coordination. You need to DO something specific with the game pieces, usually with some finesse: stacking, flicking, balancing, throwing. Or even twisting your own body into specific positions, such as in Yogi or Twister.

Many of these games are kind of silly and super casual, but some aren’t. Some very classic “pub games” are dexterity games: Crokinole, darts, and cornhole.

Is Funky Chicken / Happy Salmon a dexterity game? Probably not. It’s more of a party game that gets you moving.

And dexterity games can be incredibly thematic! Flick ’em Up, Flip Ships, and IceCOOL are flicking games that feel like a new thing. And so is Catacombs.

Is Dungeon Drop a dexterity game? But what about Drop It?

And many dexterity games combine with another mechanic, such as Tournament of Towers (draft pieces and then stack them).

What about Shaky Manor? You’re moving the box-board around to get certain pieces into certain rooms.

The last time we seriously talked about dexterity games was a long time ago: Episode 92: Games to Get You Moving

Roll and Write / Flip and Write

A roll-and-write is a game where you roll dice and then mark down results; either on paper player sheets or reusable whiteboards. A player’s choices in what they mark down limit/affect their choices in future rounds. The original roll-and-write is of course Yahtzee.

Is Roll For It! a roll-and-write or flip-and-write? No! There’s no writing!

A flip-and-write is the same basic idea – marking down results and limiting future choices – but with cards instead of with dice. Flip and writes usually make everyone use the same card result, unlike roll-and-writes which often have multiple dice to choose from. (Not always, though! Welcome To… is a flip-and-write with multiple card choices, and Qwingo is a roll-and-write with a single die everyone must use.)

Flip-and-writes also let you make some predictions for what’s coming in the cards.

We talked about our favorite roll and writes in episode 190, and did a Room to Grow: Roll-and-Writes in episode 240.

Pencil and dice

Fleet: The Dice Game
Three Sisters
Super Mega Lucky Box (our recommendation to introduce flip-and-writes to friends!)
Get On Board combines flip-and-write with a central board that all players share!
Color It! is the easiest option to show little kids.
Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age has resource management/set collection tracked on player boards, separate from the player sheets.

For experts only: Hadrian’s Wall and Twilight Inscription.

What are your favorite games in these genres?

Tell us!

Or send us a micro-review; we’ll read on the podcast.

And don’t forget about the holiday gift guide!

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