The word I'm looking for is strictly for an individual event where a player is trying to beat their opponent. In a game like ping pong you might call this event a "serve".

I considered "round" but that seems to imply a bigger part of a game, like at the very end.

Hopefully someone can offer a good word for what I'm trying to express.


Edit: Here is an example sentence:

Just a few more _____ and we should start playing for points.

The exact game should not matter, but lets say I'm playing a racing game.. I suppose for that we would say finishes so "just a few more finishes and..."

Hopefully that clears things up.

  • Can you provide an example sentence with a blank or something where the word you want would go?
    – JEL
    Dec 15 '15 at 7:28
  • Could you describe the game in detail? Round seems like a fine word if the game consisted of 30 rounds.
    – macraf
    Dec 15 '15 at 7:34
  • Added example sentence. I was hoping to avoid detail. Really it's any game where you play for points and requires you to "reset" after someone scores, provided there are only two people playing. So racing could work if that's the case.
    – shaunxer
    Dec 15 '15 at 8:27
  • It does seem game-dependent, and dependent on the scope within the game: if it's racing on a track, maybe 'laps'; if it's cards, it might be 'hands'; if it's ping-pong or tennis, 'serves' (as you said). 'Trials' might work for a single word for many games.
    – JEL
    Dec 15 '15 at 8:51
  • I think I like "trials" the best. If you submit that as an answer I will mark it as correct
    – shaunxer
    Dec 17 '15 at 17:34

Practice rounds.

Just a few more practice rounds and we should start playing for points.

We should try to get through 10 practice rounds today.

That didn't count. That was just a practice.


Outside of a formal setting the clearest way to express this may be with go or goes.

  1. a try at something; attempt: to have a go at winning the prize.

Your example would become:

Just a few more goes and we should start playing for points.

This is hardly a precise definition and what constitutes a single go would depend heavily on the context of the situation.


If you wish to generalize "serve" into games that don't start with a serve consider,

"Opening move".

Works for both turn and non-turn based games. Even works for wars.

  • That's a little clunky and doesn't quite fit how I intend to use the word. Here's another example sentence with your word "We should try to get through 10 opening moves today." It's misleading. Even if we used a specific opening move, like "serve", that still can be interpreted wrong.
    – shaunxer
    Dec 15 '15 at 8:30

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