Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hobby Games - The 100 Best

Hobby Games - The 100 Best edited by James Lowder, 2007, Green Ronin Publishing

This book was a real treat to read. It consists of 100 essays by noted game designers and/or publishers, where they write about one of their favorite games. Even though the title hints that this is a "top 100" listing, it really isn't. In the foreward, the editor notes that the intent with this book wasn't to try to rank order the best games of all time, which wouldn't really be possible due to the different kinds of games (card, board, roleplaying, wargaming, miniatures, dice games, etc.) covered. Rather, each of the 100 writers was asked to submit three games that they wanted to write about, and then they were assigned to write about their highest-ranked game that nobody else had claimed yet. The result is a highly eclectic, yet fascinating look at gaming across the last 40 years or more. Old standbys like Diplomacy, Axis & Allies, and Dungeons & Dragons receive coverage, along with highly obscure games that most people have never heard of, like The Great Khan Game, Renaissance of Infantry, and My Life with Master. The currently popular Euro-style games get lots of coverage, but so do a bunch of old Avalon Hill games from the '60s and '70s. It can also be interesting which games people choose to write about. For example, Tracy Hickman, noted fantasy author and creator of the Dragonlance series, writes about an American Civil War boardgame; or Warren Spector, noted computer game designer, writing about the boardgame Tikal. If you like playing games, this book will provide you with dozens of inspirations for games that you may have never heard of before, but that you will suddenly feel you need to play, since other people seem to love them so much. A highly recommended book.

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