If someone sets up a table at the edge of a conference room selling their wares, it could be described as a "stall" or maybe a "kiosk". But what if someone instead sets up something like a few chess boards that people can play on? The word "stall" doesn't really seem appropriate to describe this ("a chess stall"?) but is there any word that would be more appropriate? I thought of "sideshow" but that doesn't seem right either because it's not really a show, it's an interactive game activity.

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    Do they pay to play, or is it a freebie or promotional kind of thing? (Long time! Ish?). I've seen something this in waiting rooms, but I wouldn't call it a waiting room activity exactly if I had to pay for it.
    – livresque
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 6:56
  • I've seen the phrase "chill out" used for setting up some less demanding activities for people who want a break from the central, more demanding activity.
    – tgdavies
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 7:12
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    A "side game" is normally at the side of a main game, eg a tournament or casino, but might apply? "Chill out" or "break out" might apply if it's a relaxation activity (although you don't specify that). What's wrong with "chess board" ("We'll set up some chess boards for people who want to play") - what else do you want to denote? That it costs money?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 8:45
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    @livresque It would be a free activity for people to participate in between speeches. I was hoping for a word that would encompass all such recreational activity areas. Chess was only an example but it could also be, say, bridge or pool.
    – Jez
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 9:52
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    You hint that you want a single noun, but I'd use the descriptor 'incidental': << [1] happening as a minor accompaniment to something else >> [Oxford Languages; courtesy of Google]. 'They set up a few incidental games for attendees around the sides of the room.' If this is acceptable, I'll convert to an 'answer'. Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


Tabletop games like chess or go fall into this category, and they're often referred to as tabletops in the game community.

Tabletop games or tabletops are games that are normally played on a table or other flat surface, such as board games, card games, dice games, miniature wargames, or tile-based games.

If you were setting up a few table games at a hosting venue near a conference, you could invite conference goers to spend time at the tabletops, or even the tables (as opposed to the café, although plenty such tables exist for games in cafés as in parks and school cafeterias). Some venues might already have a designation as a lounge, deck, hall, nook, or spot (see Central Park) depending on the venue.

Based on an update, no matter what the space, you could call it the rec room.

A recreation room (also known as a rec room, rumpus room, play room, playroom, games room, or ruckus room) is a room used for a variety of purposes, such as parties, games and other everyday or casual activities. The term recreation room is common in the United States, while the term rumpus room is common in Australia, New Zealand and Canada; in the United Kingdom, the preferred term is games room.

Usually it is a larger space than a living room, enabling the area to serve multiple purposes and entertain moderately large groups.

[Note: after writing this ?OB answer, it was obvious: GameStop. Welcome to Reddit.SE, caveat emptor.]

Here's a "pay to play" example that heavily relies on the word tables: casinos. Casino tables may be the main attraction for some but they certainly are an interactive game activity, as opposed to less interactive, single player slots.

Conferences, like casinos, can be a three ring circus that have unending events, attractions, shops, restaurants, bars, shows, and meetings. You could take a break and hang out in the rec room after seeing the Hibachi chef magician show to play or watch a chess match at the nearby tables, before going back unto the breach of slots, presenting a paper, seeing a comedienne, or learning PowerPoint.

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