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I'm trying to find a single term for a display of cards that a player can pick from. The most obvious example would be the 5 cards turned face up in Ticket to Ride. I thought there was a term for this display, but the rules just seem to call them the "face-up" cards.

4 Answers 4

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Although this is a common game mechanic, each game appears to use its own term for such a thing, rather than any commonly-used term.

  • Fabled Fruit calls it the "Market". This term is quite generic and would lend itself to be used in any game if you wanted.

  • Splendor is the same as Ticket to Ride; just calling them "face-up development cards in the middle of the table".

  • Space Base calls it the "Shipyard", as a more thematic version of a "Market".

  • Ascension calls it the "Center Row".

  • Lost Ruins of Arnak uses "Card Row".

  • Clank calls it the "Dungeon Row".

These are just the first several games I was able to think of that use such a mechanic, and I was unable to find any common term used in more than one game (unless you count "row" as part of the name).

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  • There are many more. Paperback uses "The Offer". Dominion uses "The Supply". I'm sure lots more could be listed. I think there is a not a standard boardgaming term for this. Feb 7 at 17:52
  • Not exactly the thing, but poker "the flop" could work too
    – Deo
    Feb 7 at 18:26
  • I thought about Dominion, but decided the cards you choose from in that case was too different from the other examples to include. Namely that they aren't drawn from a common deck and replaced throughout the game.
    – GendoIkari
    Feb 7 at 19:56
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    +1 for "market" - it's what I immediately thought of, since not only is that used by some other games, but as you say it works pretty well in all contexts. FYI this got me thinking more about this and I've asked this on BGG, too; if I get any good responses there I'll add it them as a separate answer. Feb 19 at 5:50
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While individual games may use their own (usually thematic or contextual) word for such an layout, one generic term for this would be tableau, as in a static display of various objects, like that seen in Ticket To Ride and games listed in another answer.

Also applicable is array, though this feels more appropriate if the cards were in multiple rows and columns, such as in the game Kemet.

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  • Tableau is used in Solitaire, but I don't know any other game that use that word.
    – Cohensius
    Feb 8 at 7:39
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    Yes, that's why it's generic, as in not specific.
    – Nij
    Feb 8 at 8:21
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    I usually see tableau used in games like Race for the Galaxy, engine builders where you construct your own array of cards/tiles in front of you.
    – Jontia
    Feb 8 at 8:32
  • @Nij I did not understand your comment, why the fact that this word is used in Solitaire makes it generic? The way I see it (and will be happy to change my mind) is that it is specific to Solitaire (and games like Race for the Galaxy)
    – Cohensius
    Feb 8 at 11:39
  • I don't know or care that it's used in any particular game. It is a generic word for a static display of objects, as I stated in the answer.
    – Nij
    Feb 8 at 18:22
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I like a lot of the other answers. Another potential generic term is Pool, as in "the card pool".

One definition from Merriam-Webster is - a readily available supply

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A term I saw in Pax Emancipation is "splay".

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  • Huh. "splay" with cards usually means to overlap them in some form or another. It would be a nice useful term otherwise, sort of a contraction of "display" as well as an appropriation of the usual word "splay" meaning spread. Feb 18 at 13:33

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