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I was writing about a board game earlier and I initially mistranslated the Spanish word material, which in this refers to everything needed to play the game (cards, the board, the counters, the die...) for the English word material, before I realized that in this context they do not mean the same.

What would be the most appropriate English word for this use?

I'm thinking equipment or maybe attire, but I'd appreciate your suggestions.

Example phrase:

This board game is very old, I hope all of its ______ is/are still in the box.

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  • 8
    Definitely not attire, which is what you wear. Mar 26 at 13:18
  • 1
    Fearful of getting down-voted in an answer, I suggest you consider the word "accouterment," (also accoutrement), a word that is not always or necessarily limited in its application to wearing apparel. Mar 27 at 10:18
  • 5
    Bits, definitely bits
    – 7caifyi
    Mar 27 at 15:15
  • 3
    This is definitely not a fancy word situation, unless you are trying to convey a character voice that is overly formal, or whom is discussing board games in a formal setting. Use bits or stuff here. "...I hope all the stuff's still in the box." This is what a native speaker would say if presented with this situation - I have used this exact phrase in this exact situation multiple times. Mar 27 at 15:35
  • 2
    Hmm. I've actually heard the word material used of Chess games quite often; not any other games, though, as far as I know. I agree with @Steven; stuff seems to fit the best here, even if it doesn't sound very professional. Mar 27 at 22:27

8 Answers 8

29

Amongst other suggestions, you could also use the word components:

component

A physical item included in the game. E.g. the box itself, the board, the cards, the tokens, zipper-lock bags, inserts, rule books, etc. See also equipment.

(From Wikipedia: A glossary of terms used in board games)

This board game is very old, I hope all of its components are still in the box.

Your suggestion, i.e., equipment, could also be used:

equipment

Refers to physical components required to play a game, e.g. pieces, gameboard, dice.

(From Wikipedia: A glossary of terms used in board games)

This board game is very old, I hope all of its equipment is still in the box.

From mykindofmeeple.com:

What are the pieces in a board game called?

Collectively all the pieces in a board game are called components, or less commonly, equipment. Common pieces include chits, tiles, counters, chips, pawns, standees and miniatures. Individual pieces usually have names specific to each game.

From martinsplastics.net:

What are game boards made of?

Although board games from various parts of the world are different in form and content, components such as board, miniatures, cards, and dice have similar materials: die-cut cardboard, paper, and plastic.

See also: List of tabletop game components

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    There's nothing wrong with this answer, particularly from the point of view of game manufacturers and their marketing organizations. For example, the term components shows up when enumerating (on the outside of the package or in online advertising) the individual components included inside some particular boxed game that one might purchase. That said, you will often hear these called simply game pieces or game parts in common, non-technical use.
    – tchrist
    Mar 26 at 15:36
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    @tchrist: I thought of "pieces" as well (also suggested by Evorlor), but a "board" isn't a "piece". Part, maybe. But not a piece. Pieces generally have a different meaning (the stuff that you move across a board). There's another word, "contents", suggested by Accumulation that could also work. So the "components" or "contents" of a board game would include a "board" as well.
    – Justin
    Mar 27 at 8:05
45

Pieces. In the context of board games, "pieces" is the common word.

This board game is very old, I hope all of its pieces are still in the box.

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  • 13
    "Pieces" is often understood to refer to objects placed on the game board to represent in-universe objects. For instance, "pieces" in chess refers to objects that represent military units (and is often taken to exclude pawns). In Monopoly, "pieces" would refer to the objects that represent the players, and possibly the objects that represent houses and hotels, but not cards or dice, or the board itself. Mar 27 at 6:55
  • 1
    A "board" (which is required to play a board game) is not a "piece". Pieces are generally bits and bobs such as pawns, tokens, etc. OP needs a word that includes the board as well. Suggestions like "parts", "components", "contents", etc. are good candidates. Pieces, IMO, covers only a part of what OP requires.
    – Justin
    Mar 27 at 13:36
  • 23
    Pragmatically, if I say "All of the pieces are still in the box" and you go to play the game and find the board is missing, you'd be annoyed at my pedantic twittery for not mentioning the board was missing. Technically, I'd be correct, but I'd still be a pedantic twit.
    – barbecue
    Mar 27 at 16:20
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    In normal informal verbal use, I would expect "pieces", "parts" and "bits" to be pretty much interchangeable. The manufacturer probably calls it "equipment" in their docs (and their intellectual property filings) but that wouldn't be common informally. Most commonly I'd expect to say, and hear, "I hope it's all still there" or "I hope nothing's missing".
    – CCTO
    Mar 27 at 17:51
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    @barbecue you're right, but once unpacked the board, cards and dice (continuing the Monopoly example Accumulation raised) wouldn't count as pieces in most people's understanding
    – Chris H
    Mar 28 at 13:50
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When the game is sold, the stuff inside is referred to as "contents" (e.g. "Contents: 1 board game, 6 player pieces, 30 cards"). The word "contents" refers to what is in the box, not what should be in the box, and may be less later on if pieces have been lost, so you can say "original contents" to refer back to what the contents were when it was sold: "I hope all of its original contents are still in the box." You can also say "I hope all of the original game is still in the box." or "I hope all of the complete game is still in the box." (the word "all" isn't necessary for the last example).

Your original translation of "material" isn't terrible, and does correctly describe the stuff referred to, albeit in a manner that some people might find unclear.

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This board game is very old, and I hope that all of its parts are still in the box.

This word choice emphasizes that its things that come with the game. However, it might include parts that are not needed to play the game.

7

You can try paraphernalia

Defined by Cambridge Dictionary as:

all the objects needed for or connected with a particular activity

Used, for example, in this paper:

NEW TABLE GAMES AND GAME VARIATIONS IN NEVADA By Glenn Light, K
… the new game paraphernalia samples, such as dice or cards

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  • 3
    If you're a collector looking to buy, sure. But I don't think anyone would say "Put the paraphernalia back in the box."
    – Laurel
    Mar 26 at 12:12
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    @Laurel - Yes. You’re right. “Pieces” is what I’d go for in “Look what I just found in the attic. We haven’t played this since we were kids. I wonder if all the pieces are still here.”
    – Jim
    Mar 26 at 12:15
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    @Jim - or even "the bits".
    – Jim Mack
    Mar 26 at 13:23
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    @JimMack - Yep, That strikes me as more British for some reason. Not in my lexicon anyway.
    – Jim
    Mar 26 at 13:24
  • "Paraphernalia" suggests something required for gaming that isn't a specific component of that game. A chess clock or poker chips may be thought of as paraphernalia, but Scrabble tiles or Monopoly money probably wouldn't.
    – jsheeran
    Mar 29 at 12:18
2

Meeples

Meeple is defined at Lexico:

A small figure used as a playing piece in certain board games, having a stylized human form.

You might use it as:

The board game is very old. I hope all the meeples are still in the box.

It’s not quite what you’re looking for (it only covers humanoid playing pieces, not cards and dice), but it’s a relatively new word, specific to board games and it might come in handy for the future. It’s also growing in popularity.

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You could say set.

This board game is very old, I hope the whole set is still in the box.

For example, we say chess set.

0

The Spanish material in this context means just "stuff". If you can get away with simply using the word stuff, I guess it's perfectly correct.

This board game is very old, I hope all of its stuff is still in the box.

1
  • Certainly not stuff. stuff in Spanish would be cosas or cositas.
    – Lambie
    Mar 31 at 12:49

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