A Taxonomy of Piecepack Games

This page was inspired by the Taxonomy of Icehouse Games page by Glenn Overby. He in turn was inspired by David Parlett.

The categorisation is an extension of David Parlett's groundbreaking taxonomy in his Oxford History of Board Games. His basic categories of board game are Race, Space, Chase, and Displace. His fifth category, Theme, has been extended to also include non-board games with a clear theme. A sixth category, Non-board Games, includes games with neither board nor theme.

A special section for Solitaire games was added because many of them do not easily fit in any of the other categories and to make then easy to find. If a solitaire game does fit a given category, it should be listed both places. Also added are special categories for games especially good to play with young children and games on the Recommended list as nominated by the mailing list members.

A less detailed list can be seen at the /Summary page.

This page is now automatically generated based on category tags placed in each game description page. To add a game to a taxonomy category simply add the category tag found at the bottom of each grouping anywhere in the game's description page. Please use only the above procedure for adding new games to the taxonomy. Click here for HowToCreateNewTaxonomyCategories.

A reasonably well-known non-piecepack example is shown for many categories, to help people find games of related mechanics or objectives. Several games could be classified in more than one place and a best attempt has been made to put all the games into all the proper categories where they belong. Like Parlett in his book, we have done the best we could as a guide.

This data is also in Excel format (not necessarily up-to-date):

Table of Contents



A race game frequently features dice, a linear field, ousting opponents, and a positional objective.



A space game generally features a field of areas, blocking or capturing opponents, and an objective involving position/pattern/territory.




The main feature of Parlett's chase games category is substantial material asymmetry. Other features usually include a regularly-spaced field and capturing. Objectives can be positional like space games or overwhelming like displace games.



Displace games generally feature capturing, with the object being to overwhelm.



Parlett's original classifications were designed only for traditional abstract board games. We have extended the category to include non-board games where the theme is central and there is no clear abstract board game structure.



Anything with no board, implied board or concrete theme goes here.


Solitaire Games

Games played by a single person.


Games for Children


Recommended Games

For more details see the page: RecommendedGames.