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Small Reference Pools: Table Top Games
  • Board games are almost exclusively older, family-oriented games of minimal depth, mostly made by Parker Brothers, like the following:
    • Monopoly.
      • Also, Monopoly games last forever, mostly because almost literally no one ever plays by the official rules, which tend to wrap up games in an hour to an hour and a half tops. Most of the common "house rules" for Monopoly dump extra money into player hands, making it that much harder to bankrupt the other players. Which is the whole point of the game.
    • Clue: Americans will always refer to it as such, never by its original name Cluedo; it is still known as this outside America.
    • Risk.
  • In fiction, no one has heard of any game boardgame hobbyists take seriously, not even the mega-hits like Settlers Of Catan or the European Carcassonne. Nerds and geeks will often play Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Chess:
    • Because Smart People Play Chess. It is the ultimate test of your intellect in the Western world.
    • A chessboard will be wrongly oriented about 90% of the time, despite it being a straight 50-50 shot.
    • The positioning of the king and queen. The queen is always positioned on her colour square; white queen on white (d1), black queen on black (d8) ("Queen on color"). As with the orientation issue - the board is angled so the corner square to each player's right is white - now that you have been informed on how it goes, you will never, ever stop noticing it.
    • Using obsolete descriptive notation, e.g. "pawn to king's bishop four", rather than algebraic notation, which renders the same move as simply "f4".
    • A Surprise Checkmate is the only way to end a game of chess between two extremely intelligent opponents
      • It's another 50-50, half the time it's a surprise checkmate, the other half it's an "inevitable" checkmate so many moves out that they might as well not even start the game.
  • Scrabble: A fan game for the whole family, used to describe that characters have a solid vocabulary. Poked fun on with non-nonsensical words. It will very often play with meanings of words which characters try to play and use it as foreshadowing.
  • Trivial Pursuit.
  • Playing cards are only used for magic tricks, testing psychics, and depending on the era, usually about three and a half games: poker, blackjack, bridge or its predecessor whist.
  • Poker.
    • There are very few Poker games. In recent works No Limit Texas Hold 'Em is almost the only one.
    • In slightly older works or those set in The Wild West, Five-Card Draw holds this position.
    • Stud poker will occasionally be mentioned, but usually only to set up a joke about some character's masculinity. People will sometimes refer to a non-obvious asset as hole card, especially an "ace in the hole", but with no apparent idea where the expression comes from).
    • Strip Poker exists too, but in that case everything but the stripping is usually glossed over (which can sometimes be Truth in Television).
    • Hands like four of a kind or a royal flush, which in real life are extremely rare even for skilled cheaters let alone legitimate players, show up in about every third game.
    • It's often implied that four aces (and an optional king) is the best possible hand, when a straight flush or royal flush is better in reality (though either one will realistically win any game it appears in). In a smaller but still noticeable break from reality, it's sometimes suggested that it matters what the fifth card in such a hand is, which it never does (assuming you're playing with only one deck, and no wild cards or only one or two jokers as wild cards).
  • Blackjack. It's a very thrilling game where you can lose your bet incredibly quickly. If characters go to a casino, and they don't play roulette or throw dice, they will probably end up playing twenty-one.
  • Go Fish (AKA The Most Common Card Game).
  • The only other card game kids ever play is Old Maid.
  • The bidding part of Contract Bridge.
  • Pinochle and Gin Rummy in older works.
  • Whist. If characters play cards in works from Regency Era like in Jane Austen's novels, in 90% of cases it's whist. Hornblower from Horatio Hornblower novels was fond of this game, too, and used it to increase his income when sailors were starving on half pay.
  • Tarot cards:
    • They are only used for divination. Many tarot enthusiasts will insist this is Truth in Television, even though it demonstrably isn't.
    • Tarot decks consist of a Death card, a Fool card, and a random assortment of occult or just generally creepy symbols. All reading layouts are horizontal or semi-circular spreads, read left to right.
    • A Death card is mostly given the wrong interpretation! The Death card does not signify doom and destruction, the card which could be seen to do that is probably the Tower. The Tower is beginning to be referenced more (Harry Potter, Max Payne, Sepulchre) but not as an omen of ruin, just as a place where stuff happens. (The Tower can be interpreted as just general "sudden and drastic change", but this is usually a dark upheaval.)
  • Backgammon. But perhaps only because it has such a cool name.
  • Roulette. Black or red? Odd or even? The ball and chips just belong to a casino setting, there is no denying it.

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