A game is an organized form of playing, normally undertaken for fun or amusement, and at times used as a teaching tool. Like many other popular hobbies and recreational activities, games are subject to intense personal and societal evaluations. Games are different from work, which are often carried out for pay, and from fine art, which tend to be an expression of artistic or aesthetic values. A game can involve one person actively engaging in a challenge with another or attempting to overcome obstacles using tools, strategy, and persistence. The activity may be competitive or cooperative, involving a group of people or a single person. In formal settings, games are played between players or between machines, with sometimes simple hand-to-hand combat or arbitration occurring among them.
One of the main articles that this encyclopedia discusses is game theory, a term used to distinguish game mechanisms, strategies, rules, etc., from factors that influence the outcome of the game. Game theory also includes aspects like motivation, information, action, opportunity, rules of engagement, valuation, cause and effect, group decision-making, optimal outcomes, knowledge construction, modeling, player preferences, psychology and the social world. In board games, game theory is used to analyze and describe the interaction between the players as well as the various roles that each one of them can have in the whole game. The main article that this encyclopedia discusses is the game theory of Chess, with a companion volume on the analysis of other board games.
This article starts by discussing the basic vocabulary of board games, the most common being the set of numbered cards, referred to as a deck. Different games have different sets of cards, some having only seven, others even numbering hundreds. The other common component is the tile, a small solid figure, such as a rabbit, that is used to mark points on a playing surface. The game pieces themselves may consist of simple dice figures or larger more complex ones, including animals, plants, gears, balls and other things representing different shapes. tokens are objects used to represent points and win points.