The definition of a game of skill is a game where the result is determined generally by mental and/or physical skill, as opposed to pure chance or luck.
The appeal of these games lies in the fact that not only do players revel in the challenge and the wide variety of game choices/types, but also the mention of checkers, dominoes, hangman and jigsaw puzzles brings on fond childhood memories. Most of us then graduated to rummy, backgammon, scrabble and the ultimate challenge-chess.
While skill games will never replace casino gambling online or off in popularity, it is a universal internet topic with a multitude of sites offering free or tournament play.
I classify 7 skill game types as follows: Card, Board, Dice, Tile, Word, Puzzle and Sports Games.
As skill games is such a broad topic and could not be covered in a single article, I will
present examples for each game type and offer a brief description and/or history for each.
1) Card Games: use a deck of cards as their central tool. Examples are Rummy, Bridge and Canasta. Rummy has many ‘cousins’ or versions. To name a few, there is the world famous, Gin Rummy along with Oklahoma Gin, Knock Rummy, Continental, 500 Rum or Pinochle, Kalookie and Pan or Panguingue.
2) Board Games: maintain turn-based play in that one player’s move/strategy is followed by their opponents’ move/strategy. Players can only move at their turn. Examples are chess, checkers and backgammon.
The origins of these board games go back centuries. Chess became so popular that other games took second place during the middle ages. It’s not certain if chess was invented by one or more people, but warfare was a likely reason for its development.
Checkers is believed to have originated in the desert country of Egypt where it was known as Alquerque around 650 BC, though there are caves from 1400 BC that depict Alquerque like images.
The game was played by philosophers and thinkers such as Plato and Homer as it provided an immense mental challenge.
3) Dice Games: use a number of dice as their central tool. Board games often use dice to determine a player’s standing in the game; however, dice alone generally don’t determine the outcome of the game in relation to other characteristics like strategy or skill. Examples are Sic Bo, Yahtzee and Poker Dice.
Poker Dice is one of the most famous dice games, especially online. The dice display representations of playing cards instead of numbers. Each of the six sides represent Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Nine that are used to form a Poker hand. The object of the game is to make the best poker hand.
4) Domino/Tile Games: utilize a central tool of a set of tiles called dominoes that have two ends, each with a given number of dots or pips. Therefore, each combination has 2 possible values and each domino is unique in the set. Most domino/tile games are ‘card games without the cards’. Examples are Dominoes, Pai Gow and Mahjong.
Who invented the game of Mahjong? In all probability, this game was devised by Confucious, who traveled in China during that era. He was fond of birds – perhaps that is why the game was christened as Mahjong, which denotes a sparrow. Some experts say that the three cardinal virtues professed by Confucious were represented through three dragon tiles – red, green, and white.
5) Word Games: so many word games, so little time. A short list of examples is Scrabble, Hangman, Cryptograms, Jotto, Jumble, Acrophobia and Wheel of Fortune.
6) Puzzle Games: puzzle me these examples-Sudoku, Crosswords, the oh, so frustrating–Rubik’s Cube along with a group of way cool online puzzles–Bejeweled, Deal or No Deal, Chuggles and Jungle Bubble.
7) Sports Games: merge physical and mental skills. Examples are Billiards and Darts.