A game board is needed so that you do not have to create the playing field yourself. Many game boards are simply too complicated to recreate yourself. For example, who can remember what the Monopoly game board looks like? Without a standardized game board where the players can orient themselves, there would be a too many different versions of the same game. In addition, having a game board is simply convenient!
There is a specific game board to for almost every game. Most games also come in special edition versions with different game boards. Some boards are easy distinguishable, such as the game “Life,” whereas other games such as a chess board are more generic. Chess can be played on the same Checkers game as well. Moreover, travel game boards are easily recognizable as they are significantly reduced in size.
A table top is a specific type of board used in strategy games. To make a table top, you have to buy and put together the pieces yourself. You cannot buy a table top already finished. Because of this, the dimensions and shape of each table top are different and game rules are needed to help define the game and the moves of each game piece.