About this Site
This web site is a collection of words and phrases used by members of the gamer subculture. It is not intended as a gaming reference or rules supplement; the definitions of gaming terminology listed herein are not meant to replace or append the text of any existing rules set.
Gamers have always had their own complex subculture, from the Paleolithic days of tabletop wargaming to the latest era of MMORPGs, Eurogames, LARPs, and collectible card games. The genesis of this site can be traced back to 1994, when the author (a regular gamer since 1980) conducted a study of gamer verbal communication for a UCLA course in Linguistic Anthropology. The course professor was fascinated by the complex unwritten rules that informed inter-player dialogue during a game session, as well as by the wealth of subculture-specific jargon. This site is not intended as an academic foray into gamer subculture – although by examining jargon specifically, one gains a great deal of insight into gamer culture. It is merely a repository for gamers to share the jargon that helps define their culture.
The heart of gamer culture, of course, is not the con, nor even the game store, but the local gamer group, whether they meet at a home, in a store, on a university campus, or online. Some gamer jargon transcends local boundaries, either because it originated in a published rules set, or because it filtered throughout the gamer community through cons, magazines, or online discussion. Other gamer jargon is specific to an area or group. This site is interested in both kinds. Some of the best jargon – concise, funny phrases that perfectly sum up the concept they mean to convey – come out of small, local gamer groups, and one of the purposes of this site is to share such jargon with the community at large.
So, here’s what you won’t see on the Gamer Jargon Site:
- Compendia of rules-specific terminology straight from the indexes of published game rules. Occasionally, a game-specific term (FASERIP, armor class) will appear, but only if it carries a larger significance, cultural or historical, to the gamer community.
- Lists of science fiction, fantasy, super-hero, comic book, film & television, and historical terminology not specifically related to gaming. If you’re looking for an encyclopedia of 10th Century Medieval Weapons, you’ve come to the wrong place.
- Terminology for games not usually considered part of gamer culture; card games like poker, board games like Monopoly, murder mystery games, improv games, etc.
- A listing related to a game that amounts to an advertisement for that game.
- Although we will not shy away from jargon that contains profanity, or is meant as derogatory toward certain individuals or groups, we will not list any jargon that is specifically racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, or homophobic; not only because these have no place on this web site, but because they have no place in gamer culture.
- Our comments provide some outlet for those who have opinions about the content; but there will be no “flame wars” on this site. If you don’t like this gamer jargon site, start your own.
- Game hacks, cheat codes, spoilers, gaming tips.
- Rules additions.
And here’s what you will see:
- Jargon related to gaming in general; role-playing games (both tabletop and LARP), card games (both old-style games (Nuclear War, Illuminati) and the newer collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering and Legend of Five Rings)), wargames and tabletop simulations, miniatures and model-building, online games (from MUDs to World of Warcraft), certain related computer games (Diablo III), and hobbyist board games (Supremacy, Avalon Hill games, etc.). Also jargon related to gamer social events (cons, game stores, etc.) and gamer literature (unofficial rules expansions, magazines, fan fiction, profession game-related fiction, etc.).
- Jargon unique to, or commonly used in, the gaming community. Gamer slang, types of gamers, types of games, common abbreviations or corruptions of gamer terms, common mispronunciations and misspellings.
- Jargon related to non-gaming hobbies actively pursued by gamers, such as science fiction and fantasy films and literature, historical recreations, comic books, online activities, hacking and programming, etc., as long as the jargon has a strong relation to the gaming community in particular.
- Specific game titles, with historical background data and the occasional informed critique.
- Addenda to some of the definitions, giving the background of a term, explaining its use, and or offering editorial comments by the author of the definition or readers of the site.