Chit-Pull System

The word chit usually refers to little rectangular or square cardboard counters that have some sort of game-relevant information on them. In a chit-pull system, a number of chits is first placed in a container (often a bag or cup). In the course of the game, chits are drawn randomly out of this container, triggering certain game effects. This is essentially just another way of producing random results.

However, a chit-pull system differs in a number of ways from dice-rolling, which is another method for obtaining random results.

First, dice never “remember” which results have already occured; each time they are rolled, probabilities are exactly the same. When, on the other hand, a chit is drawn, it can be removed from the container so that that result will not occur again. Chits can also be used to randomize a certain sequence of events repeatedly by drawing chits from a container until it is empty and then putting all chits back.

Second, chits can usually relay more information than the face of a die, which tends to be limited in size (barring oversized dice). Also, since a chit can be kept near a player or on the board itself, this information can be made available indefinitely, while a die usually will soon be rolled again and not kept around for conveying information (there are exceptions). Also, since chits are cardboard counters, they have two sides that might convey different (or additional) information. Their ability to be used as markers on the gameboard itself distinguishes chits from a deck of cards, which can otherwise be used for randomization in a similar fashion.

Third, chits have a nice haptic quality that appeals to many gamers.

Note that games in which cardboard counters essentially make up the whole game (like Carcassonne) are usually referred to as tile-laying games. In tile-laying games, the counters form the game board, as it were; they are not used to produce a random result for a game that happens on an independent board as is the case with chit-pulling.

Examples for chit-pull systems: Arkham HorrorDragons of GloryA Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584.


Pictured above: Chit-pulling cup in Arkham Horror.

(Source: Board Game Geek)

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