A tabletop game generally refers to any game where the elements of play are confined to a small area and that require little physical exertion, usually simply placing, picking up and moving game pieces. Most of these games are, thus, played at a table around which the players are seated and on which the game's elements are located.

A variety of major game types generally fall under the heading of tabletop games. It is worth noting that many games falling into this category, particularly party games, are more free-form in their play and can involve physical activity such as mime, however the basic premise is still that the game does not require a large area in which to play it, large amounts of strength or stamina, or specialized equipment other than what comes in the box (games sometimes require additional materials like pencil and paper that are easy to procure).

Dexterity and coordination games

This class of games includes any game in which the skill element involved relates to manual dexterity or hand-eye coordination, but excludes the class of video games (see below). Games such as jacks, paper football, and Jenga require only very portable or improvised equipment and can be played on any flat level surface, while other examples, such as pinball, billiards, air hockey, foosball, and table hockey require specialized tables or other self-contained modules on which the game is played.

The advent of home video game systems largely replaced some of these, such as table hockey, however air hockey, billiards, pinball and foosball remain popular fixtures in private and public game rooms. These games and others, as they require reflexes and coordination, are generally performed more poorly by intoxicated persons but are unlikely to result in injury because of this; as such the games are popular as drinking games. In addition, dedicated drinking games such as quarters and beer pong also involve physical coordination and are popular for similar reasons.

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